The Dedham Historical Society & Museum 2015-16 lecture series kicks off on Thursday, September 24 with Robert Cheney presenting a lecture on “Willard Eight-Day Clocks & the Mysterious English Connection.” For over 100 years, Simon Willard and his family of clock makers have been viewed historically as traditional clock makers, meticulously making eight-day (or grandfather) clocks for wealthy buyers in our developing country. Cheney has spent a lifetime studying Willard clocks and has a much different story to tell, one filled with international commerce, a vast network of English specialists who made a multitude of the necessary com-ponents, and American merchants eager to utilize foreign components and finished products to supply quality timekeepers for the New Republic. Cheney is the Director of Clocks, Watches and Scientific Instruments at Skinner Inc.
On October 29 Professor Patricia J. Fanning of Bridgewater State University will present “Influenza and Inequality: One Town’s Tragic Response to the Great Epidemic of 1918.” Based on her book of the same title, Fanning’s analysis of one town’s struggle illuminates how well-intentioned groups may implement strategies that can exacerbate rather than relieve a medical crisis. On November 12 genealogist Michael Brophy presents a lecture on “Genealogy Myths & Legends.” He will discuss the truth or exaggeration behind statements such as “Our name was changed at Ellis Island” or “I am descended from an Indian.”
2016 lectures include: January 14, Jennifer Pustz, Historian for Historic New England, prepares fans for the final season of Downton Abbey with her presentation of “Voices from the Back Stairs.” Pustz will explore domestic conflicts between mistress and servant. On March 31 researcher Andrew Saxe will examine “Dedham and Dorchester: Architects In Common” comparing architectural designs in the two communities. The series will close on April 21 with the Annual Meeting and the Ben Fisher Memorial Lecture with Arlyen A. Levee, landscape historian and preservation consultant. Levee will discuss “Frederick Law Olmsted and the Dedham Connection.”
All lectures begin at 7:30 pm at the Dedham Historical Society & Museum auditorium. Admission: DHS members free; $5 per person for non-members. The 2015-16 lecture series is sponsored by David G. Newsom.