Fall Book Talks

The U.S. Capitol Historical Society is pleased to present three book talks in September and October. Authors will discuss books about Congress and political life rooted in three different centuries.

Free and open to the public! All three brown bag lectures will be held in Ketchum Hall at 200 Maryland Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002 on Wednesdays from noon to 1 pm.



Charles Calhoun
Charles Calhoun
September 18: The Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant​ with Charles W. Calhoun, Thomas Harriot Distinguished professor of history, emeritus, East Carolina University

Charles W. Calhoun is Thomas Harriot Distinguished Professor of History emeritus at East Carolina University, where he was a professor of history from 1989 to 2014. His most recent book is The Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant (2017). He has written extensively on the late nineteenth century and the Gilded Age, including From Bloody Shirt to Full Dinner Pail: The Transformation of Politics and Governance in the Gilded Age (2010).

Calhoun’s talk will focus on the changing historical reputation of Grant as president, his leadership style in the White House–including his relations with Congress–and major public issues he confronted as president and how he dealt with them.



September 25: The Insurgent Delegate: Selected Letters and Other Writings of George Thatcher

with William C. diGiacomantonio, chief historian, United States Capitol Historical Society

William diGiacomantonio currently serves as the chief historian of the U.S. Capitol Historical Society. Before joining USCHS, he spent most of his career on the editorial team that recently completed the 22-volume Documentary History of the First Federal Congress.

George Thatcher served as a U.S. representative from Maine throughout the Federalist Era (1789-1801)—the most critical and formative period of American constitutional history. A moderate on most political issues, the Cape Cod native and Harvard-educated lawyer proved a maverick in matters relating to education, the expansion of the slave interest, the rise of Unitarianism, and the separation of church and state. Written over his forty-year career as a country lawyer, national legislator, and state supreme court justice, the over two hundred letters and miscellaneous writings selected for this edition will appeal to historians, lawyers and legal scholars, teachers, and genealogists as an encyclopedic resource on the Founding generation, and to all readers captivated by the dramatic immediacy and inherent authenticity of personal letters. Following Thatcher’s journey as a New England Federalist, abolitionist, religious dissenter, and pedagogical innovator is to add depth and complexity to our understanding of the early American Republic.



October 2: “The Golden Era at The Washington Post” with Bob Levey, former Washington Post columnist

For 23 years, Bob Levey wrote a daily column, “Bob Levey’s Washington,” for The Washington Post. The column looked at all aspects of life in the nation’s capital. It won major awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Washington Journalism Review. Currently he writes a monthly column for Senior Beacon Newspapers.

Larry Felder, Candidate offers penetrating insights into the contemporary worlds of journalism and politics. The book traces the personal and professional challenges of a career newspaper columnist who decides to leave his comfort zone to pursue a more meaningful calling. Little does he know what lies around the corner.