Announcing our Fall 2015/ Spring 2016 Programs

Dear folks:

The Colligan partners with the Fitton Center for our forthcoming series, Staging the Past

The Colligan partners with the Fitton Center for our forthcoming series, Staging the Past

As summer draws to a close, the Michael J. Colligan History Project is gearing up for another year, presenting two quite different but hugely exciting series of events. Our first series, American Wars & American Life, explores the historical legacies of America’s conflicts, past and present. In addition, the Colligan Project is excited to be partnering with the Mad Anthony Theatre Company at the Fitton Center for Creative Arts to sponsor a series of three plays, each touching on different aspects of American history. In advance of these performances, the Colligan series Staging the Past comprises three original public events, exploring the history that inspired them.

Click below for schedule poster and text description of our forthcoming programs:

Fall 2015-Spring 2016 poster

American Wars & American Life

Staging the Past

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Be an Ohio First Lady for the Night!

Caroline_Harrison_cph.3b20942-275x300Be An Ohio First Lady for the Night: Oxford Community Arts Center is raising funds for a lifesize bronze sculpture of First Lady Caroline Scott Harrison (1832-1892), Oxford native and wife of President Benjamin Harrison. Raffle tickets can be obtained via OCAC or at: First prize is a six course dinner for eight at the Ohio Statehouse (December 19, 2015), featuring a historic menu of dishes served by Ohio’s first ladies!

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