Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Writing Live: Biography as History—The Ridington Lecture
WHEN: March 31, 7:30 PM
McDaniel Lounge, McDaniel College, Westminster, MD
TICKETS: This event is free and open to the public.

Pioneer of women’s and political-cultural history, Jean H. Baker, the Bennett-Harwood Professor of History at Goucher College, is the author of 10 books and numerous articles on politics in the years surrounding the Civil War. Baker’s distinctive contribution has been her gift for illuminating how the individual, the personal and the private influence public life. She is best known for her psychologically informed and sensitive biography of Mary Todd Lincoln, which won the Willie Lee Rose Prize from the Southern Association of Women Historians.

Baker is also the author of an ambitious family history of the Stevensons, one of this nation’s leading political dynasties. Her application of political socialization theory to explore political life in the North during the Civil War won the Berkshire Prize and gave its readers one of the richest and fullest pictures of 19th century public life.

She earned a bachelor of arts degree from Goucher College, and master’s and doctorate degrees from The Johns Hopkins University. Baker has appeared on programs on C-Span, the Discovery Channel and public television.

The William and Edith Ridington Annual Lectureship honors two long-time teachers at McDaniel. William Ridington joined the full-time faculty in 1938 and retired in 1973, while Edith began a 20-year career as an adjunct lecturer in 1957. After the Ridingtons’ deaths, their family endowed the series, which began in 1991.

McDaniel College, a private four-year college of the liberal arts and sciences, was founded in 1867 as Western Maryland College. Students pursue more than 60 programs of study, including dual majors and student-designed majors.  The 1,700 undergraduates and 1,300 graduate students receive personal attention and take advantage of leadership opportunities in the close-knit community, where the average class size is 17 and professors are dedicated mentors.  The 160-acre campus is located in Westminster, Md., 30 miles northwest of Baltimore and 56 miles north of Washington, D.C.