ZOOM BOOK TALK
The Strange Genius of Mr. O: The World of the United States’ First Forgotten Celebrity
December 9, 2020
The Portsmouth Athenaeum and the Membership Libraries Group present Carolyn Eastman, Associate Professor in the History Department at Virginia Commonwealth University, speaking about her new book, The Strange Genius of Mr. O: The World of the United States’ First Forgotten Celebrity. Intended to reach broader reading audiences than the usual academic book, the Strange Genius tells a new story about the early United States through the career of an extraordinary and eccentric performer, James Ogilvie. His travels throughout those early years of the new republic revealed so much about the incomplete and fractious United States that Strange Genius is just as much a story about the nation’s men and women as it was about Ogilvie, who became a household name at a very early point in the 19th century. The narrative takes fascinating and unexpected turns as he destroyed his reputation at one point, regained it a few months later, wound up fighting in the War of 1812, wrote a terrible book, and headed to Great Britain to continue his celebrity performances.
A former Special Collections Librarian at the Portsmouth Athenaeum, Carolyn is also the author of A Nation of Speechifiers; Making an American Public After the Revolution.
To attend the talk, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for the Zoom link.