From 1947 to 1949, one of the most ambitious traveling exhibitions ever mounted toured the United States. Aimed at promoting "a greater appreciation of the blessings of American heritage" the Freedom Train brought 126 of the nation's most iconic documents -from Columbus to the Bill of Rights to the World War II surrender - to 3.5 million people across America. The goal was to promote pride in America and her political and economic systems, and to encourage civic participation. While the train's goals were to promote unity and showcase "the development of American democracy as the fullest expression of individual freedom, human rights, and the dignity of man," it also raised questions about the nature and limits of that freedom. The train's route through segregated America stirred controversy over whether an exhibit dedicated to freedom could allow segregated visitation and Langston Hughes penned a strongly worded poem, "Freedom Train," insisting that it could not. Ultimately a policy of desegregated visitation was adopted and stops were cancelled in Memphis and Birmingham when they refused to comply. The Rosenbach's exhibition will reunite selected documents from the original Freedom Train, including the Bay Psalm Book, "Common Sense," and Lincoln's Baltimore Address, and will explore the image of America the train strove to provide and the questions it raised about interpreting history and promoting freedom.
Willard Spiegelman visits the Rosenbach to discuss his new essay collection, "Senior Moments: Looking Back, Looking Ahead." Touching upon the museum experience, his youth in Philadelphia, and life itself, while drawing on more than six decades' worth of lessons from his storied career as a writer and professor, Spiegelman's writing reflects candid humor and sophistication. Willard Spiegelman is the Hughes Professor of English at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. From 1984 until 2016, he was also the editor in chief of Southwest Review. He has written many books and essays about English and American poetry. For more than a quarter century he has been a regular contributor to the Leisure & Arts pages of The Wall Street Journal.
The Rosenbach warmly welcomes Richard Vague, author of "The Next Economic Disaster" and editor of the blog and e-mail newsletter DelanceyPlace.com. A philanthropist and former banker, Richard Vague is managing partner of Gabriel Investments and chairman of The Governor's Woods Foundation. He has written about private debt and the global economy in publications such as The Atlantic and Democracy Journal, channeling his financial expertise into a straightforward discussion that will be accessible to any informed consumer as well as those interested specifically in economics and business. A series of informal, intimate talks by given by literary and cultural luminaries, "In Conversation with the Rosenbach" delves into fascinating histories, intellectual curiosities, and inspiring ideas. Each program offers audience members a chance to join the conversation after the talk and share thoughts and questions.
Featuring Paula Cunningham and Martin Dyar in their only U.S. appearance. The Emerging Irish Poets mini-series is presented in partnership with Poetry Ireland, with funding from Culture Ireland. Paula Cunningham lives in Belfast. Her books, A Dog called Chance, 1999 and Heimlich's Manoeuvre, 2013, are both from Smith/Doorstop. The latter was shortlisted for the Fenton-Aldeburgh, Seamus Heaney Centre, and Strong Shine First Collection Prizes. Born in Sligo, Martin Dyar grew up in Swinford in County Mayo. His debut collection, Maiden Names, published by Arlen House, won the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award in 2009 and was shortlisted for the 2014 Piggott Prize. Join the Conversation A series of informal, intimate talks given by literary and cultural luminaries, In Conversation with the Rosenbach delves into fascinating histories, intellectual curiosities, and inspiring ideas. Each program offers audience members a chance to join the conversation after the talk and share their own thoughts and questions.