America’s Forgotten Founding Fathers (And Mothers)

Baruch College

Carol Berkin is Presidential Professor of History at Baruch College and a member of the history faculty of the Graduate Center of CUNY. She has worked as a consultant on several PBS and History Channel documentaries, including, The Scottsboro Boys, which was nominated for an Academy Award. She has also appeared as a commentator on screen in the PBS series “New York,” by Ric Burns, the Middlemarch series “Benjamin Franklin” and “Alexander Hamilton” on PBS, and the History Channel series “The Founding Fathers.” She serves on the Board of The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and the Board of the National Council for History Education.


Every school child–and most American adults–know the names of leading founding fathers: George Washington, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, etc.  They deserve their fame, as they were leaders in the movement for independence. They penned some of our founding documents, and they helped lead the new nation in its infancy. A few of their wives are familiar to us, as well. We can all conjure up images of Martha Washington knitting for the soldiers at Valley Forge; Abigail Adams filling letter after letter with sage advice to her husband; Dolley Madison, deftly arranging social events at which political leaders could mingle and strike compromises; and of course, Elizabeth Hamilton, now the heroine of our most popular Broadway musical.

But these men and women did not make history all on their own. Nor do their life stories, interesting though they remain, tell us everything about the experience of revolution and nation-building. This presentation will introduce some of what Hollywood would call the “supporting cast” — men and women whose stories are not only entertaining but deepen our understanding of the era.



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kevin fox

Broadened "my image" of that era

Though I’ll likely forget the names (except for Luther Martin -his is easy) many of the images conjured will remain (God willing! Exercise your brain!)

1 year ago
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