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A Historian Speaks, and Two Artists Talk

Eric Foner accepts the Ruth Ratner Miller Award for Excellence in American History, and two local artists host a talk at the Umbrella.

A Historian Speaks, and Two Artists Talk A Historian Speaks, and Two Artists Talk


Good morning, and welcome to Monday! How was your weekend? Did anyone spend it raking their leaves? Or do you wait for all of them to fall before taking on that onerous chore? Oh, and the big question: Have you put the heat on in your house yet? With any luck, today’s the day it goes on in our house, unless we decide to power through and hold out a little longer. The news keeps saying it’s going to be a colder winter than last year, so the longer we wait, the more we can save a tiny bit on that winter heating bill.

So I know it’s way too early in the week to be talking about the weekend, but I really want you to know about an event happening at the library this Saturday: it’s the presentation of the Ruth Ratner Miller Award for Excellence in American History. Every year since 1998, the library has given out this award, established by Richard Miller to honor his mother, Ruth Ratner, an original member of the Holocaust Commission and a founding trustee of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. Sounds like he has a lot to be proud of, and this is a great way for her memory to live on.

This year’s recipient is Columbia University’s DeWitt Clinton Professor of History, Eric Foner. If you read all the amazing things this one individual has done, you will feel very inadequate indeed. Or maybe that’s just me. His vast body of work has been concentrated on the intersections of intellectual, political, and social history, as well as the history of race relations. His newest book, The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery, earned him a Pulitzer Prize, the Bancroft Prize, and the Lincoln Prize. Even more impressively, he is one of only a handful of people to have won the Bancroft and Pulitzer Prizes in the same year. Yes, this guy is the real deal.

In addition to his many books, Foner has also written for such prestigious publications as The New York Times, Washington Post, and London Review of Books; he’s also appeared on numerous television and radio shows, from All Things Considered to The Colbert Report. So now you know you HAVE to come down to the library to hear him speak

It happens this Saturday, Oct. 20, at 7:30 p.m. over at the Main Library. You do need a ticket: it’s $15 for adults, students are free, and you can buy them at the library and the Concord Bookshop. All the money goes to the Friends of the Concord Free Public Library, the group that brings you the museum passes, free films, and fabulous kid activities. So get out and support them, and see a piece of history.

An artist talk

Historians aren’t the only ones talking this week: on Wednesday, Oct. 17, there’s an Artist talk happening over at the Emerson Umbrella. Courtesy of a generous donation from our own Concord Cultural Council, the Umbrella is hosting Concord artist Michio Ihara and his former student, artist Graham Lucks.

Ihara is internationally known; you’ve undoubtedly seen his oversized sculptures on the front lawn of the Umbrella, tall, graceful, metal pieces that sway and dance with the breeze. He also displays them in his garden, which we were lucky enough to see when his house was part of the Concord Museum’s Garden Tour a few years back. Lucks first worked with Ihara in 1992, when he was a student at CCHS; he has had pieces displayed at the Umbrella himself. The two artists will talk about their relationship as artists, and Lucks will share his career journey from student to sculptor.

You can hear them over at 40 Stow St. from 7 to 9 p.m.; admission is free and everyone is welcome. Natch.


Do you have something you would like to share? Contact me at stefanieac@comcast.net and I will be happy to help you spread the good news. And follow me on Twitter: @stefanie3131.

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