Biographies & Memoirs

03/12/2013 - 7:13pm

Alvin Schwartz, writer of many books for children that collected and shared traditions from times past, first became interested in folklore as a child, although at the time he did not think of it as something to study.  Folklore was just something that was part of his childhood: the games, riddles, rhymes, superstitions and scary stories. He grew up to become a journalist and also worked as an adjunct English professor. Later, his writing and research skills would play an important part in the job he eventually took on to make many types of folklore familiar to young readers.

03/26/2012 - 4:07pm
Great Lives Lecture Series: Sherlock Holmes

The University of Mary Washington's 2012 Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series continues on Tuesday, March 27, with a lecture on Sherlock Holmes by Jeremy Black, author of London: A History.

The game’s afoot when British historian and professor of history at the University of Exeter Jeremy Black elucidates the scintillating mind of Sherlock Holmes; the tenebrous character of Dr. Moriarty; and the rather obtuse Dr. Watson, who chronicled Holmes’ adventures. Professor Black analyzes Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous character and the escapades that emanated from Holmes’ digs at 221B, where it is always 1895 in London.   Black is the author of more than 100 books on European (and especially British) history, including London: A History.  He has previously given highly popular Great Lives lectures on figures ranging from George III and Napoleon to James Bond.

All lectures in the university's Great Lives series are free and open to the public.

For more about the life of Sherlock Holmes check out these resources from the Central Rappahannock Regional Library.

03/13/2012 - 1:32pm
Louisa May Alcott by Harriet Reisen

The University of Mary Washington's 2012 Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series continues on Tuesday, March 13, with a lecture on Louisa May Alcott by Harriet Reisen, author of Louisa May Alcott.

Louisa May Alcott spent her childhood in Boston and in Concord, Massachusetts, where her days were enlightened by visits to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s library and excursions into nature with Henry David Thoreau. When she was 35, she wrote the beloved Little Women in her childhood home, basing the novel on her family during the Civil War. Author Harriet Reisen’s diverse credits include historical documentaries for PBS and HBO, co-producing National Public Radio (NPR) and teaching film history and criticism at Stanford University. Publishers Weekly called her biography of Alcott “heart-rending.”

All lectures in the university's Great Lives series are free and open to the public.

For more about the life of Clarence Darrow check out these resources from the Central Rappahannock Regional Library.

02/22/2012 - 1:56pm
Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned by John A. Farrell

The University of Mary Washington's 2012 Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series continues on Thursday, Feburary 23, with a lecture on Clarence Darrow by John A. Farrell, author of Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned.

Following graduation from the University of Virginia, author John A. Farrell embarked on a prize-winning career as a newspaperman, most notably for the Denver Post and the Boston Globe. His biography of Darrow —  “impeccably researched, beautifully written, and timely,” said the San Francisco Chronicle – describes the career of the limelight-stealing, two-fisted attorney who resigned from corporate law to defend union organizers, powerless minorities, and those accused of sensational crimes. He is perhaps best known for his devastating attack on his former friend (and three-time presidential candidate) William Jennings Bryan, when the pair faced off during the notorious Scopes “Monkey Trial” over the teaching of evolution in Tennessee schools.

All lectures in the university's Great Lives series are free and open to the public.

For more about the life of Clarence Darrow check out these resources from the Central Rappahannock Regional Library.

02/15/2012 - 8:43am
Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season

The University of Mary Washington's 2012 Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series continues on Thursday, Feburary 16, with a lecture on Jackie Robinson by Jonathan Eig, author of Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season.

April 15, 1947, marked the most important opening day in baseball history. When Jackie Robinson stepped onto the diamond that afternoon at Ebbets Field, he became the first black man to break into major-league baseball in the 20th century. World War II had just ended; democracy had triumphed. Now Americans were beginning to press for justice on the home front - and Robinson had a chance to lead the way. But his biggest concern was his temper, and playing well, despite race-baiting by segregationists. Author Jonathan Eig, in addition to publishing three nonfiction books, writes a monthly sports column for Chicago magazine.

All lectures in the university's Great Lives series are free and open to the public.

For more about the life of Jackie Robinson check out these resources from the Central Rappahannock Regional Library.

02/13/2012 - 3:30am
The Loving Story movie poster

The University of Mary Washington's 2012 Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series continues on Tuesday, Feburary 14, with a panel discussion and film showing about Loving v. Virginia .

In 1958, the sheriff of Caroline County charged into the bedroom of Richard and Mildred Loving in the dead of night and arrested them. Although legally married in Washington, Richard was white and Mildred was black, which was against the law in Virginia and 13 other states. The case on their behalf was brought by the ACLU before the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled that marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” leading to the overturning of all such laws in the United States. Panelists on the program will be Bernard Cohen, one of two lawyers who argued the case before the Court, and Peggy Fortune, the Lovings’ daughter.

All lectures in the university's Great Lives series are free and open to the public.

For more about the life of  check out these resources from the Central Rappahannock Regional Library.

02/09/2012 - 1:06pm
Columbus: The Four Voyages by Laurence Bergreen

The University of Mary Washington's 2012 Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series continues on Thursday, Feburary 9, with a lecture on Christopher Columbus by Laurence Bergreen, author of Columbus: The Four Voyages.

Christopher Columbus, said a New York Times reviewer of Laurence Bergreen’s biography, was a “terribly interesting man - brilliant, audacious, volatile, paranoid, narcissistic, ruthless and (in the end) deeply unhappy.” Part explorer, part entrepreneur, part wannabe-aristocrat, Columbus initiated the most important period in Western history as a result of an error. Laurence Bergreen, a frequent lecturer at major universities and symposiums, also serves as a featured historian for the History Channel.  Among his many other books are biographies of Magellan and Marco Polo.

All lectures in the university's Great Lives series are free and open to the public.

For more about the life of Christopher Columbus check out these resources from the Central Rappahannock Regional Library.

02/08/2012 - 3:31am
Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America by Steve Almon

In Candyfreak, Steve Almond makes the typical chocoholic look like a quitter. Almond doesn’t just enjoy the occasional sweet indulgence. He is enamored with candy, especially chocolate candy bars. This infatuation drives his curiosity about the candy industry. It also compels Almond to wax poetic when describing candy’s taste and texture or lovingly tracing the popularity and disappearance of archaic, often regional, candies, such as Caravelle, Twin Bing, Idaho Spud, and Valomilk.

Throughout Candyfreak, Almond refers to his obsession with candy as a “freak,” arguing that the energy he expends thinking about, describing, hoarding, and consuming candy is not inherently different from the more widely accepted obsessive hobbies, such as sports fandom or extreme collecting: “[W]e don’t choose our freaks, they choose us. I don’t mean this as some kind of hippy dippy aphorism about the power of fate. We may not understand why we freak on a particular food or band or sports team. We may have no conscious control over our allegiances. But they arise from our most sacred fears and desires and, as such, they represent the truest expression of ourselves.”

01/31/2012 - 3:31am
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin, tells the story of one man's attempt to promote peace in the Middle East by building schools. Journalist David Oliver Relin chronicled Greg Mortenson’s life in order to encourage further support for his efforts in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

02/08/2012 - 1:01pm
Lafayette by Marc Leepson

The University of Mary Washington's 2012 Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series continues on Tuesday, January 31, with a lecture on the Marquis de Lafayette by Marc Leepson, author of Lafayette.

The American Revolution attracted volunteers from far away. One of the most famous is the legendary Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roche Gilbert du Motier, better known as the Marquis de Lafayette. Marc Leepson has published a crisp new portrait of Lafayette with the emphasis on his life as a military man. According to one reviewer, Leepson’s “eye for the telling detail and his devotion to journalistic brevity shine in all his work, and his affectionate Lafayette is the latest example.” — Richmond Times-Dispatch. The author is a journalist, historian, and the author of seven books.

All lectures in the university's Great Lives series are free and open to the public.

For more about the life of the Marquis de Lafayette check out these resources from the Central Rappahannock Regional Library.

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