These are 30-60 minute lectures accompanied by images.

The Original Facebook: Social Media in the Pre-Digital Days

While Facebook and Twitter are new, our human urge to inform, connect, and “humblebrag” is not. Using photographs, newspaper clippings, and archival research, Cathy demonstrates the many parallels between the social customs and practices of days gone by and today’s social media platforms. This lecture is based on research funded by Harvard University’s Houghton Library.

Looking for Linda: Who Was Mrs. Cole Porter?

Linda Porter has been immortalized twice by Hollywood, but her biography barely exists before 1919, the year she married Cole. No biographer has investigated Linda’s first marriage (1901-1912) to newspaper mogul Edward R. Thomas, a period during which she circulated in “best society” in New York and Newport, like a character in The House of Mirth. Cathy’s research at Harvard’s Houghton Library reveals that Linda may have contributed to Cole’s career in ways never before considered.

Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover: What is Women’s Fiction?

According to VIDA, books by men are reviewed far more often than books by women. Referencing a wide array of images from the last 100 years, Cathy demonstrates the ways in which gendered book covers shape our impressions of writers.

“My Great-Great Uncle Was Killed by an Elephant”: Writing The Circus in Winter

The Circus in Winter is the product of twelve years of archival research and family lore, Cathy discusses the origin of the stories and characters, such as Jennie Dixianna, Wallace Porter, and the elephant trainer, Hans Hofstadter.