111 W. Montgomery Avenue
Rockville, Maryland 20850
Beyond Montgomery County
Request one of the following Speakers Bureau topics through our online form!
Questions? Contact Matthew Gagle or call 301-340-2825.
Marriotts and Motor Cars: Made for Each Other
Speaker: Katie Dishman
A lecture and PowerPoint presentation focusing on a now a well-known hotel company, Marriott International, which actually started as an A&W Root Beer stand in Washington, D.C. in 1927. Marriott’s corporate archivist will explore the history of the company and its integral connection with cars. Not only did the stands, named Hot Shoppes, expand because of their drive-ins, but the lodging business began as motor hotels at the advent of the Interstate Highway System. Highlights from the history of the company and its growth, including its move to Bethesda in 1955, will be featured.
Speaker: James H. Johnston
William Marbury was the son of an impoverished tobacco farmer and his wife in Prince Georges County. When the young Marbury became an accounting clerk for the state in Annapolis, he dreamed of fame and fortune. By 1800, he had acquired the wealth and a large house in Georgetown. So, when the impertinent new president, Thomas Jefferson, told Secretary of State James Madison not to deliver to Marbury his commission as justice of the peace, Marbury wanted to use his wealth to teach Jefferson a lesson. Today, Marbury’s and Madison’s portraits hang side by side in the private dining room of the Supreme Court. The portraits are graphic reminders that the case of Marbury v. Madison established the proposition that the Supreme Court reigns supreme on matters of constitutional interpretation.
Speaker: Judith Welles
Judith (Judy) Welles, a local history author and C&O Canal volunteer, provides historic highlights and photographs of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, including the canal’s role in the Civil War, historic structures, and unique engineering marvels in the mid-19th Century. The presentation also describes current-day challenges facing the C&O Canal National Historical Park and volunteer opportunities.
Speaker: Ralph Buglass
Civil rights icon Thurgood Marshall delivered an early blow to school segregation right here in Montgomery County—gaining equal pay for the county’s African American teachers in 1937. This little-known legal case is often seen as the first step in Marshall’s successful drive to have separate schools for white and black children declared unconstitutional, as the Supreme Court did 17 years later in a landmark decision. This illustrated talk details this remarkable local story and its national significance. Spoiler alert: the victory came at a tremendous cost to the teacher bringing the case.
Speaker: Susan Soderberg
After their ringleader, John Wilkes Booth, was killed, other conspirators in the plot to assassinate President Lincoln and other top leaders of the government were tried before a Courts Martial. Four of them were executed by hanging. Most people know of Mary Surratt, the first woman executed by the United States; Davy Herald, the young man who led Booth on his escape; and Lewis Powell, the man who almost succeeded in killing Secretary of State Seward. But what of George Atzerodt, the Prussian immigrant who did not carry out his assignment of murdering Vice President Johnson and was later arrested in Germantown, Maryland? Who was he? How did he get involved in this plot? Why didn’t he assassinate the vice president? How did he escape? And why was he hanged? This PowerPoint presentation will answer these questions with illustrations from the past and the present.
In recent years, America has commemorated valor by erecting monuments to entire wars, such as the World War II and the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorials. Civil War veterans did it differently. They remembered themselves in monuments through their generals. Jim Johnston uses the statues to tell the story of the Civil War and of the artistry that went into them.
Speaker: Ralph Buglass
Sugarloaf Mountain, a private oasis of natural beauty and scenic vistas that is open to the public, nearly became Camp David and was almost topped with a modernistic structure designed by one of America’s most famous architects, Frank Lloyd Wright, that instead ended up as a New York City landmark. This extensively illustrated talk explores these and other historical oddities of this tiny mountain that sits all by itself just over the Montgomery County line in Frederick County.
The following talks are temporarily unavailable:
Byline: Ernie Pyle
Speaker: Steve LaRocque with Kathie Mack
Byline Ernie Pyle is a one-man, one-hour show created by Steve LaRocque to showcase excerpts from the wartime columns of Ernie Pyle. The script consists entirely of excerpts from Pyle’s reports from the front, used by permission of the Scripps-Howard Foundation. One of the first “embedded” reporters, Ernie Pyle wrote a column that ran daily in Scripps-Howard newspapers during World War II. Byline: Ernie Pyle features actor Steve LaRocque as Ernie Pyle, recounting the major events of World War II in Pyle’s own words. The actor becomes the reporter, appalled at the tragic waste of war and the brutal conditions it imposes on the men who fight it, yet personally committed to going back to it, again and again.
A History of Maryland Through its Gardens
Speaker: Barbara Glickman
The history and horticultural highlights of approximately 11 gardens and their homes and owners are covered in some detail, and the sites are: Historic St. Mary’s City; Historic London Town and Gardens; Sotterley Plantation; Mount Harmon Plantation; Hampton National Historic Site; William Paca House and Garden; Montpelier Mansion; Riversdale House Museum; Glenview Mansion; Evergreen Museum & Library; and Cylburn Arboretum. Other sites I discuss briefly include: Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center; Baltimore Museum of Art Sculpture Garden; Wye Island Natural Resources Management Area; Cranesville Swamp; Brookside Gardens; Ladew Topiary Gardens, Antietam National Battlefield, and Monocacy National Battlefield. The presentation is about 50 minutes in length and includes approximately 90 photos, but can be shortened if desired.
The Home Front During World War II
Speaker: Bill Offutt
This lecture and slide presentation is an overview of life in the D.C. area during World War II, with an emphasis on rationing, volunteering, air raid and blackout drills, shortages, victory gardens, and everyday life.
Capital Splendor-Gardens and Parks of Washington DC
Speaker: Barbara Glickman
This PowerPoint lecture and slide presentation includes about 80 photographs, and provides a framework of different landscape garden design styles for viewing these features at approximately 9 of the 32 gardens in the speaker’s 2012 book by the same name. These landscape design types include Italian, French, Italian, colonial, and topiary. In addition, the talk covers the highlights of those gardens and provides historical information of the gardens, houses, and landscape architects. Due to their historical significance and diverse nature, the following gardens are included in some detail in the presentation: George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate, Museum, & Gardens; River Farm; Meridian Hill Park; Tudor Place; Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens; Dumbarton Oaks; Tregaron Conservancy; Ladew Topiary Gardens; and the US Botanic Garden. The PowerPoint includes photos of other gardens and parks that highlight the region’s diversity, such as Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, Huntley Meadows, Meadowlark Gardens, and McKee Beshers Wildlife Management Area. The speaker’s book may be offered for sale and signing, as appropriate.