tv Discussion on the Gilded Age and American Renaissance Palaces CSPAN April 25, 2015 10:55pm-12:01am EDT
ago -- 100 tenures ago. their home was described as a florentine villa in the midst of american independence with an interior that will be a dream of beauty and good taste. tonight, dr. wilson will investigate the architecture of the anderson house and other extravagance mansions built between the civil war and world war i. he specializes in the architecture, design, and art of the 18th through 20th century both in america and abroad. he has served as an advisor for a number of programs including america's castles and 10 most influential buildings for the
pbs. he is the author or co-author of 16 books, including studies -- the prairie school in iowa, and monument avenue in richmond. his most recent book was published in 1912 -- excuse me, 2012. dr. wilson. [applause] dr. wilson: thank you very much, kindle. can you hear me all right? ok. i want to thank kendall and the society for inviting me here. it is a little daunting to be here in this room. and i do want to also acknowledge anything i say tonight is actually built on the shoulders of other scholars who have worked on the different
subjects here and so forth and different archives, and particularly to note historic new england, which has substantial archives of the architects who designed this and i will be referring to in a minute. what i am going to try and do in my talk is to put lars and isabel anderson's house -- and make sure there is an l and an i there, and see how many l's and i's you can see by the end. this is in the context of other great houses of the latter 19th, early 20th century. something about what were they up to in a place like this
other than building a big thing. what may be was inspiring these different individuals and their architects. in other words, what it might mean? of course on one level, the , house here is part of these giant houses. these are called cottages by some people. newport cottages. very expensive. in this case here, this is one of the vanderbilt houses in newport, rhode island, designed by the eminent architect richard morris hunt. this is the dining room. as you can see, you can get a lot of calories, not just in the food, but also on the interior. this is one example of what we might say is a gilded age mansion. this is another newport house by mckim, mead and white. this is done for the ehrlichs.
they owned a huge steamship line. this money was coming out of nevada. this is another example of these large houses. i can go on and on. new york at one point in time had quite a number of these on upper 5th avenue. also over on madison avenue. most of them unfortunately have disappeared over the years. this one is still left, affront -- a front for a big hotel. this is another mckim, mead and white. this is the former music room you are looking at there on the rights. and the the mural over there is by john lafarge, one of the
great american painters at the time. we can go further afield of course. the largest house ever built in this country is built more -- is biltmore, the george washington vanderbilt health in asheville north carolina. -- house in asheville. that is on the right. and it is gone, but this was the potter palmer house. this is mrs. palmer's cassel that stood on the like driving chicago. but now since gone. how should we call these things other than mcmansions? other than giant houses? too much wealth? it should be noted a couple of these houses did inspire attempts to actually prohibit spending more than $250,000 on an american house. there was a bill actually introduced into congress in
1890-1891 that tried to pull it back. there are a lot of other terms. one term and we frequently use is the term victorian. of course, that is for good queen vicky. this is a term very much today -- this is a term very much in use today, as noted in the introduction. there is a victorian chapter summer schools that we offer in a number of different cities. indeed determined victorian is a very much used. the reason i am bringing this up -- we might have our independence.
we got our independence from england, but culturally and intellectually, a good portion of america in the 19th century was still very indebted to england. yes, we had attempts to make our own culture, but at the same time query very much indebted to england. we still use this term today in english literature classes, the term victorian. in other words, shows this type of strong connection that went on. i will note that beginning around the civil war, there is a slight break, which i will come back to any minute. we beginning to reorient ourselves, at least artistically, towards france. still, queen vicky -- and there she is painted on the right by thomas sully, and american painter at she is taking the throne. one of the interesting things about her was that she and her husband prince albert or
architecture nuts of the first quarter. -- of the first order. prince albert was very involved in architecture. his hand is all over mid-19th entry england. this is their getaway. has anyone ever been there? osborne house? 1, 2, 3, 4? ok. it is on the isle of wight outside of portsmouth. this is where victoria and prince court made their -- and prince albert made their getaways. they made many, many, many additions to the house, as you can see over the years. i bring this up because if you have a certain amount of money as an american, you had your own ship that took you to england. you wanted, if possible, to stop here and get invited to the house. this is a big deal for wealthy americans to get received by queen victoria at her house, her
osburne house on the isle of wight. just a couple of the interiors to give you a certain sense of their taste, or some people would say their lack of taste. the room on the right is the indian room, all carved in india. the symbol of english empire. it is interesting, just to the range of elements that you get. this is her boudoir on the left. i am showing you a detailed. -- a detail. the house is still owned by the crown, though it is managed today by english heritage and is open for business. there shows what the boudoir looks like.
the salon style of painting. this is a detail of mitten tiles, just to give you a sense that this has a lot of stuff in it. there is a tremendous amount of detail. queen victoria really never did it design anything. she was apparently pretty good at watercolors. this is one thing here that i think is interesting. this is the monument to her lately departed husband, it stands in hyde park in london. the architect as you can see is george gilbert scott. i hope this will work right. you can see all of the different details. this is one of the things we
very frequently think about it we hear the term rhetoric, and overload visually -- an overload visually in any way that you can take it. there are other terms that have also been applied to these years. many years ago, the great american water entitled the book "the brown decades." that was one turn. another was "the mob decades." another term in frequently used is of course, the gilded age. it comes from mark twain and charles dudley warner, a book called "the gilded age" until -- a tale of today. what it is, it is set in washington d.c. anybody read it here? nobody reads it any longer today. it is really a good read. it is a damn good read. we ought to read it more often because it is about corruption in washington, d.c.
[laughter] dr. wilson: right here, on this illustration, this is the congressman from tennessee. you can see this is public document, and they are filing them in, and he says "all congressman do that", in other words, you are covering up. to show other illustrations -- this is the lady's dress, the elaboration of the interiors and this is a term that was very political, but of course it has caught on in a visual-cultural sort of way. it is very much what we use today. examples of this type of architecture that are here at home.
on the public sphere, the eisenhower executive office building next to the white house on the right. notice the details. my date is a little off, it only took about 18 years to build the damn thing. you can have a contest on how many columns are on the exterior. one student to leave once that he crowded hundred 80 columns on the exterior. -- 480 columns. there was a lot of political corruption involved in the construction of this. two blocks is the hewlett mansion. this is 1892-1894, but architecturally this looks back. this is on the corner of new hampshire avenue. this is where the term "brown decade" comes from. all of this rough, brown stone
on the exterior is simply a detail. this is a wild sort of concoction, a variety of different elements that are pulled together. this is, as i say, one of the best examples of architecture from this period remaining in washington dc in the sense that it is in this romanesque type of style on the exterior. all of the details, some of them just made up, that the architect mr. myers is using. inside it is interesting. and i'm sorry, i would hope we would have a bigger screen. but as you can see, there is a lot on the floor patterns. here is the entrance hall, a lot
of stuff on display. it is basically an extremely dark interior. this is one of the styles and so forth of the 1870's, the 1880's. another building, which unfortunately does not exist but that this man and knew very well, because this is where our lars anderson grew up. his father mission to the house from ath richardson. it stood over the corner of 16th and k street. h.h., richardson if you are not familiar, strode across the architecture stage. he strode across, the only weighed 320 pounds. he actually did 3 houses in washington d.c. one house way up 16th street. he did this work john hay and henry adams down on lafayette
square. that is where the hotel with that name is located. this house here done for lar's anderson's father in his youth. think about this -- two very very different worlds. it goes to the point, and this is a rule of history -- we tend to disown at the taste of her parents and find great value in the taste of our grandparents. no, but there is the sense to reject what we know and rediscover something that has come from the past. in the case of the anderson house, it is very well known at the time, that here are the interiors. this is well enough known that he was published in a very famous book -- a huge folio of the best american interiors, published in 1883 called " artistic interiors."
there is the entrance hall. there is the dining room. you came in through the entrance hall here. the dining room is a very different sort of thing. this is where lars anderson spent portions of his youth. this gives us a little bit of a background. because, here we are -- there is a period of 20-odd years that separates these two houses. it shows the way things changes. you have to have changed to have history.
you can't have history without having some change. this is a good example here of the rearview of the house. there is the whole right around the country. -- the hall right around the corner here at the lars anderson house. what i am suggesting is that there was a shift that went on in american taste. when we use the term in gilded age, victorian, it isn't the same thing all the way through. there are shifts and so forth that go on. for instance, these two chairs right here. they are both designed for the white house.
the one on the left, 1870, done by a brooklyn firm, remodeling under ulysses grant for the white house. you might think that popeye had something to do with it. whereas on the right, this is a boston firm, davenport and company. this is designed for remodeling the white house under teddy roosevelt in 1901 under charles mccann. they are two different things. this one is looking more to the past, where is this, you have to wonder what is going on here as far as the design. [laughter] dr. wilson: or here. there is the entry hall. in the early 1880's, and associated american artists were enlisted to remodel the white
shifts in taste are what is going on. what i would suggest is that there wasn't something that began to occur -- was something that began to occur in the latter part of the 19th century that is sometimes called the american renaissance. what i am showing you on the right, you may remember this as exhibit i was involved with many years ago. is at the brooklyn museum, then it came down here to the smithsonian. this is the cover of it. that is a look inside the library of congress. the term american renaissance was not invented by me. there is nothing that art historians like more than two -- to invent terms. here is a book titled "american renaissance" in 1905. this is a term that begins to come in circulation in the 1880's and continues well past the 1920's as the description of the new type of american architecture, new type of american interiors that begin to appear in these years. it was very different than the stuff we have been looking at a minute ago. one way that is caught on can be
seen in chicago in the world columbian exposition of 1893. it was decided that one of the greatest events of all mankind history happened in 1492, when you know who sailed the ocean blue. this should be celebrated, but the event that out of hand a bit, so they couldn't get their act together until 1893. the hundred 41st anniversary of columbus's discovery of the new world. the world's fair, or the so-called white city in chicago on the south side. lake michigan is, well, i would be drowning where this was taken. but this is the court of honor right here. this is the statue of the republic by daniel chester french. what statue did he do here in
washington, d.c.? the lincoln memorial. the lincoln memorial. this is a meeting of the architects held on february 24 1891, when the most preeminent of architects in the country were called in to come out to chicago. daniel of a chicago firm has been placed in charge of trying to get a design for this big world's fair. he has called in, this is charles mckim presenting his design. i will not go through all of these people. that is richard morris hunt, who did the administration building down here.
those of you who are architectural nuts will be interested that the guy bending over right there, with the dark beard taking notes, is louis sullivan. he took notes on the meeting. what happened at this meeting was they got together and said look, let us create a classical city. a white city, a common 50 foot cornice line. classical details throughout. and they all agreed unbelievably. you get a bunch of architects together, and they agreed on this. at the end of the meeting, this man over here.
what did gus do here in town? the adams memorial. gus, another eminent american sculptor walked over to burn up and grabbed him by the hand and said, look here old fellow, do you realize this is the greatest meeting of artist since the 15th century? in other words, what happened back in florence and rome was being reincarnated here in the united states. here is a statue of the republic by daniel chester french. what this was was we were trying to show those damn europeans that we can do it too. [giggling] dr. wilson: the first of the world fairs was an in london the crystal palace. prince albert was very much behind us. this is where people came and
showed their stuff. this is where you brought your plows, your engines, your art, and there were many other world's fairs. another important inspiring what is going on here is the 1889 paris world fair. we actually had tried their back in 1876 in philadelphia. the centennial. it is interesting to read the commentary on the world's fair. this is american exceptionalism and so forth, they think, by gosh, this is a world's fair that is going to really be it. however, as the world's fair opened and after it closed, it is interesting in the op-ed
pieces that appears we missed. we missed. we didn't really quite show it. the burden was really on in this 1893 that we would really show the world that we have arrived. that we are on the same level as those countries that have all about culture and civilization back in europe, that we have it here. it is also worthwhile to note that there were four and civilian, such as the japanese civilian on the left. -- foreign civilian. can you tell me who did this state on the right? this is the first mount vernon repo. the first of many. this is the virginia state building. a group of ladies from richmond got together, because virginia state government is pretty worthless and they could never get it together.
[laughter] dr. wilson: this is interesting from this identity point of view. on the left is the california state building, which is a take on spanish missions. this is supposedly a genuine example of early kentucky architecture. [laughter] dr. wilson: and that is the daniel boone after. -- boone out there. let me tell you, it is over doing what the past is. the point i'm trying to make is that there is a shift going on in american taste towards the idea that we have to get up there with europe. yes, we have some history here. but what you we really have as far as great architecture? you can see the buildings beginning to creep in.
the patterson house on the dupont circle. down a bit further, this is thomas nelson page's house. a very important writer, historical novelist. this is a sort of renaissance-y type of thing where this is federal architecture, a bit overdone. you also begin to get the shift in public buildings. the corcoran gallery of art -- we will not go into that story.
the old carnegie library -- this shows, this reorientation that is very much taking place in american architecture. one of the things that is important is that many of the architects who did this attend a school in paris. they went to paris and studied at the school of fine arts. american painters and sculptors went there as well. there is a shift that went on in this country. we are still english in many ways, but artistically, paris is the world center of art. if you are really going to do this, you are going to have to have a bit of that parisian type of background.
it was open, free to anybody, as long as you could pass the test and get in. it becomes a big thing for americans to go over. another example, and of course this could go on for hours with examples, is the mcmillan commission for michigan. the senate commission of washington d.c. park, charles mckinnon was a member of this along with frederick olmsted junior and daniel burke of chicago. it's took many years - it took many years for the lincoln memorial to be finished. it did not turn out quite exactly like this. there is a spark going on in the air, sometimes called "city
beautiful" or the urban art movement. but the sense that we have got to be able to do this. going inside, another important influence -- there were a couple of books, but in particular, this one here is the most important. the declaration of houses, as you can see, authored by edith wharton. published in new york in november, 1897. i am showing you the table of contents. this is just a portion of the contents. this book is edith wharton's first book. she has done a couple of poems
a few short stories, nothing else. this is her first published book. "the age of innocence" -- all of those are to come later. she teamed up with a man by ogden cogden junior. edith wharton would go on to become one of the greatest american writers of all-time. ogden cogden junior -- ogden codman junior, this is him at age of 16. this is a picture taken in paris with the backdrop of two of his closest friends, the architect of this house. they were very friends. they were all known as the colonial trinity. edith wharton is relatively young at this time, still finding her way. it does get a clue, and if you read any of her novels, look at the setting. it is important where things take place in it, that this is a
very important element in trying to understand her writing. while i can't prove it, is very almost 100% that the anderson's knew edith wharton. that they were all working in the same social circle in boston, new york, and so forth. she was part of the old elite. codman was part of the boston group. you have isabel, so there is a type of exception. finally to note that the
manuscript on this was approved by charles mckim. edith was a good friend of mckim. she actually helped him found the school of architecture in rone, still existing today. -- american school of architecture in rome, and is still there today. one of the things she wanted to do in the book --and i should note, w before c, wharton before c. i can tell you, having a last name with "w", when it appears before the earlier alphabet, it means that you are the one that did primary running on the book. -- primary right thing -- p rimary writing in the book. they wanted to clean out all of this junk in american houses turn it back to some of the basic principles of design.
she does apologize for the illustrations. primarily they are french and italian illustrations. she says there are good american examples that come from a colonial period. but we have got to get rid of all of this horrible clutter and junk that we have used. that as her mother's house in new york. [laughter] dr. wilson: this is not in the book, but i put it in. this is the table furniture they called the upholsterer's nightmare. i want to turn back to the well-designed furniture of good proportions of the past. they show a variety of french furniture, other types of interiors. one of the interesting things as you look at the illustrations -- she apologizes and says that she wishes she had more money for illustration, but that there is
a clearing away. yes, here we are. we are in mantua. on the left, there is the grand triana at versailles. it is a rethinking of how the whole thing ought to be designed. this brings us to the architects of this house. herbert w. brown and arthur little. let me say that all of the information that you would want is available. there are a bit of mysteries about both of them, and i will come back to part of that in half a minute. arthur little -- brown and little are both boston upper class, born on beacon hill in that area.
arthur little in 1877 did one of the earliest books examining early american architecture. early american architecture wasn't a concern of anybody. he goes out with sketches. early new england interiors. he attended mit school of architecture. then he traveled abroad. with mr. brown, it is a little unclear whether he did attend mit, but he does travel abroad. he is in paris, with he was a member is unclear. the exact date they team up is unclear. there are a couple different dates when they are out there. they begin to do houses such as this, the salem house. it is a sort of a federal revival. this is our turn little --
arthur little's own house. again, using this federal revival type of style. this is the one photograph that historic new england was able to find for me. i should say that this is his sister and younger brother, and that neither little or brown ever married. or they move have -- or they might have what you call a boston marriage. they do team up with a team of architects. here are a couple of zone examples of their work in boston. this is an area that was landfilled in the late 1850's. these are both on commonwealth avenue. you get the elite putting up
houses. here on the left, stylistically is the call list. may be a federal, but a sort of renaissance. this is a at an english and revival type thing. one house that they did that gave them tremendous fame is this house here for the brain to keep -- for a family farm. it is a gigantic house. it is a georgia revival. this is practically next door to lars anderson's house. this is undoubtedly where these connections begin. working to build a house here in
washington dc. it becomes little and brown together. this is a footnote, but i thought this was interesting. if you walk out this door right here, this is a house that brown and little restored up in south berwick, maine. this is over the border of new hampshire. teach children -- kate, the great american writer lived in this house. brown and little restoreth this house. in some sense, they sort of overdo it. nothing like that would appear to akin in 1787.
-- back in 1787. what is fascinating about this restoration is that -- this is a mural of substantial architecture. not the same artist, but the same idea. i am trying to suggest there are different ideas infiltrating certainly with the anderson's when you come to this house. so finally, we are here. there is the photograph taken by
mr. withey. he was a draftsman and belittle and brown firm. -- in the little and brown firm. he did a lot of supervision and took this photograph. here is page one of about seven pages of the books on historic new england. this shows it here, the honorable lars anderson, house in washington, d.c., the different dates. the house was worth $343,945. the interior is $245,000. this is a clue as to what is going on. furniture $11,000. total cost at this house is about $624,122.04. it is interesting, not all of the information is here, but some is about the light fixtures and all of this. this comes around the question -- okay, here we are at the house -- what is it?
over time, as was noted when the house was dedicated in 1905, in washington newspaper called it an example of a florentine village. other people have said it is a little bit of english baroque. another term is the beaux-arts style. one problem is is that there ain't a beaux-arts style. you want talk -- you weren't taught a specific sort of style. to identify this as one particular origin, i think is a bit inaccurate. what little in brown are up to hear with anderson -- what
little and brown are up to here are taking the principles of classicism, but creating something new and different, something that is not an imitation of a house in paris or london. also what is very fascinating -- this is the entry hall. he is now sitting outside, but this is the way the entry hall to be. -- hall used to be. this is the entry hall after the society of his snappy took it over. -- society of cincinnati took it over. you walk in, and what are you greeted with? you turn, or you come into here and look up there, and look
around, you begin to see that you have an extraordinary range of cultures from all over the world that are brought together in the house. it isn't just simply one culture. there are many different elements from the past as well as the present. if you turn around and look at those columns, or you can see them right there. those are italian baroque. those are the types of things that you see in st. peter's in rome. it is a combination of many, many different cultures that are brought in. this is an english drawing room
upstairs, back then. i have to say that i don't think edith wharton what have like -- would have like this very much. and i doubt that brown and little would have liked it at all. this looks to me like the anderson's just brought their furniture in and plunked it down. this is certainly not what they wanted. but this is the way it looks today. the french drawing room, as you can see, through then and now you can see it is very much in the same style. the choir stall out in front -- italian, classical. classical. used here. here is the dining room. murals that i mentioned in -- these murals in maine that i mentioned, mr. bowbray did these out on the porch. the andersons were creating a
museum. yes, it was a house for showing off and celebration, but i think there is an underlying message that was going on. that is that we are trying to bring all of the different cultures of the worlds together in one place. with that, i will stop and take any questions that anybody has. thank you. [applause] dr. wilson: question? go ahead. >> how comfortable are you with
the term beaux-arts as a architectural style? dr. wilson: i am not comfortable with it at all. [laughter] dr. wilson: as i have said, and i don't have time to go into the beaux-arts, but yes, you learn classicism, but you learn the other styles as well. the students that is there designed -- their designed in these studios are in all sports of styles --medieval romanesque, all sorts. not one type was being taught. there were certain principles about organization, about about procession through the space, about relationship with interior spaces to the exterior forms, but it was not a style. but beginning in the 1980's into
this country, when there was a sort of recovery of this architecture and the discovery that so many of these architects went to the beaux-arts, the term has caught on over here. the french don't like it at all i can tell you that. they do not see it as a term. i am trying to save that there is -- i am not trying to say there is no beaux-arts influence. but in terms of style, there are a lot of things going on. >> did little and brown designed the interiors to the house? or did they imply the styles of new york and paris? dr. wilson: you will have to talk to some of the curators here. from evidence i have seen in the bill books, they were certainly in charge of this, but it gets down to certain levels of detail on who is exactly doing what.
little and brown were interior freaks of the worst order. i cannot conceive that they didn't have an overall control on this. but once again, when you get down to certain things -- the andersons would have their hand in it too, that is gets a bit mixed up. little and brown were very well-known for doing fancy houses in interiors. that was very much a part of it. other questions? yes. >> i was wondering what the skill set was of the workers. were they specialist that came
from boston, or particular techniques about working with marble or steel? dr. wilson: the question is, what were the skill sets of the workers on this. from what i can read is that marble was all provided by elmsley, which was a major marble producer who imported marble from italy. caldwell and company were some of the major light fixture people in the country at the time. they did that. all of the bronze work was done by john williams and company which was a major new york firm that did some of the very finest ironwork in the country. that sort of stuff is coming from that. some of the murals, these wonderful oil murals in this
you referenced mcmansions today -- was the public recoiling at the disparate styles? can you speak to that? dr. wilson: there were certainly tensions that did exist. the question was about the reception of the house at the time, and how it was received. it was, i think, universally recognized by architects as one of the best works done in washington dc. of course, washington dc, as you all know, supposedly has no culture or anything to it. this is being put up your as an apt -- put up here as an apt indication that it was an attempt to bring culture here. one of the things i have discovered over the years is that this idea that washington dc had no culture, what the heck is henry adams coming down for? our myths about washington don't quite meet up with the reality. as far as anti-the house, not particularly that i have seen on this. there is certainly a group of individuals who do think there ought to be such a thing as income tax, which finally does come into being 15 years after this house or something like that. in general, there wasn't too much of a concern. there was a concern earlier, as i mentioned, in 1890-1891 to pass a bill in congress prohibiting any house over a quarter of a million dollars. i have not seen much against this. this idea of an american of renaissance did capture the public.
you're getting these libraries such as the carnegie libraries which is for the public. there is something out there. the cities are being improved, attempts at making the city beautiful. there is on one level, a slightly left wing type of improvement that is part of this. >> hi. you have on your slide the 1902-1905 period. is that when it was constructed? dr. wilson: yes. >> ok, so the andersons only lived in the house for a small period of the year. you showed the stable in brookline, but do you have any images of the house in massachusetts? how does this one compare to that?
dr. wilson: that was his wife's family's house. that was not like this. i did not bring any along with me, but it was very much more of what we might call "victorian." no, that was his wife's family's house. i forget when it was torn down at least 50 years ago. there is still a car musuem there. it was practically next door to that one house i showed you. i suspect that is where some of the ideas came from. from the state of 1902-1905, there were changes that went on the house, for instance the murals upstairs were not completed until 1909.
other things were being brought in. i think it could be said that the anderson's were collectors. so, other stuff is moving through the house. >> were there any european critics that saw in this house any innovation? anything different, or did they see it as an imitation of themselves? dr. wilson: the question is, what did the europeans think of this? i have not been able to channel anyone from that point in time to figure out what exactly they thought. there was, it is safe to say, a certain skepticism on the part of certain europeans about what these damn americans are doing. that they are trying to outdo us in this game. and that they ought to be pushing towards something more
original, such as the three-named guy out in chicago. keep in mind this house is going up at the same time frank lloyd wright is doing his work in chicago. there were some europeans that did see that it's something more innovative. but alternatively, for instance, this shows how complicated these things get -- the first english school of architecture at liverpool university was based upon it the american model of architecture, which was copied from the french. what the english would never go directly to france. there is about, what, 10,000 miles between the two countries. but no, there is evidence
amongst the englishman who saw this american renaissance going on, and thought they were transforming their culture in a substantial way. that's it? [laughter] [applause] host: thank you, dr. wilson. if you are interested in seeing the house, we offer guided tours tuesday through saturday from 1:00 until 4:00. it is free and open to the public. if you are not on our mailing list and would like to be added, you can fill out the form you found your chair, or see me afterwards. thank you all for attending and good night. [applause]
>> she was considered modern for her time. called mrs. president by her detractors, and was outspoken on her views of slavery and women's rights. as one of the most prolific writers of any first lady, she provides a unique window into colonial america and her personal life. abigail adams. sunday night at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span original "first ladies: influence and image." examining the public and private lives of those who filled the position of first lady. from martha washington to michelle obama. as a couple next to the series c-span's new book is available. "first ladies: presidential historian on the lives of 45 iconic american women." providing fascinating stories, creating an illuminating entertaining, and inspiring read. it is available as a hardcover or e-book at a bookstore or your favorite online bookseller.
>> each week, american history tv's reel america" brings to archival films that told the story of the 20th century. apollo 13 blasted off on what was to be the third nasa mission to land men on the moon. next the 1970 nasa documentary about the crisis that nearly left the three apollo 13 astronauts stranded in space. narrator: april 13, 19 70. the mood could only be described as relaxed. nasa's third scheduled landing on the moon. >> the crew of apollo 13. it's a nice evening.
we are about ready to close out and get back to our pleasant evening. good night. >> third night and we have one more item for you. we would like you to stir up your cry of tanks. >> ok. >> we are looking for -- if you need it. >> ok. nasa, we have a problem here. >> this is houston in. say again? >> we have a problem. >> ok, standby 13. we are looking at it. >> we have a warning there. as i recall, bb was the one that had a strike on us once before.
>> in 2003, new york times reporter judith miller wrote several stories on the lead up to the invasion of iraq. she was found in contempt of court and imprisoned in federal jail for 45 days. sunday on q&a, she talks about her ordeal and her new book "the story: a reporter's journey." i was in jail because i refuse to reveal the identity of a source who i thought did not want his identity revealed. protecting sources is the lifeblood of independent journalism, and i really felt the people that i routinely spoke to who had
eventually, i would be writing what the government wanted you to write. i felt this was a question of principle. announcer: sunday night on " q&a." announcer: each week american history tv sits in on a lecture with one of the nation's college professors. you can watch the classes here every saturday evening at 8:00 p.m. and midnight eastern. next, stanford university professor jack rakove talks about some of the issues debated during the constitutional convention of 1787, such as the number of representatives for each state and the method of presidential elections. he describes the arguments put forth by james madison and how delegates tried to reach compromise, despite competing state interests. this class is just over 50 minutes.