Historic Insights Historic Header

Historic Lectures

NEW! Heritage of the Brandywine Valley

This presentation discusses the Brandywine Valley's rich heritage which includes the important contributions of statesmen, inventors, authors and artists who all helped to create our nation over three centuries. You'll become acquainted with the indigenous Indians and early settlers, many of whose homes are still standing. You will meet botanists, politicians and entrepreneurs like E. I. du Pont, William Darlington, Bayard Taylor, Samuel Barber and others – with a look ‘behind the scenes’ into their fascinating lives and achievements.
Download Lecture Summary: Heritage of the Brandywine Valley

Forgotten Founding Fathers: Pennsylvania and Delaware in the American Revolution

This lecture explores the foundations of our republic, with a special emphasis on the key roles that ten men from Pennsylvania and Delaware played in our struggle for liberty and creation of our system of government. These individuals were active in this grand drama, framing the debates as signers of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, hands-on participants in events which helped form “a more perfect union.”
Download Lecture Summary: Forgotten Founding Fathers

The Underground Railroad in Kennett Square and Wilmington: How Peace-loving Quakers Helped Win the Civil War

The Underground Railroad in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania and Wilmington, Delaware was a conduit for thousands of slaves to escape and gain their freedom. A Quaker group- the Longwood Progressive Friends- were active abolitionists; they believed that ending slavery would resolve the chaos enveloping the nation. Some members of the group met with Lincoln at the White House in June 1862 to persuade him on this issue; the President later released the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves in areas controlled by Federal troops. This ingenious move allowed blacks to fight and eventually bring victory for the Union in the Civil War.
Download Lecture Summary: The Underground Railroad

Meet the Founding Fathers: What They Thought About Government, Taxation and Individual Liberties

Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, Franklin, Adams and Madison all had strongly held beliefs about the power and role of government, its presence in the lives of citizens and how the nation should proceed going forward. This new lecture series delves into the statements and mindset of the Founding Fathers, delivering insights into what they felt about centralized authority, political power… and their likely views about America today.
Download Lecture Summary: Meet the Founding Fathers

Alexander Hamilton: Architect of the American Financial System

Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804) is one of the most important, yet least understood of the Founding Fathers. Orphaned as a young boy on the island of St. Croix, he later emigrated to the colonies and fought as a soldier in the American Revolution. He became a trusted aide-de-camp to General Washington, serving through most of the war and fighting at the final victory at Yorktown. Hamilton was an important contributor to the U.S. Constitution and the Federalist Papers, subsequently becoming the first Secretary of the Treasury, where he transformed a bankrupt nation into an efficient government able to pay its debts, issue currency and regulate trade. His accomplishments stand among the most critical in the founding of our nation. This lecture presentation is conducted by Gene Pisasale in full Continental Army officer’s uniform, with Gene portraying Hamilton as a “Living Biographer”.
Download Lecture Summary: Alexander Hamilton

View Alexander Hamilton Lecture (53 minutes) at Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust

Hemingway, Cuba and the Gulf Stream

Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) lived for just under 62 years, but experienced more than most men could see in five lifetimes. He resided in Cuba for over 20 years, longer than any other place. The island nation fascinated and inspired him, helping the author to create some of his finest works, including The Old Man and the Sea, for which he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize in literature. Visits to his beloved home, the Finca Vigia, his favorite watering hole El Floridita, the quaint fishing village of Cojimar and other sites enhance your understanding of this highly talented man who was one of the most important authors of the 20th century.
Download Lecture Summary: Hemingway, Cuba and the Gulf Stream

Frick's Lock: A Chester County Ghost Town

Canals were a critical part of America’s early transportation network. Allowing much easier movement of heavy commodities, the Schuylkill Canal, Erie Canal and others transformed our economy. Frick’s Lock is a small village in northeastern Chester County with a link to the Industrial Revolution. It was once part of the bustling Schuylkill Canal, but now sits frozen in time, waiting to be rediscovered. This lecture takes guests on a trip back in time to the canal era of the early-mid 1800s, when barges moved coal, iron ore and vital supplies around our nation.
Download Lecture Summary: Fricks Lock

American Revolution to Fine Art: Brandywine Valley Reflections

The Brandywine Valley has been home to three signers of the Declaration of Independence, great artists and musicians as well as the scene of the largest land battle of the American Revolution. Its rolling hills and rustic splendor have captivated millions of visitors over the centuries. This presentation delves into more than 300 years of regional history and highlights fascinating people, places and events which shaped our heritage.
Download Lecture Summary: American Revolution to Fine Art: Brandywine Valley

The Civil War: A 150 Year Retrospective

The lecture highlights America’s most devastating war which raged from April 12, 1861 with the assault on Fort Sumter to April 9, 1865 with Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. Spawned by the fight over slavery which dominated life in the southern states, northern abolitionists were dedicated to eradicating this horrendous practice. Just weeks after Abraham Lincoln was elected President, states began to secede and formed the Confederacy. After four years of stunning bloodshed, the war finally ended… but America would never be the same.
Download Lecture Summary: The Civil War: A 150 Year Retrospective

Mysteries of the Star Spangled Banner and the War of 1812

The War of 1812 is a misunderstood and in many ways “forgotten war”. Raging from June 1812 to January 1815, this conflict with the British was caused by continuing acts of piracy against American shipping and the impressment of thousands of sailors against their will. With battles occurring from the Great Lakes to New Orleans and both major oceans, the war saw the burning of much of our nation’s capital and the near destruction of our military. Yet it had many positive repercussions. America proved herself, taking a place among the most powerful nations, gaining stature in the eyes of the world. An icon- the Star Spangled Banner was born, the song becoming our National Anthem and the flag which flew above Fort McHenry treasured as proof of our dedication to liberty. Mysteries remain to this day surrounding important aspects of the Star-Spangled Banner. Fascinating highlights of the flag and the war are covered in this review of a critical period in American history.
Download Lecture Summary: Mysteries of the Star Spangled Banner and the War of 1812

The Marquis de Lafayette:
a 'Founding Son' of the American Revolution

The Battle of the Brandywine was fought on September 11th, 1777 and was the largest land battle in North America up until the Civil War. The young Marquis de Lafayette fought along with George Washington's troops, putting his life and fortune on the line for our country. Lafayette participated in seven battles of the Revolutionary War and was a major force in helping us gain our independence from Great Britain. His heroism, dedication and support gains him the title of 'Founding Son' of the American Revolution. The lecture covers background on Lafayette, his role in the American Revolution and the historic events in the following decades after the Revolution.
Download Lecture Summary: Marquis de Lafayette

Ten Days in Paris: An Historic Walking Tour

This lecture presentation takes the viewer on an historic “walking tour” along the streets of Paris, Dijon, Rouen and Versailles, yielding new insights about the people and events which make the region so fascinating and Paris the “City of Lights”. The tour brings you to ruins of ancient Roman baths, Napoleon’s Tomb, the Arc de Triomphe, the art enclave of Montmartre, the Eiffel Tower, watering holes of Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, the Louvre, Notre Dame and several historic sites nearby. You’ll feel as if you’re right there- walking the streets and stopping in at some of the world’s greatest museums, enjoying superb works of art and architecture at places of cultural interest.
Download Lecture Summary: Ten Days in Paris

The Christian C. Sanderson Museum:
A Man's Life, A Nation's History

Chris Sanderson for many years was the local "historian" of Chadds Ford, Pa. By the time he passed away at the age of 84 in 1966, he'd managed to collect over 18,000 artifacts and relics from days gone by- important mementos, autographs, military memorabilia, paintings, posters and other items from the Revolutionary War, Civil War, World Wars I and II, all the way up through the 1960s. Sanderson was good friends with the three generations of the famous Wyeth family- N.C., Andrew and Jamie, along with many other artists, statesmen and celebrities. The museum bearing his name is the work of many people, notably Tom Thompson and Andrew Wyeth; it was dedicated in 1967. This undiscovered "gem" awaits visitors to Chadds Ford.
Download Lecture Summary: Sanderson Museum

Client Comments

"Col. Alexander Hamilton (Gene Pisasale) relayed the highlights of his life when speaking at a recent joint SAR/DAR Constitution Week event. His topical talk covered many interesting aspects including his post as aide-de-camp for General Washington, contributions to and signing of the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, and the First National Bank. Guests were engaged, universally appreciative, and gave organizers positive feedback. I’ve heard Mr. Pisasale give his Hamilton presentation more than once and each time I learn something new. If you are interested in history in general, the era, or the man, you won’t be disappointed. "
Christyn Olmstead, Registrar, Valley Forge Chapter, NSDAR

"Everyone thoroughly enjoyed having you speak to our members about Ernest Hemingway. Msgr Jagodzinski said to please pass on to you how much he enjoyed your talk and slide presentation."
Arlene Kirschner, St Pius X Over 50 Club

"Our lecture attendees were thrilled to have Gene come in uniform to portray Colonel Alexander Hamilton. Gene gave us a unique insight of this men through well researched information he presented us with a lot of facts our audience was unaware of and astonished to learn."
Jim Christ, Paoli Battlefield

"One actually feels in the presence of Alexander Hamilton. It is as if he is speaking with you - the delivery is mesmerizing. Some aspects of his Life take on new meaning. One is enthralled by his delivery."
Tom Swett, Chairman of the Board, Kennett Square Library

"Gene Pisasale grabbed the attention of our audience and held it throughout his presentation on Alexander Hamilton. His costumed portrayal was infused with detail and passion. Our members were so engaged and asked Gene many questions; he answered them all!"
Lora Englehart VP, Programs, American Association of University Women (AAUW), Wilmington, DE Branch

"We did get some great feedback.  Everyone thought the presentation was fantastic.  Some even said that they really started to believe that you were Hamilton!  You really did do a great job, both in presentation and playing the character.   For me, I enjoyed the fact that you were quite comfortable playing the part of Hamilton, but were also very secure in your own knowledge of Hamilton that you were able to break character and explain some of the history behind a specific answer or comment.  Very well done.  The audience enjoyed it, as did I. Thanks!"
Barry Rauhauser, Executive Director, Historical Society of Montgomery County

"Gene Pisasale was well-received by the Hale Byrnes House audience in December. We particularly liked the first person impersonation backed up with excellent PowerPoint slides. Gene's talk was witty, engaging and carefully-researched and documented. Very fine presentation. A good time was had by all!"
Kim Burdick, Founder and Chairman American Revolution Roundtable of Northern Delaware; Education Director at the historic Hale-Byrnes House, Newark, Delaware

"Thank you for your most interesting presentation on the War of 1812. Comments received were very favorable. Thank you too for the professional hand-outs and for bringing your books. It was a pleasure to have you as a speaker for our annual FOHL meeting. We look forward to having you again."
Barbara Miller, Friends of Hockeisin Library

"Gene's presentation was excellent. He clearly knows his subject quite well. The entire group truly enjoyed it. We can't wait until he writes his next book so we can invite him back for his new lecture series."
Marie Martinelli, Widowed Persons Group

"Thank you for speaking at our KSANC luncheon at the Stone Barn last Wednesday. As always, your presentation was interesting, informative and enjoyed by all the club members.."
Marge Rose, KSANC

"Gene's presentation on the background of Marquis de Lafayette was an engaging and informative story of one of America's lesser known heroes.  He brings this important character to life in ways seldom presented in history discussions."
John Whiteside, Sons of the American Revolution

"We found Gene’s presentation on the Battle of the Brandywine quite interesting and informative.  It was well received!"
Jenn Allen, Maris Grove

"I cannot thank you enough for the pleasure of enjoying your lecture about the life of Lafayette... Your presentation was beautifully enhanced by the wonderful selection of images you included and it was filled with the details that make history come alive for all of us. It was clear that our audience enjoyed every minute of it! So many people came up to me during the reception to comment on how much they enjoyed your presentation!"
Ginger M. Tucker, Executive Director, Chadds Ford Historical Society

Event Images

Download Historic Lecture Series Summary

War of 1812 Lecture Clip

Event Schedules


Facility Requirements

  • Projection screen
  • Small table for projector
  • Space for 6 foot book signing table

Schedule a Lecture

Gene is happy to schedule a lecture for your group, whether a Rotary, historical society, corporation, retirement facility or school. Locations beyond a one hour drive of Kennett Square, PA. require special arrangements. Contact Us to schedule.


An Honorarium is requested to cover the costs of travel, materials and preparation.

Gene Pisasale portraying Colonel Alexander Hamilton at the Barns-Brinton House

Gene Pisasale portraying Colonel Alexander Hamilton at the Brandywine Battlefield Remembrance Day event