West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman
© WV Humanities Council

Little Lectures

Intimate Sunday afternoon talks

The Little Lectures are informal programs featuring speakers on a variety of topics.


Programs are presented on Sunday afternoons at 2:00 p.m. at our headquarters located at 1310 Kanawha Boulevard, East, Charleston, in the parlor of MacFarland-Hubbard House. The series is one of the many ways the Humanities Council shares our historic property with the community. Seating is limited (thus “Little” Lectures) and reservations are suggested. Admission is $10 per person and includes refreshments after the lecture. When the weather is nice refreshments are enjoyed outdoors under our pergola.


The Little Lectures begin in March and are presented once each month through June. Previous Little Lecturers include historian John Alexander Williams, biographer Jean Edward Smith, Monticello horticulturalist Peter Hatch, novelist Denise Giardina, playwright Billy Edd Wheeler, and West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman


March 25 - Carter G. Woodson: History, the Black Press, and Public Relations  


Burnis MorrisBurnis R. Morris is the Carter G. Woodson Professor in Marshall University's W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications, where he has taught courses in reporting, diversity, mass media history, and public relations. Professor Morris will examine the subject of his recent book Carter G. Woodson: History, the Black Press, and Public Relations and Woodson’s West Virginia connections. Morris will discuss Woodson’s experiences in West Virginia and his use of the black press and modern public relations techniques to popularize black history during the first half of the twentieth century. Woodson, the son of former slaves, spent his formative years in Fayette County and Huntington. A publisher, historian, educator, and author, Woodson is often called the “Father of Black History.


April 29 - Pearl S. Buck: Past, Present, and Future


John CuthbertJohn Cuthbert is Curator and Director of the West Virginia and Regional History Center and Special Collections at West Virginia University Libraries. The Center is the home of the Pearl S. Buck Literary Manuscripts Collection. Born in Hillsboro, Buck was the first of only two American women to receive both the Nobel Prize for Literature and the Pulitzer Prize. Over the past several years her reputation and writings have gained renewed interest as academics and officials have publicly acknowledged the importance of her contributions to the cultural history of China and to the cultural understanding between the East and the West. Cuthbert’s talk will explore Buck’s literary legacy and the renaissance of her work.


May 20 - Documenting Appalachia      


Elaine McMillion Sheldon

Elaine McMillion Sheldon is a Peabody award winner and an Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker based in Charleston. A Logan County native, her work explores universal stories of identity, upheaval, roots, survival, resilience, and hope. Her recent Netflix documentary "Heroin(e)” follows three women fighting the opioid crisis in Huntington, West Virginia, and was nominated for a 2018 Academy Award. With Humanities Council grant support in 2013, her interactive documentary “Hollow” examined the future of rural America through the eyes and voices of West Virginians. It received a Peabody Award and an Emmy nomination. Sheldon has been named one of the "25 New Faces of Independent Film" by Filmmaker magazine and one of "50 People Changing the South" by Southern Living magazine. She will discuss her work and what it means to be a filmmaker based in West Virginia.


June 24 - Hillbilly or Frontiersman? A Brief Cultural History of the West Virginia Mountaineer


Rosemary HathawayRosemary Hathaway is an associate professor of English at West Virginia University whose areas of specialty include folklore and American literature. She is particularly interested in the ways that folklore is deployed in literature. Her talk will draw upon her research on the subject to discuss the complexity of the figure of the mountaineer and how the idea resonates with West Virginians. This will include discussion of the origins of the broad term used to describe West Virginians and how the image of the WVU Mountaineer has both reflected and challenged those historical origins.



Call Mark Payne at 304.346.8500 or email payne@wvhumanities.org for further information.


2018 Little Lectures are sponsored in part by Appalachian Power.

Appalachian Power logo








All public spaces at the MacFarland-Hubbard House are accessible. When making your reservations, please advise us of any accessibility accommodations that you may need. Contact program officer Mark Payne in advance at 304.346.8500.


2018 Little Lectures are sponsored in part by Appalachian Power


Listen to recordings of some previous lectures and speakers