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Caroline Winterer

Fee Range1: $ 4000 - $6000

American Historian, Revolutionary War Expert


Founding FathersGovernment & PoliticsHistoryPoliticsRevolutionary WarThe PresidencyWhite House




Caroline Winterer

American Historian, Revolutionary War Expert

Caroline Winterer is an American historian at Stanford, where she holds the William Robertson Coe Professorship. She’s committed to opening up history to the general public by showing how the past is exciting, relevant—and unstuffy. She received a Genius award from the Smithsonian Institution for mapping Ben Franklin’s social network and has appeared in television documentaries on PBS and elsewhere. The most recent of her five books is American Enlightenments: Pursuing Happiness in the Age of Reason (2016).  She writes for the general public in venues like the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. An award-winning teacher, she is an elected member of the Society of American Historians (for distinguished contributions to the writing of history) and the American Antiquarian Society and is a Distinguished Lecturer of the Organization of American Historians.


The Remarkable Genius of Benjamin Franklin

With his crazy hair and tiny spectacles, Ben Franklin was the genius of his era and more famous than the moon (or so he said): but what can he tell us about genius today? This lecture takes us on an illustrated tour of some of Ben Franklin’s most ingenious inventions and path-breaking ideas, from electricity to bifocals to the glass harmonica—to himself. We’ll see how Franklin was very much a man of his own time, but also how he can help us think about our own possibilities for genius today.

Are We Rome? What an Ancient Empire Can Tell Us about America Today

The rise and fall of ancient Rome is one of the greatest stories in the history of the world. From a group of settlements huddled along the Tiber in Italy, Rome rose to conquer much of the Mediterranean world and Europe. At the height of the Roman Empire, one in every five people in the world lived within its territory. For Americans, Rome’s unlikely ascent, spectacular ambitions, and gruesome decline have provided endless fuel for our national self-examination. Is the United States an empire? Are empires good or bad? What makes great civilizations decline and fall—and how can America avoid that fate? This talk will explore the great American question—”Are We Rome?”—and show why this ancient empire continues to fascinate our very modern nation.

What Historians Still Don’t Know about History

Don’t know much about history? Join the club. The big secret is that professional historians also find a lot about history to be pretty mysterious—even when we have a lot of evidence. No, there won’t be Martians and crop circles and conspiracy theories in this lecture. Instead, we’ll take an illustrated tour through some fascinating, real-life examples of events like the Salem Witch Trials and people like Cleopatra that remain stubbornly mysterious to even the best historians. 

When Weather Changed the Course of History

Weather and climate have been shaping human history for thousands of years. Blizzards, hurricanes, droughts, dust storms, and floods: all of them have been turning points. Weather disasters seem so much bigger than we are, but they’re accurate barometers for telling us about what we value as human beings. This illustrated lecture looks at major turning points from the dinosaur asteroid, to Napoleon’s invasion of Russia, to the Dust Bowl, to Hurricane Katrina. How have weather disasters shaped human history, and what can this tell us about how we think about climate change today?

America’s History through Furniture and Fashion

Explore American history through furniture and fashion. Beginning with the Mayflower and going through the early 20th century, we’ll look at sofas, wallpaper, ruffs, corsets, shoes, and everything in between. See how American history was shaped in unexpected ways by how to sit and what to wear.



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