Bill Welsch recently sent the attached letter to several ARRT members and has agreed to let me post it here for wider dissemination. Having attended the Williamsburg conference in March, I can heartily second everything Bill said about it.
A number of you asked me, both before and after, to tell you about the America’s History Second Annual Conference on the American Revolution this past March in Williamsburg. A few of you were fortunate enough to attend. This is a belated attempt to answer those inquires.
Bruce Venter and his faculty of historians did an excellent job. After the first conference in 2012, I described it as one of the best Revolutionary War events that I had ever attended. 2013 was even better, with excellent presentations and panels. The conference was not specifically themed, which allowed for an interesting mix of content. And I personally had a great time leading a Friday tour of the battles of Petersburg, Spenser’s Ordinary, and Green Spring.
The question and answer sessions were interesting and useful. The vendors supplied a interesting mix of books, maps, and prints. The location was perfect for exploring Colonial Williamsburg. All the food and amenities were top notch.
I also attended the SCAR conference on Light Horse Harry Lee in April in Greensboro. Again, this was an excellent weekend of talks and tours, this time with a specific theme. All of my comments above apply equally to this weekend. Charles Baxley and David Reuwer did a wonderful job. Mother Nature was less cooperative on Sunday, providing plenty of moisture for our tour of Guildford Courthouse. But I did see much new ground were actions leading to the battle occurred.
Between the two events, I heard about twenty top flight historians present new and interesting takes on a wide variety of topics, which forced me to come home and pull many books off my shelves to read more. And I made a number of new contacts – always a delight to meet similar minded folks and renew old friendships. Thanks to Bruce, Charles, and David for their outstanding and successful efforts.
But why, besides answering a few questions, is this email coming to you. My greatest disappointment at both of these conferences was in not seeing more of my ARRT colleagues and friends. Yes, I do realize that we’re all very busy with our hectic lives. It does seem to me, however, that to keep the spirit of the Congress of American Revolution Round Tables alive, we need to support such events as much as possible. So, I’m not attempting to initiate a discussion as to why people didn’t attend, as much as to plant seeds for any future revolutionary events. The only way that such opportunities can continue is if we all support them to a greater degree.
Bruce’s Third Annual Conference is again in Williamsburg on March 21 – 23. I don’t know what’s on the SCAR horizon, but I’m confident that it will be of high quality and interest.
Thanks for reading this personal rant and plea. I hope to see you all soon at some worthy event and certainly at the next Congress in New Jersey in 2014.