The Washington Library's Digital Book Talk series features LIVE conversations with leading historians and scholars of early America. Please join us for fascinating discussions about the past and for your opportunity to ask our guests questions about their work.

Approximately one week before each lecture, YouTube links will be posted to this page. You can also join us live on Facebook and Twitter. All times are shown in Eastern Time.

Upcoming Talks

Wednesday, December 3 at 7pm ET: Unearthing James Monroe’s Life

Join the Washington Library and James Monroe’s Highland for a digital talk with Tim McGrath about his new book, James Monroe: A Life. Highland’s Executive Director Sara Bon-Harper will also discuss how recent archeological work is shedding new light on life at Highland.

This event is co-sponsored by James Monroe's Highland

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Thursday, December 10 at 7pm ET: Ford Evening Book Talk with Jean Baker

Join Mount Vernon for a digital Ford Evening Book Talk with historian Jean H. Baker to discuss her new book, Building America: The Life of Benjamin Henry Latrobe.

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Past Talks

New Frontiers in Early American History


Join Andrew O’Shaughnessy and Kevin Butterfield for a discussion with Alexi Garrett, Michael Blaakman, Krysten Blackstone, and Derek O’Leary. This event is co-sponsored by the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon and the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello.

Peter Henriques and Brian Lamb


Join Peter Henriques, in conversation with C-SPAN founder Brian Lamb during this Ford Evening Book Talk.

Washington, Franklin, and the British


George Goodwin will discuss his latest research on George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and the intelligence networks that shaped the War for Independence. This event is co-sponsored by the Benjamin Franklin House in London.

Alan Price


Alan Price will talk about the historic and closely contested race for the presidency in 1960, when Kennedy defeated Richard Nixon.

Donald Ritchie


Donald Ritchie will talk about the election of 1932, when Franklin Delano Roosevelt defeated the incumbent, Herbert Hoover, during a time of national crisis, and reversed the course of American politics.

Elizabeth Varon


Elizabeth Varon will talk about the extraordinarily consequential election of 1860, when Abraham Lincoln was elected president and the nation soon broke apart. She will also look at the election of 1864, when Lincoln sought re-election in the midst of civil war.

Jeffrey Pasley


Jeffrey Pasley will talk about the first American presidential elections, from Washington’s unanimous election to two terms in office to the first contested election in our history, when John Adams defeated Thomas Jefferson in 1796, only to lose to him in 1800.

David O. Stewart


David O. Stewart will talk about elections in colonial Virginia, Washington’s sixteen years as a legislator in the Virginia House of Burgesses, and what he learned from those early political

Nathan Raab


Join Mount Vernon for a digital Ford Evening Book Talk with Nathan Raab to discuss his new book, The Hunt for History.

2020 George Washington Prize Announcement


Join Washington College, The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and George Washington's Mount Vernon for the live announcement of the winner of the 2020 George Washington Prize.

Pandemics in American History


Pandemics in American History will take a comprehensive look at the various pandemics that have plagued our nation since its inception, providing context for today's crisis.

Richard Dietrich


Richard Dietrich will discuss the Dietrich American Foundation's new book, In Pursuit of History during this digital Ford Evening Book Talk.

Edward J. Larson


Edward J. Larson in conversation with Dr. Márcia Balisciano to talk about George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. This event is co-sponsored by the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon and the Benjamin Franklin House in London.

Frank Cogliano


Dr. Frank Cogliano will discuss his project exploring the complicated relationship between George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. This event is co-sponsored by the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon and the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello.

Stephanie Jones-Rogers


Dr. Stephanie Jones-Rogers will discuss her new book They Were Her Property: White Women as Slave Owners in the American South during this Ford Evening Book Talk.

Laura Sandy


Dr. Laura Sandy will discuss her new book, The Overseers of Early American Slavery. This event is co-sponsored by the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon and the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello.

Jessica Lowe


Dr. Jessica Lowe will discuss her book Murder in the Shenandoah: Making Law Sovereign in Revolutionary Virginia.

Arthur Burns and Zara Anishanslin


Dr. Arthur Burns and Dr. Zara Anishanslin will talk about their experiences with the Georgian Papers Programme.

Douglas Ginsburg and David Rubenstein


Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg will discuss his new book Voices of our Republic with noted philanthropist David M. Rubenstein during this Ford Evening Book Talk.

Remembering and Rediscovering Mary Ball Washington


The Annual Martha Washington Lecture will focus on Mary Ball Washington. Join Martha Saxton, Craig Shirley, and Charlene Boyer Lewis in a conversation moderated by Karin Wulf. Sponsored by the Richard S. Reynolds Foundation

Jamie Goodall


Dr. Jamie Goodall will discuss her new book, Pirates of the Chesapeake Bay: From the Colonial Era to the Oyster Wars.

Lindsay Chervinksy


Historian Lindsay Chervinksy will discuss her new book, The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution with Kevin Butterfield, Executive Director of the Washington Library during this Ford Evening Book Talk.

Paul Gilje


Professor Paul Gilje and Kevin Butterfield will discuss "Street Protests in America from the Founding to Today".

Mary Beth Norton


Join Historian Mary Beth Norton live as she discusses her latest book, 1774: The Long Year of Revolution .

Ryan Manion, Heather Kelly, and Amy Looney Heffernan


Join authors Ryan Manion, Heather Kelly, and Amy Looney Heffernan as they discuss their book The Knock at the Door: Three Gold Star Families Bonded by Grief and Purpose. This Ford Evening Book Talk will feature a discussion with General John F. Kelly, U.S.M.C. (RET) and will be moderated by journalist Mary Katharine Ham.

Vincent Brown


Join author Vincent Brown live as he discusses his new book, Tacky’s Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War.

T.H. Breen


Join author T.H. Breen as he discusses his book, The Will of the People: The Revolutionary Birth of America with Kevin Butterfield, Executive Director of the Washington Library in our third and final lecture of the 2020 Michelle Smith Lecture Series.

Colin Calloway


Join author Colin Calloway live as he discusses his book, The Indian World of George Washington: The First President, the First Americans, and the Birth of the Nation.

Sara Georgini


Join author Sara Georgini live as she discusses her book, Household Gods: The Religious Lives of the Adams Family.

Stephen Fried


Join author Stephen Fried as he discusses his book, Rush: Revolution, Madness, and Benjamin Rush, the Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding Father.

Serena Zabin


Join author Serena Zabin live as she discusses her book, The Boston Massacre: A Family History.

Matthew Costello


Author Matthew Costello discusses his book, The Property of the Nation: George Washington's Tomb, Mount Vernon, and the Memory of the First President.

Edward J. Larson


Larson discusses his book, Franklin & Washington: The Founding Partnership in our second lecture in the Washington Library’s 2020 Michelle Smith Lecture Series.

Alexis Coe


New York Times Bestselling Author of "You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George Washington," discusses the many diseases George Washington endured during his lifetime.

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