Shapiro Center Programs

The Shapiro Center sponsors a variety of programs that bring together scholars, cultural observers, creatives, and the public to explore critical issues in American history and culture—especially those that can be explored in the light of documentary evidence.

Walden Pond

Shapiro Book Prize Lecture: Happy Dreams of Liberty

On the occasion of winning The Huntington’s 2023 Shapiro Book Prize for Happy Dreams of Liberty: An American Family in Slavery and Freedom, R. Isabela Morales discusses the significance of writing family history, the challenges of tracing the lives of enslaved people, and the incredible cache of unpublished letters and legal documents that forms the archival core of her book. Recorded March 29, 2023.

Walden Pond

Thoreau’s Walden: Four Contemporary Writers on Its Enduring Relevance

Authors Kristen Case, Gerald Early, Pico Iyer, and Megan Marshall join Karla Nielsen, curator of literary collections at The Huntington, in conversation about Now Comes Good Sailing, a volume of essays edited by Andrew Blauner exploring the ongoing resonance of Thoreau’s groundbreaking work of observation and reflection during his time on Walden Pond. Recorded Oct. 27, 2021.

Kathleen Belew

White Supremacy in the West: Immigration and Racial Justice in Southern California

Historian Kathleen Belew, CNN contributor and author of Bring the War Home, discusses the history of the white power movement in America, which consolidated decades ago around a potent sense of betrayal after the Vietnam War. In conversation with Distinguished Professor Natalia Molina, she explores the manifestations of white supremacy in Southern California, focusing particularly on how they are documented in The Huntington’s collections. Recorded May 26, 2021.

The Rise of the Latino Vote by Benjamin Francis-Fallon

The Rise of the Latino Vote: A History

On the occasion of winning The Huntington’s inaugural Shapiro Book Prize for The Rise of the Latino Vote: A History, Professor Benjamin Francis-Fallon discusses how Latina/o leaders in the United States first came to see themselves as belonging to one political community, exploring their attempts to bond and to pass legislation, and analyzing how both major political parties attempted to co-opt this emerging constituency and reshape it in their own image. Recorded Feb. 3, 2021.

Declaration of Independence

Cataloging in the Time of COVID

Melissa Haley, American Presidential Papers Project Archivist; Olga Tsapina, Norris Foundation Curator of American Historical Manuscripts; Anne Blecksmith, head of Reader Services; and Jackie Beckey, Reader Services librarian, give a behind-the-scenes look at how the Library’s American collections have been accessed by researchers over time, and how these materials and the Shapiro Collection are being made more accessible through the art of archival processing—a crucial element of collections care and stewardship. Part of the Multi-Storied Library, an ongoing webinar series presented by the Library’s Reader Services Department. Recorded Jan. 13, 2021.

Annette Gordon-Reed

The Past in the Present: America’s Founding and Us

Professor Annette Gordon-Reed, Pulitzer Prize–winning author and one of the nation’s premier authorities on the Founding Era, discusses how Americans today deal with problematic historical figures such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, in the inaugural lecture for the Shapiro Center for American History and Culture at The Huntington. Recorded Oct. 17, 2020.