Chautauqua coming to town!


Teddy Roosevelt, among the host of characters bringing living history to Hamilton for the 2016 Ohio Chautauqua

Some good news: Hamilton has been selected as one of four cities to host next year’s Ohio Chautauqua! Fran Tiburzio of the Ohio Humanities Council describes this week-long event as “a traveling living history program,” featuring “fun hands-on workshops for kids and adult programs like lectures in different venues throughout the community.” Evening programs will be hosted on the Miami Hamilton campus, with additional events on other sites. Final dates have yet to be confirmed, but for more details and history of the Chautauqua movement, see Richard O Jones’ excellent coverage:

Teddy Roosevelt to Visit Hamilton

A Noon Stroll Down the Lane

Jim meets the audience following last night's talk

Jim meets the audience following last night’s talk

Last night we concluded our spring season Public Enemies: Hamilton’s Little Chicago Era & Its Consequences. It was great to see so many faces, new and old, crowding the Parrish Auditorium for Jim Blount’s spellbinding exploration of Hamilton in the age of rum runners and speakeasies. The Colligan History Project returns in September with another exciting season of events (about which, watch this space!) but meanwhile history enthusiasts need not despair.

Over summer we’ll keep you posted of historical goings-on in Butler County via our website and Facebook. One such event comes to our attention via the excellent HEY! Hamilton! website (well worth a look if you’re not yet familiar). Former city mayor and local history enthusiast Tom Nye will be leading free guided tour of Hamilton’s Dayton Lane Historic District, meeting Friday May 15 at noon (see link below):

“Hamilton’s Little Chicago Era and its Consequences”

Jim Blount, City of Hamilton Historian

Wednesday May 6, 7.30 pm, Parrish Auditorium, Miami University Hamilton

Life in Hamilton, Ohio during the 1920s and 1930s was marked by the ordinary daily activities of a thriving American industrial community, by transformations in the national economy, by a constitutional prohibition on importing, producing, transporting and selling alcoholic drink, and by criminal activity. Today this era is so vividly recalled in community lore and local history that it has its own name, “Little Chicago.” .

City of Hamilton Historian Jim Blount shares his longBlountPortraittime interest in the 1919-1933 “dry” years of the Prohibition era, an interest that began in his childhood and has continued at least six decades. What led to branding Hamilton “Little Chicago”? Was it an accurate brand or an exaggeration? Why has this label endured for more than eight decades? Can we separate fact from fiction in local history?

Following Mr. Blount’s presentation, a documentary video by Craig Rouse, A Colligan Retrospective, 2000-2015, will feature extraordinary clips from the first fifteen years of the Colligan History Project and comments by many who made it possible.

  • Free public event
  • Please join us for a reception and book signing on the stage of Parrish Auditorium following the lecture.

Dillinger on Trial: A Living History Event

Jeremy Meier interprets the notorious and charismatic bank robber who famously claimed, “These few dollars you lose here today are going to buy you stories to tell your children and great-grandchildren. This could be one of the big moments in your life; don’t make it your last!”

Jeremy Meier, Associate Professor of Theater, Owens Community College

Tues. April 21 @ 7.30 pm, Wilks Conference Center

John Dillinger faced the media several times during his February 1934 incarceration. His later jailbreak from Crown Point, Indiana thrust Americans into a frenzy of speculation about his whereabouts, plans and thoughts. What if John Dillinger had an opportunity to face the public, this time as a free man? What would people have asked him? And what might Dillinger have said?

  • Free public event
  • Reception to follow

Dillinger’s Wild Ride

Elliott J. Gorn

Joseph A. Gagliano Chair in American Urban History, Loyola University Chicago

Thursday April 9, 7.30 pm, Wilks Conference Center, Miami University Hamilton

Minolta DSCBetween the summers of 1933 and 1934 John Dillinger became one of the most famous men in America. He did it by robbing banks and breaking out of prisons, until finally federal agents gunned him down on the streets of Chicago. We’ll explore why Dillinger captured America’s imagination back then, and why he still haunts us today.

  • Free public event
  • Reception to follow

Hollywood Hoods

Richard O Jones, True Crime Historian.

All Showtimes 7pm
Miami Hamilton Downtown
221 High Street
Robinson-Schwenn Buildingunnamed

Join true crime author Richard O Jones and the Colligan History Project once more as we continue “Hollywood Hoods,” our exploration of Film Noir from the era of Cagney and Dillinger!

  • Coming soon …

Roaring Twenties (1939) March 10
104 minutes
This is the last of three films James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart made together. The rise and fall of their bootlegging characters coincides with the passage and repeal of the 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act.

Dillinger (1945)
March 17
70 minutes, Lawrence Tierney
The first movie about the infamous bank robber was banned in Chicago and other cities where John Dillinger actually operated. Although it was a low-budget B-picture using newsreel footage and out-takes from other films, it proved so popular that it earned over $4 million ($52 million today) from a $65,000 budget.

Hollywood Hoods: “The Public Enemy” (1931)

Hosted by Richard O Jones, True Crime Historian

Tuesday March 3, 7 pm

Miami Hamilton Downtown, 221 High Street

In addition to the rise of organized crime in America, the Prohibition Era is also responsible for spawning the gangster film genre. Our “Hollywood Hoods” series explores three early gangster genre hits and discusses their foundation in reality. Each event includes an introduction by True Crime Historian Richard O Jones and a post-screening discussion of themes, motifs and impacts.

Our first featured film is 1931 classic The Public Enemy (83 mins), starring James Cagney.The Public Enemy poster copy (1)

Although he rose to prominence as a song and dance man and starred in many romantic comedies, James Cagney came to typify Hollywood’s American gangster. The Public Enemy is the film that started it. Made from an unpublished novel by two of Al Capone’s thugs, the characters are based on real people.

  • free, public event
  • refreshments provided!