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April 21, 2009

Chautauqua Institution and CW partner for week on "The History of Liberty"

Chautauqua Institution and Colonial Williamsburg are joining to present a series of programs on the theme of “The History of Liberty,” during week nine of the Chautauqua season (August 24-28).

Chautauqua, in partnership with Colonial Williamsburg, will examine the vision of our nation’s founders and their concept of liberty in relation to slavery and religion. The week begins with an appraisal of the canon of thought on the history of liberty by classicist and former Cornell University President Dr. Hunter Rawlings. Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Professor Gordon Wood will speak on liberty and the American Revolution, and Thomas Jefferson and the Marquis de Lafayette will discuss race and liberty in a presentation moderated by Jim Lehrer. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy will consider liberty and the role of law and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has been invited to present his views on liberty in an international setting. An afternoon lecture series will address the history of religious liberty and the First Amendment and will feature Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, George Mason and Baptist preachers Gowan Pamphlet and Lewis Craig in conversations with religious history scholars, Charles Haynes and Oliver “Buzz” Thomas. Other special guests include David McCullough and recent National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winner Annette Gordon-Reed.

According to Chautauqua’s Director of Education, Sherra Babcock, the partnership with Colonial Williamsburg will help to provide depth to the issues and access to resources in their area of expertise that go unmatched. “They are tops in their field, providing an understanding of the complexity of the issues and the complexities of presenting those issues. Colonial Williamsburg is the resource for understanding the roots of American History,” said Babcock.

Colin Campbell, president and CEO of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, was introduced to Chautauqua when he lectured on the “Obligations of Citizenship” during the 2006 season. “I became aware through that experience and the conversations that followed of the richness of the programming and the very impressive engagement of the audience,” said Campbell. “It was clear to me that the subject of the history of liberty would be of substantial interest to such a group. It’s a great opportunity to bring together two organizations that share values, which attract a similar audience that cares about subjects of this kind.”

On Chautauqua’s historic Amphitheater stage, the 10:45 a.m. lecture series will include:

  • Monday, August 24. Hunter Rawlings, Classical history professor; President Emeritus, Cornell University. Hunter Rawlings served as president of Cornell University from 1995-2003. At the conclusion of his presidency he was elected president emeritus and began serving as a full-time professor in Cornell's Departments of Classics and History where he teaches courses in Periclean Athens, Greek philosophy & rhetoric, and Greek history and historiography.

    Rawlings graduated from Haverford College with honors in classics and received his Ph.D. from Princeton University. His scholarly publications include a book, The Structure of Thucydides' History (Princeton University Press, 1981). After serving as president of the University of Iowa from 1988 to 1995, Rawlings began his appointment as Cornell University’s president.

    A national spokesperson for higher education, he has served as chair of the Ivy Council of Presidents and of the Association of American Universities, and was a member of the American Council on Education board. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and serves on the board of managers of his alma mater, Haverford College, and on the National Advisory Committee of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. He also serves on the boards of the National Humanities Center and the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.

  • Tuesday, August 25. Gordon Wood, Professor emeritus of history, Brown University. Gordon Wood is emeritus professor of history at Brown University where he began teaching in 1969. His areas of expertise include American Colonial history, the American Revolution and the history of the early republic. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of many works, his most recent book is The Purpose of the Past: Reflections on the Uses of History, published earlier this year. Other books include Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders Different (2006), and The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin, which was awarded the Julia Ward Howe Prize by the Boston Authors Club in 2005. Earlier books include The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787, which won the Bancroft Prize and the John H. Dunning Prize in 1970, and The Radicalism of the American Revolution, which won the Pulitzer Prize for History and the Ralph Waldo Emerson Prize in 1993. He has also written several reviews for the New York Review of Books, and The New Republic.

    Wood is frequent and popular guest lecturer at conferences and universities around the country. He served as a consultant to the National Constitution Center and to the U.S. Capitol renovation and continues to serve on the board of trustees for Colonial Williamsburg. He received his B.A. from Tufts University and his Ph.D. from Harvard University and serves as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.

  • Wednesday, August 26. Jim Lehrer. In conversation with Colonial Williamsburg actor-interpreters portraying Thomas Jefferson and the Marquis de Lafayette. Jim Lehrer serves as executive editor and anchor of "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," the Emmy Award-winning PBS news show. He has also served as a frequent moderator of nationally televised presidential debates in the last five presidential elections. Trained as a journalist, Lehrer worked as a newspaper reporter before his long career in public television. His long-term partnership with Robert MacNeil began in 1973 when they teamed up to provide continuous live coverage of the Senate Watergate hearings, broadcast on PBS.

    Following that Emmy-winning collaboration, Lehrer was the solo anchor for PBS coverage of the House Judiciary Committee's impeachment inquiry of Richard Nixon. In October 1975, the half-hour "Robert MacNeil Report," with Jim Lehrer as the Washington correspondent, premiered on Thirteen/WNET New York. Over the next seven years, "The MacNeil/Lehrer Report" (as it was renamed in 1976) won more than 30 awards for journalistic excellence. In 1983, Lehrer and MacNeil launched "The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour." The 1995-96 season marked the 20th year of their journalistic odyssey, as well as MacNeil's departure and Lehrer's stewardship of the program in its current incarnation.

    Lehrer has been honored with numerous awards for journalism, including the 1999 National Humanities Medal, presented by President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. Also in 1999, Lehrer was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame with MacNeil. He has won two Emmys, the Fred Friendly First Amendment Award, and the George Foster Peabody Broadcast Award among many others.

  • Thursday, August 27. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. Anthony M. Kennedy was nominated by President Ronald Reagan and took his seat as associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States on Feb. 18, 1988. He received his B.A. from Stanford University and the London School of Economics, and his LL.B. from Harvard Law School. He was in private practice in San Francisco, Calif., from 1961 to 1963, as well as in Sacramento, Calif., from 1963 to 1975. From 1965 to 1988, he was a professor of constitutional law at the McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific.

    Kennedy has served in numerous positions during his career, including a member of the California Army National Guard in 1961, the board of the Federal Judicial Center from 1987 to 1988, and two committees of the Judicial Conference of the United States: the Advisory Panel on Financial Disclosure Reports and Judicial Activities, subsequently renamed the Advisory Committee on Codes of Conduct, from 1979 to 1987, and the Committee on Pacific Territories from 1979 to 1990, which he chaired from 1982 to 1990. He was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 1975.

    The Chautauqua Institution is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to lifelong learning. Based on the four pillars of Art, Education, Religion and Recreation, Chautauqua’s programs aim to renew the spirit, stimulate the mind, value the arts, and promote physical well-being. It has performance venues, hotel, golf, tennis and educational and recreational facilities.

    For nine weeks each year, from late June through late August, the Institution offers a rich blend of arts, a variety of programming and recreational activities. Its educational mission is continued during the rest of the year with programs for older adults such as Elderhostels and other learning opportunities. More information is available at

    Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Within the restored and reconstructed buildings, historic interpreters, attired as colonial men and women from slaves to shopkeepers to soldiers, relate stories of colonial Virginia society and culture – stories of our journey to become Americans – while historic trades people research, demonstrate and preserve the 18th-century world of work and industry. As Colonial Williamsburg interprets life in the time of the American Revolution guests interact with history through “Revolutionary City®” – a dramatic live street theater presentation.

    Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at

    Media Contact:
    Tom Shrout
    (757) 220-7265

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