Remembering Jim Blount

blountportrait.jpgSad news this week as we remember Jim Blount. Jim was a longtime friend of the Michael J. Colligan History Project, and namesake of the Jim Blount History Educator Award. His many achievements reflected his unique character and varied career. Jim was proclaimed City of Hamilton Historian in honor of his lifelong interest, research, and writing on the history of his hometown. A former Journal-News editor and Hamilton Schools teacher, Jim volunteered for many years on the Butler County Transportation Improvement District. This summer it was announced that the South Hamilton Crossing, soon to be completed, will be named in his honor.

Our condolences to Jim’s widow Jackie and his family.
Journal-News Obituary

Catching up

A sincere thank you to all who attended the Michael J. Colligan History Project this spring. Our final event of the semester was a welcome return by distinguished writer, historian, and Miami Journalism Professor Jim Tobin (pictured below) on “Polio and the Making of FDR.”

Colligan -Tobin-3.jpg

This was also our 174th program since we began exploring and commemorating a diverse array of historical perspectives in 2000.  During this time we have developed formal partnerships with the City of Hamilton, Fitton Center, Heritage Hall, The Lane Libraries, Smith Library of Regional History, Hamilton Schools, and Miami Hamilton Downtown Center. The Colligan’s distinctive public programing has been made possible through a cooperative funding arrangement between Miami University Regionals and the Michael J. Colligan Fund Committee of the Hamilton Community Foundation. We thank them for this unique support and look forward to announcing further exciting historical programs in the fall and spring of 2017-2018, to be announced soon on this website. In the meantime, we hope you all enjoy a restful and pleasant summer, and encourage you to keep in touch on FaceBook:

Polio & the Making of FDR

James Tobin, Professor of Media, Journalism, & Film, Miami University

Tuesday, April 18, 2017 @ 7.30pm

Harry T. Wilks Conference Center, Miami University Hamilton

james-tobin-1910453The conventional wisdom of recent decades–that Franklin Roosevelt engaged in a massive deception about his disability–is flat wrong. In fact FDR might never have become president at all had it not been for his extraordinary comeback from polio. Award-winning author James Tobin spent 20 years as a reporter and freelance writer, published Ernie Pyle’s War: America’s Eyewitness to World War II in 1997, and The Wright Brothers and the Great Race for Flight in 2003. The Man He Bacame: How FDR Defied Polio to Win the Presidency appeared in 2013.


  • Free, public event
  • Reception to follow

Neepwaantiinki: Partners in Learning. Miami University & the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma

Daryl Baldwin, Director, Myaamia Center, Miami University

Wednesday, March 15 @ 7.30pm

Harry T. Wilks Conference Center, Miami University Hamilton


Daryl Baldwin is a Class of 2016 MacArthur Fellow

Since 1972 the Miami Tribe and Miami University have been partnering to achieve both university and tribal community educational goals. This partnership is unique and has grown considerably over the last 40+ years. Daryl Baldwin, a citizen of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma whose work with the Myaamia Center is a collaborative effort advancing the language and cultural needs of the Myaamia people, will explore many facets of how the tribe and university engage with each other and the resulting impact for both the university and tribal communities.

  • Free public event
  • Reception to follow

Announcing Our Spring 2017 Events!

Baldwin Tobin.jpg

This spring the Michael J. Colligan History Project is excited to welcome two outstanding speakers showcasing the excellence of Miami University research, practice, and scholarship. Join us on March 15 as Daryl Baldwin, 2016 MacArthur Fellow and Director of the Myaamia Center, explores the cultural and educational partnership between Miami University and the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. And join us again on April 18 as we welcome back James Tobin, award-winning author and Miami University Professor of Journalism to learn how FDR defied polio and went on to become President of the United States.

Click below for link to our save-the-date information:

Spring 2017 Colligan Program

All events are free and open to the public.

Remembering Pearl Harbor

Wednesday, December 7 2016, 12-2pm

Harry T. Wilks Conference Center, Miami University Hamilton


The Michael J. Colligan History Project will mark the 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor and honor U.S. veterans of World War II with a unique commemorative event on December 7, 2016.

The event includes a ceremonial commemoration and musical program featuring patriotic and World War Two-era songs. City of Hamilton historian Jim Blount will provide introductory remarks.  An exhibition of World War Two artifacts, military uniforms, and historic posters will be on display, loaned from local collections. Attendees are invited to share World War Two documents and photographs at the event. These can be scanned electronically and will be added to a digital archive on our website.

This collaborative project is supported by the President’s Office of Miami University, Miami University Hamilton, the Miami University Department of Humanities and Creative Arts, and Miami University Regionals Center for Veterans Services.

  • Free public event
  • Reception to follow

Johnny Appleseed’s Westward Journey

William Kerrigan, Cole Distinguished Professor of American History, Muskingum University

Wednesday, November 16 @ 7.30 pm, Parrish Auditorium (note change of venue!)

Johnny_Appleseed_1.jpgThe legend of Johnny Appleseed is based on the life of a real person. Born into a poor Yankee family on the eve of the American Revolution, the young John Chapman headed west in the last years of the 18th century. This talk recovers the life of the “real” Johnny Appleseed, teasing out fact from myth, and revealing the life of an extraordinary individual whose real story is more compelling than the myth that emerged in the years after his death.


  • Free public event in Partnership with the Smith Library of Regional History to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Lane Libraries.
  • Reception to follow.

History as a Source of Strength


David McCullough

Congratulations to David McCullough, 2016 Roesel lecturer and winner of this year’s John E. Dolibois History Prize. His presentation, “History as a Source of Strength,” was co-sponsored by the Michael J. Colligan History Project, The Lane Libraries, and the Hamilton Community Foundation. Marking the 150th anniversary of the Lane Libraries, Mr. McCullough reflected on the importance of history, public education, libraries, and learning in shaping American life through the ages.


Miami University Regionals Dean Cathy Bishop-Clark greets the speaker


l-r: Joe Greenward (Director, The Lane Libraries); David McCullough; Curtis Ellison (Director, Colligan History Project)


Meeting the author

Eisenhower in War and Peace

Susan Eisenhower, consultant and author

Wednesday, September 21 @ 7.30 pm

Harry T. Wilks Conference Center, Miami University Hamilton


Susan Eisenhower

Dwight Eisenhower was Supreme Commander of Allied Forces Europe during the greatest war in history. His strategic leadership during this bloody conflict played a singular role in defeating Nazi power. A two-term president from 1953 to 1961, he led the United States and her allies during the dangerous early years of the Cold War. Susan Eisenhower explores the life and times of this world leader.

  • Free public event
  • Reception and book signing to follow