The Board of Directors of the West Virginia Humanities Council established the annual McCreight Lecture in the Humanities to honor the leadership of Betsy Keadle McCreight, who died in 1985. McCreight was a founding board member, serving the Council as treasurer, vice president, and president. She believed that the humanities were at the heart of a democratic society, a necessary source of wisdom and vision.
Presented each October, the McCreight Lecture affords West Virginians the opportunity to hear nationally respected scholars and public intellectuals on a variety of humanities topics. McCreight Lecturers have included Ken Burns, Joyce Carol Oates, Joseph Ellis, Sylvia Nasar, Henry Louis Gates, Elaine Pagels, Gordon Wood, James McPherson, Edmund Morris and Annette Gordon-Reed.
The 2018 McCreight Lecture in the Humanities will be presented by Jill Lepore, Harvard University Professor of American History and staff writer at The New Yorker. The event will take place at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, October 25, in Riggleman Hall on the campus of the University of Charleston. It is free and open to the public.
Lepore will speak on the topic of her new book, These Truths: A History of the United States, to be published in September by Norton. Lepore has been contributing to The New Yorker since 2005, writing about American history, law, literature, and politics. Her essays and reviews have also appeared in the New York Times, the Times Literary Supplement, the Journal of American History, Foreign Affairs, the Yale Law Journal, American Scholar, and the American Quarterly.
Her book The Secret History of Wonder Woman (Knopf, 2014) was a national bestseller and winner of the 2015 American History Book Prize. Lepore's earlier work includes a trilogy of books that together constitute a political history of early America: The Name of War: King Philip's War and the Origins of American Identity (Knopf, 1998), winner of the Bancroft Prize, the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award, and the Berkshire Prize; New York Burning: Liberty, Slavery and Conspiracy in Eighteenth-Century Manhattan (Knopf, 2005), winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Award for the best nonfiction book on race and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; and Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin (Knopf, 2013), Time magazine's Best Nonfiction Book of the Year, winner of the Mark Lynton History Prize and a finalist for the 2013 National Book Award for Nonfiction.
Lepore earned a B.A. in English from Tufts University in 1987, an M.A. in American Culture from the University of Michigan in 1990, and a Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University in 1995. A prize-winning professor, she teaches classes in evidence, historical methods, the humanities, and American political history.
She joined the Harvard History Department in 2003 and was Chair of the History and Literature Program in 2005-10, 2012, and 2014. In 2012, she was named Harvard College Professor, in recognition of distinction in undergraduate teaching. In 2014, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and to the American Philosophical Society. Since 2015, she has been an Affiliated Faculty member at the Harvard Law School.