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Locust Grove: Talk by Frank Kelderman


Frank Kelderman: Afloat at Locust Grove


In the spring of 1842, the British writer Charles Dickens and the Choctaw diplomat Peter Pitchlynn had a chance encounter on a steamboat on the Ohio River, traveling from Cincinnati to Louisville. Dickens was traveling the country to write his travelogue American Notes; Pitchlynn was returning from diplomatic business in Washington. Dickens's account of their conversation speaks volumes about the popular image of Native American tribal leaders like Pitchlynn, whom the author considered "as complete a gentleman of Nature’s making, as ever I beheld." In this talk, Kelderman will draw on visual art and archival materials to illustrate how this episode helps us understand the Ohio River as an important thoroughfare for Indian diplomacy, connecting the eastern United States to Indian country. Drawing out the histories of cultural encounter in the Ohio River Valley, this talk will give an account of indigenous presence and innovation in a region where that presence has long been unrecognized.

Frank Kelderman is an assistant professor of English at the University of Louisville. Dr. Kelderman specializes in Native American literature, with an emphasis on 19th-century writing and oratory. His recent research focused on the relationship between Native American literature and Indian diplomacy in the 19th century, exploring the colonial and intertribal dimensions of indigenous writing and oratory, from the Upper Missouri River Valley to the Great Lakes. His research has been published in the journals American Literature, American Studies, J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists, and Great Plains Quarterly.

This program is part of the city-wide program Afloat: An Ohio River Way of Life.

The Locust Grove Afternoon Lecture Series is held the first Wednesday of each month. Dessert and coffee are served at 1:00 pm with the lecture immediately following at 1:15 pm. Admission is $6, $4 for Friends of Historic Locust Grove. Reservations are not required.