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. Inspired by Earhart's books: 20 Hrs., 40 Mins. (1928); The Fun of It (1932) and Last Flight (1937, posthumous).
Born into wealth during America's Gilded Age, Eleanor Roosevelt grew from a shy, homely orphan into a confident, driven woman known for championing progressive causes and the rights of man. Drawn from Eleanor's own writings, this program is set in 1945 as Eleanor grapples with the question of whether or not to accept an invitation to serve on the American delegation to the new United Nations. Over tea, she shares stories of her childhood, her courtship and marriage to Franklin D. Roosevelt, her volunteer work during World War I, FDR's bout with polio, the White House years, World War II, and FDR's death. As she speaks, she reveals the warm, honest, and passionate American First Lady and stateswoman she was. Inspired by her books, especially The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt.
Few actresses in the history of film can rival Bette Davis for longevity and sheer public appeal. In a career that stretched from 1930 to 1988, she appeared in such classics as Jezebel, Dark Victory, Now Voyager and All About Eve. By 1942, she was the highest paid woman in American and had earned two Academy Awards. She also created new kinds of film heroines: strong women 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. This witty, sharp portrayal reveals Davis not only as a riveting personality, but as the ultimate star in the golden age of Hollywood. Inspired by the book Dark Victory (Ed Sikov, 2008).
Titanic Stewardess Violet Jessop
Stewardess Violet Jessop survived the sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912 and then, just four years later, the sinking of the HMHS 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. Inspired by the book Titanic Survivor (Violet Jessop, ed. John Maxtone-Graham, 1998).
Below Stairs: 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.
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. Inspired by the books Bertha Honore Palmer (Timothy Long and Rosemary Adams, 2009) and Silhouette in Diamonds: The Life of Mrs. Potter Palmer (Ishbel Ross, 1960).
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. Inspired by Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy (Caroline Kennedy and Michael Beschloss, 2011) and America's Queen: The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (Sarah Bradford, 2001).
If Mary Todd Lincoln and Jacqueline Kennedy met, what would they discuss? Listen as Laura Keyes and Leslie Goddard bring Mrs. Lincoln and Mrs. Kennedy to life in an imagined meeting at the Smithsonian Museum’s First Ladies exhibition. Mrs. Lincoln and Mrs. Kennedy reminisce about living in the White House, negotiating the role of First Lady, and the challenges they endured after their husbands’ deaths. Laura Keyes (who portrays Mrs. Lincoln) and Leslie Goddard (who portrays Mrs. Kennedy) both have extensive experience in portraying these historic women.