Siân Evans with Maiden Voyages: Magnificent Ocean Liners and the Women Who Traveled and Worked Aboard Them

Virtual Event: Thursday, August 5 at 3 p.m. ET

Moderator: Robin Young, host of NPR/WBUR’s Here & Now
Presented in partnership with WBUR CitySpace

This engaging social history explores how women’s lives and American culture were transformed by transatlantic travel between Europe and North America.

At the peak of summer, join us for an afternoon journey back to the early twentieth century and the Golden Age of Ocean Liners. Inspired by family research – her great-great uncle was a Cunard Chief Officer – Siân Evans documents the journeys of women whose lives were changed by their voyages between the Old World and the New. Some set off for leisure, others, for work; many, to reinvent themselves. They were celebrities, migrants and millionaires, refugees, aristocrats and crew members. Entertaining and informative, Maiden Voyages profiles A-list passengers Marlene Dietrich, Wallis Simpson, and Josephine Baker alongside émigrées in steerage; and, in between, the experiences of the female workers including “The Unsinkable Stewardess” who survived the Titanic disaster. With Evans and award-winning broadcast journalist Robin Young, we’ll explore how transatlantic travel changed society on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

Siân Evans is the author of Queen Bees: Six Brilliant and Extraordinary Society Hostesses between the Wars among other works. Based in London, she is a freelance film consultant for the National Trust and earned a MA in Cultural History from the Royal College of Art. Her articles have appeared in Daily Mail, the Daily Express, The Lady, and BBC Antiques Roadshow Magazine, as well in National Trust publications.

Robin Young has been the co-host of NPR/WBUR’s Here & Now for over 20 years. She brings a long career in broadcast journalism to her role at Here & Now. She is a Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker; has reported for NBC, CBS and ABC; and has received several Emmy Awards in addition to radio's regional Edward R. Murrow award.

Scott Borchert with Republic of Detours: How the New Deal Paid Broke Writers to Rediscover America

Virtual Event: Tuesday, August 17 at 6 p.m. ET

Moderator: Rhonda McClure, Senior Genealogist, American Ancestors
Presented in partnership with the State Library of Massachusetts

An immersive account of the New Deal project that created state-by-state guidebooks to America, in the midst of the Great Depression—and employed some of the biggest names in American letters.

The plan was as idealistic as it was audacious, and utterly unprecedented. Take thousands of hard-up writers and put them to work charting a country on the brink of social and economic collapse, with the aim of producing a series of guidebooks to the then forty-eight states—along with hundreds of other publications dedicated to cities, regions, and towns—while also gathering reams of folklore, narratives of formerly enslaved people, and even recipes. With this effort, America was documented, its families and their sensibilities brought to life by such celebrated authors as Nelson Algren, Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright. Don’t miss Scott Borchert’s discussion with genealogist Rhonda McClure about this remarkable, history-making Federal Writers’ Project, part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA)’s New Deal initiative.

Scott Borchert is a writer and editor based in New Jersey, and a former assistant editor at the book publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux. He holds a master’s degree in cultural reporting and criticism from the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University, and his work has appeared in Southwest Review, Monthly Review, The Rumpus, PopMatters, Brooklyn Magazine, and other publications.

Rhonda R. McClure is the senior genealogist at American Ancestors/NEHGS. She has been a contributing editor for Heritage Quest Magazine and Biography magazine and contributed to The History Channel Magazine and American History Magazine. She is the author of ten books, including the award-winning The Complete Idiot's Guide to Online Genealogy.

John N. Maclean with Home Waters: A Chronicle of Family and a River

Virtual Event: Thursday, August 26 at 6 p.m. ET

Moderator: O. Alan Weltzien, Professor of English, Emeritus, and author

“A lyrical companion to his father’s classic, A River Runs through It, chronicling their family’s history and bond with Montana’s Blackfoot River.” —Washington Post

A memoir about the power of place to shape generations, Home Waters is John N. Maclean's remarkable memoir of his family's century-long love affair with Montana's majestic Blackfoot River, the setting for his father's classic novella, A River Runs Through It. Maclean returns annually to the simple family cabin that his grandfather built by hand, still in search of the trout of a lifetime. When he hooks it at last, decades of longing promise to be fulfilled, inspiring John, reporter and author, to finally write the story he was born to tell. Join him and the Maclean family biographer O.Alan Weltzien for this remarkable look at one family, the place they love, and the sport that is their shared passion and tradition.

John N. Maclean is an award-winning author and journalist. He spent thirty years at the Chicago Tribune, most of that time as a Washington correspondent. After leaving the Tribune, Maclean wrote five nonfiction books about wildland fire that are considered a staple of fire literature as well as training material for firefighters. Maclean is the son of Norman Maclean, author of A River Runs Through It.

O. Alan Weltzien is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Montana Western and author of The Norman Maclean Reader. His 2008 memoir, A Father and an Island, tells his family story, centered on a Puget Sound island and a saltwater beach. His biography of Montana novelist Thomas Savage was published in 2020. A poet as well, Weltzien has published two chapbooks and two full-length collections.

Produced by GBH Forum Network in partnership with Boston Public Library


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