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Upcoming Speaker Series Presentations
The Thursday Evening Speaker Series is free of charge and open to the public. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Unless otherwise noted, programs will be held at the Missouri State Archives, located at 600 W. Main Street in Jefferson City. The series is underwritten by the Friends of the Missouri State Archives.
[Presentation Videos from past events are available at the following location:
Missouri State Archives Presentation Videos.]
In the Shadow of Dred Scott:
St. Louis Freedom Suits and the Legal Culture of Slavery in Antebellum America
In Recognition of Black History Month
Thursday, February 21, 2019, 7 p.m.
In her groundbreaking work, In the Shadow of Dred Scott: St. Louis Freedom Suits and the Legal Culture of Slavery in Antebellum America, Dr. Kelly M. Kennington draws on the casefiles of more than 300 enslaved individuals who, like Dred Scott and his family, sued for freedom in St. Louis. As a gateway to the American west, a major port on both the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers and a focal point in the bitter national debate over slavery’s expansion, the city was an ideal place for enslaved individuals to challenge the legal systems and, by extension, the social systems that held them in forced servitude. Kennington offers an in-depth look at how daily interactions, webs of relationships and arguments presented in court shaped and reshaped legal debates and attitudes over slavery and freedom in St. Louis. Join us as Kennington discusses these historic suits, placing them in a broader national context and shedding light on the ways in which they influenced the national conversation on slavery.
Frolic of the Mind: The Illustrious Life of Rose O'Neill
In Recognition of Women's History Month
Thursday, March 21, 2019, 7 p.m.
Before Mickey Mouse, there were Kewpie dolls—the much beloved cherub-faced characters created by Midwest native Rose O’Neill. Introduced to the world in December of 1909 through a cartoon published in Ladies’ Home Journal, their frolics and impish pursuits became so popular that they moved off the page into doll form and beyond. The success of the Kewpie doll made O’Neill a millionaire, but it was just one of her many creative pursuits. She was also an important illustrator—the only female on the staff of Puck Magazine; an author of four published novels and several books of poetry; and a sculptor who exhibited her work in Paris. In Frolic of the Mind: The Illustrious Life of Rose O’Neill, Sarah Buhr, Curator of Art at the Springfield Art Museum, unites all of O’Neill’s creative endeavors, examining how she pursued these interests and lived life on her own terms, all in spite of the strict social rules placed upon women at the turn of the century. Join us as Buhr discusses the incredible life and work of artist Rose O’Neill.
Landford Wilson: Early Stories, Sketches, and Poems
Thursday, April 11, 2019, 7 p.m.
Before Lanford Wilson was a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, he wrote dozens of short stories and poems, many of which take place in the 1950s small-town Missouri where he grew up. When Wilson died in 2011 at age 73, he left his entire manuscript collection to the University of Missouri. His early work, written between 1955 and 1964, when he was between the ages of 18 and 27, provides a rare look at a young writer developing his style. Dr. David Crespy, professor of playwriting, acting, dramatic literature and theatre history with the University of Missouri, edited the compilation of these discoveries in Lanford Wilson: Early Stories, Sketches, and Poems. The compositions explore many of the themes Wilson later took up in the theatre, including sexual identity and the rupture of society and families. Join us as Dr. Crespy shares these poignant, never-before-published works providing insight into the origins of some of America's best-loved plays.