On March 27, 2014, I gave an author talk, “Black Powder, White Lace – The du Pont Irish and Cultural Identity in Nineteenth Century America”
When my old friend Roger Horowitz first invited me to give an author talk at Hagley Museum and Library, I immediately said yes, but I’ll admit that I didn’t really know what to expect. Imagine turning your scholarly book into an hour-long lecture for the general public! It turned out to be one of the best presentations I’ve ever done, not just because some family and friends were there, but because so many strangers came up afterwards to share with me their stories, their genealogies, their thanks. One man, a Hagley guide, brought the copy he purchased back in 2002 for me to sign. It was all dog-eared and full of underlinings and marginalia. And that’s really what I always wanted—a book that regular people would read and enjoy. About twice a year, someone reads Black Powder, White Lace and tracks me down via Google to say hello or ask if I have more information about an ancestor or whatever. I’m always grateful and humbled when they do that. But it was so much nicer to meet my readers (past and future) in person.
Hagley has just posted the video of my talk. You watch the whole thing here: