Portrayals

Leslie Goddard

Amelia Earhart. American aviator Amelia Earhart’s courageous exploits and spirited personality made her an international celebrity. Her dazzling achievements include becoming the first woman to cross the Atlantic ocean by airplane (1928) and the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic (1932). She set numerous speed and altitude records before disappearing mysteriously in 1937 during an attempted around-the-world flight.  This program reviews her upbringing, the records she broke, and her tireless work to promote opportunities for women. Books: 20 Hrs., 40 Min. (1928); The Fun of It (1932) and Last Flight (1937, posthumous), all by Amelia Earhart

Jane Austen and Her Women
Jane Austen has time-travelled to today and agreed to answer the most common question about her life: what did she really think about marriage? While speaking, she refers back to the women in her novels, bringing them to life in monologues from her books as they discuss romance, choice of a spouse and the position of women. Beginning and ending with Elizabeth Bennet, this program introduces eight Austen characters – including Emma Woodhouse, Anne Elliott, Marianne Dashwood, and others – using Austen’s own dry, humorous and sarcastic words.  No previous knowledge of Austen required. 
Books: Sense and Sensibility (1811); Pride and Prejudice (1813); Mansfield Park (1814); Emma (1815); Northanger Abbey (1818, posthumous); Persuasion (1818, posthumous)

Below Stairs: Meet the Kitchen Maid Whose Memoirs Helped Inspired Downton Abbey
What was life really like for the servants who worked below stairs in the era of Downton Abbey?  In this program, British servant Margaret Powell introduces life below stairs in stately English homes in the early 1920s. Based on her best-selling memoir Below Stairs, this program gives a lively look at the work it took to run a wealthy household and the eccentricities often found among employers. Powell's 1968 book was among the inspirations for Downtown Abbey and directly inspired the 1970s series Upstairs, Downstairs. Never out of print in Great Britian, Powell's book was published for the first time in the U.S. in 2012.

Book: Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir That Inspired "Upstairs, Downstairs" and "Downton Abbey" by Margaret Powell (2012)


 Bertha Palmer. Chicago socialite, wife of real estate magnate Potter Palmer, and pace-setting arts patron, Bertha Palmer is best remembered for her Impressionist collection, now at the Art Institute of Chicago. But the glamorous Mrs. Palmer has her own fascinating story. As shrewd as she was stylish, Palmer helped recoup her husband's lost fortune after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. At the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893, she served as hostess to the world. Intelligent and witty, the intriguing Mrs. Palmer still compels attention.

Books: Bertha Honore Palmer by Timothy Long and Rosemary Adams (2009) and Silhouette in diamonds: The life of Mrs. Potter Palmer by Ishbel Ross (1960)


Titanic Stewardess Violet Jessop. Stewardess Violet Jessop survived the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 and then, several years later, the sinking of the Britannic (Titanic’s virtually identical sister ship) during World War I. Clever and articulate, she tells unforgettable stories of the tragedies from the striking viewpoint of a crew member and gives a fascinating glimpse at life behind-the-scenes on the most glamorous luxury liners of their day.

Book: Titanic Survivor by Violet Jessop, edited by John Maxtone-Graham (1998)


Jacqueline Kennedy. It is 1964, and former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy is besieged by sightseers around her house in Georgetown. As she deliberates what to do next, she shares the story of her life in the White House, including her struggle to retain her family’s privacy in the face of media onslaughts, her restoration work, and her attempts to showcase the arts. In a climactic revelation, she recounts her husband’s death and comes to heartfelt decision about how to begin a new life for herself and her children.

Books: Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy by Caroline Kennedy and Michael Beschloss (2011) and America's Queen: The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis by Sarah Bradford (2001)



Civil War Nurse Clara Barton. Clara Barton earned fame as the first woman to serve as a nurse on the front lines of a battlefield. This first-person program introduces Barton as a tireless worker who faced remarkable challenges in her quest to care for wounded soldiers. Learn about the medical conditions during the American Civil War and about the courage required for a woman who dared to brave the war’s front lines.

Book: Woman of Valor: Clara Barton and the Civil War by Stephen B. Oates (1995)

Estee Lauder. Estee Lauder (born Josephine Esther Menzer) launched her a beauty company using skin creams developed by her chemist uncle. She targeted beauty salons and high-end stores, eventually breaking into Saks Fifth Avenue. Her Youth-Dew beauty oil launched Estee Lauder, Inc., and her marketing innovations helped her company become a billion-dollar-a-year business. This program introduces the woman whose extraordinary sales ability, inventive marketing and tireless pursuit of excellence made her America’s wealthiest self-made woman.
Book: 
Estee: A Success Story by Estee Lauder (1986)


Available November 2014:  Mary Pickford.
She was "America's Sweetheart" and one of the most powerful women in early silent films. Best remembered for her long blonde curls and portrayal of young girls, Pickford was a bigger box office draw tan any of her silent film contemporaries. Crowds mobbed her wherever she went. She was also an astute mogul, becoming the first woman to co-own a studio, negotiate contracts worth millions, and produce some of the best films of her era. This program explores Pickford's remarkable career as well as her unique legacy as a major film executive and, in the words of one biographer, "the woman who made Hollywood."

Available September 2014:   Bette Davis. Few actresses in the history of film rival Bette Davis's longevity and appeal. In a career stretching from 1930 to 1988, she appeared in such classics as Jezebel, Dark Victory, Now, Voyager, The Letter and All About Eve. By 1942, she was the highest paid woman in America and had two Academy Awards. She also created a new kind of film heroine, portraying strong woman grappling with power, romance, luxury and even violence. She also earned a reputation for being difficult to work with and her personal life was as tempestuous as her life onscreen. Studio mogul Jack Warner called her "an explosive little broad with a sharp left." This witty, sharp portrayal reveals Davis not only as a riveting personality, but as the ultimate star in the golden age of Hollywood.

No program is ever completely retired! If you're interested in a program not listed here, just contact me.

Requirements for a
ny first-person program:
  • Table for approx. 20-25 artifacts
  • Microphone (lapel preferred), if desired by presenter
For publicity photographs, click HERE.
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