Betty Jean Steinshouer will explore Florida at war in character and costume as two of the state’s most prominent historical figures, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, at 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16, at the DeLand Regional Library, 130 E. Howry Ave.
Steinshouer will share information about the Civil War and its impact on Harriet Beecher Stowe's adopted home in Florida. Stowe is best known for her novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin," which helped to bring about an end to slavery in America.
Steinshouer will then do a quick costume change and bring to light Rawlings and her lonely vigil during World War II, when her husband volunteered to drive an ambulance for the American Field Service. Though her friendship with Martha Gellhorn (the third Mrs. Ernest Hemingway), Rawlings met First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and gave her opinion about the racial inequality in the U.S. military while we were "fighting the Nazis with a Jim Crow Army," as Rawlings put it.
Steinshouer has been doing public programs and teacher seminars for the Florida Humanities Council since 1989 and has toured 43 states for the National Endowment for the Humanities and the NEA Big Read program. She is a fellow in Florida Studies at the University of South Florida and the author of “The Florida Journeys: Harriet Beecher Stowe, Constance Fenimore Woolson, Sarah Orne Jewett, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Zora Neale Hurston, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Rose Wilder Lane, Elizabeth Bishop, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Rachel Carson,” which will be published in March. As she winds down nearly 30 years on the road with the Chautauqua Circuit, her aim is to leave audio and written records of each of her characters.
The free program is part of the Volusia County Public Library system’s Florida Humanities Speaker Series, which is honoring indomitable women who helped shape the Sunshine State. It is sponsored by the Florida Humanities Council with funds from the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.
Registration is not required. For more information, call the library at 386-424-2910, option 4.