Louisa May Alcott PORTRAYED BY PAT JORDAN

Louisa grew up at a time when America’s views on education, philosophy and human rights were radically changing. Her father was a pioneer in education whose friends included Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Nathanial Hawthorne and Margaret Fuller. After living in an ideal utopian community, moving numerous times, and struggling to make a career for herself, Louisa, the tomboy of the Alcott household, went off to become a nurse in the Civil War, profoundly changing her life. Deciding never to marry, the Alcott’s “Merry Spinster” continued to write and work tirelessly for social reform. Later, she single-handedly supported her family.

Learn of her struggles and successes, her eccentric father and hard-working mother, and about the sisters who inspired Louisa’s most famous work Little Women.

Invite Louisa May Alcott to your event:

Educational Programs: Schools, Libraries, Museums, Historical Sites.

Parties: Meet & Greet, Chat with her informally about her writing, her career as a nurse, her role as provider for her family, and her passion for women’s rights (all ages).

One-Woman Play with optional Q&A after the presentation (45 minutes).

• Pair with other writers.Pat Jordan: Bio of Actor/Historian

"The patrons were absolutely bowled over by your detailed knowledge of Louisa May Alcott's life.... They thought you were extremely interesting and really enjoyed the humorous stories you included." -- J. H., Chinn Park Regional Library, Virginia

Susan B. Anthony Portrayed by Marjorie Goldman

Susan B. Anthony has been portrayed as a dour Quaker school “marm,” but in reality, this important suffragist had a lively sense of humor and she enjoyed having a good time. After teaching for fifteen years, Ms. Anthony began her 50+ years’ commitment to causes that included the abolition of slavery, women’s rights to their own property and earnings, and women’s right to vote, demonstrating a will unbroken by circumstance or obstacle. When the suffragist movement was threatened by an ideological split, it was Ms. Anthony who engineered the reunion of the two factions. Near the end of her life, Ms. Anthony hand-selected the women who were to “pick up the mantle,” urging her successors to be ever-vigilant, expanding and protecting the rights for which she had fought so long and valiantly. “We turn it over to a generation of women who are better-equipped. They have the unchallenged right to speak in public.” Ms. Anthony did not live to see women’s suffrage, but she knew not to give in, not to give up.

Marjorie Goldman shares Susan B. Anthony’s passion for women’s suffrage / women’s rights and for the cause of the abolition of slavery / racial equality. An experienced teacher like Susan, Goldman loves children and recognizes “teachable moments” through which her fierce dedication to human rights is immediately communicated and understood. Through her interpretation of Ms. Anthony, we are reminded that “The world is not truly free…until the rights and privileges of others are free.” Therefore, the task is ongoing and “failure is impossible.”

Invite Susan B. Anthony to events for the League of Women Voters, women’s gatherings, humanitarian causes:

Educational Programs: Program with Press Conference for Schools, Libraries, Museums, and Historic Sites • Parties: Meet & Greet, Mix & Mingle, Propose Toasts, Pose for Photo Ops • Parades: Participant • Pair with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Eleanor Roosevelt, Alice Paul, Sojourner Truth, Rosie the Riveter. • Marjorie Goldman: Bio of Actor/Historian, Reenactor

Clara Barton PORTRAYED BY PAT JORDAN

Clara Barton was a strong-willed, intelligent individual who knew what she wanted and found ways to accomplish her goals. Born Clarissa Harlowe Barton, the youngest of five children, Clara found her calling early in life. The self-directed, compassionate girl would nurse wounded birds and cats, as well as her friends’ injured pets. When Clara’s brother fell off the roof, the young girl nursed him back to health for two years. Later, Clara was the first person to start a public school in Hightstown, NJ, growing it from 6 to almost 600 students. But when the school needed a principal and hired a man, Clara quit and never went back to teaching! Clara answered Abraham Lincoln’s call, signing on to support the Union efforts during the Civil War, frequently going to the front line, where most nurses did not go, performing procedures like removing bullets, which most nurses did not perform. Articulate and determined, this Angel of the Battlefield frequently wrote newspaper pleas for blankets, money and/or food and stockpiled what she received in a large room she rented. Meeting a young man in military prison who was keeping records of the people who died, she secured permission to create a pamphlet in the New York Times with 11,000 names, identifying many missing soldiers and locating their families – Numbering the Bones. As the founder and first president of the American Red Cross, this humanitarian assisted hurricane and tidal wave victims, obeying certain principles – you helped people until they could help themselves, you drew funds to underwrite this effort and kept records of your expenses, you paid only the manual laborers who helped in the effort (and not salaries to the managers) and you never asked those you were helping for contributions. Eventually, the Red Cross became so large, that Ms. Barton was asked to step down. But she was dedicated to the end, teaching first-aid courses in Maryland, where she retired, and building a home from the dis-assembled warehouse that had safeguarded supplies from the Johnstown, Pennsylvania flood.

Besides being the same height and having similar coloring, Pat Jordan shares many other traits with Clara Barton. Both women understood themselves from an early age and both women dedicated themselves to making a positive social impact. Pat and Clara are each passionate teachers, taking what they know and enthusiastically transferring that knowledge.  And both women have a gentle compassion that coexists with a steely determination to fulfill an innate mission. The American Historical Theatre first booked Pat Jordan as Clara Barton at Vero Beach for the American Red Cross and Colonial Dames of America, where Pat performed Clara for 4,000 students over 3 days. Since then, Ms. Jordan has interpreted Clara Barton to appreciative audiences at venues throughout the United States.

Invite Clara Barton to your event: • Keynote Speaker: Women’s Issues, Civil War, and other topics on request •Educational Programs: Schools, Libraries, Museums, Historical Sites, 40 minutes plus Q & A• Pair With Alice Paul, Susan B. Anthony, Eleanor Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, or other Civil War Era characters • Pat Jordan: Bio of Actor/HistorianI

Clara Barton (1821-1912)

Alexander Graham Bell Portrayed by Bob GleasON

Alexander Graham Bell is a portrait of a curious man with a great deal of energy, a big-hearted man who wanted to do good in this world. Born to a deaf mother, Alexander was taught elocution by his grandfather and his father who invented a phonetic alphabet called Bell’s Visible Speech. Alexander Graham Bell began teaching the deaf at age 14, believing they should be taught to speak. To earn money to open a school, Bell applied his talents to improve the telegraph, enabling more than one message to be sent at a time.  And that was just the beginning of a life spent exploring, inventing and improving his world. At the 1876 U.S. Centennial Exposition at Fairmount Park, Bell exhibited his telephone for the first time: the “tipping point” for the progress of the 19th century. Bell also married a deaf wife.

Bob Gleason’s enthusiastic portrayal of Alexander Graham Bell teaches us to be curious, to question and explore, and to help others. Bell is perfect for National Geographic Society events, for Green events (he coined the phrase: “greenhouse effect” in 1911!), and for events with scientists and/or inventors.

Invite Alexander Graham Bell to your event:

• Educational Programs: Presentation with Press Conference for schools, museums, libraries and historical sites • Parties: Entertaining Toasts, Relevant Quotes, Photo Ops for corporate, association and private social events • Bob Gleason: Bio of Actor/Historian, Reenactor, or Impersonator

Henry Box Brown PORTRAYED BY KEITH HENLEY

Henry Box Brown was a Virginia Slave who was forced to work in a Virginia plantation, but when his wife and children were sold to the owner of a South Carolina plantation owner he began to devise a way to escape to freedom. With the help of James C. A. Smith, a local shop keep and a member of the Philadelphia Abolitionist he mailed himself in a crate traveling from Richmond, VA to Philadelphia PA. The trip was a success, but was a great hardship as the journey lasted twenty seven hours. Once in Philadelphia he became a noted abolitionist and eventually a showman. His showmanship brought censure upon him by Frederick Douglas and other abolitionists, as they that in going public about his method of escape, he denied others the ability to use the same method. Themes addressed in this program are: Overcoming the Odds, Determination vs Bondage and Faith

Invite Henry Box Brown to your event:

• Educational Programs: Presentation with Q & A for schools, museums, libraries and historical sites • Parties: Entertaining Toasts, Relevant Quotes, Photo Ops for corporate, association and private social events • Keith Henley Bio of Actor/Historian or Interpretor, Reenactor, Impersonator.

ICHABOD CRANE by Neill Hartley

Washington Irving and the Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Neill Hartley is a convincing Washington Irving, the father of the American short story, bringing you into Irving’s world, introducing you to his work, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, the most famous short story ever written. The literary lion narrates his tale and then enters his story, becoming his alter ego, Ichabod Crane. Neill Hartley is a mesmerizing Ichabod Crane: Tall and slim like Ichabod, Neill was also born in upstate New York like Ichabod, teaches voice like Ichabod and rides horses like Ichabod. It’s perfect casting. And it makes for a perfectly eerie entertaining event.

Invite Neill Hartley’s Ichabod Crane, Washington Irving and the Legend of Sleepy Hollow to schools, libraries, museums, historic sites, retirement communities:

• Educational Programs: Ichabod Crane, Washington Irving and the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, 40-60 minutes plus Informational Section and Q & A for Schools, Libraries, Museums, Historical Sites • Pair with Edgar Allan Poe, Louisa May Alcott • Neill Hartley: Bio of Actor/Historian

Dorothea Dix PORTRAYED BY PAT JORDAN
 

Born to a sickly mother and an absent father, Dorothea Dix was called upon to mother her younger siblings. Consequently, at age 12 she visited her grandmother in Boston and never returned. Her grandmother was a strong New England woman who got Dorothea an education, allowing her to become a teacher, and Dorothea started a school at age 14. Instead of embracing her grandmother's legacy upon her death and becoming a lady of leisure. Dorothea became a champion for the mentally ill, prisoners, and wounded soldiers.

Visiting the horrific poorhouses, Dorothea met children, the disabled, the unfortunate and the insane, all thrown together and mistreated. She became an activist on their behalf, lobbying state legislatures and the US Congress eventually starting the first mental asylums. Later she put her efforts into the Civil War and became the Superintendant of Union Army Nurses, Her reports were brutally honest, earning her the nickname Dragon Dix. Her courage and persistence went way beyond what was expected.

Pat Jordan is perfect to portray Dorothea Dix and has performed her program in venues throughout the United States. Pat has a strong connection with Dorothea Dix and her heart goes out to her. Both Dorothea and Pat love teaching, agreeing that if you love what you do, you have a social responsibility to share what you know with others. And both women are generous with their time and their talents.  Similar in height and coloring, Pat is especially gratified that by embodying Dorothea Dix, she makes her accessible. Like Dorothea, Pat gives voice to the stories of courageous, inspirational women. That’s Pat’s mission in life and she joyfully fulfills it.

Invite Dorothea Dix to your event: • Keynote Speaker: Women’s Issues, Civil War, Education, and other topics on request •Educational Programs: Schools, Libraries, Museums, Historical Sites, 40 minutes plus Q & A• Pair with Alice Paul, Susan B. Anthony, Eleanor Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, or other Civil War Era characters • Pat Jordan: Bio of Actor/Historian, Reenactor, or Impersonator

Katharine Drexel PORTRAYED BY RENE GOODWIN

Although she was born into great wealth, her real treasure was her richness of spirit. Her life span of 96 years (1858 to 1955) covered a remarkable period in history which included: the entirety of the Civil War, the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Red Cloud’s War and other major skirmishes with Native Americans out West, the implementation of the Jim Crow Laws and the Ku Klux Klan, the founding of the NAACP, and women’s suffrage.

Katharine Drexel was the second child of Francis Anthony Drexel and Hannah Langstroth and the niece of Anthony Joseph Drexel, founder of Drexel University. Bequeathed an inheritance of 7 million dollars by her father, Katherine’s life seemed destined to be that of a society lady of the Victorian Era. There were significant events that resulted in a departure from that course to the life she ultimately chose. Although philanthropy had always been a part of the Drexel life, it was after watching her stepmother suffer with cancer that Katharine realized that money did not give one an escape from pain or death. During a family trip out West in 1884, Katharine Drexel saw the plight and destitution of the Native Americans and decided to help. That is when she began her lifelong personal and financial commitment to help Native Americans and African Americans.

In a private audience with Pope Leo XIII in 1887 he suggested to Katharine that she become a missionary although she had already received proposals of marriage. And so her life’s course was forever altered.

Over the next 60 years, she touched the lives of millions by her commitment of her life and her material wealth. In 2000 she was canonized. The Vatican cited fourfold aspects of Drexel's legacy:

a love of the Eucharist and perspective on the unity of all peoples;

courage and initiative in addressing social inequality among minorities - one hundred years before such concern

aroused public interest in the United States;

her belief in quality education for all and efforts to achieve it;

selfless service, including the donation of her inheritance, for the victims of injustice.

Read more about Rene Goodwin

Thomas Edison Portrayed by Bob Gleason
 

American inventor, scientist, and businessman Thomas Edison developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb. Edison was dubbed "The Wizard of Menlo Park." Less known is his brilliance as a business pioneer. By aligning multiple businesses to bring innovation to the marketplace, he laid the path for today's General Electric, the company that continues to ask the question: “Why predict the future when you can create it.”  Edison’s inventions changed the world. His story is the American Dream.

From humble beginnings, Thomas Edison worked as a salesman selling candy and newspapers on trains running from Port Huron to Detroit. He began his first entrepreneurial venture selling vegetables to supplement this income. His knack for invention initially included making improvements to the telegraph, but his invention of the phonograph in 1877 was the beginning of a technology-based empire. His business acumen eventually led him to found 14 companies, including General Electric, which is still in existence and is one of the largest publicly traded companies in the world. He modestly once said that his inventions were “one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

Bob Gleason completely engages the audience with his portrayal of Thomas Edison. In addition to learning about the inventor’s life, inspirations and inventions, a visit with Thomas Edison will make anyone believe that with a little imagination, ingenuity, and a lot of hard work, great things are possible.

Invite Bob Gleason's Thomas Edison to your event:

Keynote Speaker: Individual or panel participants speaking on topics such as Entrepreneurship, Inventions
Educational Programs: Programs for Schools, Libraries, Museums, Historical Sites
Pair with Alexander Graham Bell, Samuel Morse, Thomas Paine
Bob Gleason: Bio of Actor/Historian

Matthew Henson PORTRAYED BY KEITH HENLEY

Receiving many honors posthumously, Matthew Henson was much overlooked throughout his entire career as an explorer. Though he traveled throughout the northern hemisphere and is acknowledged the first man to reach the North Pole, his accomplishments were overshadowed by his colleague, Commander Robert Perry.

Henson faced and overcame many of the limitations and struggles inherent for African Americans at the time. Orphaned at a young age, Henson worked hard to earn his way from being employed as a dishwasher, to a position as a Cabin boy, and eventually, he became a skilled navigator, and explorer.

Reflecting back he wrote two books about his experiences, “A Negro Explorer at the North Pole” and “Dark Companion”. The story of Matthew Henson’s fascinating life encourages one to believe in oneself despite the odds, and to rise above the limited expectations of others to reach any goal.

Keith Henley Bio of Actor/Historian or Interpreter

SHERLOCK HOLMES by Neill Hartley

Sherlock Holmes and the Speckled Band

Neill Hartley’s Sherlock Holmes is the 2nd most Google’d image of the fascinating detective and is in more than 16,000 German math text books: evidence that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s master detective continues to appeal to audiences around the world, especially as portrayed by Neill Hartley . The Adventure of the Speckled Band was one of 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories and was the author’s favorite tale because of its intriguing characters, especially the marvelous villain. About the same height and body type as Doyle’s detective, tall and elegant in his dark tux, yet physically imposing and strong, Neill Hartley brings what he terms, “full arrogance” to the role. Faithful to the short story and bringing authenticity through his skillful use of British and Scottish dialects, Neill Hartley’s Sherlock Holmes attracts avid audience members, including Sherlockian societies … again and again.

Invite Neill Hartley in Sherlock Holmes and the Speckled Band to schools, libraries, museums, historic sites, retirement communities • Educational Programs: Sherlock Holmes and the Speckled Band, 40-60 minutes. Informational Section plus Q & A for Schools, Libraries, Museums, and Historical Sites. • Pair with Edgar Allan Poe, Louisa May Alcott • Neill Hartley: Bio of Actor/Historian

One-Man show from NH Productions

Francis Scott Key PORTRAYED BY DOUG THOMAS

Maryland born Lawyer and author Francis Scott Key was engaged in negotiations regarding the release of American soldiers aboard the HMS Tonnant during the Battle of Baltimore. After dinner aboard the ship. Key was refused permission to leave in order to return to his own ship because it was believed that he had attained specific knowledge about the British fleet's position and strength. Thus being stranded, he was unable to do anything but watch, as the British began their assault on Fort McHenry in September of 1814. While returning to Baltimore, the images of the battle still fresh in his mind, he penned the poem "Defence of Fort McHenry" which later became adopted as our National Anthem in 1916.

Later in life he became a US District Attorney, and used his position to silence the anti-slavery movement. His position was that abolitionists were attempting foment rebellion and that statements by abolitionists asserting that there was no "mercy or justice" for the colored people of the area were "intended to injure, oppress, aggrieve, and vilify the good name, fame, credit & reputation of the Magistrates and constables" of Washington.

Robert Edward Lee PORTRAYED BY Robert Gleason

Born to a prominent Virginia family and the son of Revolutionary War officer Lighthorse Harry Lee, Robert Edward Lee was educated at West Point and was trained as an engineer. He married the great-granddaughter of Martha Washington, Mary Anna Randolph Custis, whom he had known as a child. Lee distinguished himself in the Mexican-American war, but spent much time on leave, straightening out the affairs of his father-in-law’s estate. A staunch Virginian, Lee came to view slavery as immoral. When Virginia seceded from the Union, he was offered, but declined, the Union command. As adviser to Confederacy President Jefferson Davis, Lee proved to be an excellent strategist, serving Virginia and the Confederacy well.

We are very fortunate in this country that the two gentlemen who sat down in Wilbur McLain’s parlor on April 9, 1865 were Robert E. Lee, General-in-Chief of Confederate forces and Ulysses S. Grant, Commander of the Union Army of the Potomac. Had Lee not been around, the Civil War might not have ended as quickly or as peacefully. And the Reconstruction period transitioning the nation in the period after the Civil War would have been far worse if Robert E. Lee had not set the example for the defeated south to become citizens of our nation once again.

Lewis & Clark - The corps of Discovery

Merriwether Lewis portrayed by Doug Thomas (pictured right), William Clark portrayed by Steve Edenbo (Pictured left)

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark regale audiences with stories of calm bravery in the face of danger, determination in the face of overwhelming odds, and good, old-fashioned adventure from the adventures of the Corps of Discovery. The interplay between the distinct personalities of the Captains made them a leadership team unsurpassed in American history. Those same differences in personality are now the ingredients for an entertaining stage performance that mixes humor with facts that allows audiences of all ages to truly enjoy an educational experience. When performing for audiences that include children, the Captains call audience members on stage to take part in the fun. Every presentation ends with a question & answer session, allowing the audience to lead the conversation in the direction of their own choosing.

Abraham Lincoln PORTRAYED BY BOB GLEASON

Bob Gleason’s Abraham Lincoln conveys the self-taught, determined, highly individualistic man who rose from poverty.  Lincoln’s commitment to the preservation of the Union matched his compassion for those who fought to save it. No stranger to hard work or to overcoming almost impossible obstacles, Lincoln enables audiences to experience the depth of his heart as well as his quick mind and unflappable spirit.

Bob Gleason feels a strong personal connection to Lincoln because one of his relatives met the Great Man several times and another relation was babysat by a woman whose hand had been shaken by the President. Mr. Gleason’s library of over 200 books on Lincoln reflects his commitment to doing justice to his portrayal. Bob’s voice and his laugh add authenticity to his Lincoln performance. And the down-to-earth humor the two men share (“He’s not totally dishonest, he probably wouldn’t steal a red-hot stove”) creates a believable, approachable Lincoln.

Lincoln, and Gleason, communicate important Life Lessons: Recognize that even if life isn’t so “swell,” you can still help other people and be useful; inspire by example; be honest, even if you’re a lawyer; rise above poverty and achieve; and if you don’t have what you need, invent it (Lincoln created a device to raise flat boats).

Bob Gleason’s Abraham Lincoln is perfect for events with lawyers, inventors, scientists, or students. Lincoln would be perfect for programming or events related to the Bicentennial of the Civil War, 2011-2015. Invite Abraham Lincoln to your event:

• Keynote Speaker: Leadership, Teambuilding, Negotiation • Educational Programs: Program with a Press Conference for Schools, Libraries, Museums, Historical Sites • Parties: Meet & Greet, Mix & Mingle, Propose Toasts, Pose for Photo Ops • Plays: Original works created and produced by AHT – My Dear Mrs. Lincoln with Mary Todd Lincoln, a 50-minute play plus Q&A • Pair with Mary Todd Lincoln, Edgar Allan Poe (born in the same year as AL), Patrick Henry, or other Civil War Era characters

• Bob Gleason: Bio of Actor/Historian

Mary Todd Lincoln PORTRAYED BY PAT JORDAN

Despite portraying a woman reviled in history, Pat Jordan’s sensitive interpretation of Mary Todd Lincoln invites new understanding of this complicated and frequently-misunderstood woman. Pat’s MTL is an intelligent, quick-witted woman in an almost impossible situation. Having married the man of her dreams, a man she knew was destined to become President, Mary Todd Lincoln was deemed a spy by the North and a traitor by the South. With relatives on both sides of the conflict, having lost a dear son, and being married to a man frequently depressed by death and destruction, MTL was under great emotional stress. She strove to love and support her husband even when he withdrew from her and from the world. She battled to create a White House that reflected her husband’s stature, in a home whose position was right on the country’s N/S border. And she endeavored to nurture her family during this time of civil war.

Ms. Jordan is a natural choice for Mary Todd Lincoln. Pat’s light hair, blue eyes, intelligence and lively sense of humor allow her easy access to this complex woman. Both women appreciate beautiful fabrics, delight in fashionable clothing and enjoy travel. Each loves children, inspiring by their own example.

Invite Mary Todd Lincoln to events concerning literacy, mental health, First Ladies, Civil War:

• Educational Programs: Programs for Schools, Libraries, Museums, Historical Sites Educational Program: Schools, Libraries, Museums and Historic Sites • Plays: My Dear Mrs. Lincoln, 45-minute play, plus Q & A Press Conference • Pair with Abraham Lincoln, Dolley Madison, Abigail Adams, Eleanor Roosevelt • Pat Jordan: Bio of Actor/Historian, Reenactor

John Marshall Portrayed by Doug Thomas

John James Marshall was an American politician who served as the fourth Chief Justice of the United States from 1801 to 1835. Marshall remains the longest-serving chief justice in Supreme Court history, and he is widely regarded as one of the most influential justices to ever sit on the Supreme Court.

Doug Thomas’ natural intelligence and quick wit provide the perfect combination to bring John Marshall to the 21st century audience.

A debate between John Marshall and Thomas Jefferson highlights the essential differences between the Founders: The sovereign rights of the States, the power of the Executive, and the independent authority of the Judiciary.

Marshall v. Jefferson is popular for High School age audiences, General Audiences, and Continuing Legal Education (CLE) for Lawyers and Judges.

Samuel Morse Portrayed by Bob Gleason

Bob Gleason’s Samuel Morse teaches us to never give up. Beginning as an artist interested in epic art that captured mythological subjects, Morse found that Americans were not willing to buy these large paintings that were expensive and weren’t portraits of themselves. Returning by boat from Europe, Morse heard discussions about messages being sent long distances over wire. Having become the best portrait painter of his era, Morse stopped painting, neglected his family and everything else, spending all his time and money inventing the telegraph and protecting his patents.

Samuel Morse may have been a successful inventor, but he failed as a human being. Cranky, pro-slavery, Morse hoped the telegraph would prevent a Civil War that the South might lose. Ironically, Morse’s telegraph helped the Union win the war by communicating and coordinating troop movements. We learn from Gleason’s Morse that not all famous people were nice or even admirable, but they may have done things that made other things possible. Morse was certainly useful, but you might not want to have him in your kitchen!

Invite Samuel Morse to your event: • Educational Programs: Program with Press Conference for schools, museums, libraries and historical sites • Parties: Mix & Mingle, Entertaining Toasts, Relevant Quotes, Photo Ops for corporate, association and private social events

Lucretia Mott PORTRAYED BY KIM HANLEY

Quaker Minister, Abolitionist, Suffragist, and Anti-War Activist. Massachusetts

In an age when most women were not expected to think about issues of the day, Lucretia Mott not only contemplated them, but also spoke out on them. A follower of Elias Hicks, she served as a Public Friend who emphasized the divinity within every individual.

Mott supported the Anti-Slavery movement and advocated the use of Free Produce. She was elected as an American Representative to the 1840 General (or World’s) Anti-Slavery Convention. When women were excluded from participating, were required to sit in a segregated area, Mott began to realize that she must also muster her efforts towards women’s equality. Mott joined Elizabeth Cady Stanton calling together the first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, NY.

The words and lessons of Lucretia Mott continue to open minds and hearts to a simple truth: If we embrace the inner light within ourselves, we fan the flame in others, and in time mankind will come to the full understanding that all people are created divine and equal.

Annie Oakley PORTRAYED BY KIM HANLEY

Annie Oakley, born Phoebe Ann Mosey, was probably the most famous woman of her day. With photographs and posters everywhere, she and professional partner Buffalo Bill Cody may have been the first international superstars. The diminutive sharpshooter and exhibition shooter, who made her own costume, competed in a sport and in a world dominated by men. The no-holds-barred performer learned to shoot from practical necessity, hunting to feed her parents and siblings. Growing up poor, overcoming a difficult and even abusive childhood, she just did what she needed to do to survive and to keep her family going.

She fought for safe working conditions, fair and equal pay for a days work regardless of gender or heritage, and for a first-rate show that presented good solid family entertainment. International fame and success came with a price. Later in life she had to fight to maintain the honor of her name. Yet she steadfastly supported the country in times of war, and put many young girls through school at her own expense. Believing that women were just as capable as men, she firmly insisted that they should strive to achieve any goal or occupation that interested them. Her motto was to “Aim for a high mark…for practice will make you perfect.” and her hope was that all women would reach the “Bulls-eye of Success.”

Kim Hanley clears up any and all Annie Get Your Gun misconceptions. Ms. Hanley is passionate about Oakley, eager to share Annie’s inspiring life story, a life much more interesting than the myths that have grown up around her. Like Oakley, Hanley has created her own costume, can ride and shoot and has done some archery. And like Oakley, Hanley is committed to her family, to education, and to philanthropic causes. Audience members learn from experience that perseverance overcomes obstacles. Volunteers toss red bean bags into a basket, first with their dominant hand and then with their other hand, then over their shoulder, then when the basket is moving. Their skills improve with practice and they learn they will continue to succeed even as the difficulty of their task increases.  Ms. Hanley’s Annie Oakley is a perservering dynamo whose spirit is contagious.

Mary Pickersgill PORTRAYED BY KIM HANLEY

In the summer of 1813, Baltimore seamstress and widow, Mary Young Pickersgill was commissioned to make two flags for Major George Armistead, the Commandant of Fort McHenry. One was a smaller foul-weather flag measuring 17′ x 25′ and the other, a very large 42′ x 30′ fair-weather banner. Daybreak on September 14, 1814, the morning after the British bombardment of Fort McHenry, Francis Scott Key saw this larger flag in the “dawn’s early light”, inspiring him to write the words that would become the United States’ National Anthem. That very same Flag is still in existence, and remains one of our Nation’s most important and beloved artifacts, viewed my millions of visitors every year at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.
In her later years Mary Young Pickersgill became a great supporter of humanitarian causes in Baltimore, particularly those dealing with indigent widows. Today, the Pickersgill Retirement community which bears her name, continues to help senior citizens in need
Meet Mary Young Pickersgill, the plucky widow who literally sewed the fabric of our Nation’s history.

“We, sir, are ready at Fort McHenry to defend Baltimore against invading by the enemy . . . except that we have no suitable ensign to display over the Star Fort, and it is my desire to have a flag so large that the British will have no difficulty in seeing it from a distance.”

Major George Armistead, Commandant of Fort McHenry, July 1813

Mary Young Pickersgill Program Categories:
Meet & Greets, Chautauquas, Libraries, & other adult & family venues,
Grade School & Middle School Aged Audiences

Edgar Allan Poe PORTRAYED BY BOB GLEASON

January 2009 – January 2010 is the bicentennial of Edgar Allan Poe’s birth. Writing most of his greatest works while living in Philadelphia, Poe flourished here for more than 6 years. Exposing the inner machinations of the human mind and heart, Bob Gleason’s Edgar Allan Poe provides vivid images, terrifying tales, and heart-thumping excitement. But Gleason’s portrayal doesn’t stop there. He reveals the literary editor and critic determined to mine his mind and profit from his published works. We learn that Poe is considered the inventor of the detective story, providing the reason for the award being dubbed the Edgar. And we discover the all-too-human Poe, the passionate poet, the intense husband, the haunted soul.

Not just for Halloween any more! A literary talent for all seasons.

“Mr Gleason was just wonderful and our patrons really enjoyed his portrayal of Edgar Allan Poe!” – C.S. Township Library of Lower Southampton, Feasterville, PA

Richard sears Portrayed by Bob Gleason

"Bob was terrific!  It is such a treasure to have him.  He creatively put together three characters to portray the history of Sears and it was great.  He research is accurate and he is a true professional . Please be sure to let him know how much we appreciated all his good work and hope to work with again on this and other programs." P.W. Smithsonian Associates, 6/2011

For more information, contact American Historical Theatre: 215-625-0986

Harriet Beecher Stowe PORTRAYED BY KIM HANLEY

In 1852 Harriet Beecher Stowe published her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, or Life Among the Lowly. This empathetic depiction of life for African Americans under slavery reached millions in the United States and the United Kingdom. The emotionally charged stories of Uncle Tom, Eliza, and Little Eva helped move the conscience of the country to the great and imperative cause of Abolitionism. It energized anti-slavery forces in the American North, while provoking widespread anger in the pro-slavery South. It is alleged that when she met Abraham Lincoln, he told her “So you are the little woman that wrote the book that started this great war.”

Constrained by 19th century societal conventions Harriet could not become a minister like her father, brothers and husband, so she chose instead to use the outlets available to a lady, among those were teaching and writing. During the early years of her marriage, Harriet drew income as an educator and from writing from magazine articles. Later, after witnessing the horrors of Slavery and the work of Abolitionists, she began Uncle Tom’s Cabin as a story to be published in serial form. The stories catapulted her to international fame, and in the years following, Harriet went on to publish over 20 novels as well as travel memoirs, home-life guides, letters and essays, becoming one of the most widely published authors in American History.

Sojourner Truth Portrayed by Daisy Century

Born Isabella Baumfree, the slave from a small town north of New York City changed hands several times, sold by one brutal owner to another just as harsh. Her life included repeated beatings, rapes and a forced marriage. In 1826, having been promised freedom, but then cruelly denied emancipation, she left her current owners and found her way to the Van Wageners’ home. There she had an epiphany, became a devout Christian, and renamed herself Sojourner Truth, after which she began her travels as a preacher. In 1850, Sojourner began speaking on women’s suffrage, believing the causes of abolition and women’s rights to be intertwined and equally important. Ms. Truth’s most quoted speech, “Ain’t I a Woman?” was delivered at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio. Although there has been much dispute about the words she spoke and the rhythm of her speech, there is no debate about the power and integrity of the speaker or about the impact of the speech and the speaker’s life. Truth also helped recruit black troops during the Civil War for the Union Army, and she worked as a Union nurse.

Dr. Daisy Century and Ms. Sojourner Truth are both powerful singers and very intelligent women, whether self-taught or academically trained. Almost as impressively tall as the woman she portrays, Century gives a commanding performance of Ms. Truth, bringing to life a woman undeterred by incredible obstacles, a woman who mixed with the leading figures of her day, including Susan B. Anthony, Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant. Audience members are urged to consider the twin goals of racial and gender parity of equal importance. We are inspired by Ms. Truth’s fiery wit, as exemplified by her rejoinder to a comment that since she smoked a pipe (at one time), her conduct did not reflect cleanliness being next to godliness. Said Sojourner, “When I die, I expect to leave my breath behind.” The audience has the opportunity to sign Sojourner Truth’s Book of Life, signifying their connection to Ms. Truth’s legacy.

“Your passion and dedication brought Sojourner to life. The audience enjoyed your performance very much and they made sure to tell us what a wonderful program it was.”N.D., Ocean County Library, Point Pleasant Branch

“Yours was a brilliant depiction of the life of those living in slavery. You made it so real to us. I want to pass along to you…some of the words of praise…extraordinary, flawless, a born actress, so very lovely, a riveting performance.” -- C.B., Heath Village Women’s Association

American Historical Theatre presents Sojourner Truth who began speaking out for women's suffrage in 1850. Believing the causes of abolition and women's rights to be intertwined and equally important. Ms. Truth's most quoted speech, "Ain't I a Woman?" was delivered at the Women's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio.

Harriet Tubman PORTRAYED BY Daisy Century

Harriet Tubman couldn’t read or write, suffered from epilepsy after being hit in the head with a two-pound weight intended to deter a runaway slave, was repeatedly threatened, beaten and starved, and emerged from these trials an ardent abolitionist, humanitarian and Union spy during the Civil War. Not content to find freedom herself, Ms. Tubman rescued others from their bondage through the Underground Railroad. After the Civil War, she was active in the struggle for women’s suffrage.

Harriet Tubman shows us a woman unstopped by almost insurmountable obstacles. Audience members learn how to “walk soft” in the woods as they journey to freedom and sing “Go down, Moses,” a doubly potent message since one of Ms. Tubman’s nicknames was “Moses.” Daisy Century captures the intensity of Tubman’s faith and the depth of her passion for freedom – for herself and for all who were oppressed. She takes her audience on Tubman’s remarkable journey through the underground railroad - from Slavery to Freedom! Daisy shares Harriet’s commitment and makes accessible the enormity of Harriet Tubman’s contribution.

Mark Twain PORTRAYED BY BOB GLEASON

Author and humorist Samuel Langhorne Clemens, or as he is better known, Mark Twain used his home town of Hannibal, Missouri as the backdrop for his two most notable works: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (which has often been referred to as the Great American Novel). He tried a number of other career options before discovering his true vocation. He was an apprentice printer, a typesetter, a riverboat pilot, a gold miner, inventor, and finally a journalist. He was a Jack of all trades, who could never master his finances, though he always made sure his debts were eventually paid, but when it came to writing he certainly excelled. He became well known for his works, was acclaimed by his peers, and counted presidents and industrialist and other notables amongst his friends.

madame CJ Walker Portrayed by Daisy Century

Born with the name Sarah Breedlove, Madame C.J. Walker was an entrepreneur, and an early civil rights advocate who sought equality for African Americans. As America’s first female self-made millionaire, she was a philanthropist who was an enthusiastic financial supporter of Black Colleges and Universities.

Walker amassed her fortune through dedication, hard work, and innovation. She began with a small “Special Correspondence Course” business, founded on her System of Beauty Culture. This self described “hair-growing” business, was borne out her desire to remedy her own hair loss. On September 19th, 1911 the Madame C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company of Indiana, Inc. wherein Madame Walker was the President and sole shareholder, was incorporated. As she focused on growing hair, her business also grew rapidly.

Her dedication extended not only to her wok but to her community as well. Walker began teaching other African American women how they too could likewise succeed in business and was sought after to lecture on social, political, and economic topics. Walker was a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and was instrumental in their efforts to make lynching a federal crime. Walker is was recognized by the National Association Of Colored Women (NACW) for making the largest contribution to save the home of abolitionist Frederick Douglass. She donated throughout her career to the NAACP, the YMCA, and to black schools, organizations, individuals, orphanages, as well as retirement homes.

John Wanamaker Portrayed by Bob Gleason

"Meet me at the Eagle,” was a frequent suggestion for Philadelphians over the years. The statue was impressive and so was the store named for its founder, John Wanamaker.  Bob Gleason’s Wanamaker gives us the story of a businessman who provided variety and fun for his customers and who was rewarded for his efforts. Here was a man who was civic-minded and charitable. Wanamaker fostered a progressive relationship with his employees, making it possible for them to go to school, building a vacation amusement place for employees to use on the weekends, housing the biggest organ in the world (built for the St. Louis Centennial Exposition) and arranging for the organ to be played in his store. John Wanamaker was a man who made a lot of money and tried to do good things with it.

Walt Whitman Portrayed by David S. Taylor

Walt Whitman changed the voice of poetry. He sought to create “a new gospel of beauty”: an American voice. He escaped the Classic Structures demanded of verse, and gave us the free form voice that has become standard today.

Within Walt Whitman’s story, one may find a parallel to the story of America. He was born and raised on Long Island, NY, when Brooklyn was but a village. As Whitman grew, so too did Brooklyn, becoming one of the largest cities in America during his lifetime. Throughout America many areas experienced a rapid period of growth and transformation from rural to urban and industrial. The nation was undergoing a process of re-definition and understanding and Whitman was a man of the times. He was a newspaper man and poet fully engaged in learning about and defining himself.

His work influenced the beat movement and its leaders such as Jack Kerouac and Alan Ginsberg, anti-war poets and even Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Whitman served as a volunteer in military hospitals during the civil war and mourned with the nation at the assassination of President Lincoln with the well-known “Captain, oh my Captain.”

The last chapter of his life took place in the hard working town of Camden, NJ and his refuge in nature at the Stafford Farm and Timber Creek as the “Good Grey Poet”.