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Biography & Autobiography Programs

Beethoven: The Musical Milestones

His was an amazing life of discovery and challenge, reflected in the music created across the full breadth of compositional forms. In a six-session course, classical music and opera scholar Saul Lilienstein surveys the landmark works that define Beethoven’s career and legacy.

Date of event
Tuesday, January 21 to February 25, 2020 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Amelia Earhart: Legend and Legacy

Dorothy Cochrane, a curator at the Air and Space Museum, separates fact from fiction as she examines the pioneering aviator’s accomplishments and her shortcomings, and why Earhart still challenges and inspires in the 21st century.

Date of event
Thursday, January 30, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Toni Morrison: A Portrait

Spend a day exploring the life and works of Nobel laureate, writer, and educator Toni Morrison with Michele L. Simms-Burton, founding board member of the Toni Morrison Society. She traces the creative and personal arc that spans Morrison’s formative years at Howard University to her status as an internationally acclaimed literary figure.

Date of event
Sunday, February 9, 2020 - 11:00 a.m.

Louis Armstrong: American Icon

Say the name Louis Armstrong and you’re instantly able to conjure the unmistakable sound of his voice and his trumpet. Curator and author John Edward Hasse provides a film and video portrait of the beloved entertainer who transformed American music.

Date of event
Thursday, February 13, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Henri Matisse: Master of Color and Line

Art historian Joseph Cassar offers an in-depth look at this revolutionary giant of 20th-century art whose prolific and varied body of work spans more than a half-century. (World Art History Certificate Program elective, 1 credit)

Date of event
Saturday, February 22, 2020 - 9:30 a.m.

The Wars of the Roses: Cousins, Conflicts, and the Crown

Tudor scholar Carol Ann Lloyd-Stanger traces the tumultuous history of the battles and power grabs that led to the establishment of the most powerful family of the 16th century, the Tudors.

Date of event
Saturday, February 29, 2020 - 9:30 a.m.

The Worlds of Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin’s many accomplishments as a statesman, scientist, writer, and more are well known. Historian Richard Bell addresses the man’s many other faces and capacity for complexity—which rendered him both ordinary and extraordinary.

Date of event
Tuesday, March 10, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Charlemagne: The Paradoxical Conqueror

The greatest of the barbarian rulers who rose to power after the fall of the Roman Empire was both a warrior king marked by a lust for territory and plunder and a great patron of the arts, learning, and religion. Historian Richard Abels explores the defining facets of the man and the myth behind the so-called Father of Europe.

Date of event
Thursday, March 12, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

A History of the British Royal Family

Plantagenets and Tudors and Windsors, oh my! Tudor scholar Carol Ann Lloyd Stanger traces a path through the twists and turns of the royals and rebels who have ruled England for nearly a thousand years.

Date of event
Thursday, March 26 to April 23, 2020 - 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Forgotten No More: Rediscovering Remarkable Women

Women have been making strides in their fields that have often being overlooked, uncredited, or forgotten by time. Celebrate Women’s History Month by spending a fascinating day with four experts who bring to light an array of remarkable women who have lived in the shadows of history far too long.

Date of event
Saturday, March 28, 2020 - 9:30 a.m.

Alexander von Humboldt: His World of Nature

He has more species named after him than any other human being. Learn why from Eleanor Jones Harvey, senior curator at the American Art Museum, who examines the fascinating life of German naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt, one of the most influential intellectuals of the 19th century. 

Date of event
Sunday, March 29, 2020 - 3:00 p.m.

Celebrating Robert Frost: An American Poet

More than 50 years after his death, Robert Frost remains one of the most beloved and critically respected poets of all time. Author Daniel Stashower explores Frost’s life and legacy and actor Scott Sedar reads a selection of his most celebrated works.

Date of event
Wednesday, April 1, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Vermeer: In Praise of the Ordinary

Explore the legacy of painter Johannes Vermeer, a master of light and color whose paintings captured the beauty and meaning of everyday life, with art historian Aneta Georgievska-Shine. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Date of event
Saturday, April 4, 2020 - 9:30 a.m.