Past High School Historians Forum
The High School Historians Forum (formerly the Wyndham B. Blanton Scholars Forum) is held at the VHS annually in October.
Named in honor of a former president of the historical society, the forum is designed to bring
together high school history and government students with nationally renowned history
The 2011 High School Historians Forum (formerly the Wyndham B. Blanton Scholars Forum) was held on July 20–23, 2011. In connection with the Society’s commemoration of the Civil War sesquicentennial, Forum participants found themselves immersed in the study of this epic conflict over the course of a four-day program in Richmond. Guided by the VHS staff, these high school students interacted with living history interpreters, stepping back in time to experience the war through firsthand perspectives. On the final day of their program, Forum members helped create videos for the VHS that examine the connection between the Society’s collection (featured in the An American Turning Point:The Civil War in Virginia exhibition) and the profound impact the war had on Virginians. When the students returned home, they were asked to investigate their own home towns’ roles in the Civil War, and the ways in which their communities were shaped by the war.
The 2010 High School Historians Forum (formerly the Wyndham B. Blanton Scholars Forum) was held on July 22–24, 2010. The focus of this revamped program was Virginia's evolving identity. Over these three days, high school juniors and seniors worked closely with VHS staff members to learn first-hand how history museums operate. Students had the opportunity to help create video segments for the online tour of our award-winning exhibition The Story of Virginia: an American Experience. Forum participants then returned to the VHS in October to attend the annual J. Harvie Wilkinson, Jr., Lecture, where they participated in a question and answer session with former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
The eleventh annual Wyndham B. Blanton Scholars Forum was held October 22–23, 2009. Author and commentator Frank Deford was the J. Harvie Wilkinson, Jr., lecturer on Thursday, October 22. The title of his presentation was "The Athlete as Gentleman: From Christy Mathewson to Arthur Ashe." The Blanton Scholars had the opportunity to attend the lecture, participate in an informal conversation with Deford that evening, and attend a seminar/discussion on the role of sports in American society the following morning.
The tenth annual Wyndham B. Blanton Scholars Forum was held October 23–24, 2008. Award-winning documentary filmmaker Ken Burns was the J. Harvie Wilkinson, Jr., lecturer on Thursday, October 23, 2008. Twenty Virginia high school students had the opportunity to attend the lecture. The following morning, the scholars participated in a seminar with Ron Heinemann, Squires Professor Emeritus of History at Hampden-Sydney College.
The ninth annual Wyndham B. Blanton Scholars Forum was held October 25–26, 2007. Best-selling author and political commentator Cokie Roberts was the J. Harvie Wilkinson, Jr., lecturer on Thursday, October 25, 2007. Eighteen Virginia high school students had the opportunity to attend the lecture. The following morning, the scholars met a second renowned author as they participated in a workshop with Dean King. King spoke to the students about the craft of writing.
The eighth annual Wyndham B. Blanton Scholars Forum was held October 19–20, 2006. Award-winning author David McCullough led the forum for the second time. Mr. McCullough was also the J. Harvie Wilkinson, Jr., lecturer on October 19, 2006. Blanton Scholars attended the lecture and participated with Mr. McCullough in a seminar held the following morning. The topic of the discussion was McCullough's book, 1776.
Ron Chernow graduated with honors from Yale College and Cambridge University with degrees in English literature. After college, he worked as a freelance journalist, specializing in financial policy. He received the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 1990 for his first book, The House of Morgan. His other books include The Warburgs, Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, The Death of the Banker, and the highly praised biography, Alexander Hamilton.
Chernow was the J. Harvie Wilkinson, Jr., lecturer on October 20, 2005. The next morning, the Blanton Scholars participated with Mr. Chernow in a forum which focused on Alexander Hamilton and his role in the shaping of early American history.
Author, lecturer, journalist, Rick Atkinson is on book leave from The Washington Post, where he most recently served as assistant editor for investigations. Mr. Atkinson won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for history for An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942–1943. He is the author of two bestselling books, The Long
Gray Line, a narrative account of West Point's class of 1966, and Crusade, a narrative history of the
Persian Gulf War. His most recent work is In the Company of Soldiers: A Chronicle of Combat. Atkinson was the J. Harvie Wilkinson, Jr., lecturer on October 21, 2004. The next morning, the Blanton Scholars met with Mr. Atkinson in a forum which focused on the African campaign of 1942–1943 and its significance in the
history of World War II.
Author, lecturer, and Pulitzer Prize winner, Edmund Morris chaired the Virginia Historical Society's fifth Wyndham B. Blanton
Scholars Forum on October 16–17, 2003. He is best known for his biographies of presidents
Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan.
Mr. Morris won the Pulitzer Prize and American Book Award in 1980 for his biography, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt.
President Reagan asked Mr. Morris to be his official biographer, and the result was Dutch: A Memoir of
Ronald Reagan. The second volume on Theodore Roosevelt, Theodore Rex, became an immediate
New York Times best seller in 2001. Morris was the J. Harvie Wilkinson, Jr., lecturer on October 16, 2003. The Blanton Scholars participated with Mr. Morris in a forum held the next morning. The topic of the discussion was the life and politics of Theodore Roosevelt.
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough chaired the Society's fourth Wyndham B. Blanton
Scholars Forum on October 24–25, 2002. David McCullough is
best known for his biography, John Adams, and as host of "The American Experience" on
public television. Mr. McCullough was the J. Harvie Wilkinson, Jr., lecturer on
October 24, 2002. The Blanton Scholars had the opportunity to participate with Mr. McCullough in a forum
held the next morning. The forum focused on the life of John Adams and his Virginia
co-patriots, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.
Commentator, editor, teacher, public servant, best-selling author, and adviser to presidents, David Gergen chaired the third annual Wyndham B. Blanton Scholars Forum on October 11–12, 2001. Twenty high school students from across the state took part in the forum with Mr. Gergen, who was also the J. Harvie Wilkinson, Jr., lecturer for the year. The discussion focused on Gergen's book, Eyewitness to Power, the Clinton administration, and the 9/11 attacks.
Pulitzer Prize winner A. Scott Berg chaired the second annual Wyndham B. Blanton Scholars Forum on October 26–27, 2000. A select group of high school history students from across the state attended the Blanton Scholars Forum with Berg, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his biography of Charles Lindbergh. The Blanton Scholars attended Berg's lecture on October 26, and the next morning participated in a discussion with him about heroism.
Best-selling author Michael Beschloss chaired the first Wyndham B. Blanton Scholars Forum in October 1999. The author of six books on American presidents, Beschloss is a frequent lecturer and regular commentator on ABC News and PBS's The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. The Blanton Scholars met with Beschloss and discussed the presidential administrations of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard M. Nixon.