Lectures

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Thursday evenings, April 11 through May 9, 2019, 6 p.m.
Spring Lecture Series 2019: “Riots, Murder, and Mayhem”

New Hampshire has had one of the lowest crime rates in the country historically. But don’t let the numbers fool you. The Granite State has seen some high-profile crimes that have garnered headlines and shaken communities. The 2019 spring lecture series, held on five consecutive Thursday nights from April 11 to May 9 at the New Hampshire Historical Society in Concord, looks at some of the criminal cases in the state’s history that have fascinated the public for decades, including the infamous Smuttynose ax murders, a Civil War riot, and a bank collapse that foreshadowed the Ponzi schemes of the 20th century. Space is limited, and registration is required. Members of the New Hampshire Historical Society are admitted for free to this lecture series but must still secure their place by registering. Nonmembers are invited to join the Society to enjoy this and other member benefits. Register online at Eventbrite.com, mail in the registration form, or contact Membership and Visitor Services Coordinator Wendy Olcott at 603-856-0621 or wolcott@nhhistory.org.

Thursday, April 11, 2019, 6 p.m.
“Debacle: The Failure of Amherst’s Hillsborough Bank”
Presented by Bill Dunlap

The failure of the Hillsborough Bank of Amherst in 1809, only three years after its founding, reflected the get-rich-quick financial excesses of early-19th-century America. Established by pillars of the local community, the bank quickly descended into shady practices that eventually had far-reaching impacts, involving victims throughout New England and even as far as Ohio. New Hampshire Historical Society President Bill Dunlap will share the little-known tale of Amherst’s Hillsborough Bank and the mayhem left in the wake of its demise. Space is limited, and registration is required. Members of the New Hampshire Historical Society are admitted for free to this lecture series but must still secure their place by registering. Nonmembers are invited to join the Society to enjoy this and other member benefits. Register online at Eventbrite.com, mail in the registration form, or contact Membership and Visitor Services Coordinator Wendy Olcott at 603-856-0621 or wolcott@nhhistory.org.

Saturday, April 13, 2019, 2 p.m.
Lecture: New England Quilts and the Stories They Tell

Quilts tell stories, and quilt history is full of myths and misinformation as well as heart-warming tales of service and tradition. Quilting is not just an American art--nearly every world culture that has cold weather uses quilted textiles. Pam Weeks weaves world history, women's history, industrial history and just plain wonderful stories into her presentation. This program is included in the price of admission to the Society; New Hampshire Historical Society members are admitted for free.

Thursday, April 18, 2019, 6 p.m.
“’A Peculiar Turpitude and Atrocity’: The Murder of Anna Ayer”
Presented by Matt Masur and Hugh Dubrulle

On January 3, 1822, Daniel Davis Farmer was executed for the gruesome murder of the widow Anna Ayer, one of just a handful of executions carried out by the State of New Hampshire in the first half of the 19th century. Full of twists and turns, the case attracted considerable public attention and involved some of the most prominent legal and political figures in the state. Farmer’s execution drew a huge crowd of 10,000 people who turned out on a bitterly cold winter’s day to see justice done. Matthew Masur and Hugh Dubrulle, history professors at St. Anselm College, will tell the unusual story behind Ayers’ murder and Farmer’s execution, showing how it illuminates social patterns, legal principles, and religious views in New Hampshire in the early 1800s. Space is limited, and registration is required. Members of the New Hampshire Historical Society are admitted for free to this lecture series but must still secure their place by registering. Nonmembers are invited to join the Society to enjoy this and other member benefits. Register online at Eventbrite.com, mail in the registration form, or contact Membership and Visitor Services Coordinator Wendy Olcott at 603-856-0621 or wolcott@nhhistory.org.

Thursday, April 25, 2019, 6 p.m.
“Up in Smoke: A Mob Silences a Concord Newspaper”
Presented by Mike Pride

In August 1861, a mob led by Union soldiers attacked a southern-leaning newspaper based in Concord. The Democratic Standard had questioned not only the wisdom of the war but the valor of New Hampshire soldiers in the field at the first Battle of Bull Run, which had ended in an ignominious Union rout. As hundreds of people joined the soldiers in destroying the newspaper’s offices and equipment, a full-scale riot spilled out onto the streets of Concord. The police could do little beyond hustling the publishers to the safety of a jail cell. Writer and historian Mike Pride, editor emeritus of the Concord Monitor and retired administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes, discusses this Civil War riot and the challenges of a free press in New Hampshire during this tumultuous period of the state’s history. Space is limited, and registration is required. Members of the New Hampshire Historical Society are admitted for free to this lecture series but must still secure their place by registering. Nonmembers are invited to join the Society to enjoy this and other member benefits. Register online at Eventbrite.com, mail in the registration form, or contact Membership and Visitor Services Coordinator Wendy Olcott at 603-856-0621 or wolcott@nhhistory.org.

Thursday, May 2, 2019, 6 p.m.
“Closing the Case on the 1873 Smuttynose Island Ax Murders”
Presented by J. Dennis Robinson

For over 140 years the moonlight ax murder of two Norwegian women on the rocky Isles of Shoals has haunted New England. Popular historian and lecturer J. Dennis Robinson cuts through the hoaxes, lies, rumors, and fiction surrounding the prosecution of handsome 28-year-old Louis Wagner, who claimed he was innocent. In the years since Wagner’s execution, conspiracy theorists and novel writers have offered other explanations for these grisly murders, but Robinson, an independent historian from Portsmouth, relies on decades of research and his deep knowledge of local history to reexamine this case. Robinson’s lecture will be based on his 2014 book, Mystery on the Isles of Shoals. Space is limited, and registration is required. Members of the New Hampshire Historical Society are admitted for free to this lecture series but must still secure their place by registering. Nonmembers are invited to join the Society to enjoy this and other member benefits. Register online at Eventbrite.com, mail in the registration form, or contact Membership and Visitor Services Coordinator Wendy Olcott at 603-856-0621 or wolcott@nhhistory.org.

Thursday, May 9, 2019, 6 p.m.
“Deep Water: The Murder of William K. Dean”
Presented by Ken Sheldon

William K. Dean of Jaffrey was brutally murdered at his hilltop home on August 13, 1918. Almost immediately, the crime seemed to divide the small community, with multiple suspects and a variety of theories as to why Dean was killed, including suspicions that Dean was about to blow the whistle on a German spy ring possibly sending signal lights from Mount Monadnock during the height of World War I. Amid allegations of judicial irregularities, the FBI was brought in but failed to make any headway. In this one-man performance, Ken Sheldon plays the role of Bert Ford, a journalist who covered the case for the Boston American newspaper, and uses transcripts of federal and state investigations, the Grand Jury report, FBI interviews, newspaper accounts, documentary footage, and other historic documents to trace the unusual story, still an unsolved case a century later. Space is limited, and registration is required. Members of the New Hampshire Historical Society are admitted for free to this lecture series but must still secure their place by registering. Nonmembers are invited to join the Society to enjoy this and other member benefits. Register online at Eventbrite.com, mail in the registration form, or contact Membership and Visitor Services Coordinator Wendy Olcott at 603-856-0621 or wolcott@nhhistory.org.

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Wendy Olcott
Visitor Services Coordinator
603-228-6688
wolcott@nhhistory.org

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