Keeler In The Community

New Speaker Series Kicks Off November 19 with Author Allegra di Bonaventura

November 6, 2023

Ridgefield, Conn.— Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center will welcome author Allegra di Bonaventura on Sunday, November 19 at 3 p.m. in the Garden House to discuss her award-winning book, For Adam's Sake: A Family Saga in Colonial New England. Di Bonaventura is the first presenter in the museum’s new speaker series, Revolutionary Perspectives, which celebrates innovative approaches to how we discover, interpret, and share American history, with an emphasis on themes of memory and identity.

“The Revolutionary Perspectives speaker series is inspired by upcoming anniversaries of national and local historical significance,” said KTM&HC Executive Director Hildegard Grob. “In 2026, we’ll mark 250 years since the signing of the Declaration of Independence; one year later, in 2027, we’ll mark 250 years since the Battle of Ridgefield. These events dramatically impacted the lives of our site’s former residents and, more broadly, helped shape how we understand what it means to be American. Revolutionary Perspectives is one of the ways we’ll be reflecting on the complexities of our national story.” KTM&HC joins leading history organizations – including the National Endowment for the Humanities and Connecticut Humanities – to mark America 250 and engage with important themes of American identity over hundreds of years.

Di Bonaventura’s powerful storytelling exemplifies how historians can connect the past and the present in thought-provoking ways. For Adam’s Sake tells the story of two third-generation New Englanders and their interwoven families: Joshua Hempstead, a shipwright, farmer, and magistrate, and Adam Jackson, a husbandman whom Joshua enslaved for over thirty years. Hempstead's remarkable diary - kept from 1711 to 1758 - and one hundred years of court records form the basis of this narrative of family life and enslavement in the colonial North.

Di Bonaventura is the associate dean for academic support at Yale’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Prior to joining the Graduate School, she earned a Ph.D. in History and a J.D. from Yale. Her book For Adam’s Sake won the New England Historical Association’s James P. Hanlan Book Award and the Association for the Study of Connecticut History’s Homer D. Babbidge Award. For Adam’s Sake was named a Wall Street Journal Best Book of the Year in 2013.

Registration is required for this in-person event, to be held in KTM&HC’s Garden House on Sunday, November 19 at 3 p.m. Parking is available onsite at 152 Main Street, Ridgefield. The program is free for all, thanks to a generous grant from the Wadsworth Lewis Fund, and copies of For Adam’s Sake will be available for purchase at the event.

The Revolutionary Perspectives speaker series alternates between in-person and virtual programs, to ensure access for audiences near and far. The next program will be held virtually on Thursday, December 7 at 6:30 p.m.: Dr. James Golden, director of interpretation at Historic Deerfield, will discuss how the museum’s walking tours use storytelling to engage visitors. The third program will be in-person on Sunday, March 3 at 3 p.m., featuring scholars from Central Connecticut State University who have contributed to Forgotten Voices of the Revolutionary War: a research and interpretation project about the Redding encampment. To register for any of the programs, check out our website: