Speakers Bureau: Complete List of Available Talks

Our Speakers Bureau provides more than 75 different talks on topics of interest in local and regional history. Visit our main page to browse for talks organized by subject matter.

Please note that the majority of these talks are offered both virtually and in person. Contact Director of Programs Matt Gagle with questions. 

*New* The Hero of Two Worlds: The Story of the Marquis de Lafayette and the 2024 – 2025 Bicentennial of his American Farewell Tour

Speaker: Patricia Maclay, MD

Lafayette’s Farewell Tour saw the last surviving major general of the American Revolution triumphantly return from his home country of France to the United States, the new nation he loved. From August 15, 1824 to September 9, 1825, Lafayette covered over 6,000 miles by carriage, stagecoach, canal barge, and steamboat, traveling to all 24 existing states and “Washington City.” Patricia Maclay will cover the details of Lafayette’s Farewell Tour of America, how it will be celebrated in 2024 – 2025, and how everyone will have the opportunity to get involved. Get ready to celebrate Lafayette, the Hero of Two Worlds.






*New*Building Washington National Cathedral

Speaker: Andy Bittner

At 83 years, the building of Washington National Cathedral was the longest-lasting construction project in the history of Washington D.C., and it resulted in one of the great wonders of the 20th century. Join Andy Bittner, author of the book Building Washington National Cathedral, as he takes you on a photographic journey through the years of the cathedral’s construction and introduces you to some of the key figures in that amazing story.




Will Adams, Fiddler of Ken-Gar

Speaker: Julianne Mangin

Fiddler Will Adams had deep roots in the African American communities of Montgomery County from Sandy Spring to Norbeck to Ken-Gar. In 1953, he was recorded by folklorist Mike Seeger (half-brother of Pete Seeger) who grew up in Chevy Chase. Adams’ family history offers a glimpse of African American life in Montgomery County from the final years of slavery to the mid-twentieth century. Learn how the music of both Adams and Seeger lives on among contemporary old-time musicians.



Richard Montgomery: “A Grateful Remembrance”

Speaker: Robert Plumb

Richard Montgomery—who was this man whose name today identifies our county and 15 others in the United States? Join Robert Plumb as he presents the life of General Richard Montgomery, the first general officer killed in the Revolutionary War and what, if any, connections he has with Montgomery County, Maryland. Plumb will discuss Montgomery’s arrival in the American Colonies, his role in the American Revolution and the ill-fated American Northern Expedition into Canada. The speaker will also cover Montgomery’s relationship to slavery as practiced in 18th century New York.



When the Stars Came to Gaithersburg: Remembering the Shady Grove Music Fair

Speaker: Ralph Buglass

For most of the 1960s and ’70s Gaithersburg was an entertainment mecca for the greater DC area. Shady Grove Music Fair—first under a big-top tent and then in a theater-in-the-round venue complete with a revolving stage—hosted Broadway hits and a wide variety of pop, rock and soul singers. Stars included Simon and Garfunkel, Bruce Springsteen, Aretha Franklin, Bette Midler, Duke Ellington and even the Jackson 5 for a full week with tickets starting at $4.75. After only 16 years, the curtain came down in 1978—but what a run!



The Brood X 17-Year Periodical Cicadas of 2021 in Montgomery County: A Look Back at What was Experienced & Learned

Speaker: Clarence Hickey

The 17-year periodical cicadas emerged with great gusto in Montgomery County and the DC area, during the spring of 2021. The total life cycle was about 5 weeks long, from May 9 to June 19, in and around Rockville. Brood X laid eggs on many different trees and shrubs including maple, redbud, holly, sycamore, and chestnut trees, as well as rhododendron, forsythia, blueberry and wineberry bushes.  Based on observations of the number of cicada holes in my backyard, I estimated that there could have been as many as 40,000 cicadas emerging there, which would scale up to an estimated 500,000 cicadas per acre. I participated in a citizen science program, using my smartphone, to help university scientists of the Cicada Safari program, study and map the distribution of Brood X. The national cicada program results show that the DC metro area was in the bullseye of the emergence which was so intense that it was detected by National Weather Service radar.

This PowerPoint lecture uses many colorful photos of the 2021 cicada season and discusses the speaker’s backyard science and nature studies of these amazing animals.



George W. Meads: “Rockville’s One-Man Fire Department”
Speaker: Sarah Hedlund

From 1895 through 1920, the volunteer fire department in Rockville consisted of a dedicated group of civic-minded Black men led by the first Fire Chief in the town’s history: George Meads. Archivist Sarah Hedlund relates the story of Meads’s extraordinary life as a fireman, deputy sheriff, school trustee, entrepreneur, and family man, intertwined with the early history of firefighting and other aspects of segregated community life in turn-of-the-century Rockville.




Conserving Monarch Butterflies in Your Own Backyard

Speaker: Clarence Hickey

The east monarch butterfly population has experienced a significant population reduction in recent years, due in part to the decrease in the amount of milkweed available as a food source. In this fascinating intersection of human and natural history, learn how Clarence Hickey planted common native milkweed in his yard to aid migrating and reproducing Maryland monarchs, and how he raised monarch caterpillars in his home and then released them into the wild.


Montgomery County’s Little-Known Rosenwald Schools
Speaker: Ralph Buglass

Rosenwald schools are an inspiring chapter in the dark days of segregation. They were public schools for Black students built all over the South in the early 20th century with funding from Julius Rosenwald, sometimes called “the biggest philanthropist you’ve never heard of.” Montgomery County once had 17 Rosenwald schools. Learn about the schools’ remarkable impact and importance, along with then-and-now photos of the five buildings that survive.

*NEW* Potomac, a History of the River and the Land

Speaker: Jim Johnston

The Potomac River, the dominant geological feature of Montgomery County, has also played a dominant role in American history. It was the first interstate waterway in North America, the spawning ground for the Constitution, and a protective barrier in the Civil War. To travelers today, it is a time tunnel to 250 million years of history. Learn this history from Jim Johnston and then walk along the river yourself to see the Potomac in a new way.

*NEW* Sanctified Sisters of Colesville: The Hidden History of Commonwealth Farm
Speaker: Julianne Mangin 

Learn the hidden history behind a feminist commune that ran Commonwealth Farm Inn in Colesville from 1903 to 1947. These savvy businesswomen ran an inn and restaurant that was a popular country retreat for Washingtonians. How did they end up in Montgomery County, and why was their presence forgotten? It’s a fascinating story of women determined to control their own spiritual and economic destinies.



The Three Reported Lynchings in Montgomery County
Speaker: Sarah Hedlund

There are three documented cases of lynching in Montgomery County: George Peck and John Diggs-Dorsey in 1880 and Sidney Randolph in 1896. The victims were all Black men in their twenties, two accused of rape and one accused of murder. Ahead of any legal conviction, they were each removed from custody in the middle of the night and killed by groups of White men, having never received a fair trial. Based on the recent compilation of hundreds of digitized newspaper accounts, researcher Sarah Hedlund presents comprehensive narratives on these three cases. Each man’s story is supported by quotes, in-person reporting, period maps, photographs, and genealogical research, in remembrance and recognition of this darker side of Montgomery County’s history.



*NEW* A Pictorial History of Rockville

Speaker: Ralph Buglass 

Presented in conjunction with Peerless Rockville, www.PeerlessRockville.org

Drawing extensively on vintage photos from a book produced by Peerless Rockville, this talk covers the 250-year history of Rockville from a tiny crossroads community to the bustling government center of Montgomery County—and one of the nation’s most diverse cities. Rockville not only has a fascinating history all its own, but also exemplifies our county’s history in many ways—and has ties to significant national events and figures. The speaker co-authored the book for Peerless Rockville.



Songs and Stories from the Blue and the Gray 
Speaker: Patrick Lacefield

Join this descendant of Civil War veterans, who shares songs and stories from the War Between the States, wearing both blue and gray, and accompanying himself on guitar.

*In-Person Only*




The Underground Railroad Movement: Riding the Freedom Train 
Reenactor: Candace Ridington

Learn about the Underground Railroad Movement by seeing short dramatic portraits of those involved (and some opposed), both anonymous and known. The presentation shows the work by blacks and white alike to aid and save enslaved people. Candace Ridington portrays all of the characters using a mix of props and clothing alterations. Some narration fills in the material and moves events relentlessly to Civil War. This program lasts about 45 to 50 minutes, is suitable for adults and young adults, and could be used in classrooms.

*In-Person Only*


Albert Einstein: The Human Side: A Visit with His Loyal Secretary, Helen Dukas 

Speaker: Candace Ridington

Candace Ridington portrays Albert Einstein’s long-serving secretary, Helen Dukas, co-trustee of the Einstein estate and archivist of his papers after his death. Learn about what Helen calls “the human side” of Einstein: his curiosity and wonder at the universe, the violin playing, the amusing tiffs with his wife, his sense of justice, his dislike of convention, his humorous side, and more. Presented with warmth by Dukas, who cared deeply about him. The presentation lasts approximately 35 minutes.
*In-Person Only*

We Were There, Too: Nurses in the Civil War 
Reenactor: Candace Ridington

Candace Ridington portrays a nurse reminiscing about her time of service in Washington, D.C., during the Civil War when the nursing profession struggled to create itself. This reenactment portrays the nurse profession’s early challenges, its rewards and sadness, and a glimpse of other nurses whose names are known to us through their journals. Suitable for adults and young adults. 45-50 minutes.

*In-Person Only*


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.

*In-Person Only*



Potomac’s Storied History

Speaker: Judith Welles

Produced in coordination with the release of her new book in November 2019, POTOMAC, Judith Welles dives into never-before-seen photos–many from Montgomery History’s collection–that shed nefw light on the storied history of this area of the county. With the photographs as a backdrop, Welles tells the impact of the C&O Canal and the Civil War; the story of the Gold Rush and ghosts; the Potomac Hunt; the growth of a bustling commercial and residential area and much more.





Aspin Hill Pet Cemetery: 100 Years of Pets, People, and the Stories Behind the Stones

Speaker: Julianne Mangin

Aspin Hill Pet Cemetery, established in 1920, is more than simply a place where people put their pets to rest.  It’s a place that reflects the life and times of the Washington region. There are famous pets, owned by or connected to movers and shakers of the twentieth century – presidents and their advisors, ambassadors, and a certain head of the FBI.  There are also thousands of pets and owners who may be less influential than a president or a senator, but whose stories are equally fascinating.  In this presentation, Julianne Mangin shares not only the history of the cemetery and those who ran it, but entertaining stories gleaned from newspapers, photographs, land records, and the inscriptions on the grave stones found at the cemetery.


The 1950s Housing Boom in Montgomery County

Speaker: Robert Bachman

The 1950’s housing boom almost doubled the number of single-family homes in Montgomery County in one decade. This presentation will focus on the national-level & county-level factors that fueled the housing boom, the federal programs that helped builders & buyers, where the new homes were built in the county, the styles of these new homes, the developers who built them, the architects who designed them, and the role of the National-Capital Park & Planning Commission and the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission in preparing the infrastructure and establishing the procedures to respond to the rapid population growth and housing boom of the 1950’s.



Misplacing History: Rowser’s Ford
Speaker: James H. Johnston

On the night of June 27, 1863, Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart crossed the Potomac River with 5,000 horsemen including artillery at “Rowser’s Ford” and proceeded to ransack Montgomery County.  Stuart’s actions proved a catastrophe for the Confederacy because he should have been with Robert E. Lee’s army in Pennsylvania.  Moving blindly without his cavalry, Lee stumbled into the huge Union army at a place called Gettysburg where he was soundly defeated.  To deflect criticism, Stuart wrote a report glorifying his crossing at Rowser’s Ford as a heroic, superhuman effort.  In more recent times, markers have been erected at the supposed site on the C&O Canal at Violette’s and Riley’s locks.  Visitors marvel at the courage of Stuart and his men to cross the mile-wide river, filled with rocks, rapids, and whirlpools.  But the markers, and history, misplace the site.  It was actually two miles downriver in a placid, sandy-bottomed part of the Potomac on John Rowzer’s farm.  Jim Johnston unravels the historical mystery.



The History of Reed Brothers Dodge, 1915-2012

Speaker: Jeanne Gartner

Reed Brothers Dodge was one of the longest running automobile dealerships in Montgomery County history, operating from two locations in Rockville for 97 years. This PowerPoint presentation features historical photographs taken by the dealership’s founder, Lewis Reed, and highlights how Reed Brothers Dodge came into being, and how the company overcame the inevitable changes and challenges throughout almost a century of being in business.



Preserving Your Family Papers

Speaker: Sarah Hedlund

Every family has papers and photographs sitting around—dad’s letters from the war, mom’s recipe cards and photo albums, various diplomas and certificates from three generations, diaries, scrapbooks—what do you DO with all this stuff? How do you know what to keep and what’s okay to let go? And how can you continue to preserve your family’s story for future generations? Archivist Sarah Hedlund from Montgomery History’s own Jane C. Sween Research Library and Special Collections takes you through the basics of organizing and preserving your family’s documents and photographs, focusing on proper storage and conservation techniques you can implement at home, as well as advice on knowing when to call in a professional.



Off-the-Beaten Path in Montgomery County

Speaker: Ralph Buglass

An illustrated presentation on the “Top 10”  lesser-known spots in Montgomery County with historical importance, amazing natural beauty, or superlative in some other way. Learn about some famous residents’ homes and houses designed by famous architects, spots with connections to events of national significance, oases of natural beauty, museums every bit as good as those on the Mall, still-standing relics of our past, and more. 



Differing Historical Perspectives on Slavery in Maryland and the District of Columbia
Speaker: James H. Johnston

The word “slavery” brings up a mental image of the “peculiar institution” as it existed in the Deep South right before the Civil War. Slavery in the Washington area was different. It began the same – in the late 1600s, Ninian Beall’s tobacco plantation occupied the land where the White House is today – but it soon changed. After tobacco wore out the land, slavery made less sense, and it was hard to enforce with an increasingly diverse capital of the United States. By the time of the Civil War, Washington, D.C. still had slaves, but they lived among a population of free African Americans. Author James H. Johnston will discuss the differing perspectives on slavery that emerge from his two books, The Recollections of Margaret Loughborough, about a daughter of the Old Dominion of Virginia, and From Slave Ship to Harvard, which follows six generations of an African American family in Maryland.



Yarrow Mamout and His Family 
Speaker: James H. Johnston


Yarrow Mamout’s is one of the most remarkable success stories in American history.  Brought to Maryland on a slave ship in 1752 and enslaved for the next forty years, Yarrow (his last name) didn’t become a free man until he was 60 years old.  He then acquired a house in Georgetown and enough money to retire on the interest from loans to white merchants and on stock dividends.  In 1819, the great portrait painter Charles Willson Peale learned of Yarrow and painted a “remarkable likeness” as a testament to racial equality. In this presentation, Jim Johnston, the author of From Slave Ship to Harvard: Yarrow Mamout and the History of an African American Family, tells the story of this remarkable man.



Thurgood Marshall: A Trail-Blazing Civil Rights Victory in Montgomery County

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.



Separate but UNequal: the History of School Segregation in Montgomery County
Speaker: Ralph Buglass
Education, denied to slaves, was one of the highest priorities of emancipated African Americans. But in Montgomery County, where slavery existed, public education was not extended to black children until a decade after it was instituted for white children. Even then, the practice of “separate but equal” schools was anything but equal, and no black high school was built until well into the 20th century. A surprising number of these African American schools still exist in the county, including several erected through a partnership between Booker T. Washington and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald that helped improve black education all over the South.



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. 




BOOM!: How Montgomery County Developed in the 1950s

Speaker: Bob Bachman

A lecture and PowerPoint presentation summarizing the rapid development of lower Montgomery County in the 1950s as a suburb of Washington, DC.  The focus is on demographics, housing & subdivisions, shopping centers, schools, parks & recreation, & libraries.  This program was offered at the 2018 Montgomery County History Conference. 



The Better Angels:  Five women who changed – and were changed by – the American Civil War 
Speaker: Robert Plumb

A presentation in PowerPoint format about five remarkable women who made important contributions to the Union cause at various stages before, during, and after the critical years of the American Civil War. The singular actions of Clara Barton, Julia Ward Howe, Sarah Josepha Hale, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Harriet Tubman led to their prominence during the war, and launched them into successful public roles following the conflict. Plumb will cover highlights of the women’s contributions, their legacies, and their defining qualities such as courage, self-assurance, and persistence that led to their successes. Plumb’s newest book, The Better Angels, will be published by Potomac Books, an imprint of University of Nebraska Press, in March of 2020.




Divided Nation, Divided Town: One Woman’s Experience 
Speaker: Emily Correll

The story of Rockville’s Dora Higgins and her experiences during the Civil War.  Based on a letter that Dora, an ardent abolitionist, wrote to her mother describing her trials as  rebel general J.E.B. Stuart’s men came through Rockville and captured her husband.  Rockville’s divisions over slavery and the war can serve as an illustration of the divisions in Maryland and the United States as a whole.




Sugarloaf: The Singular History of a Singular Mountain 

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.




Offutt’s Crossroads: The Early History of Potomac and its Founding Family

Speaker: Ralph Buglass 

This talk and slide presentation covers the “first family” of Potomac: the Offutts for whom Potomac was originally named (Offutt’s Crossroads). The talk, by a descendant of the Offutt family, explores when and how the village came to be called Potomac, with feuding among the family, the end of slavery, a business partnership gone bad, and attempted murder all playing a part—not to mention a few ghostly appearances in later years!



A Field Guide to Civil War Statues in Washington
Speaker: James H. Johnston

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.



J.E.B. Stuart’s “Wild Ride” Through Montgomery County
Speaker: Robert Plumb

On June 28, 1863, Confederate General J.E.B Stuart and his three cavalry brigades crossed the Potomac River and arrived in Montgomery County. For the next two days, Stuart’s cavalry engaged in several actions that would, in varying degrees, hinder and delay their movement north to join the Confederate forces in Pennsylvania. First, Stuart’s army demonstrated their control of Rockville by rounding up Union officials and taking them prisoner. Next, was an encounter between some of Stuart’s soldiers and the students of a female academy in Rockville, thus delaying the army again. Lastly, Stuart’s army captured and controlled a large Union wagon train laden with supplies, which became a significant impediment to Stuart’s expeditious travel onward to Pennsylvania. This is a PowerPoint lecture.




The Odyssey of a Civil War Soldier 
Speaker: Robert Plumb

George P. McClelland served with the 155th Pennsylvania Infantry, Army of the Potomac, from August 1862 to his discharge in June 1865. Author Robert Plumb reads from McClelland’s letters and narrative excerpts from his book, Your Brother in Arms, which offer a front-line soldier’s view of some of the most crucial battles fought during the Civil War– from Gettysburg to Petersburg. Literate and evocative, the letters convey an authentic perspective of a soldier who experienced one of the bloodiest and most transformative wars in American history. This is a PowerPoint presentation. 






The Man Who (Almost) Conquered Washington: Gen. John McCausland
Speaker: James H. Johnston

Confederate General John McCausland bragged to Ulysses Grant that McCausland had come closer to taking the city than any other Confederate general. Was he right, or was he just telling another tall soldier’s tale? And then there’s that “Chambersburg thing.” His grandson didn’t want to talk about it. McCausland had the city burned down.




Jubal Early’s Attack on Washington
Speaker: James H. Johnston

In early summer 1864, the Union’s prospects for victory in the Civil War brightened when Union General Ulysses Grant besieged Richmond.  But on July 10, Confederate General Jubal Early rode into Rockville with 15,000 men headed for Washington D.C. The city was in panic.  Spoiler alert: Washington didn’t fall.  But what was Early’s aim, and how close did he come to taking the city and ending the war?




The Civil War Camps at Muddy Branch and the Outpost Camp and Blockhouse at Blockhouse Point
Speaker: Don Housley

Between 1861 and 1865, some 29 Union regiments from 13 states stationed at Muddy Branch guarded the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and the Potomac River crossings in the general area between Seneca and Pennyfield Locks. To serve as early warning stations on bluffs overlooking the Potomac, Union troops built a series of blockhouses. Archaeological work is continuing on the only blockhouse now located on county park land at Blockhouse Point. This PowerPoint presentation covers both the Civil War history of the camps at Muddy Branch and the history and archaeology of its outpost blockhouse and camp located within Blockhouse Point Conservation Park. A follow up guided tour of the blockhouse and outpost campsite can also be arranged. 



Union Army Surgeon Dr. Edward Stonestreet & His Civil War Hospital in Rockville
Speaker: Clarence Hickey

Dr. Edward Stonestreet of Rockville served as Montgomery County Examining Surgeon in 1862, performing physical examinations on local Union Army recruits and draftees. He also served two terms as Acting Assistant Surgeon with the Union Army. He was in charge of a temporary Army General Hospital in Rockville, treating the wounded after the Battle of Antietam (1862), and also treated the ill soldiers of the 6th Michigan Cavalry Regiment in Rockville (1863) prior to its heroic efforts during the Battle of Gettysburg. Civil War medicine is discussed in relation to medical education of that era and in relation to 19th century medicine before and after the War. This presentation, based on the speaker’s 2009 book Send for the Doctor, is available as a first person portrayal of Dr. Stonestreet or as a PowerPoint slide show. The speaker brings a doctor’s bag from 1885 containing example medical instruments of the Civil War and the 1800s for show and tell. Book sales and signings can be included, with all of the sales proceeds going to MCHS.



Myths and Truths: Civil War Battlefield Medical Care of the Wounded 
Speaker: Clarence Hickey

This Civil War presentation will use a life-sized mannequin dressed as a wounded Civil War soldier to discuss and demonstrate some Civil War-era (1860s) battlefield medical procedures and techniques. It will bust some 150 year old myths, such as Civil War soldiers being awake and biting on bullets during surgery. The use of triage, general anesthesia, and pain management will be discussed. Real and reproduction Civil War-era medical instruments will be shown and used, along with a variety of Civil War-era bullets, Minie balls, grape shot, buck shot, clusters, and other slugs (all inert, safe, and with no gun powder) that created many of the battlefield wounds that the surgeons had to treat. The presentation will include discussion of some of the improvements in the practice of medicine and surgery as a result of the experiences and learning during the Civil War, when coupled with the germ theory and other discoveries after the War, resulted in a revolution in medical science, and the age of modern medicine in America. The battlefield medical care offered to America’s military today has its roots firmly planted in the innovative medical care of the American Civil War.




Still Standing: One- and Two-Room Schoolhouses in Montgomery County and the Stories They Tell About the Early Days of Public Education

Speaker: Ralph Buglass

The one-room schoolhouse symbolizes the earliest days of public education. In Montgomery County a surprising number of one- and two-room schoolhouses still exist—in one form or another. With photos of them all, this presentation tells the early history of public education in the county, including the nearly century-long practice of school segregation dubbed “separate but equal” that was very unequal in practice. Can be combined with a visit to a restored one-room schoolhouse to experience what school was like more than 100 years ago.



William Marbury: The Man Whose Lawsuit Made the Supreme Court, Supreme

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.




The Writer’s Perspective: Local Non-Fiction Authors Talk About How They Write and Get Published

Speakers: Robert Plumb and James H. Johnston

Bob Plumb and Jim Johnston have, between them, published dozens of articles on history in the likes of the New York Times, the Washington Post, and four books. Their books have been published by commercial publishers, academic presses, and self-published. If you’ve ever thought about writing an article or book on a non-fiction subject or if you just want to know how the process works, Plumb and Johnston will give you the benefit of their personal experiences in this informative session.





The Country Doctor in the 1800s: The Life & times of Dr. Edward Stonestreet of Rockville
Reenactor: Clarence Hickey

This first person portrayal reflects the life and historic times of Dr. Stonestreet when he practiced medicine in Montgomery County from 1852-1903. It is based on the speaker’s 2009 book Send for the Doctor, which chronicles Dr. Stonestreet’s medical education, 51-year medical practice of house calls and office visits as local physician and surgeon, and response to accidents and injuries. Clarence also provides a brief look at the doctor’s service as a Civil War surgeon with the Union Army and the historic times during which he lived and practiced. This presentation also is available as a PowerPoint slide show. A field trip option can be included to visit the Stonestreet Museum of 19th Century Medicine in Rockville, Maryland. Book sales and signings can be included, with all of the sales proceeds going to Montgomery History.




In Search of Ghosts, Montgomery County, Maryland

Speakers: Karen Yaffe Lottes and Dorothy Pugh

This story-telling lecture explores haunted places of Montgomery County and its surrounding area through ghostly tales. Learn about the many ghosts, apparitions, and supernatural occurrences that can’t be explained logically, including: The Headless Horseman that continues to terrorize visitors to the old railroad bridge; the poltergeist that haunts the Madison House; the Tommyknocker at the Maryland Mine; and the farmer who keeps searching for his buried treasure. Take this haunted journey back in time!



The Loughborough Family of Montgomery County

Speaker: James H. Johnston

For 162 years, the Loughboroughs were one of the most prominent families in Washington and southern Montgomery County. Nathan Loughborough was a Quaker, working for the Treasury Department in Philadelphia, who moved here with the government in 1800. After he left government, he applied his financial expertise on the board of the Farmers and Mechanics Bank in Georgetown, the C&O Canal Company, and the Washington (Rockville) Turnpike. He owned twin townhouses in Georgetown, a 250-acre estate in northwest Washington called Grasslands, an 800-acre tobacco farm in Bethesda called Milton, and an estate in Middleburg, Virginia that later became the famous Melon farm there. Loughboro Road and Loughborough Lane are named for him. Later generations of the family fought in the Civil War on the Confederate side and aided the Confederacy. They also left memoirs of those times which can now be found in speaker James Johnston’s new book on the Loughborough family entitled, The Recollections of Margaret Cabell Brown Loughborough: A Southern Woman’s Memories of Richmond, VA and Washington, DC in the Civil War. To learn more about the book and the Loughborough family visit the speaker’s blog.


Montgomery County’s Prehistory: A 12,000 Year Story

Speaker: Don Housley

After discussing the various theories for the peopling of North America, this PowerPoint presentation centers on describing the environment, social structure, and tool development of Montgomery County’s prehistory through the Paleo-Indian, Archaic, and Woodland time periods prior to European contact.


Developing a Persona and Historical Character for Your Site or Museum 

Speaker: Several Speakers Bureau Reenactors/Speakers

Explore the process and fun of creating and developing an accurate and interesting persona for an historical character. Explore choosing a character, how to research the character’s life and times, and the necessity of keeping the interpretation fresh and interesting.





F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Rockville: Rockville in the 1920s

Speaker: Eileen McGuckian

A look at the small town America’s favorite writer knew in the 1920s, with an explanation of how F. Scott Fitzgerald came to be buried in Rockville –twice! (Slide presentation.)


The History of Rockville Pike: A 300 Year Journey

Speaker: Eileen McGuckian

Using historic and contemporary photographs, local historian Eileen McGuckian presents a tour of the Rockville Pike from its beginnings as a Native American path to the “Golden Mile”. (Slide presentation.)


Rockville, Maryland: 250 Years of History

Speaker: Eileen McGuckian

An armchair tour of historic Rockville — from colonial times to the present – with the author of Rockville: Portrait of a City, the definitive history of our county seat. Come with your questions! (Slide presentation.)


Archaeological Sites in Montgomery County, Maryland

Speaker: Don Housley

This PowerPoint presentation provides an introduction to both prehistoric and historical archaeological sites located on park land in Montgomery County and the techniques used by county archaeologists to unearth the past. A list of upcoming public archaeology programs and tours will be provided.


Mills in Montgomery County

Speaker: Don Housley

This PowerPoint presentation focuses on the rise and fall of the milling industry in Montgomery County. The talk describes the nature and diversity of milling operations on the major stream valleys in the County, along with some archaeology done on selected mill sites.


Genealogy: What’s It All About
Speaker: Lorraine Minor
Genealogy is one of the most popular hobbies in the U.S. today. This talk explains why so many people are searching their family histories and provides a brief description of how to get started.




Beginning Census Research: An Introduction to the U.S. Census Records & Indexing System
Speaker: Lorraine Minor
The U.S. Census was taken every ten years, starting in 1790. Discover what information is available in the U.S. Census, how to access census data and utilize that data in furthering family history research.



Genealogy on the Internet
Speaker: Lorraine Minor
Resources on the Internet can greatly enhance the efforts of those researching their family histories. Learn about the most popular internet sites, how to find other valuable sites and how to evaluate the information found.




Organizing Your Genealogical Research Papers
Speaker: Lorraine Minor
This talk provides suggestions for organizing all the papers accumulated in doing family research including filing and indexing systems, research calendars and planning for future research.




Planning a Genealogical Research Trip
Speaker: Lorraine Minor
Traveling to one’s family home for research is expensive and time consuming. Learn what research to do before you travel, what to take with you, and about resources at your destination.




Researching Your Family Records at the LDS Family History Center
Speaker: Lorraine Minor
The Mormons have assembled a wealth of information that is invaluable to people researching their families. This talk discusses the databases and other resources available at the Family History Center and how to access them.





The following talks are temporarily unavailable: 

River Road, Bethesda: A Short History of Black and White, 1850-1963

Speaker: Paige Whitley

The commercial section of River Road, Bethesda, sometimes called Westbard, was once home to a flourishing community of African Americans. This presentation outlines the history of this community and their white neighbors from before the Civil War to after Desegregation, and examines the networks of families, faith, education, and work that held the community together before intensified commercial development led to its eventual disbandment. Macedonia Baptist Church, on the corner of River Road and Clipper Lane, and the currently disputed Moses Cemetery are all that now remain of the original community.   


Clara Barton’s Washington

Speaker: Susan Rosenvold

Join Speaker Susan Rosenvold and discover Washington D.C. through the eyes of one of its residents – Clara Barton.  Barton lived in Washington several times, first, to become an independent woman, second, as a humanitarian and later as s lobbyist attempting to found the American Red Cross.  Discover what Washington was like, who Clara rubbed elbows with, and her success as a humanitarian. PowerPoint presentation/guided tour/portrayal.


*NEW* The Path to Leadership: The Next Chapter
Speaker: Claire McDonald

Claire McDonald, creator of Montgomery History’s two-part online exhibit “The Path to Leadership,” ​discusses the influence of Montgomery County women in the political arena pre- and post-suffrage. Learn about some of the most influential women in Montgomery County politics and their fascinating stories in this decade-by-decade look at women’s rise to prominence from the 1920s on.


The Path to Leadership: Montgomery County Women, Women’s Clubs, and Suffrage
Speaker: Claire McDonald

Claire McDonald, creator of Montgomery History’s two-part online exhibit “The Path to Leadership,” speaks about women’s suffrage in the county and its relationship to the growing network of women’s clubs from the late 19th century through the early 1930s. Learn about three local women and their indirect paths to leadership and politics, as well as the struggles women leaders in the county faced on their road to success. 



The New Face of Montgomery County 

Speaker: Steve Roberts

Montgomery County today is a global community of a million people with one-third of its residents born outside the United States. The dramatic growth of immigrant populations from all regions of the world has profoundly changed the community’s social, cultural and economic dynamic. This program will discuss the modern history of immigration in Montgomery County for different communities, including countries of origins and reasons for migration, settlement patterns, professions of choice, community organizing, cultural identities, and ties with home countries. The speaker will draw on some of his Bethesda Magazine columns to tell stories that flesh out the statistical trends of this recent history.


The Nuclear Age in Montgomery County: The Atomic Energy Commission and its Site at Germantown, Maryland 

Speaker: Eric W. Boyle

This PowerPoint slide lecture explores what life was like for persons living in Montgomery County during the 1950s. Eric W. Boyle, Chief Historian for the Department of Energy, will discuss the Atomic Energy Commission’s move to upper Montgomery County during the early days of the Cold War. After considering over 50 locations, farmland near Germantown, Maryland, was determined to be a distance far enough from Washington D.C. to survive a nuclear blast on the Nation’s Capital from the Soviet Union. Thus, the headquarters for the Atomic Energy Commission was built in Germantown, Maryland, in 1957. Today, the site is one of two administrative complexes of the US Department of Energy in the DC area. In this talk, Boyle will share archival research and new insight on the detailed criteria used to determine the Germantown headquarters’ location.


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 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 slides that show the diversity of the gardens and parks, and accompany the historical narratives.

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.