Under The Buffalo

The Under the Buffalo Presentation Series provides unique, high-quality programming for a broad audience interested in history, art, and culture. Speakers come from a wide variety of backgrounds and areas of expertise. Past topics have included green architecture, the underground railroad in Illinois, and industrial design. Presentations are presented six times a year (September-November and January-March). Admission is $10 per person; free for members of the Evanston History Center.

If you’d like more information on the lecture series or to suggest a topic or speaker, please contact, Jenny Thompson, Director of Education.



April 2022, “A Look at the Edith Farnsworth House & Historic Site,” Scott Mehaffey, Executive Director at the Edith Farnsworth House & Historic site.

March 2022, “Standing Together: Inez Milholland’s Final Campaign for Women’s Suffrage,” Jeanine Michna-Bales, fine artist working in the field of photography.

February 2022, “Landscapes of Hope: Nature and the Great Migration in Chicago,” Brian McCammack, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at Lake Forest College.

January 2022, “Until Justice Be Done: America’s First Civil Rights Movement, from the Revolution to Reconstruction,” Kate Masur, professor of History at Northwestern University.

October 2021, “Photographic Presidents: Making History From Daguerreotype to Digital,” Speaker: Cara A. Finnegan, photography historian and professor of communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

September 2021, “Forgotten Veterans, Invisible Memorials: How American Women Commemorated the Great War, 1917-1955,” Speaker: Allison S. Finkelstein, historian with the U.S. Army.

August 2021, “Charles Dawes and his Crusade Against the Senate Filibuster,” Speaker: Daniel S. Holt, Assistant Historian, U.S. Senate Historical Office.

April 2021, “Fortune and Faith in Old Chicago: A Dual Biography of Mayor Augustus Garrett and Seminary Founder Eliza Clark,” Speaker: Charles H. Cosgrove. Professor of early Christian literature and director of the PhD program at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston, Illinois.

March 2021, “The World of Juliette Kinzie: Chicago Before the Fire,” Speaker: Ann Durkin Keating, Dr. C. Frederick Toenniges Professor of History at North Central College, Naperville, Illinois

February 2021, “Modern in the Middle: Chicago Houses 1929-75,” Speaker: Susan Benjamin and Michelangelo Sabatino.

January 2021, “Empire of Deception: The Incredible Story of a Master Swindler Who Seduced a City and Captivated the Nation,” Speaker: Dean Jobb.

October 2020, “Evanston Women and the Fight for the Vote,” Eden Juron Pearlman and Lori Osborne

October 2020, “The Dream Dancers,” Spencer Jourdain and Dino Robinson

September 2020, “The Watergate Girl: My Fight for Truth and Justice Against a Criminal President,” Speaker: Jill Wine-Banks with Christie Hefner.

March 2020, “From Miniskirt to Hijab: A Girl in Revolutionary Iran,” Speaker: Jacqueline Saper.

November 2019, “Barrel-Aged Stout and Selling Out: Goose Island, Anheuser-Busch, and How Craft Beer Became Big Business,” Speaker: Josh Noel.

March 2019, “A Life Worthwhile,” a look at the life and career of Lorraine Morton. Film Screening.

February 2019: “The Way of Coyote:” Shared Journeys in the Urban Wilds. Speaker: Gavin Van Horn.

January 2019: “The Vanishing City:” Excavating the Chicago’s World Fair of 1893. Speaker: Rebecca Graff.

November 2018: “Redlined:” A Memoir of Race, Change, and Fractured Community on 1960s Chicago. Speaker: Linda Gartz.

October 2018: “High Risers:” Cabrini-Green and the Fate of American Public Housing. Speaker: Ben Austen.

September 2018: “The Leopold and Loeb Files” An Intimate Look at One of America’s Most Infamous Crimes. Speaker: Nina Barrett.

March 2018: “Vivian Maier: A Photographer’s Life and Afterlife.” Speaker: Pamela Bannos.

February 2018: “Valedictory Address.” Speaker: Janet Messmer.

January 2018:   “The Future Has Arrived!” Designing Evanston’s First Platinum LEED Home. Speaker: Nathan Kipnis.

November 2017. “Jacqueline: A Portrayal of Jackie Kennedy.” Performer/Speaker Leslie Goddard.

October 2017. “Handmade in Evanston: The Jewelry of Eve Alfillé.” Speaker Eve J. Alfillé.

September 2017. “What the Lady Wants: A Portrait of Chicago and Marshall Fields in the Gilded Age.” Speaker: Renée Rosen.

March 2017. “Untold Stories: Enslaved People in the Home of the Grimke Family.” Speaker: Louise W. Knight.

February 2017. “Through Darkness to Light: Photographs Along the Underground Railroad.” Speaker: Janine Michna-Bales.

January 2017. “The South Side: The Portrait of Chicago and America.” Speaker: Natalie Y. Moore.

November 2016. “Giants in the Park: Unveiling the Histories behind Lincoln Park’s Vintage Monuments.” Speaker: Krista August.

October 2016. “The Last Voyageurs: Retracing LaSalle’s Journey Across America.” Speaker: Lorraine Boissoneault.

September 2016. “The Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America.” Speaker: Ethan Michaeli.

April 2016. “Native American History and Evanston: Collecting and Assessing a Complex Past.” Speaker: Alyssa M. Padilla.

March 2016. “Nurses, ‘Hello Girls,’ and Farmerettes: The Changing Roles of American Women in World War I.” Speaker: Tricia Smith Scanlan.

February 2016. “Adoption and Identity Intertwined.” Speaker: Mei Kelly.

January 2016. “Lessons from 20 Years of Covering Scandals, Frauds, and Scams.” Speaker: Bethany McLean.

September 2015. “Incorporating Community:” Charles & Caro Dawes Choose Evanston. Speaker: Sigrid Pohl Perry

October 2015: “The Dawes House Grounds: From Victorian to Progressive.” Speaker: Barbara Geiger

November 2015: “Getting Started in Genealogy.” Speaker: Grace DuMelle

February 2015. “The Seasons of Henry’s Farm:” Food and Life on a Sustainable Farm. Speaker: Terra Brockman.

January 2015. “Photographer Vivian Maier:” In Evanston and In the World. Speaker: Richard Cahan.

November 2014. “The Great War, Fashion & Social Customs:” A Look at the War’s Influence. Speaker: Janet C. Messmer.

October 2014. “Art, Craft, & Argental:” The Cellini Shop of Evanston, 1914-1978. Speaker: Mary B. McWilliams.

September 2014. “Below Stairs:” Margaret Powell, the Kitchen Maid Whose Memoir Inspired Downton Abbey. Perfomer/Speaker: Leslie Goddard.

April 2014: “Coolidge.” Speaker: Amity Shlaes.

February 2014. “She Was His Cook, But He Built Her House:” Race, Gender and Reproductive Labor in 20th Century Evanston. Speaker: Doria Johnson.

January 2014. “The Devil Comes to Wilmette:” The 1893 World’s Fair, Daniel Burnham and Henry Holmes. Speaker: Barbara Geiger.

November 2013. “A Poem in Brick & Stone:” Architectural Restoration of the Dawes House (Part II). Speaker: Kris Hartzell.

October 2013. “Sanctified Minds & Sharp Elbows: Northwestern and Evanston Through History.” Speaker: Kevin Leonard.

September 2013. “Cartographic Tales of Chicago History.” Speaker: Dennis McClendon.

March 2013. “Preserving the Family Table: The Founding of Evanston’s Community Kitchen After WWI.” Speaker: Erin Hvizdak.

February 2013. “The Future of Food.” Speaker: Josh Schonwald.

January 2013.  “The Making of Downton Abbey: Setting the Scene.”  Speaker: Barbara Geiger.

November 2012.  “Bedrooms, Bathrooms & Boudoirs.”  Speaker: Janet C. Messmer.

October 2012.  “Historic Structures & Green Technology: Renewal from the Group Up.”  Speaker: Mark E. Nussbaum, P.E.

September 2012. “A Poem in Brick & Stone: Architectural Conservation of the Dawes House.”  Speaker: Kris Hartzell

March 2012.  “Low-Key Genius: The Life and Work of Landscape-Gardener O.C. Simonds.”  Speaker: Barbara Geiger

February 2012.  “Preserving Chicago’s Landmark Buildings.”  Speaker: Gunny Harboe

January 2012.  “Chicago From the Sky.”  Speaker: Lawrence Okrent

November 2011. “A History of Cocktails, Cocktail Dresses and the Cocktail Party.”  Speaker: Janet C. Messmer

October 2011.  “Operation Freedom – The Berlin Airlift.”  Speaker: Anette Isaacs

September 2011.  “Remembering Marshall Field’s.”  Speaker: Leslie Goddard

March 2011. “Architectural Evanston.” Speaker: Kris Hartzell

February 2011. “The Golden Age of Radio: A Beginner’s Guide.” Speaker: Steve Darnall

January 2011. “Looking Forward: The Evanston Women’s History Project.” Speaker: Sunny Fischer.

November 2010. “Tracing Slavery and Slaveholding in the Family.” Speaker: Pam Smith

October 2010. “The Streets of Evanston.” Speaker: Janet Messenger.

September 2010. “The Wreck of the Lady Elgin.” Speaker: Valerie Van Heest.

April 2010. “The YMCA of Evanston.” Panel.

March 2010. “Clara, Lu, and Em: Old Time Radio.” Reenactment.

February 2010. “Evanston in Postcards.” Mimi Peterson.

January 2010. “Transforming the Traditional.” Speakers: Stuart Cohen and Julie Hacker.

November 2009. “Evanston Fashions.” Speaker: Janet C. Messmer

October 2009: “Chicago’s Prairie Avenue.” Speaker: William Tyre.

September 2009: “Evanston at the Movies: Part II.” Speaker: Jenny Thompson.

September 2008: “Evanston at the Movies.” Speaker: Jenny Thompson.

April 2008: “Hunger Artist:” A Suburban Childhood.” Speaker: Joanne Jacobson.

March 2008: “Make No Little Plans: Daniel Burnham and the American City.” Speaker: Judith Paine McBrien.

February 2008: “The Underground Railroad in Illinois.” Speaker: Glennette Tilley Turner.

January 2008: “Alchemy of Bones: Chicago’s Luetgert Murder Case of 1897.” Speaker: Robert Loerzel.

November 2007: “Excavating the Foundations of Evanston, A Survey of Early 20th Century Undergarments.” Speaker: Janet Messmer.

October 2007: “Remembering Foster School.” Speaker: Morris (Dino) Robinson, Jr.

September 2007: “A Brief and Personal History of Green Architecture.” Speaker: Nathan Kipnis.

June 2007: “The New Holocaust Memorial Museum in Illinois.” Speaker: Richard Hirschhaut.

April 2007: “Jane Addams in Evanston, Patriotism and Free Speech in Wartime.” Speaker: Louise (Lucy) Knight.

March 2007: “Finding the Story in History.” Speaker: Jay Bonansinga.

February 2007: “Homicide in Chicago, 1870-1930.” Speaker: Leigh Bienen.

January 2007: “A Life’s Design.” Speaker: Charles Harrison.

November 2006: “My Hut: The Story of William Levere’s YMCA Service in France During World War One.” Speaker: Jenny Thompson.

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