Announcing Winter-Spring Authors in the American Inspiration Series in Boston’s Back Bay

Topics range from: The Intersection of Civil Rights, Fast Food, and the Ferguson conflicts; to the History of Debutante Balls; to the Life of Immigrant-Heiress-Activist Rose Pastor Stokes

Guest authors include Historian Adam Hochschild, the CEO of Habitat for Humanity; best-loved Boston Historian Stephen Puelo; and Honor Moore, author of The Bishop’s Daughter

Local Moderators Leah Wright Rigueur and Claire Messud

Tickets and Books for these Winter-Spring Events Are Now On Sale

January 28, 2020—Boston, Massachusetts—The American Inspiration author series, presented by American Ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS), has announced its winter-spring lineup of authors. The series presents best-selling authors and their latest books exploring themes of personal identity, families and immigration, and social and cultural history.

“We are delighted to have launched the American Inspiration series as an offering to our Back Bay neighborhood,” said Margaret Talcott, the series’ curator, also Director of Signature and Literary Events. “With the goal of building a local community of readers, thinkers, and history-lovers, we are providing a place—a stage—for such inspiring thought leaders and authors as Gail Collins (No Stopping Us Now), George Howe Colt (The Game), and Holly George Warren (Janis). We’ll continue this spring with a new roster of authors representing a wide ranging of topics, doing our bit to enrich local cultural life and to make thought-provoking words and talk accessible to all.”

Upcoming American Inspiration events:

Tuesday, February 11: Marica Chatelain with Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America. The author of South Side Girls and professor at Georgetown will discuss her new book with Leah Wright Rigueur of Harvard Kennedy School. This astonishing new work reveals the tie between McDonald’s, civil rights, and black capitalism. (6:00 p.m.) Earlier in the day, Chatelain will be interviewed by Callie Crossley of WGBH News at the WGBH Studio at the Boston Public Library. (3:00 p.m.)

Wednesday, February 26: Kristen Richardson with The Season: A Social History of the Debutante. Explore the 600-year history of debutante balls, from Georgian England to the Gilded Age to today—including the rituals of elite African American communities and pageantry at the “new” international balls—when Richardson shares stories and images from her new book. (2:00 p.m.)

Friday, March 6: Adam Hochschild with Rebel Cinderella: From Rags to Riches to Radical, the Epic Journey of Rose Pastor Stokes. The best-selling author of King Leopold’s Ghost and Spain in Our Hearts will discuss the famous immigrant—turned heiress, then activist—brought to life in his new book. Presented with the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center. (2:00 p.m.)

Sunday, March 15: Jonathan Reckford with Our Better Angels: Seven Simple Virtues That Will Change Your Life and the World. The CEO of Habitat for Humanity will share stories and insights from his new book, which begins where the foreword by President Jimmy Carter leaves off, looking at how our core virtues can influence the outcome of crises. In Carter’s wise words, “When the waters rise, so do our better angels.” The event will be held at Trinity Church in Copley Square as part of Trinity’s Price Lecture series. (11:30 a.m.)

Thursday, March 19: Stephen Puleo with Voyage of Mercy: The USS Jamestown, the Irish Famine, and the Remarkable Story of America's First Humanitarian Mission. The author of Dark Tide and American Treasure, a celebrated Boston historian, returns with his latest work about an amazing moment in American history and an inspiring tale of generosity. (6:00 p.m.)

Tuesday, March 24: Honor Moore Our Revolution: A Mother and Daughter at Mid-Century. The author of The Bishop’s Daughter and The White Blackbird will discuss her new biography-memoir—the story of her mother and herself, and the changing lives of 20th-century women—with author Claire Messud (The Burning Girl, The Emperor’s Children). (2:00 p.m.)

Each writer’s event includes a talk by the author plus a moderated question and answer session. All attendees are invited afterwards to meet the author at a book signing. With the exception of Jonathan Reckford’s March 15 talk at Trinity Church, events will take place in the historic rotunda of the American Ancestors Research Center at 99-101 Newbury Street.

Tickets and related books are now on sale for these winter-spring events at or by calling 617-226-1215 or 888-296-3447.

Complete details on the American Inspiration series can be found on the website of American Ancestors at, where one can also register to receive e-news as series events are announced.

American Ancestors series partners: 89.7 WGBH; and Porter Square Books, an independent bookstore located in Cambridge, Mass.

About the American Inspiration author series

American Ancestors/NEHGS's new author series in Boston's Back Bay presents best-selling writers and their latest books exploring themes of personal identity, families and immigration, and social and cultural history. It builds on the organization’s tradition, going back to its founding in 1845, of engaging speakers and audiences in thought-provoking discussion centered on new publications. The mission of the American Inspiration series is to educate, inspire, and connect people. More information at

About American Ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society

American Ancestors, also known as New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS), with its national headquarters located in Boston’s Back Bay, is the oldest and largest genealogical organization in America. It serves more than 260,000 members and millions of online users engaged in family history nationally and around the world. It is home to a world-class research library and archive and an expert staff. American Ancestors offers an award-winning genealogical research website at with more than 1.4 billion records and maintains a publishing division which produces original genealogical research, scholarship, and educational materials, including Mayflower Descendant, a biannual journal of Pilgrim genealogy and history.


Margaret Talcott
Curator of the American Inspiration Series
Director of Signature and Literary Events
(o) 617-226-1248

Jim Power
Communications Manager, American Ancestors
(o) 617-226-1261 | (m) 508-367-8058