WESTFIELD, N.Y. – A Pulitzer Prize winning author will be making a stop in Chautauqua County this weekend to discuss the War of 1812. Dr. Alan Taylor, who currently is a professor of history at the University of California, Davis, will appear at the Dunkirk Lighthouse on Saturday, June 16 at 1 p.m. as part of the Chautauqua County Historical Society’s 2012 Speaker Series.
Taylor is a noted historian who won the Pulitzer Prize for American History in 1996 for his book on Cooperstown, N.Y. and who’s most recent book deals with the War of 1812.
“We are extremely honored to have a speaker of this caliber coming to Chautauqua County as a guest of the historical society,” said James O’Brien, historical society president. “Dr. Taylor is a nationally known historian who brings a wealth of knowledge and information to the table. To have him come here to Chautauqua County during the 200th Anniversary of the War of 1812 is a very exciting occasion for area residents interested in American history.”
Taylor will deliver his lecture – entitled “The Civil War of 1812” – at the Dunkirk Lighthouse on the shore of Lake Erie. It is a fitting location because one of the first skirmishes of the war is believed to have taken place less than a mile to the west of the lighthouse, near the mouth of Canadaway Creek.
“The society’s board of trustees wanted some of this year’s programming to focus on War of 1812, not only because it is the bicentennial but also because of the war’s connection to our own local history,” explained O’Brien.
Taylor’s presentation will focus more on the regional impact of the war. He plans to present a world of conflicting loyalties and overlapping identities in the midst of a war that divided neighbors and relatives on both sides of the Niagara River two hundred years ago.
In addition to his appearance, copies of his latest books – The Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels, & Indian Allies – will be made available for purchase and signing by the author.
The lecture, which is in collaboration with the Dunkirk Lighthouse and Dunkirk Veterans Park, will take place rain or shine at the Lighthouse on Saturday, June 16 at 1 p.m. It is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will also be provided.
About the Society
The Chautauqua County Historical Society was established in 1883 and is the oldest historical society in Chautauqua County, N.Y. Since 1951, the organization has been based out of the historic McClurg Mansion (built in 1818) in Westfield, N.Y. Annual Membership rates start at just $20. All members are given free access to the museum year-round and a subscription to the quarterly “Time Lines” newsletter. For more information, call 716-326-2977 or visit McClurgmuseum.org.