Monday, April 06, 2009

John Brown symposium in Hudson

The Hudson Library and Historical Society will host a symposium on the life of noted American abolitionist John Brown on May 2nd, 2009 at 1:00 pm. This program marks the 150th anniversary of Brown’s unsuccessful raid on the federal arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia. John Brown, who grew up in Hudson, was one of the most controversial figures of the 19th century. His advocacy and active participation in extreme abolitionist activities in Kansas and later at Harper’s Ferry earned him a pivotal place in American history. Many historians believe the Harper’s Ferry incident escalated tensions between the North and South, ultimately leading to the American Civil War.

The symposium will feature presentations by Brown scholars as well as a question and answer session for the public. Moderating the panel is Dr. Kenneth E. Davison, Emeritus Professor of History and American Studies at Heidelberg University and author of the prize-winning biography, The Presidency of Rutherford B. Hayes.

Panelists include Professors Paul Finkelman, David S. Reynolds and Louis A. DeCaro. Professor Finkelman is the President William McKinley Distinguished Professor of Law and Public Policy at the Government Law Center at Albany Law School in Albany, New York. He is the co-editor of Terrible Swift Sword : The Legacy of John Brown. Professor Finkelman has published widely a number of scholarly journals and his essays have appeared in publications including the New York Times and USA Today.

David S. Reynolds in Distinguished Professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His books include: John Brown, Abolitionist, winner of the Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award; Walt Whitman’s America, winner of the Bancroft Prize; the Ambassador Book Prize and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Beneath the American Renaissance, winner of the Christian Gauss Award from the Phi Beta Kappa Society.

Louis A. DeCaro, Jr. is Assistant Professor of History and Theology at Alliance Theological Seminary in New York City. DeCaro’s works on Brown include: John Brown – the Cost of Freedom; and ‘Fire from the Midst of You’: A Religious Life of John Brown. He also contributed to The Afterlife of John Brown, edited by Eldrid Herrington and Andrew Taylor.

Library Director and Curator E. Leslie Polott is “delighted to bring these noted Brown scholars to Hudson to commemorate this important period in American History. The Hudson Library and Historical Society is especially pleased to do this since its Archives contain one of the most significant Brown research collections in the nation.”
Following the panel discussion the Library will host a book signing and dessert reception. This program is free to the public but registration is required. Please contact the Reference Department at 330.653.6658 extension 1010 or For more information visit our website at