Colonial Williamsburg

Tonight I did a book signing and public lecture at the DeWitt-Wallace Decorative Arts Museum at Colonial Williamsburg. (Visitors enter the Museum through the 1773 Public Hospital pictured to the left). The Virginia diary of Philip Vickers Fithian is a staple in the historical interpretation efforts at Williamsburg. In fact, I learned tonight that it is required reading for the training of re-enactors and other Williamsburg staff who work as historical interpreters. Many of those attending the lecture had already read The Way of Improvement Leads Home and were ready to discuss it with me in the Q&A session. I entertained questions about Fithian’s “net worth” in plantation society, his reading of the eighteenth-century novel Tristram Shandy, and the published edition of his works. These folks knew their stuff.

Before the lecture I met Jeffry Morrison, a political philosopher who has written excellent studies on JohnWitherspoon and George Washington. We had a nice dinner together in downtown Williamsburg and also hit the Williamsburg Booksellers where we both admired our books on the shelf. (Bob Hill, the bookstore manager, asked me to sign the copies that he had in stock).

Thanks to Trish Balderson for inviting me to Williamsburg for this lecture.