An Awesometalk With Kate Clifford Larson, PhD and Author

April 27, 2011: Barry Cauchon

Kate Clifford Larson, PhD

Click on the Link below:

Kate Clifford Larson INTERVIEW 5-Apr-11

Dr. Kate Clifford Larson is an historian, lecturer and award winning author who has written biographical books on two well known 19th century women. She earned a PhD in History from the University of New Hampshire and also holds a B.A. in Economics and History from Simmons College (1980); an M.B.A. from Northeastern University (1986); and an M.A. from Simmons College (1995).

“Bound For The Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of An American Hero” (Ballantine/One World 2004) is Kate’s first book and was the published version of her doctoral dissertation from the University of New Hampshire. It celebrates the life and memory of Harriet Tubman, American slave and Underground Railroad guide (actively participating in 13 trips to help free slaves from the south).

Kate hosts a great website on Harriet Tubman at: http://www.harriettubmanbiography.com/.

“The Assassin’s Accomplice: Mary Surratt and the Plot to Kill Abraham Lincoln” (Basic Books, June 2008) is Kate’s second book covering the life of Mary E. Surratt and her involvement in the Lincoln assassination conspiracy. Where Mary Surratt is concerned, Kate is one of several experts who answer questions on a blog hosted by The American Film Company, the producer of the film The Conspirator (2011) directed by Robert Redford.

http://www.theamericanfilmcompany.com/talk/historian/kate-clifford-larson/

Currently, Kate is working on her third book, “Rosemary: An Interrupted Life,” a biography of Rosemary Kennedy, the severely mentally challenged sister of President John F. Kennedy (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, release date late 2011). 

Kate and I first met at Logan Airport in Boston while I was traveling on my way to speak at the Surratt House Museum 2011 Conference in Maryland in mid-March 2011. What started out as a one hour lunch turned into almost a 3-1/2 hour discussion. We had a blast…and I almost missed my flight.

Kate has a warm, light-hearted and fun loving personality. You will truly enjoy our chat just as much as I did.

Enjoy.

Best

Barry

outreach@awesometalks.com

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Upcoming Interviews on An Awesometalk With…

March 9, 2011: Barry Cauchon

I am starting my spring preparations for new interviews for this season. Randal Berry did a great job in my last one.

Next week, I’ll be meeting with Kate Clifford Larson in Boston as I head down to Washington for the Surratt Society conference. Kate is an historian, Ph.D. and writer who teaches at  both Simmons College and Wheelock College in Boston. She is the author of  two books: The Assassin’s Accomplice: Mary Surratt and the Plot to Kill Abraham Lincoln and Bound For the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero.

I hope to do an interview with Kate sometime in late March/early April.

Beyond that, I’ll be speaking with numerous people at the Surratt Society Conference and am sure I will gather some great folks to interview while there. Stay tuned for a list of upcoming ‘interviewees’ after my return.

If you have a unique story to share, I’m always happy to hear from you as well.

OPPORTUNITY FOR STUDENTS AND TEACHERS

I am looking for students and teachers who would like to participate in An Awesometalk With. If you have an interesting story to tell or are involved in history (how do you teach it or do you know someone local who adds great value to your local history), I’d like to hear from you. As this blog is worldwide, I want to hear and share interesting history-based stories from around the world. You know your community better than anyone, so share it.

Suggested ideas: Teachers: Perhaps you have a unique way of teaching your students history or have a special class project that always works with your students. Perhaps you bring in guest speakers or take field trips. The idea here is to share your creative approaches with my readers (many of which are other teachers and students). Everyone has a story to tell. Let us hear yours.

Students: What interests you about history? What kind of class projects and teaching methods do you get the most enjoyment out of? How do you research? Do you have experts you can talk to?  What was the best project/historical subject you’ve ever studied? What is your favorite historical event or period to study? Tell me about a teacher or person that really inspires you and why.

Again, the key here is to share something different and unique with the followers of A Little Touch of History. If your story is chosen to be shared in An Awesometalk With, I will interview you in a recorded 5-10 minute segment and post it here for the world to see and hear.

Don’t be shy. Share your stories.

Please send your suggestions and stories to my email at outreach@awesometalks.com.

Best

Barry

outreach@awesometalks.com

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An Awesometalk With JOHN ELLIOTT, Co-Author “Inside the Walls: The Final Days of the Lincoln Conspirators”

June 12, 2010: Barry Cauchon

LINK TO AUDIO INTERVIEW: An Awesometalk With John Elliott 02-Jun-10

Running Time: 21:30

John Elliott is my friend, researcher, writer and co-author of our upcoming book called Inside the Walls: The Final Days of the Lincoln Conspirators. I had a chance to chat with John on June 02, 2010 and record this interview for you.

John lives in San Antonio, Texas with his wife and son. He has been a student of the Lincoln assassination since grade school and has been actively researching the subject throughout the years. We met through this blog in April, 2009 and found we had very similar interests in the Old Arsenal Penitentiary and the Lincoln conspiracy. As our friendship grew we found that we both developed a mutual respect for each other’s ability to continuously find cool stuff about this subject. It was great to make a discovery and then share it with someone who could truly appreciate its significance. Our partnership flourished. So on Saturday, September 19, 2009, I called John up and asked if he would be interested in co-authoring the book I had been working on. I had been focusing on the forensic study of the Alexander Gardner conspirator execution photographs and I knew that John could add so much more to the story. To my delight, John graciously accepted and we began working on the project.

In March of 2010, John and I presented a prototype of the book to a few select and trusted senior researchers at the Surratt Society Assassination Conference in Clinton, MD. We were blown away by the positive response we received. As well, we were invited by Laurie Verge to present our work at the 2011 conference next year (March, 2011).

As I was writing the intro to this interview, I went back and read the first email that John wrote me after my phone call to him in September. He sent it to me two days later on Monday, September 21 and he already had ideas for the book, including the name, which we have stuck with to this day “Inside the Walls: The Final Days of the Lincoln Conspirators”.

In part of that email he also wrote the following:

“The title is just a suggestion. Barry, I appreciate you bringing me on board to co-author but I’m still trying to figure out a way to earn my keep on this project”.

Typical of John. When you read our book, and listen to this interview, you will see exactly what he has been able to offer. Great research, cool discoveries and a great collaboration. John, I’m proud of the work you and I have done on this project and am equally proud to call you my friend.

To all my readers, please enjoy John’s interview.

Best

Barry

outreach@awesometalks.com

“An Awesometalk With” BETTY OWNSBEY, author of Alias Paine, the Lewis Powell biography

May 02, 2010: Barry Cauchon

LINK TO INTERVIEW: An Awesometalk With Betty Ownsbey 08-Mar-10

Running Time: 35:00

I am really pleased to present my interview with Betty Ownsbey, historian, researcher and author of ‘Alias Paine’, the biography of Lewis Powell, Lincoln assassination conspirator who was tried, found guilty and hanged on July 7, 1865.

Betty lives in Richmond, Virginia. I grew up in nearby Hampton, so I feel a connection to Betty as a fellow Viriginian. I found her to be charming, witty and passionate about the Lincoln assassination.  She is full of life and you will get pumped up just listening to her.

Our interview covered the following subjects:

  • Frustrations in research
  • The discovery of the Hartranft Letterbook
  • Lewis Powell, his family and history
  • Sharing and living history
  • Horses and the Civil War riding style and how it affected John Wilkes Booth escape from Ford’s Theatre

The red roan is the type of horse that David Herold rode during his escape with John Wilkes Booth. Herold's horse's name was Charlie.

  • Lewis Powell’s skull
  • Penny Dreadfuls

I hope you enjoy the interview.

Best

Barry

outreach@awesometalks.com

UPCOMING POSTINGS FOR ‘A LITTLE TOUCH OF HISTORY’

April 25, 2010: Barry Cauchon

Here is my proposed schedule for the next few weeks on “A Little Touch of History”.  Enjoy.

  • April 26 to 30STATE YOUR CASE (No. 2) – John Elliott: “When did Booth break his leg”?
  • May 1 — May birthdays for Lincoln Friends and Foes
  • May 2 to 8AN AWESOMETALK WITH Betty Ownsbey, author “Alias Paine”, the Lewis Powell biography 
  • May 9 — Open
  • May 10 to 14STATE YOUR CASE (No. 3) – Angela Smythe “Has He Been Hiding in Plain Sight? John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays”
  • May 15 — Open
  • May 16 to 22AN AWESOMETALK WITH G.C. Rivera, the Unique and Surprising Mr. P.

Note: Schedule may change without notice.

On a separate note, I had planned to interview Gloria Swift, the museum curator at Ford’s Theatre. However, Laurie Verge has informed me that Gloria has now taken a position with Fort Pulaski in Savannah, Georgia. I met Gloria back in March and she is a wonderful person. I truly wish her well in her new posting at Fort Pulaski.

Best

Barry

outreach@awesometalks.com

“An Awesometalk With” DR. EDWARD STEERS, JR. – historian & author

For full interview, click link below (running time 46:20)

Dr. Edward Steers Jr Interview 08-Mar-10

or click Part 1 – 4 below for specific sections of the interview.

Part 1 – E. Steers Interview – Intro & Lincoln Assassination Encyclopedia 13min30sec

Part 2 – E. Steers Interview – WWII Fiction Novels 6min56sec

Part 3 – E. Steers Interview – Great Historical Hoaxes 16min45sec

Part 4 – E. Steers Interview – Research, Science, History & Writing 9min30sec


INTERVIEW: DR. EDWARD STEERS, JR.

by Barry Cauchon

I am pleased to present my interview with Dr. Edward Steers, Jr., prominent Lincoln Assassination author, historian and researcher. We discuss his two latest books, “The Lincoln Assassination Encyclopedia” and his first fictional novel, a WWII drama called “We’ll Meet Again: A Story of Love and Intrigue in the Midst of War.” This novel reflects his interest in the subject of WWII, having previously published the non-fiction book “Don’t You Know There’s a War On?”

Our interview also covers another favorite subject of Dr. Steers, that being the great historical hoaxes perpetrated on the world along with some of the ridiculous stories and conspiracy theories put forth over the years. Dr. Steers covers hoaxes such as the Piltdown Man, Mark Hofmann and the Oath of a Freeman, the Hitler Diaries, the faked transcript of a phone call from Churchill to FDR warning of the imminent attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese, and the hoax of The Man Who Never Was!

The Piltdown Man hoax

Mark Hofmann and the Oath of a Freeman hoax

The Hitler Diaries hoax

The phone call transcript from Churchill to FDR warning him that the Japanese were about to attack Pearl Harbor...hoax

... and the ridiculous!

Finally, we discuss the subject of research, how it has changed over the years and what experts require to take new research seriously.

If you would like to learn more about Dr. Steers and read more about the books he has authored, please follow this link to www.edsteers.com or type in ed steers author into your favorite search engine.

Enjoy.

Best

Barry

outreach@awesometalks.com

“AN AWESOMETALK WITH” 2008-2009 INTERVIEW LINKS

March 4, 2010: Barry Cauchon

Here is the list of the ten 2008-2009 “An Awesometalk With” interviews that I’ve conducted to date. If you never had a chance to read any of these, this would be a good time to catch up before the 2010 season is launched. Enjoy. Barry

1. An Awesometalk With HAROLD HOLZER, Lincoln Scholar (posted November 10, 2008)

https://awesometalks.wordpress.com/2008/11/10/an-awesometalk-with-harold-holzer-lincoln-scholar/

2. An Awesometalk With DR. THOMAS SCHWARTZ, Illinois State Historian (posted December 08, 2008)

https://awesometalks.wordpress.com/2008/12/08/an-awesometalk-with-dr-thomas-schwartz-illinois-state-historian/

 3. An Awesometalk With ROBERT KRAUSS, 509th Composite Group Historian (posted December 16, 2008)

https://awesometalks.wordpress.com/2008/12/16/an-awesometalk-with-robert-krauss-509th-composite-group-historian/

 4. An Awesometalk With ROGER NORTON, Webmaster of the Abraham Lincoln Research Site (posted December 30, 2008)

 https://awesometalks.wordpress.com/2008/12/30/an-awesometalk-with-roger-norton-webmaster-of-the-abraham-lincoln-research-site/

5. An Awesometalk With LAURA FRANCES KEYES, Mary Todd Lincoln performer (posted January 26, 2009)

https://awesometalks.wordpress.com/2009/01/26/an-awesometalk-with-laura-frances-keyes-mary-todd-lincoln-performer/

6. An Awesometalk With GEORGE HAUCK, WWII Veteran & Ex-Prisoner of  War (posted March 30, 2009)

https://awesometalks.wordpress.com/2009/03/31/an-awesometalk-with-george-hauck-wwii-veteran-and-ex-prisoner-of-war/

7. An Awesometalk With ED ISAACS, Owner of Civil War Diary from Soldier Who Guarded the Lincoln Conspirators  (posted April 1o, 2009)

https://awesometalks.wordpress.com/2009/04/10/an-awesometalk-with-ed-isaacs-owner-of-civil-war-diary-from-soldier-who-guarded-the-lincoln-conspirators/

 8. An Awesometalk With ANDREW JAMPOLER, author of “The Last Lincoln Conspirator: John Surratt’s Flight from the Gallows” (posted April 24, 2009)

https://awesometalks.wordpress.com/2009/04/24/an-awesometalk-with-andrew-jampoler-author-and-ex-us-navy-commander/

 9. An Awesometalk With NIKAELA ZIMMERMAN, Kansas State Historical Society: Owners of the Lincoln Conspirators Gallows Crossbeam (posted June 24, 2009)

https://awesometalks.wordpress.com/2009/06/24/an-awesometalk-with-nikaela-zimmerman-assistant-registrarconservation-technologist-kansas-state-historical-society/

 10. An Awesometalk With CHARLENE HENDERSON, The 17th Regiment CVI Gravesite Location Project (posted November 02, 2009)

https://awesometalks.wordpress.com/2009/11/02/the-17th-regiment-cvi-gravesite-location-project/

Best

Barry

outreach@awesometalks.com

 

“An Awesometalk With” ROGER NORTON, Webmaster of the ‘Abraham Lincoln Research Site’

Welcome to another edition of “An Awesometalk With”. It’s my pleasure to introduce you to Mr. Roger Norton, the creator and Webmaster of the Abraham Lincoln Research Site website. Mr. Norton contacted me in early December, 2008 in reference to an interview I did with Dr. Thomas Schwartz (see “An Awesometalk With” DR. THOMAS SCHWARTZ, Illinois State Historian). It turns out that Dr. Schwartz was a former student of Mr. Norton’s. It’s a small world.

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I can tell you that I genuinely felt honored by his email as I am a fan of Mr. Norton’s website. I believe it is one of the best sites on Abraham Lincoln online today.

As you will read, Mr. Norton considers his site ideal for students, teachers, families and the general public. It contains accurate and easy to understand information, and he genuinely enjoys sharing it with anyone interested in President Lincoln, his family and their times.

I hope you enjoy our chat.

Best

Barry.

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NOTE: This interview was constructed from several written correspondence between Mr. Norton and myself over the course of several weeks.

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December 30, 2008

BC: Welcome Mr. Norton. It’s nice to be able to share your thoughts with my readers today. I’d like to begin by asking how your website got started.

RN: I taught American history at Herrick Middle School in Downers Grove, Illinois, from 1966 – 1994. When I retired from teaching, I looked for a way of staying in education without being in a classroom. In 1996 I created a website on the Lincoln assassination. Within a short period of time, the site was enlarged with stories about Lincoln’s life. Then I added a site on Mary Todd Lincoln. The entire website was named the Abraham Lincoln Research Site, and I invited people to e-mail me with their questions concerning the 16th president, his assassination, and his family.

BC: It really is a wonderful research site. And being that it just celebrated its 12th birthday on December 29, 2008; I imagine that it is still going strong and is as popular as ever?

RN: After a few years, search engines began listing my Lincoln pages near the top, and the number of visitors rose dramatically. The site, which is currently composed of 87 different Lincoln-related topics, is averaging about 1.4 million visitors a year.

BC: Wow. I had no idea that you were generating those kinds of site visit numbers. That’s awesome!

RN: It will celebrate its 12 millionth visitor (since 1996) early in 2009. February is always the busiest month. The web pages have a counter at the bottom which is a link to the site’s statistics.

It’s my estimation that I have replied to over 40,000 Lincoln-related e-mails since 1996. About half of these e-mails come from students, and about 10 percent come from overseas. Lincoln is especially popular in Europe and India.

BC: I understand that you had to change you web address earlier this fall. Did you lose readership because of this? And what caused the problem?

RN: Barry, right now my visitors are WAY down from a year ago because one of my web servers quit the business on October 31, and I had to switch about 2/3 of my site to my other server (and thus have new URL’s). I have currently lost many of my good placements in Google, Yahoo, etc. Right now I am averaging about 1,564 visitors a day; a year ago in December it was about 3,100 a day. Over the next few weeks [the 2008 holiday season], the number will grow considerably lower because schools are not in session. Then it will pick up again in January.

BC: What a shame about your loss of search engine placement. I know that it takes a long time to build up that kind of placement and get into the upper listings with the major search engines.  

RN: I am hoping that I will regain my Google placements within the next several months, but I know it may be a year or more before my number of visitors returns to the levels it used to be before the URL changes. All my stats are at http://www.sitemeter.com/?a=stats&s=mrsosa66.

BC: Mr. Norton, can you tell us a little bit about your personal history and how you first got interested in Lincoln?

RN: I was born September 19, 1943, in Oak Park, Illinois, and graduated from Oak Park and River Forest High School. I attended Denison University in Granville, Ohio, and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History. I then attended Indiana University where I received a Master of Science in Education degree.

As a youngster growing up in Illinois my early interest in Abraham Lincoln came from the stories told by my grade school teachers. In the 1960’s I became particularly interested in Lincoln’s assassination with the publication of a book entitled “Twenty Days” by Dorothy Meserve Kunhardt and Philip B. Kunhardt, Jr.

My interest in the assassination led to my mock trial unit in the classroom.

BC: To clarify, as a teacher, you would have your own students perform the mock trial of the Lincoln conspirators as part of their curriculum?

RN: [Yes.] Each year in December I explained to my classes that we were going to reenact the trial following Lincoln’s assassination. I picked prosecution and defense attorneys before the winter vacation. Each attorney was given a copy of “The Day Lincoln Was Shot” by Jim Bishop. Additionally, the lawyers were given a list of their witnesses and told to prepare testimony for them. The lawyers were advised that the local library had a copy of Benn Pitman’s transcription of the original trial. The lawyers had the entire two-week vacation to prepare their case.

After vacation each class elected a judge, and I picked the witnesses and defendants through volunteers. The jury was thus composed of the shy students who preferred not to take part in the oral simulation. We tried only six defendants [rather than eight]; Michael O’Laughlen and Samuel Arnold were dropped as some eighth graders had problems getting a grasp on those characters. As my classes averaged about 33 students, many of the original witnesses were not used, and in some cases students were required to play more than one role.

After a few preparation days for the witnesses to learn the lines written by the attorneys, we started the trial. In contrast to the actual 1865 trial, the defendants were allowed to take the witness stand. I allowed the trial to go for around ten class periods. Then, after final statements, the jury was excused to vote on the six defendants. Oftentimes the verdicts were different from 1865, particularly in the cases of Mary Surratt and Samuel Mudd. However, the only times Lewis Powell was ever found innocent was when William Bell (William Seward’s butler) did a poor job of testifying.

BC: That is a fascinating school project Mr. Norton. I can’t imagine how beneficial it was for the students. Was this something that you developed yourself, and for how many years did you run this mock trial?

RN: No, when I started teaching another teacher on the staff was doing a mock trial unit, so the idea didn’t originate with me.  For several years I experimented with different trial simulations including the one that followed the Boston Massacre.  Eventually I decided the Lincoln conspiracy trial was my favorite, and over the last 24 years of my teaching career that’s the one that was done in my classroom.

BC:  You also mentioned that some of the outcomes were different from the actual trial. I am particularly interested in knowing what the outcome was for Dr. Mudd. Would you elaborate on that for us?

 

RN: The majority of time Dr. Mudd was found innocent.  But in those days books such as Dr. Edward Steers’ “His Name is Still Mudd” had not been published.  Most Mudd biographies were either neutral or sympathetic towards the doctor.  When my student lawyers researched the case they had trouble finding reasons he might be guilty.  Steers’ book opened a lot of eyes with its persuasive arguments about the doctor’s complicity with Booth.  I would recommend both Steers’ book and Michael Kauffman’s “American Brutus.”  Kauffman takes a different view than Steers, and readers can decide for themselves what they think of Mudd’s guilt or innocence.  Both authors present convincing arguments.  I exchange e-mails with both authors (both of whom have helped me with my website), so I will keep my personal opinion private.

BC: Returning to your current Abraham Lincoln Research Site, where do you produce and maintain it?

RN: I operate on a computer in our den which contains several bookcases holding about 350 books on Lincoln and family. In essence I am a “research librarian” who only deals with one topic. Questions from students are mainly related to research and help for homework. Questions from adults cover a myriad of topics ranging from clergymen seeking a Lincoln quote for a Sunday sermon to travelers wondering why there is a statue of Lincoln in Parliament Square.

BC: I like your site a lot, Mr. Norton, as I can see many people do. Is there a simple formula as to why that is?

RN: I believe the site’s appeal is due to the fact that it is written mainly for students, teachers, families and the general public. Lincoln scholars would find little new by reading my research; my goal has been to bring Lincoln and his legacy to students and the average American.

BC: In case my readers are unfamiliar with your website, I wanted to let them know that all your information is free. This is not a pay-per-view site.

RN: The Abraham Lincoln Research Site is a not-for-profit website. I operate it simply because I enjoy the subject matter and the ego satisfaction of helping people. It has been a truly wonderful retirement experience.

BC: It certainly has been beneficial to untold numbers of students and other researchers. You must be proud?

RN: Lincoln‘s life story is an inspiration for all Americans as his accomplishments and perseverance to succeed in life were phenomenal. The purpose of my website is to share his experiences and character with as many people as possible. I think this is especially important nowadays in a country that is deeply in need of positive role models.

BC: I couldn’t agree with you more Mr. Norton. I want to thank you for sharing your thoughts with my readers and look forward to speaking with you again in the future to see how you and your website are doing.

Thank you.

END

If you would like to visit Mr. Norton’s website please click on either of these attached link.

Abraham Lincoln Research Site    http://rogerjnorton.com/Lincoln2.html 

Best

Barry

 

outreach@awesometalks.com

 

 

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Other posted interviews to date:

 

“An Awesometalk With” Harold Holzer, Lincoln Scholar

(posted on November 10, 2008) 

 

 “An Awesometalk With” Dr. Thomas Schwartz, Illinois State Historian 

(posted on December 08, 2008) 

 

“An Awesometalk With” Robert Krauss, 509th Composite Group Historian 

(posted on December 16, 2008) 

 

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