The New Fireside Chats

Our new television set...

We’re very excited here at Adams House to announce what we hope will be the beginning of a very long tradition: The New Fireside Chats – a series of web-televised chats with well known figures in academia and politics about the events that shaped our history, and continue to shape the world today. Set hearth-side in our extremely comfortable Morris chairs, and hosted by yours truly with a different guest each episode, segment topics will originate from some object or theme in the Suite, and move outwards from there.

The origin of this idea is comically mundane, in hindsight: a month or so back, I was hanging pictures in the Suite, and stepped down from the ladder to admire the results of my labor. “Michael,” I said to myself, “this almost looks like a television set…”

A TELEVISION SET! Indeed! What a great way to fulfill our educational mission!

So, since then I have been wearing my best PBS hat, nagging my contacts in the industry about what equipment we need to acquire (about 7K worth ahem ahem, for which we’ll need to raise large portion), how to arrange the lighting (basic three-point TV illumination, not that complicated), who’ll man the cameras & sound and edit the pieces (our students) and who our guests will be: First up, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin! (And for those of you wondering, yes, we will be inviting experts from both sides of the aisle  – out goal is to foster debate, whatever that debate might be.) Invitations have been extended to Adams Senior Common Room Members Skip Gates to discuss historical race issues at Harvard, as well as Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen to explore the ramifications of New Deal economics on today’s markets. Four-time Ambassador John Gunther Dean (Adams ’46) will be with us over his 65th in May to talk about US foreign relations, New Deal forward;, and Dr. Cynthia Koch, Director of the FDR Presidential Library, our speaker at the FDR Lecture this year (April 30, details coming Monday), will be discussing FDR as Educator in Chief. And that’s just for starters…

We hope to film our first segment in May, and release approximately one per month

So, as they say in the TV biz, stay tuned!