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 26 - The American Army and World War I   


Dr. David Woodward is history Professor Emeritus at Marshall University and a well-known WWI scholar. He has served as a WWI consultant for the BBC and is the author of eight books. His last book, The American Army and the First World War, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2014. Professor Woodward will discuss America entering the Great War on April 6, 1917, the development of the American Expeditionary Force as a modern army with 20th century weaponry, its contribution to ultimate victory, and the leadership of President Woodrow Wilson and General John “Black Jack” Pershing.


April 30 - Why Shakespeare Matters


Dr. Gabriel Rieger is associate professor of Medieval and Renaissance English Literature and director of the Appalachian Shakespeare Project at Concord University. His talk will focus on the challenges, and benefits, that engaging with Shakespeare affords people at every stage of life. He makes the case for the value of humanities education generally, and for the teaching of Shakespeare specifically. He is the author of Sex and Satiric Tragedy in Early Modern Literature: Penetrating Wit published in 2009 by Ashgate Publishing, as well as articles in journals including Early Modern Literary Studies and The Upstart Crow: A Shakespeare Journal.


May 21 - The Story of Henderson Hall Plantation      


Henderson Hall Plantation sits overlooking the Ohio River near Williamstown in Wood County. Completed in 1859 by G.W. Henderson, the perfectly preserved 29-room house holds 200 years of priceless family artifacts, antiques and furnishings. Henderson Hall director Randy Modesitt shares the story of the Henderson family who first came to the Ohio Valley in 1798, the amazing collection of original family artifacts on-site, and the transition of the property from private residence to public museum.


June 25 - West Virginia Musicians and the Nashville Sound


Dr. Travis Stimeling is assistant professor of musicology at West Virginia University, where he is also the founding director of the WVU bluegrass and old-time bands.  He is the author or editor of four books on country music, most recently Fifty Cents and a Box Top: The Creative Life of Nashville Session Musician Charlie McCoy published by WVU Press. Drawing upon his research, for which he credits a Humanities Council fellowship for getting started, his talk considers the role of Nashville’s session musicians in shaping the popular music landscape of the past fifty years and how West Virginia musicians have interacted with the Nashville recording industry.



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



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.



Listen to recordings of some previous lectures and speakers