Programs currently available from Programs to Go!
Currently available titles are listed below; a brochure featuring our most popular programs, and designed to fit on 8.5 x 14 paper, can be downloaded as a pdf. Don't see a topic about which you'd like to learn more? Drop us a note; Kathy is open to creating programs on other topics that may be more suited to your group's needs (additional charges apply). Contact Historical Perspectives to learn more about any of our titles, or to schedule a program for your library, museum, or organization. Want to catch one of Kathy's upcoming programs? Check out her calendar.
& Loose Women. In the first program of her series on 19th-century women's history, Kathy looks at the changing role of American women from colonial times through the Victorian era, including what it means to be “straight-laced and uptight”. Discover what corsets and gun clubs have in common, how the house took on new importance for our female ancestors, and why a man’s home wasn’t really his castle, but rather his wife’s!
Our Victorian ancestors had specific views on the “fairer sex”. They believed women were mentally & physically inferior to men, & that the only appropriate role for them was as wives & mothers. These attitudes also affected what doctors & women knew & believed about the female body. What effect did these views have on the personal lives of Victorian women? Learn the answer to this question & more, & discover what made Scarlett O’Hara such a “bad girl”. Who knows, you may find you're one, too!
Were Victorian women really as clueless about sex when they married as we've been told? What did they know about pregnancy before it happened? What was it like for Victorian women, and how did they face childbirth knowing they could die? Were they really encouraged, as one Victorian author suggested, to die with a smile on their face? Learn the answers to these questions and others in this fascinating look at pregnancy, childbirth, and childhood in the 19th century.
of Our Equality August 26, 2020 marked the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. In this program, historian Kathy Wilson investigates why women had to fight for decades to get the right to vote, why black and minority women were excluded from the national suffrage movement, and why we still struggle with women's rights today.
Some people still think the Victorians were repressed, prudish, and avoided sex whenever possible. If that were so, how do we explain the growth of prostitution and pornography during the Civil War? This program provides an interesting, entertaining, and revealing look at Victorian society, sex, and the soldier in the War between the States.
Victorians had a different attitude about death than we do in the 21st Century. People died at home surrounded by loved ones, families picnicked in cemeteries on Sundays, took photos with deceased (what’s up with that?) & made jewelry from their hair (yes, really!). They also worried about being buried alive or someone stealing their bodies. This program explores the Victorians’ fascination with death & the culture they developed to memorialize the dead.
In 1692 more than 200 people were accused of witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts; 20 were executed. Why? What happened to create such hysteria? Were the accusers possessed? Experiencing delusions caused by eating spoiled grain? Discover the real story behind the Salem Witch Trials.
Her contemporaries paid scant attention to her; Victorians found her passionless and parochial. Yet in the 21st Century, an age where seemingly “anything goes,” the reserve and restraint, modesty and manners of Austen’s characters continue to appeal to many readers. This program looks at her world in an attempt to learn more about Jane Austen and understand not only what influenced her writing, but also why we still love her books 200 years later.
The daughter of 18th-century radicals, Mary Shelly was disowned by her family and ostracized by 19th-century society when she ran off with a married man at the age of 16. Despite continued criticism of her morals, her husband’s philandering, and the death of loved ones, she still managed to write one of the most popular novels of all time while still a teenager. This program looks at Mary Shelly's life to learn more about her and understand why the fascination with "Frankenstein" continues.
Our Victorian ancestors had specific expectations for women and children: kids were to be seen and not heard; women were to marry, have children, and create a home to serve as a haven from the world. Not everyone agreed, however, including Charlotte Bronte; they believed a woman could be . . . well, more. This program investigates how Bronte's views on those expectations led her to write Jane Eyre, and what the story reveals about 19th-century society and Bronte herself.
Would you believe Christmas used to be a very low-key affair? It’s true! Until the mid-19th Century, people did little to mark it & businesses didn’t consider it a holiday. Yet by 1900 it was our largest & most popular annual celebration. What changed society’s view of Christmas? The answer may be Charles Dickens & "A Christmas Carol". Historian Kathy Wilson investigates how a novel about social reform transformed Christmas from a date on the church calendar into the holiday we know today.
And It Shot Him None of Mark Twain's stories created controversy like the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. One of his most popular novels, critics consider it to be one of America’s greatest literary works. So, what makes the book so controversial? Why are we still debating the merits of Huck Finn in the 21st Century? Learn how the Civil War, Victorian attitudes, and Twain’s own experiences provided the inspiration for this popular book and why it regularly appears on banned book lists!
Scarlett, Rhett, Ashley—mention their names and almost everyone knows who and what you’re talking about. Why? How is it that a story so blatantly racist, so regionally specific with such stereotyped characters should be one of the most famous books of the 20th century? This program investigates how the Lost Cause, Victorian social attitudes, and Margaret Mitchell’s own family history all served as the inspiration for a book that has remained popular for more than 80 years.
What was life really like below stairs at place like Downton Abbey? Could the chauffeur really marry the daughter of an Earl? Would a maid help move a dead body to protect her mistress' reputation? What about all that free time? Historian Kathy Wilson reveals the answers to these questions and more in this program focusing on the realities of domestic service at Highclere Castle, the real Downton Abbey, during early 20th century.
Did you know that that clothing can make you sick, break your bones, and even kill you? It's true! It can even make drive you mad! This program takes a look at 18th- and 19th-century fashions and the deadly secrets hiding behind those fabulous looks, and tackles some of those urban myths, too, including whether it was possible for Scarlet O'Hara to have an 18-inch waist!