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Lecture – Sealed with Blood: Gratitude for Revolutionary Veterans and American National Identity
January 23, 2020 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Sarah Purcell, L.F. Parker Professor of History at Grinnell College, discusses how public memories and commemorations of the Revolutionary War and its veterans helped early Americans form a common bond and create a new national identity. Officers were often remembered as national heroes in newspapers, songs, pamphlets, sermons and theater productions. Martyred heroes such as Joseph Warren and Richard Montgomery created powerful images of a nation united by grief. Common veterans also sought to claim some measure of public gratitude for themselves as they published memoirs, participated in civic celebrations and intertwined their own Revolutionary memories with political causes. Arguing that gratitude for Revolutionary War veterans and their sacrifices was at the heart of early American national identity, Dr. Purcell’s talk will explore monuments, battle anniversary celebrations and other commemorative rituals that created a sense of common public reverence for Revolutionary War veterans as a group, even when particular men sometimes risked being forgotten.
This program accompanies our current exhibition, America’s First Veterans, on view through April 5, 2020.
The talk will last approximately 45 minutes. Registration is required for this free event.
About the Speaker
Sarah Purcell is the L.F. Parker Professor of History at Grinnell College. Dr. Purcell is the author of Sealed with Blood: War, Sacrifice, and Memory in Revolutionary America, published by the University of Pennsylvania Press, and Eyewitness History: The Early American Republic. She is co-author of The Encyclopedia of Battles in North America, 1517-1915 and Critical Lives: The Life and Work of Eleanor Roosevelt. She holds a B.A. in history from Grinnell College and an A.M. and a Ph.D. from Brown University.