The 29th Annual Whitehall Lecture Series welcomes best-selling authors to discuss Crimes of the Century. There will be a book signing with the author after each lecture.
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The Inventor and the Tycoon: A Gilded Age Murder and the Birth of Moving Picturesby
Edward Ball, Best-Selling Author & Yale ProfessorFebruary 2, 20143:00 p.m.
Eadweard Muybridge, an eccentric mind and talented photographer, was known for his captivating images of the American west and invention of stop-motion photography and moving pictures. His partnership with railroad tycoon and former politician, Leland Stanford was forged in order to answer a popular debate of the day. Muybridge's inventions led to a dramatic change in the technology landscape of the time and eventually led to the birth of Hollywood and visual media. Shortly after beginning the study with Stanford, Muybridge received word from his wife that challenged the paternity of their young son. An enraged Muybridge took action that would change the course of his life and lead to a trial which turned into an all out media sensation and eventual acquittal of the accused.
Edward Ball is the author of five books of nonfiction, including The Inventor and the Tycoon (Doubleday, 2013), which tells the story of the birth of moving pictures, in California during the 1880s, as invented by the photographer, and murderer, Eadweard Muybridge. Edward Ball's first book, Slaves in the Family, was an account of his family's history as slave-owners in South Carolina. It won the 1998 National Book Award for nonfiction, was a New York Times bestseller, and was featured on Oprah. Edward Ball lives in Connecticut and teaches at Yale University.
On an October morning in 1910, the Los Angeles Times Building was the focus of a war-like attack that demolished the building and blasted men and machines into the air. A total of 21 people were killed in the blast and reports of dozens of injured came pouring in as the wreckage was cleared. Touted as the original "Crime of the Century," the bombing of the Los Angeles Times Building caught the attention of America's greatest detective, William J. Burns, a well-known and accomplished investigator. Burns' investigation led to the accusation of labor activists who could be traced to hundreds of similar bombings. A trial drew the attention of filmmaker D.W. Griffith and famed attorney, Clarence Darrow, who would pledge his service to the defendants, and it would go down in history as one of the most compelling trials in American history.
Howard Blum is the author of eight previous books, including the national bestsellers Wanted! The Gold of Exodus, and Gangland. Currently a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, Blum was also a reporter at the New York Times, where he won numerous journalism awards and was twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for his investigative reporting.
This riveting exploration of a notorious, sensational New York City murder in the 1890s shines a light on the fascinating forensic science of the time period and the drama of tabloid-like media coverage at the turn of the century. Harry Cornish, popular athletic director of the Knickerbocker Athletic Club was the recipient of a poison-laced package of Bromo Seltzer. The contaminants of the package killed Cornish's cousin and nearly killed Cornish, himself. Publications owned by Hearst and Pulitzer speculated from the beginning on who may have been responsible for the high-society killing. The alleged killer was named as the handsome and athletic, Roland Molineux. What followed was a tumultuous legal proceeding that was covered by yellow journalism and made history as the sensational details of trial were shared with the inquisitive masses.
Harold Schechter is a professor of American literature at Queens College, the City University of New York. His essays have appeared in various newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and the International Herald Tribune. Among his more than thirty published books are a series of historical true-crime narratives about America's most infamous serial killers, a quartet of mystery novels featuring Edgar Allan Poe, and an anthology of American true crime writing published by the Library of America. He is also the editor of the Kent State University Press True Crime History Series. His most recent book is The Mad Sculptor: The Maniac, The Model, and the Murder that Shook the Nation (forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/New Harvest).
This is the chilling true account of America's first documented serial killer, H.H. Holmes. Set in the Gilded Age in what was described by detectives as a "Castle of Horrors," Holmes lured his victims to his labyrinth of trapdoors, soundproof chambers and chutes and crematorium under the guise of running a boarding house in proximity to the Chicago World's Fair of 1893. Holmes evaded suspicions by maintaining his status as doctor, druggist, inventor and entrepreneur. The story of how Holmes was found out is one of true detection before the development of modern technologies. The trial that ended in Holmes' confession was covered nationwide as "The Trial of the Century."
Evelyn Nesbit's life of fantasy became all too real, when her insanely jealous millionaire husband, Harry K. Thaw, killed her lover, Stanford White, architect of much of New York City. She found herself at the center of a media frenzy. The scandal, and the wildly popular courtroom drama that followed, sparked an entire industry of news and gossip that captivated the nation. The drama signaled the beginning of America's growing obsession with glamour and celebrity, and intrigued Americans through media coverage that spilled the seedy details of Thaw's crime of passion.
Paula Uruburu is a professor of English at Hofstra University. An expert on Evelyn Nesbit and the time period, she has been widely published and has appeared on A&E's Biography, PBS's History Detectives and American Experience, and been a consultant for the History Channel.
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