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.

*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.



*NEW* Montgomery County’s Seat: An Illustrated History of Rockville

Speaker: Ralph Buglass 

Nearly 250 years ago a tiny crossroads community was picked as the government center of Montgomery County. Now one of the nation’s most diverse cities, Rockville exemplifies our county’s history in many ways—and has ties to significant national events and figures. The co-author of a newly published photographic history of Rockville will highlight its development through a wealth of vintage images.





*NEW* 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. 


*NEW* Potomac’s Storied History

Produced in coordination with the release of her new book, POTOMAC, Judith Welles dives into never-before-seen photos–many from Montgomery History’s collection–that shed new 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.






*NEW* 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.



Aspin Hill Pet Cemetery: Montgomery County’s Famous Four-Legged Friends

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.



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.   



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.


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.


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.



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.



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.


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.




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.






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.





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.



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.



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.


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 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.




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.


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.


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.



Grit and Gusto:  Farmerettes and Suffragettes on the Homefront in WWI
Speaker: Judith Welles

On the celebration of Centennial of America’s entry into World War I, this new presentation highlights how women in Maryland rallied to new involvement and activism during 1917-1918. In the rural areas of Maryland, including Montgomery County, farms suffered extreme shortages of workers as men left for the war. At the same time, America became the main food source not only for feeding people at home and for American soldiers abroad but also for the people of Europe on the brink of starvation. Farm work became a patriotic crusade for women, and suffragettes encouraged a new kind of farm worker called the farmerette. Female grit and gusto made a difference in Maryland during the war.  And World War I led to passage of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing women the right to vote.  




Lilly Stone – A Daring Woman
Speaker: Judith Welles

Lilly Stone is a story of country life and manners near the Nation’s Capital in the late 1800s, and a daring woman’s life. Lilly Stone was born during the Civil War, and she died during the Cold War. At the stage of life when most people retire, she was not only doing men’s work but running an industry of men’s work. In 1924, at the age of 63, Mrs. Stone founded and operated Stoneyhurst, a quarry for colorful stone used in part of the National Cathedral, National Zoo and for hundreds of buildings and homes. Clara Barton encouraged her to join the DAR. Lilly Stone organized the first literary and arts clubs in the farming community, inspired the first flag for Montgomery County, Maryland, and founded the Montgomery County Historical Society. The book describes the divided loyalties of County residents living close to the Potomac River during the Civil War; letters from Lilly’s son detail World War I, and, remarkably, World War II brings German POWs to work at her quarry. With accomplishments in business and a passion for preserving history, Lilly Stone made history herself. This PowerPoint lecture presentation is based on the speaker’s 2012 book Lilly Stone which may be offered for sale and signing as part of the presentation.



Grand Old Ditch: C&O Canal Past, Present, and Future

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.  




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!


Laytonsville: From Crossroads to Community

Speakers: Jane Griffith Evans and Anne Burke Wolf

Located in northeastern Montgomery County, Laytonsville evolved from a Native American trail to a market crossroads known as “Cracklintown” and to the vibrant community it is today. Reflect back on 200 years with the stories of women and men who drew on their strengths and skills to build this town and the wider community. This local history is filled with universal themes. This is a lecture and PowerPoint slide presentation based on the speakers’ book by the same title. The speakers’ book may be offered for sale and signing, as appropriate.



Cabin John: Legends and Life of an Uncommon Place

Speaker: Judith Welles

Judith (Judy) Welles offers a slide show about the mystery of the name Cabin John and legends of lost lovers, ghosts, pirates and buried treasure. Historic photos of the Union Arch Bridge and the Cabin John Hotel, a resort destination from 1870s to 1931 that attracted Washington socialites and U.S. Presidents. Judy also offers a “History Walk” through a part of Cabin John to compliment this presentation.



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.


The Ballad of Chevy Chase and How County Property Has Evolved Through the Years

Speaker: Donna Evers

A glimpse of how Montgomery County’s housing communities have evolved into the highly sought after neighborhoods they are today, with special attention to the ballad of Chevy Chase. This story details an ambitious plan to develop high-end real estate in the middle of nowhere; transforming a treeless pasture into the coveted suburb at the gateway to the nation’s capital. The program features photographs depicting the progression of housing stock over the years, to the homes that please the eye today. It lasts approximately 30 minutes.


Montgomery County: A Rich History

Speaker: William Offutt

This slide lecture provides an overview of the county’s past and its people from the era of Indian settlements to today’s urban-suburban development. The lecture is illustrated with slides which evoke the past and indicate the vast changes in the county.


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.


Archaeology of the Josiah Henson Site
Speaker: Don Housley
Josiah Henson, whose autobiography inspired the novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harrient Beecher Stowe, lived in Bethesda as a slave in the first part of the 19th century. This PowerPoint presentation explains how archaeological and historical investigation work together to enrich the interpretation of this famous site. Research at the site is on-going and this presentation will be updated regularly as new information is unearthed. For more information about the Josiah Henson archaeology project visit www.josiahhensonsite.org.


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.




Scandals and Mysteries of Chevy Chase

Speaker: William Offutt

Everything from where did the money come from to where did the castle go – a look at some events, both serious and otherwise.


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.




Father Divine of Montgomery County: Early 20th Century Advocate for Peace and Equality
Speaker: Judy Christensen


Josiah Henson & Uncle Tom’s Cabin 
Speaker: Judith Christensen


Face to Face with History: William P. Powell, Jr., African American Civil War Surgeon
Speaker: Jill Newmark


Within these Walls: The Contraband Hospital and the African Americans Who Served There
Speaker: Jill Newmark


The History of Gaithersburg, Maryland
Speaker: Judith Christensen


Rockville’s Victorian Heritage
Speaker: Judith Christensen


Mining in Montgomery County
Speaker: Jeff Nagy


The Fountain Company: Colonial Copper Mining in Montgomery County
Speaker: Jeff Nagy