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2015 Friends of the Working Men’s Institute Lecture Series

2015 Friends of the Working Men’s Institute Lecture Series

 Lectures are held in the Room for the Dissemination of Useful Knowledge at the Working Men’s Institute Library and begin promptly at 7:30pm.

Doors open at 7:00pm.

April 16th

“Undressing the Historical Lady”

with Maggie Roberts


Maggie Roberts is a seamstress and historical costume enthusiast who originally hails from California. Eventually her love for historical fashion led her into the 18th and 19th century and to Tennessee.  She is the head of the women’s costume department for the female interpreters at Locust Grove in Louisville, Kentucky. She also spends her free time pouring over fashion plates, scouring books on historical clothing, fighting with commercially produced patterns and cursing her sewing machine.


   May 14th

“It All Started Here: The Significance of the WMI, Arthur Bestor and Josephine Elliott in Communal Scholarship”

with Dr. Donald Pitzer


Dr. Pitzer is the Director Emeritus for the Center for Communal Studies at the University of Southern Indiana.  WMI collections and archives gave him his start in New Harmony and communal  history  in 1967.  Dr. Pitzer will explain the significance of the WMI Library  and  the  beginning  of serious scholarship in the field of communal studies. His mentor, Dr. Arthur Bestor Jr., was the first professional historian to give communal groups objective, in depth treatment and to understand and tell their importance in American social history. Starting in the 1940’s, Bestor did research in, catalogued, and helped insure the preservation of the WMI’s priceless record of New Harmony’s Owenite community.  His 1950 book on the origins and applications of Owenism titled Backwoods Utopias transformed the whole approach to communal studies.  This is the first book he read when he came to the WMI.  Josephine Elliott called it “her Bible”.  Bestor’s book was his inspiration to establish the Center for Communal Studies at USI, the Communal Studies Association here in the U.S., and the International Communal Studies Association based in Israel.  Bestor returned to give a lecture at the WMI in 1988 during its sesquicentennial, and Dr. Pitzer was privileged to read the citation for his receipt of an honorary doctorate at USI   while   Bestor   was   here   in   New Harmony.


July 4th  

This program will be held at the Athenium in New Harmony, beginning at 9 a.m.

“Celebrating the Fourth with the Founding Fathers”

                                                            with Dr. Robin C. Sager


Dr. Robin C. Sager earned a PhD in History, an MA in History, and a certification in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Rice University.  She is a native Texan  and  her research focuses on the law and early American History. Her book manuscript Excesses, Outrages, and Omissions: A History of Marital Cruelty in Antebellum America will be published by Louisiana State University Press in 2016. Her research and teaching has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Wisconsin Historical Society, among others. In addition, her work has appeared within the Maryland Historical Magazine, The Southern Quarterly, and Teaching and Studying the Americas.


August 18th

“A Weather History of Posey County

and the Griffin Tornado”

 with Harold Morgan


Mr. Morgan  is a graduate of Reitz High School, attended Evansville College and Murray State University.  Working in engineering in Western Kentucky, he retired  in 2001 and made his home Mt.  Vernon, Indiana.  He has authored several genealogy books and published several photo history books.  Mr. Morgan is author to “Hometown History” a monthly article for Maturity Journal.  His History Time-line posted on the Willard Library website contains over 8,800 lines of local history and remains a “work in progress”.  His current book, set for publication in 2016, titled Home Town History, Book II includes his lecture topic, Weather History of Posey County and the Griffin Tornado.


October 29th

             “Some Views Of and From Saint Joseph’s College”

with Dr. John B. Egan


Dr. Egan is Professor Emeritus of Music at Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Indiana, where he has taught since 1962.  He has enjoyed many positions at  SJC; V.P. Student Affairs, Humanities Division Co-coordinator, Core Director, Music Department Chairman and   2010 Indiana Musician of the Year.   Along with his many distinguished years at Saint Joseph’s College, Dr. Egan has remained very active in the city he calls home; Rensselaer Park Board, Central Schools Corporation Board, President of Indiana School Boards Association and District Governor of Rotary International is a short list of his many affiliations.