Programs for May 1-31

May 3, Zoom Quarterback Roundtable – 12:30 to 1:45 p.m.

Alina Macneal is our Quarterback.

May 6, Thursday Luncheon Roundtable on Zoom – 12:30 to 1:45 p.m.

Speaker is Samantha Snyder, historian and current reference librarian at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Her topic—Elizabeth Willing Powel: Washington’s Trusted Philadelphia Confidante.

Elizabeth and Samuel Powel were at the center of political and social activity in Philadelphia when Philadelphia was the center of government during the Revolution and early days of the American Republic. Samuel was the city’s last colonial mayor (1775-76) and its first mayor in the new Republic (1789-90). The couple entertained the era’s dignitaries in their fine townhouse that still stands on South Third Street. And they became good friends of George and Martha Washington, their Third Street neighbors for a time. Samantha Snyder will explore the documentary record and contemporaneous observations of Elizabeth as a lively, well-informed hostess, a woman of political acumen and compelling intellect, and one who became a trusted confidante and advisor of our first president. As a salonnière and woman of influence, she might be called a power broker today.

Samantha Snyder joins us while celebrating completion of her master’s degree, with an emphasis on 18th-century American history, at George Mason University. She also holds a master’s in library and information studies and a BA in English literature from the University of Wisconsin. Her studies focus on the history of early American women, as well as the social and material culture of urban elites in the mid-Atlantic. She is now preparing a biography of Elizabeth, with the working title A Brilliant Constellation: The Life and Mind of Elizabeth Willing Powel.

Video: To see a recording of this presentation, click on Play Event. Click on the play button at the bottom left of the screen that comes up to see the presentation. Put your computer into full screen mode to get the best image.

May 10, Zoom Quarterback Roundtable – 12:30 to 1:45 p.m.

Basil Talbott is our Quarterback.

May 13, Thursday Luncheon Roundtable on Zoom – 12:30 to 1:45 p.m.

Speaker is Gail Harrity, president and chief operating officer of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Her topic—Behind the Scenes at the PMA: Unveiling the Core Project.

The Core Project is the most complex phase of a long-term master plan to reimagine, renovate, and expand the PMA’s landmark building. Designed by Frank Gehry, the plan is a major investment in infrastructure, technology, and sustainability that will enable the museum to meet visitors’ needs in the 21st century. Gail Harrity will take us on a virtual behind-the-scenes tour of the Core Project, which seamlessly weaves old and new parts of the museum, transforming interior spaces, adding galleries for American and contemporary art, and vastly improving the visitor experience.

Ms. Harrity joined the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1997 as chief operating officer and became president in 2009. Working closely with directors Anne d’Harnoncourt until her 2008 death, and Timothy Rub more recently, she has led multiple civic initiatives, fundraising campaigns, and business activities for the museum. Previously, she was deputy director of New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, where she served as project director for the Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain. From 1982 to 1989, she held a variety of senior positions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her résumé also includes service as chair or board member of regional, national, and international organizations that include the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, the Parkway Council, the Arts + Business Council for Greater Philadelphia, the American Alliance of Museums, the International Council of Museums, and the Yale School of Management Board of Advisors. She also serves on the Mayor’s Cultural Advisory Council. Ms. Harrity received her BA from Boston University and her MBA from Yale, and she was the first recipient of an Eisenhower Fellowship to China in 2002.

Video: To see a recording of this presentation, click on Play Event. Click on the play button at the bottom left of the screen that comes up to see the presentation. Put your computer into full screen mode to get the best image.

May 17, Zoom Quarterback Roundtable – 12:30 to 1:45 p.m.

Palmer Hartl is our Quarterback.

May 20, Thursday Luncheon Roundtable on Zoom – 12:30 to 1:45 p.m.

Speaker is Cordelia Biddle, author and adjunct professor of English at Drexel’s Pennoni Honors College. Her topic—Biddle, Jackson, and a Nation in Turmoil: The Infamous Bank War.

Andrew Jackson’s battle to destroy the Second Bank of the United States, the infamous Bank War, created cultural and political rifts that polarized and nearly bankrupted the nation, triggering the Panic of 1837 and an economic depression that lasted until the mid-1840s. Nicholas Biddle, the bank’s president, benefited from the support of its board of governors and wide political opposition to Jackson, including the newly formed Whig party. It wasn’t enough. Jackson accused Biddle of treason. Biddle countered that the president promoted anarchy. The fight, played out in highly partisan newspapers and within the halls of Congress. Cordelia Biddle’s access to previously unexplored primary sources brings life to a volatile epoch that has echoes in our current era of disunity and dissension.

Cordelia Frances Biddle’s nonfiction works are Biddle, Jackson, and a Nation in Turmoil (published in February) and Saint Katharine: The Life of Katharine Drexel (published in 2014). Her works of fiction are Sins of Commission, The Actress, Without Fear, Deception’s Daughter, The Conjurer, and Beneath the Wind. She won the Pennoni Honors College Teaching Excellence Prize in 2012.

May 24, Zoom Quarterback Roundtable – 12:30 to 1:45 p.m.

Alan Penziner is our Quarterback.

May 27, Thursday Luncheon Roundtable on Zoom – 12:30 to 1:45 p.m.

Speaker is Paul Rozin, emeritus professor of psychology at Penn. His topic—French versus American Eating: Why Are the French So Thin?

Prof. Rozin will explore “the French paradox” of healthy body weight in a food-focused society. Although the French are at least as healthy as Americans, he finds that they generally focus more on the experience and less on the health effects of eating. They spend more time at meals but eat less, partly because of smaller portion sizes. And he points to French traditions that support a healthier lifestyle—favoring moderation rather than abundance, focusing on food quality rather than quantity, taking joy in the moment rather than making life comfortable and easy—as well as a physical environment that encourages slow, moderate social eating, minimal snacking, and more physical activity in daily life.

Over the past 35 years, Paul Rozin’s major research focus has been human food choice, considered from biological, psychological, and anthropological perspectives. Areas of special interest include the acquisition of liking for chili peppers, chocolate craving, and attitudes toward meat. Recently, he has examined the emotion of disgust and how it can deter public acceptance of new technologies or foods; for example, genetically modified foods, recycled water, and insects. He is also studying the entry of food issues into the moral domain in American culture and the meaning of food in different cultures. Prof. Rozin earned a PhD in biology and psychology at Harvard. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a recipient of the American Psychological Association’s Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, and a former editor of the journal Appetite. He has been a member of Penn’s psychology department for 57 years.