Parker Lecture Commitee

John H. Pearson, Jr. Chairperson
John Carson
William Smaras
Paul F. Lappin, Executive Secretary

Ex-Officio

Chancellor, Umass Lowell
Brian Martin
Headmaster, Lowell High School
Rodney M. Elliott, Mayor, City of Lowell

In Cooperation with:

Pollard Memorial Library
Lowell National Historical Park
Umass Lowell and Center for the Arts and Ideas
Whistler House Museum of Art
Lowell Community Health Center
American Textile History Museum
Lowell Celebrates Kerouac
COOL/Cultural Affairs & Special Events

Next Lecture

Wednesday
Aug
12
11:00 am

Airborne Comedians

airborne-comediansDan Foley and Joel Harris are The Airborne Comedians. An act that began 20 years ago as a snowball juggling contest in a Laundromat, now escalated to riding six and seven foot high unicycles and flaming lawn chair juggling.

2015-2016 Lectures

Wednesday
Aug
12
11:00 am

Airborne Comedians

airborne-comediansDan Foley and Joel Harris are The Airborne Comedians. An act that began 20 years ago as a snowball juggling contest in a Laundromat, now escalated to riding six and seven foot high unicycles and flaming lawn chair juggling.

Thursday
Aug
13
11:00 am

Josh and the Jamtones

josh-jamJosh and the Jamtones is an interactive kids-version musical ska/roots/rock mash-up. The band’s albums, “Jump Up” and “Bear Hunt!” are filled to bursting with hooky sing-alongs, feature frenetic dance party jams, massive pop-sensible choruses and hysterical improv-comedy skits all played by some of Boston’s very best session and live musicians.

Monday
Sep
21
11:45 am

Howard Bauchner – “US Health Care: Important Emerging Policy Issues”

howard-bauchnerHoward Bauchner, MD, is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and the JAMA Network, the latter consisting of ten additional leading medical journals ranging from JAMA Oncology to JAMA Psychiatry. The Network also includes JAMAevidence, which integrates the best available Evidence-based medicine in multiple and accessible formats to help clinicians recommend, and their patients to make, informed choices consistent with their values. Bauchner became the 16th editor of JAMA in July 2011. He has published over 125 peer-reviewed papers in academic journals, mainly on clinical trials and health promotion.

The Lunchtime Lectures are co-sponsored by the Moses Greeley Parker Lectures and UMass Lowell Office of Community Relations, with support from Prof. Bill Mass of the UMass Lowell Center for Industrial Competitiveness, the UMass Lowell College of Health Sciences, Lowell General Hospital. The program begins with a light buffet lunch

Please note the two events have different locations. Reservations are required (seating is limited.) To reserve a seat, contact community@uml.edu call 978-934-2957.

Thursday
Sep
24
7:00 pm

Thatcher Freund – “Why Your Story Matters”

thatcherThatcher Freund, a journalist and memoir writer, will talk about the importance of stories in our lives both to ourselves and to the culture we live in, and why it matters so much that we preserve them.  Thatcher is a graduate of Stanford University with a B.A. in History, and the Columbia School of Journalism, and has lived in New England off and on for the last twenty years. Our stories matter, and people a thousand years from now will use the stories of people living today to help them better understand themselves. Civilization owes its existence to our ability to tell stories and pass them down.

Sunday
Oct
4
2:00 pm

Meg Noonan – “The Coat Route: Craft, Luxury & Obsession on the Trail of a $50,000 Coat”

meg-noonanWhen journalist Meg Lukens Noonan learned of an unthinkably expensive, entirely handcrafted overcoat that a fourth-generation tailor had made for one of his longtime clients, she set off on an adventure to understand its provenance, and from that impulse unspooled rich and colorful stories about its components, the centuries-old bespoke industry and its traditions, and the master craftsmen whose trade is an art form. As Noonan comes to realize, these craftsmen, some of whom find themselves on the brink of retirement with no obvious successors, have increasing reason to believe that their way is the best way—best for their customers, best for the environment, and best for the quality of life of all involved.  The Coat Route was named “Best General Nonfiction Book of 2013” by the American Society of Journalists and Authors. The Coat Route is part travelogue, part fashion history and part love song to things of lasting value.

Saturday
Oct
10
2:00 pm

Tim Z. Hernandez – “Searching for the Real Mexican Girl”

tim-hernIn 2010, author Tim Z. Hernandez located the real woman behind Jack Kerouac’s “Terry” from On the Road. At age 92, Bea Franco was living in relative obscurity, in Fresno, California. In this presentation, Hernandez will share his journey from research to the writing of his award winning book, Mañana Means Heaven (University of Arizona Press, 2013), as well as the choices one must make when writing a counter-narrative to Kerouac’s portrayal of California’s Mexican communities in the late 1940’s.   Hernandez is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas El Paso’s Bilingual M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing. Part of the Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Festival

Wednesday
Oct
14
11:45 am

Daniel Korschun – “WE ARE MARKET BASKET”

daniel-korshun“WE ARE MARKET BASKET: The Story of the Unlikely Grassroots Movement that Saved a Beloved Business,” by Daniel Korschun & Grant Welker explores arresting firsthand accounts from the streets and executive suites, We Are Market Basket is as inspiring as it is instructive. Korschun will explore what is it about Market Basket and its leader that provokes such ferocious loyalty.

Reservations are required (seating is limited.) To reserve a seat, contact community@uml.edu or call 978-934-2957.

The Lunchtime Lectures are co-sponsored by the Moses Greeley Parker Lectures and UMass Lowell Office of Community Relations. The program begins with a light buffet lunch

Thursday
Oct
15
7:00 pm

Haley Sweetland Edwards – “Dancing on the Heads of Snakes”

haleyWhat does Yemen’s collapse mean for Americans, al-Qaeda, and stability in the Middle East? Drawing on years of on-the-ground reporting, the talk will be about the current political, economic, and cultural realities in Yemen. I hope to flesh out recent headlines—do the Saudi airstrikes have any chance of restoring stability in Sana’a? Is Yemen becoming the latest proxy war for Saudi Arabian and Iran?—while simultaneously raising deeper questions about Americans’ obligation to that small, war-torn country. In light of the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, should the U.S. continue its on-going drone campaign on Yemeni soil? And what can, or should, the United States do to help Yemenis themselves?

Sunday
Oct
18
2:00 pm

Dylan Craig – “The Return of the Hessians”

dylan-craigThe figure of the Hessian soldier is a staple of the Revolutionary War mythos, and distancing the inhabitants of the “land of the free” from Britain’s “hirelings and slaves” was a cornerstone of early American efforts at establishing a political identity. Globally, however, the Hessians were far more than just a Revolutionary War phenomenon. Hessian troops fought under various nations’ flags for almost two hundred years, sometimes on both sides of a war. This is the story of the return of “Hessians” – militarized microstates who serve today’s great powers in their various quests for local dominance. From Fiji to Estonia, Brunei to Tonga, Hessians are once again on the march. What is the significance of this return to old techniques?

Thursday
Oct
22
7:00 pm

Russell Powell – “Discover the Apples of New England”

Author Russell Steven Powell will read from his book Apples of New England about our region’s rich tradition of apple growing, and the “fathers” of American apples, Massachusetts natives John Chapman (“Johnny Appleseed”) and Henry David Thoreau. Powell will also discuss the current apple crop, and he will bring a number of rare heirlooms and newly discovered apples for sampling.

Sunday
Oct
25
2:00 pm

Willem Lange – “A Yankee Notebook”

william-langeWillem Lange has worked as a ranch hand, Adirondack guide, preacher, construction laborer, cab driver, bookkeeper, and bartender. After graduating from the College of Wooster in Ohio in 1962, he taught high school English in northern New York, filling in summers as an Outward Bound instructor. “In 1981 he began writing a weekly column, “A Yankee Notebook,” which appears in several New England newspapers. He’s a commentator or host for Vermont Public Radio and both Vermont and New Hampshire Public Television. He’s published several audio recordings and nine books and received four Emmy nominations, and won one (!) for his work as the long-running host of New Hampshire Public Television’s award-winning show “Windows to the Wild”.

Sunday
Nov
1
2:00 pm

Andrew E. Smith & David W. Moore – “The First Primary”

A concise history and its impact on presidential politics: Smith and Moore offer an analysis of its media coverage along with a discussion of how New Hampshire’s electorate reflects or diverges from national opinions. Why does New Hampshire deserve such a disproportionate impact on America’s political system? Come and find out all you political junkies and scientists.

Sunday
Nov
8
2:00 pm

Madelyn Shaw – “A Downton Abbey Fashion Primer, 1912-1925”

downtonFashion has a social role. What we wear tells people a lot about who we are, or who we want others to think we are. The time span of the BBC costume drama Downton Abbey encompasses some of the most momentous social upheaval in British and American society, and the show’s costumers have worked hard to use the costumes to define character and to illustrate the place in society that the characters occupy.  Join cultural historian Madelyn Shaw,Curator of Textiles for The Smithsonian Institution, for a look at where–sartorially– the Grantham family, their servants, and their social circle have been and where they are heading as we wait for season 6. Feel free to dress for the occasion!

Sunday
Nov
15
2:00 pm

M. William Phelps – “Historic Female Serial Killers: Arsenic and Old Lace-The True Story”

mw-phelpsA night with crime and serial killer expert and New York Times bestselling author M. William Phelps with a discussion of his series, Dark Minds. This talk will be based on his book THE DEVIL’S ROOMING HOUSE, which tells the true story of the case on which the Broadway play and film Arsenic and Old Lace was based.

Thursday
Nov
19
7:00 pm

Carlo Rotella – “Music, Memory, and the City: A Journey Back to the Old Neighborhood”

carlo-rotellaMusic has profound power to shape and cue memory, returning us to vivid images and mental states normally left far behind us in the past.  This talk explores the ways in which the popular songs of an era can serve as vehicles for traveling to and exploring a time and place–in this case, the South Side of Chicago in the 1970s. Professor Rotella is Director of the American Studies Program and Director of the Lowell Humanities Series at Boston College.

Tuesday
Mar
1
7:00 pm

Sven Beckert – “Empire of Cotton”

svenSven Beckert’s newest book points out how globalization is nothing new especially when it comes to the cotton industry. By the end of the 1850s the United States provided as much as 90% of the cotton consumed by Europe’s manufacturers. Beckert contends that the story of the making and remaking of global capitalism and with it of the modern world is not a pretty picture

Thursday
Mar
10
7:00 pm

Ty Burr – “The 50 Movie Starter Kit”

ty-burrBoston Globe movie critic, Ty Burr, will tell you what you need to know if you want to know what you’re talking about when it come to movies. This is for beginning film lovers as well as those who want to ramp up their passion for the art form.

Sunday
Mar
20
2:00 pm

Richard P. Howe Jr. “The Solon Perkins Flag”

Solon Perkins was born in Lancaster, New Hampshire in 1836. He moved to Lowell with his family in 1840 and was still living here when the Civil War began. Benjamin Butler recruited a full regiment of infantry and three independent cavalry companies from Lowell. Perkins became a lieutenant in one of these companies and went with Butler to New Orleans in April 1862. He was shot in the abdomen on June 3, 1863 and died two hours later. His remains were returned to Lowell for burial. How the flag got back to Lowell is a mystery. It was mounted in the Hall of Flags of the Lowell Memorial Auditorium for some time before being stored and forgotten in the basement until 2014. It has now been restored and returned to its original location and rededicated to the memory of Solon Perkins and the other 500 men from Lowell who died in the Civil War. Dick Howe will fill in many more facts about the flag and its history.

Sunday
Apr
10
2:00 pm

Jill Carey – “Orson Lowell: Fashion and Satire”

Lasell Professor, Jill Carey will discuss how during the opening years of the 20th century, illustrative commentary filled magazine pages as a means of conveying humanity within a societal context. Humorist Orson Lowell, a noted illustrator from this period, created fashion-filled compositions that linked dress and wit within an evolving commercialized culture. Lowell’s love of watching people and their foibles in awkward situations were artfully represented in The Saturday Evening Post, Ladies Home Journal, Vogue, and Life.  As a satirist, focusing on social life in New York City, he spent limited time in the studio and instead joined a variety of prestigious organizations from which to garner inspiration for his impressive renderings. In this sense, Lowell’s depictions seamlessly disseminate style within an urban context, frequently balancing on the line between humor and controversy. Whether Orson Lowell was an innovator of trend or an avid follower of la mode, his work provides an incredible opportunity for a colloquy on fashion satire as a means of interpreting social ideals.  Note: This lecture will accompany an exhibit of the same name at ATHM which will open in February 2016.