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Bard Inaugurates Eugene Meyer Lecture in British History and Literature with Guest Speaker Sir David Cannadine on April 4

Jennifer Wai-Lan Huang
Sir David Cannadine will present the first annual Eugene Meyer Lecture in British History and Literature, “Winston Churchill and Anglo-America: The ‘Special Relationship’ Revisited,” in the Lásló Z. Bitó ’60 Auditorium of the Gabrielle H. Reem and Herbert  Image Credit: Tom Miller
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—This April, Bard College inaugurates its annual Eugene Meyer Lecture in British History and Literature, which commemorates Eugene Meyer (1875–1959), the owner and publisher of the Washington Post, chairman of the Federal Reserve, and first president of the World Bank. Renowned historian Sir David Cannadine will deliver the first annual Eugene Meyer Lecture in British History and Literature. Cannadine, who is one of Britain’s most distinguished historians and public intellectuals, will present the lecture “Winston Churchill and Anglo-America: The ‘Special Relationship’ Revisited” in the Lásló Z. Bitó ’60 Auditorium (Room 103) of the Gabrielle H. Reem and Herbert J. Kayden Center for Science and Computation on Monday, April 4, at 5:30 p.m. A reception will follow the lecture. The event is free and open to the public.

Hailed by the Guardian as “an adventurous, original, and highly accessible historian,” Sir David Cannadine is the author of 12 books, including The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy; Ornamentalism: How the British Saw Their Empire; Mellon: An American Life; and Making History Now and Then. The New York Times called Decline and Fall “a brilliant, multifaceted chronicle of economic and social change,” and the New York Review of Books writes, “No praise can be too high.” The New York Times lauded Ornamentalism for providing “new opportunities for argument” in the “crowded, squabbling arena of empire studies,” asserting that “Cannadine writes against the background of postcolonialism and postmodernism and all the literature of third worldism that has produced ‘history from below,’ from ‘the periphery,’ and has seen precious little in the empire save for its ‘construction of otherness,’ its alleged racism and plunder and arrogance.” Of Cannadine’s most recent work, Gordon Marsden for History Today writes, “Cannadine is a master weaver between the thens and nows of history. These essays show he is—in the best sense—a historian at the height of his powers.” Cannadine is currently working on a new history of 19th-century Britain and a study of Winston Churchill, Anglo-America, and the "special relationship."

This dedicated annual lecture has been established to commemorate Eugene Meyer (1875–1959) in association with the endowment of the Eugene Meyer Chair in British History and Literature at Bard College. Professor Richard Aldous is the inaugural holder of the Eugene Meyer Chair.

Sir David Cannadine joined Princeton University in the fall of 2008, having previously held positions at Cambridge, Columbia, and London Universities. Cannadine’s interests range widely across the economic, social, political and cultural history of modern Britain and its empire; capitalism, collecting and philanthropy in 19th- and 20th-century America; and the history of history. His current projects include a new history of 19th-century Britain and a study of Winston Churchill, Anglo-America and the "special relationship." Cannadine was recently knighted in the British New Year Honours List. He served as a member of the committee set up by the British Prime Minister to review the terms and conditions on which government papers are made publicly available. Cannadine is Chairman of the Trustees of the National Portrait Gallery in London, and Vice-Chair of the Editorial Board of Past & Present.

Eugene Meyer (1875—1959) was an American financier, influential leader in American political and social life, and publisher of the Washington Post from 1933 to 1946. After graduating from Yale University in 1895, he worked at Lazard Freres banking house in New York, and in 1901 bought a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. By 1917 he had made a personal fortune by focusing on investments in the copper, gold, automobile, and chemical industries. He developed a reputation on Wall Street as a solid manager of investment funds and as an innovator. His firm pioneered the use of a research department—scientific investing—to perform detailed economic analyses of businesses. He had a great sense of public duty, and served at the Versailles Peace Conference, on the Federal Farm Loan Board, at the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, and, from 1930, as chairman of the Federal Reserve. In 1933, Meyer left the political world and purchased the Washington Post. He returned to public service during World War II to serve on the National Defense Mediation Board, and after the war planned to spend the rest of his career at the Washington Post. However, in 1946 President Truman asked him to head the World Bank, and Meyer accepted. He held the post for six months, establishing the World Bank, before returning to his work at the Washington Post until his death in 1959.

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This event was last updated on 03-21-2011