Hemingway, Fitzgerald, & the Lost (?) Generation

Donald A. Daiker, Miami University Professor Emeritus of English

Thursday May 5 @ 7.30 pm

Fitton Center for Creative Arts


Legendary American authors Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald loved and hated each other from the moment they met in 1925 at the Dingo Bar in Paris. Fitzgerald proved to be the more generous friend but Hemingway the more successful writer, in part thanks to Fitzgerald’s help. Both rejected the “lost generation” tag, but both helped to create, perpetuate, glamorize, and even live it.

  • This presentation is free and open to the public. This lecture provides a historical context to Scott and Hem, a drama about the cost of love, friendship and the price of being a writer, a 1937 conversation between F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway in Hollywood, to be staged at the Fitton Center for Creative Arts, May 12-15.
    • To obtain tickets for the Fitton Center’s staging of Scott and Hem, contact the Fitton Center Box Office at (513) 863-8873.

Announcing the 2016 Jim Blount History Educator Awards

Tuesday April 5, 2016 @ 7.30 pm.

Harry T. Wilks Conference Center, Miami University Hamilton.


The Michael J. Colligan History Project, in cooperation with the Colligan Fund Committee of the Hamilton Community Foundation, presents the Jim Blount History Educator Award to two exemplary history educators — Scott A. Dickerson (Garfield Middle School), and J. Patrick Keating (Badin High School). Miami University Professor James Tobin will speak on “Ernie Pyle and Americans at War.”

  • Free Public Event
  • Reception to Follow



The Beautiful Music All Around Us

Stephen Wade, American folk musician & scholar

April 12, 2016 @ 7.30 pm

Harry T. Wilks Conference Center, Miami University Hamilton

0923-MWADE-Stephen_Wade_PMADWith live music-making, projected images, and spoken narrative, 2013 Grammy nominee Stephen Wade explores the stories behind The Beautiful Music All Around Us: Field Recordings and the American Experience. This exploration of the subjects of his award-winning book features thirteen iconic folksong performances captured on Library of Congress field recordings between 1934 and 1942. In a compellingly narrated multimedia musical performance, Wade weaves the music together with its largely unknown yet surprisingly influential creators, one of them Pete Steele of Hamilton, Ohio.

  • Free public event presented by Miami University Regionals Appalachian Studies
  • Reception and book signing to follow


Henry Ford: Fit to a “T.” A Dramatic Presentation.

Hank Fincken. 

A National Theater Company of One. Indianapolis, Indiana

Tuesday February 9, 7.30 pm

Fitton Center for Creative Arts.


Hank Fincken

In 1932 union vs. management confrontations are on the rise, unemployment rampant, and communism and fascism appear viable. Henry Ford, who put the world on wheels, thinks he has a solution. During this interactive play Henry will talk to car dealers about his past, about the new Ford V-8, and about the future of soybeans. It seems an optimistic moment in a negative time.

  • Reception to follow
  • PLEASE NOTE: this free public event is presented by the Michael J. Colligan History Project as part of Staging the Past: a series of prequels brought to you in association with the Fitton Center for Creative Arts and the Mad Anthony Theatre Company. Join us for this special presentation ahead of Mad Anthony Theatre’s production of Camping With Henry and Tom, February 18-21 at the Fitton Center for Creative Arts. Tickets for the Mad Anthony Theatre Company may be purchased at the Fitton Center for Creative Arts, online at fittoncenter.org, or by calling 513.863.8873.


Looking Forward

Last night concluded another thought-provoking season of the Colligan History Project, as historian Lynn Dumenil discussed “World War I & the Modern American Woman.” Dumenil explored women’s roles in the Great War through a mixture of patriotic and documentary images of the era, together with silent screen representations featuring iconic early Hollywood stars like Mary Pickford and Irene Castle. While Dumenil acknowledged that World War I certainly transformed women’s lives, she argued that its impact was more complex than might be assumed from iconic images of liberated women in service uniforms or factory overalls.

L-r: Dean Mike Pratt; Susan Spellman; Lynn Dumenil; Matthew Smith; Curtis Ellison

L-r: Dean Mike Pratt; Susan Spellman; Lynn Dumenil; Matthew Smith; Curtis Ellison

The Michael J. Colligan History Project returns February 9 2016, with the next installment of our series “Staging the Past.” Legendary living history performer Hank Fincken assumes the persona of automobile mogul Henry Ford in “Henry Ford: Fit to a ‘T'”. This performance is sponsored with the Fitton Center for Creative Arts, and Mad Anthony Theater Company’s performance of “Camping With Henry And Tom.”

Until next time, stay posted for further updates on local historical events, anniversaries, and programs near you!


Matthew Smith

Assistant Director, Michael J. Colligan History Project

World War I & the Modern American Woman

Lynn Dumenil

Lynn Dumenil

Lynn Dumenil

Robert Glass Cleland Professor of American History, Emerita, Occidental College

Tuesday, November 10 @ 7.30 pm, Harry T. Wilks Conference Center

Popular visual imagery of American women during World War I reveals a key issue of early 20th c. women’s history: the rise of the modern “new woman.” World War I did not cause a major transformation in women’s roles or status, but media attention to women who were engaged in war service at home and abroad helped consolidate the perception of a new woman who challenged boundaries that had restricted women’s lives.

  • Free public event
  • Reception to follow

Reconciling & Reuniting the Nation: How Americans Have Remembered the Civil War

Caroline Janney

Professor of History, Purdue University

Wednesday, September 30 @ 7.30 pm, Harry T. Wilks Conference Center

Caroline Janney

Caroline Janney

The process of reuniting and reconciling the nation after the Civil War was a tenuous one. How did the Civil War generation understand the war? What were veterans thinking in those famous photographs of men shaking hands across the rock wall at Gettysburg? What had the war meant to women, and to United States Colored Troops? How did its meanings change in the 20th century? The President of the Society of Civil War Historians explores historical memory.

  • Free public event
  • Reception to follow

Witnessing the War on Terror in American Culture

John E. Bodnar

Distinguished Professor of History, Indiana University

Wednesday, September 9 @ 7.30 pm, Harry T. Wilks Conference Center

John E. Bodnar

John E. Bodnar

Encounters with mass violence produce horrible ruptures in people’s lives and extraordinary efforts to heal them. The trauma and pain caused by the 9/11 attacks and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is revealed in countless memoirs. It highlights tensions between witnesses who insist that tragic losses not be forgotten and massive political projects to erase personal suffering through patriotic narratives and memorials.

  • Free public event
  • Reception to follow

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: http://oxarts.org/Columbusdinner. 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!