Aug 162018
 

The remarkable story of Benjamin Rush, medical pioneer and one of our nation’s most provocative and unsung Founding Fathers In the summer of 1776, fifty-six men put their quills to a dangerous document they called the Declaration of Independence. Among them was a thirty-year-old doctor named Benjamin Rush. One of the youngest signatories, he was also, among stiff competition, one of the most visionary. A brilliant physician and writer, Rush was known as the “American Hippocrates” for pioneering national healthcare and revolutionizing treatment of mental illness and addiction. Yet medicine is only part of his legacy. Dr. Rush was both a progressive thorn in the side of the American political establishment—a vocal opponent of slavery, capital punishment, and prejudice by race, religion or gender—and close friends with its most prominent leaders.

Join us on Monday, September 24th was we welcome Stephen Fried to our round table to discuss his new book Rush: Revolution, Madness & the Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding FatherOur meeting place is now Scoogi’s  Italian Resturant at 738 Bethlehem Pike in FlourtownFeel free to arrive early and eat in the back room where our meetings are held.  A short business meeting will start around 7:15pm. The presentation will start at 7:30pm. We encourage you to join our membership for the very small and reasonable tax deductible amount of $25.  Don’t forget to our book raffle too.  Each meeting we raffle off a number of American Revolutionary themed books.  You need to write your name “legibly” on any dollar bill, and then submit that at the meeting.  We do draw multiple winners each meeting.

He was the protégé of Franklin, the editor of Common Sense, Washington’s surgeon general, and the broker of peace between Adams and Jefferson, yet his stubborn convictions more than once threatened his career and his place in the narrative of America’s founding. Drawing on a trove of previously unpublished letters and images, the voluminous correspondence between Rush and his better-known counterparts, and his candid and incisive personal writings, New York Times bestselling author and award-winning journalist Stephen Fried resurrects the most significant Founding Father we’ve never heard of and finally installs Dr. Rush in the pantheon of great American leaders.

Stephen Fried is an award-winning investigative journalist and essayist, and an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s graduate school of journalism. He is the author of the highly praised books Thing of Beauty: The Tragedy of Supermodel Gia, Bitter Pills: Inside the Hazardous World of Legal Drugs, The New Rabbi, and Husbandry: Sex, Love & Dirty Laundry—Inside the Minds of Married Men.

Aug 152018
 

Did you know that Israel Putnam commanded a force of 500 men who were shipwrecked off the coast of Cuba?  Did you know that in 1758 he barely escaped being burned alive by Mohawk Indians?  Israel Putnam was born in Salem Village, Mass., on Jan. 7, 1718. He had very little education and remained nearly illiterate all his life. In 1738 he married Hannah Pope and the following year moved to Connecticut, where he bought land and farmed successfully, soon becoming a man of substance. When the French and Indian War broke out in 1756, Putnam was commissioned a lieutenant in the Connecticut militia and served throughout the conflict, rising steadily in rank until he reached a colonelcy by the time it ended in 1763. He fought in numerous engagements, earned a reputation for bravery and resourcefulness, and gained valuable military experience.

Join us on Monday, October 29th was we welcome Robert Ernest Hubbard to our round table to discuss his new book Major General Israel Putnum: Hero of the American Revolution.  Our meeting place is now Scoogi’s  Italian Resturant at 738 Bethlehem Pike in FlourtownFeel free to arrive early and eat in the back room where our meetings are held.  A short business meeting will start around 7:15pm. The presentation will start at 7:30pm. We encourage you to join our membership for the very small and reasonable tax deductible amount of $25.  If you pay after 12/31/2018, the dues go up to $30 per person.  Don’t forget to our book raffle too.  Each meeting we raffle off a number of American Revolutionary themed books.  You need to write your name “legibly” on any dollar bill, and then submit that at the meeting.  We do draw multiple winners each meeting.

With the coming of peace, Putnam returned to farming and also operated a tavern. He took part in the developing conflict between England and the Colonies, helping organize the Sons of Liberty in 1765. He participated in the political life of Connecticut as a representative to the General Assembly in 1766 and 1767. In 1774 he headed the local Committee of Correspondence and accepted appointment as lieutenant colonel of a regiment of Connecticut militia. When the fighting began in the spring of 1775, Putnam entered active service and in June was appointed by the Continental Congress one of the four major generals under George Washington’s command.  It was he who reportedly gave the command “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes” at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

In his book “Major General Israel Putnum: Hero of the American Revolution”, author Robert Ernest Hubbard details Putnam’s close relationships with Aaron Burr, Alexander Hamilton, and John and Abigail Adams, this first full-length biography of Putnam in more than a century re-examines the life of a revolutionary whose seniority in the Continental Army was second only to that of George Washington.

Robert Ernest Hubbard is a retired professor from Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, Connecticut and an adjunct faculty member in the college’s Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program. For over 20 years, he has been webmaster of major websites on American Revolutionary War general Israel Putnam and entertainer Phil Silvers. He lives in Wallingford, Connecticut.

Aug 142018
 

The Red Tape and the Revolution topic is the result of a quest that began many years ago. Bob has been researching Continental Army forms, especially printed ones, for many years. The show how the Army became organized, specifically tracking logistics and day-to-day mundane tasks. Paperwork, where did it start, why does it look the way it does, and who decided what to track and what not to track. I have found about 75 examples of Continental Army printed forms, and the talk is about their origin, their reason for being, and how to interpret them.

Join us on Monday, November 26th, as we proudly welcome Bob Sullivan as he presents his talk on Red Tape and the American Revolution.  Our meeting place is now Scoogi’s  Italian Resturant at 738 Bethlehem Pike in FlourtownFeel free to arrive early and eat in the back room where our meetings are held.  A short business meeting will start around 7:15pm. The presentation will start at 7:30pm. We encourage you to join our membership for the very small and reasonable tax deductible amount of $25.  If you pay after 12/31/2018, the dues go up to $30 per person.  Don’t forget to our book raffle too.  Each meeting we raffle off a number of American Revolutionary themed books.  You need to write your name “legibly” on any dollar bill, and then submit that at the meeting.  We do draw multiple winners each meeting.

Much like a modern business, the Continental Army operated on a system of debits and credits. Every time equipment was given out to a particular military unit the disbursement was listed as a debit. And when equipment was received into the military stores, there was a credit.

The story of major campaigns of the Revolutionary War can be followed through account books. The vast amount of equipment the British surrendered to the Continental Army at Yorktown was, however, listed in the ledger book as simply “Credit – The United States.” Through pictures and prints, maps and account books, Bob Sullivan will give us an understanding of just what the British surrendered on October 19, 1781, and what the Americans gained.

Bob Sullivan has been interested in American History as far back as he can remember. His history-related accomplishments include three summers as a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg National Military Park, summer employment at Ft. McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore, and an article on the Pennsylvania Mutiny published in the Journal of the Company of Military Historians.

Bob’s interest in military paperwork and books began as soon as he discovered that original paper was cheaper to buy than original uniforms and weapons. He has contributed his research skills and knowledge to authors, prop masters, and museum directors. Currently, Bob’s personal collection of 19th century paper items numbers over 250 items. His reproductions of paper have appeared in such productions as The Patriot, Master and Commander, and the AMC series Turn.

He is currently employed by Springhouse Education and Consulting Services in Exton, PA, as an instructor and consultant. Bob has used his knowledge of computer skills and historic paperwork to create his successful side business, Sullivan Press, ongoing since 1989. He also currently serves as the Treasurer of the Twin Valley School Board. Bob is married with two daughters.

Aug 132018
 

Did you know that at various times Trenton was occupied by American Continentals, Militia, British Regulars, Hessians, Continental Mutineers, and the French Army and it housed British and Hessian prisoners and Loyalist sympathizers?

Join us on Monday, January 29th, as we proudly welcome noted author William Kidder as he presents his talk on his newest book, Crossroads of the Revolution: Trenton 1774-1783.  Our meeting place is now Scoogi’s  Italian Resturant at 738 Bethlehem Pike in FlourtownFeel free to arrive early and eat in the back room where our meetings are held.  A short business meeting will start around 7:15pm. The presentation will start at 7:30pm. We encourage you to join our membership for the very small and reasonable tax deductible amount of $30.  Don’t forget to our book raffle too.  Each meeting we raffle off a number of American Revolutionary themed books.  You need to write your name “legibly” on any dollar bill, and then submit that at the meeting.  We do draw multiple winners each meeting.

The story of Trenton between 1774 and 1783 is a microcosm of the struggles faced by ordinary Americans during the Revolution, struggles intensified by Trenton’s geographic location in the State which saw more military activity than others and on a road constantly used to move and supply armies. Life in Trenton connected to just about every aspect of the Revolution. The story of the people who lived in Trenton, or who spent time there because of the Revolution, helps us better understand the hitherto untold importance of their town beyond the one well known day of battle.

For much of the war Trenton supplied a Continental army hospital and was a supply depot and transfer point employing local people to get supplies to the army at many places including Valley Forge and Morristown. Trenton was not the State capital, it was only a county seat, but its location made it the spot chosen for the new State government to sit for a great deal of time, another strain on the town’s resources. All this activity provided stress for some and opportunities for others, but everyone had to deal with it on a daily basis.

William L. “Larry” Kidder was born in California and raised in California, Indiana, New York, and New Jersey. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania.

Larry served four years of active duty in the US Navy and was assigned to the US Navy Research and Development Unit, Vietnam and then the destroyer USS Brownson (DD868) home ported in Newport, Rhode Island. In the 1980s he was the lead researcher and writer for the creation of the Admiral Arleigh Burke National Destroyermen’s Museum aboard the destroyer museum ship USS Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. (DD850) at Battleship Cove in Fall River, Massachusetts.

Larry is a retired high school history teacher who taught for forty years in both public and private schools. He considers teaching to be both his vocation and avocation. During his 32 years of teaching at The Hun School of Princeton he enjoyed designing courses that gave his students the opportunity to develop the thinking, research, and writing skills that result from “doing history” and not just learning facts for a test.

For more than twenty-five years, Larry has been a volunteer at the Howell Living History Farm, part of the Mercer County Park System, in Hopewell, New Jersey. For varying lengths of time he has volunteered as an historian, interpreter, webmaster, and draft horse teamster.

Larry is active in historical societies in Ewing, Hopewell, and Lawrence townships. He is an avid member of the Association for Living History, Farm, and Agricultural Museums (ALHFAM), the Washington’s Crossing Roundtable of the American Revolution, and the New Jersey Living History Advisory Council. He is a member of the Advisory Council for Crossroads of the American Revolution and is working with Crossroads as volunteer coordinator and editor of its Meet Your Revolutionary Neighbors project.

Jul 192016
 

Presentation Date: March 27, 2017

In the darkest days of the American Revolution, Francis Marion and his band of militia freedom fighters kept hope alive for the patriot cause during the critical British “southern campaign.” Like the Robin Hood of legend, Marion and his men attacked from secret hideaways before melting back into the forest or swamp. Employing guerrilla tactics that became commonplace in later centuries, Marion and his brigade inflicted losses on the enemy that were individually small but cumulatively a large drain on British resources and morale.

Although many will remember the stirring adventures of the “Swamp Fox” from the Walt Disney television series of the late 1950s and the fictionalized Marion character played by Mel Gibson in the 2000 film “The Patriot,” the real Francis Marion bore little resemblance to either of those caricatures. But his exploits were no less heroic as he succeeded, against all odds, in repeatedly foiling the highly trained, better-equipped forces arrayed against him.Francis Marion

Join us on Monday, March 27th as we welcome John Oller who will talk about his new book “The Swamp Fox: How Francis Marion Saved the American Revolution“.  A short business meeting will start around 7:15pm. The presentation will start at 7:30pm. MaGreks Pub and Grill will be running a 1/2 price special on burgers that night. We encourage you to join our membership for the very small and reasonable tax deductible amount of $20.

In this action-packed biography we meet many colorful characters from the Revolution: Banastre Tarleton, the British cavalry officer who relentlessly pursued Marion over twenty-six miles of swamp, only to call off the chase and declare (per legend), that “the Devil himself could not catch this damned old fox,” giving Marion his famous nickname; Thomas Sumter, the bold but rash patriot militia leader whom Marion detested; Lord Cornwallis, the imperious British commander who ordered the hanging of rebels and the destruction of their plantations; and “Light-Horse Harry” Lee, the urbane young Continental cavalryman who helped Marion topple critical British outposts in South Carolina. But most of all Francis Marion himself, “the Washington of the South”—a man of ruthless determination yet humane character, motivated by what his peers called “the purest patriotism.”

The Swamp FoxIn this, the first major biography of Marion in more than 40 years, John Oller compiles striking evidence to provide a fresh look at Marion the man and how he helped save the American Revolution.

John Oller, a lawyer, is the author of five books, including, most recently, The Swamp Fox: How Francis Marion Saved the American Revolution (Da Capo Books, 2016).  His American Queen: The Rise and Fall of Kate Chase Sprague—Civil War “Belle of the North” and Gilded Age Woman of Scandal, was published by Da Capo in 2014. It has been praised by Pulitzer prize-winning author Debby Applegate as “a terrific work of historical research and reconstruction” which tells “the story of the Civil War and its scandalous aftermath—its assassinations, impeachments and sexual hijinks—from an entirely fresh perspective.” His first book, Jean Arthur: The Actress Nobody Knew (Limelight Editions, 1997), was lauded by film critic Leonard Maltin, who called it “an exceptional piece of work” and “an outstanding biography . . . among the best I’ve read in years.”

Born in Huron, Ohio, John is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a B.A. in journalism (summa cum laude), having written and edited for the daily student newspaper, the Lantern, and interned as a reporter for such newspapers as the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Rochester Times-Union. His undercover exposé on the infiltration of the Ohio State campus by the “Moonies” religious cult led to his selection as a congressional journalism intern in Washington, D.C., where he wrote press releases for a Michigan congressman.

John Oller

John Oller

After college he obtained his law degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. (magna cum laude), and joined the law firm of Willkie Farr & Gallagher in New York as an associate in the litigation department.  For many years he represented Major League Baseball in many high-profile cases, including the celebrated George Brett “Pine Tar” case and the Pete Rose gambling case. As a partner in the firm, he went on to specialize in complex commercial and securities litigation, and was a principal author of the Audit Committee Report for Cendant Corporation (at the time, the most massive fraud in American corporate history); the New York Times called the report a definitive case study in the area of accounting irregularities and fraud. He taught legal writing as part of his firm’s continuing legal education program for many years, and is the author of One Firm – A Short History of Willkie Farr & Gallagher, 1888 –  (2004). He holds the record as a four-time winner of the firm’s annual golf tournament in Florida.

At the end of 2011, John retired from active legal practice to concentrate on his writing career.  Since then, in addition to The Swamp Fox and American Queen, he has published an e-book, An All-American Murder, a true crime story of an unsolved cold case murder in Columbus, Ohio in 1975. It led to the reopening of the case and a renewed investigation by Columbus Police that identified the killer as someone other than the man accused 40 years earlier.  The e-book has been called “a tragic, fascinating story well-told,” and “an exceptionally well written, insightful look into the angst that people can carry for decades when the criminal justice system is unable/unwilling to provide closure.”

John is a member of Biographers International Organization and the Dramatists Guild.

When not writing, John pursues his hobbies of golf, theater, film, museums, aimless walking, and travel (especially France and Italy, in close competition for his favorite). In the US, he divides his time between New York City and a home in California wine country.