Public Program- Martha Sandweiss

Lectures and Performances
Wednesday, May 6, 2009 - 7:30pm

"Passing Strange"
By Martha A. Sandweiss

Passing Strange

Clarence King is a hero of nineteenth century Western history; a brilliant scientist and witty conversationalist, best-selling author and architect of the great surveys that mapped the West after the Civil War. Secretary of State John Hay named King "the best and brightest of his generation." But King had a secret: for thirteen years he lived a double life- as the celebrated white explorer, geologist and writer Clarence King and as a black Pullman porter and steel worker named James Todd. In this lecture, based upon her latest book, Passing Strange: A Gilded Age Tale of Love and Deception Across the Color Line, Sandweiss reveals how she uncovered the life that King tried so hard to conceal from the public eye.

Martha A. Sandweiss is professor of history at Princeton University. She previously taught for twenty years at Amherst College. She is the author or editor of numerous books on American history and photography including Print the Legend: Photography and the American West (2002), winner of the Organization of American Historians' Ray Allen Billington Award for the best book in American frontier history and the William P. Clements Award. Her other works include Laura Gilpin: An Enduring Grace, winner of the George Wittenborn Award for outstanding art book of 1987. She has also co-edited The Oxford History of the American West (1994),
recipient of the Western Heritage Award and the Caughey Western History Association prize for the year's outstanding book in Western history.

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