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Revolutionary War Lecture Series Returns to Yorktown Victory Center This Fall

YORKTOWN, Va., September 8, 2014 – The Yorktown Victory Center will host a series of free public lectures with a Revolutionary War theme on Tuesday evenings this fall, with guest scholars speaking at 7 p.m., September 30, October 7 and 28, and November 4 in the museum’s Richard S. Reynolds Foundation Theater.

September 30 – “Why Yorktown: A Geologic Perspective.” Dr. Gerald H. Johnson, College of William and Mary Geology Professor Emeritus, will discuss how the location and layout of Yorktown – site of the decisive battle of the Revolution – was determined by geologic factors. Built next to a deep, navigable channel, the town rests on solid rock and sediments formed in shallow seas millions of years ago and used in recent centuries as building material.

Dr. Johnson was one of the founders of William and Mary’s Geology Department, helping establish its basic curriculum. He is widely published in scholarly journals and was recognized in the 1990s as an outstanding educator by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.

October 7 – “The Importance of the Second War of Independence to America and the World.” Award-winning author Dr. George C. Daughan will discuss how the War of 1812 fundamentally changed the relationship between the United States and Great Britain, just as the War of Independence did, and how this led to the partnership between the two great English-speaking countries in the 20th and 21st centuries that proved of such benefit to the world. A book-signing for two of Dr. Daughan’s books, The Shining Sea and 1812: The Navy’s War, will be held prior to the lecture, from 6:15 to 7 p.m.

Dr. Daughan served in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War and taught at the Air Force Academy, where he was director of the master’s program in international affairs. He later taught at the University of Colorado, the University of New Hampshire, Wesleyan University, Connecticut College and Harvard University. He is the recipient of the Samuel Eliot Morison Award for the three books he wrote on the early American navy: If By Sea; 1812: The Navy’s War; and The Shining Sea. He also received the gold medal in history from the Independent Publisher’s Association and the George Pendleton Prize.

October 28 – “The Loyalist/Patriot Divide Among the Merchant Elite in Marblehead, Massachusetts.” In a fully illustrated talk, Judy Anderson, social, architectural and cultural historian, will tell the story of fishing industry magnates and brothers-in-law Robert “King” Hooper and Colonel Jeremiah Lee – whose homes were outstanding and whose loyalties were divided during the American Revolution – in the midst of Patriot fervor in Marblehead, a thriving Atlantic seaport and among the 10 largest towns in 18th-century America.

Ms. Anderson was curator of the Jeremiah Lee Mansion for ten years and is author of Glorious Splendor, a book about the rare original 1760s hand-painted English wallpapers still in the mansion. She currently is creating a nonprofit educational enterprise called Marblehead Architecture Heritage.

November 4 – “The Men Who Lost America.” Dr. Andrew O’Shaughnessy, the Saunders Director of the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello and professor of history at the University of Virginia, will challenge stereotypical explanations of Britain’s failure to win the American War of Independence. The talk will offer a different explanation of Britain’s loss, commonly attributed to the incompetence of commanders and politicians.

Dr. O’Shaughnessy is author of The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire – recipient of numerous awards including New York Historical Society, George Washington and Fraunces Tavern book prizes – and An Empire Divided: The American Revolution and the British Caribbean. He is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, serves on the board of the University of Virginia Press, and is a co-editor of the Jeffersonian America book series.

Admission to the lectures is free, with advance reservations recommended by calling (757) 253-4572 or emailing rsvp@jyf.virginia.gov. The series is supported with private donations to the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Inc.

About the Yorktown Victory Center

The Yorktown Victory Center, located at Route 1020 and the Colonial Parkway, chronicles the American Revolution, from colonial unrest to the formation of the new nation, through gallery exhibits and historical interpretation at re-creations of a Continental Army encampment and 1780s farm. Under the administration of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, a Virginia state agency, the museum is undergoing a transformation with a new facility and expanded exhibits and will be known as the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown when the project is complete. The Yorktown Victory Center remains open to visitors daily while work is underway. For more information, call (888) 593-4682 toll-free or (757) 253-4838.