An Encounter with Bertha Palmer

June 26, 2007

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Bertha Palmer

Chicago socialite and philanthropist, wife of millionaire real estate magnate Potter Palmer, and pace-setting arts patron, Bertha Palmer is best remembered for her outstanding Impressionist collection, now at the Art Institute of Chicago.  But the glamorous Mrs. Palmer had her own fascinating history. As shrewd as she was stylish, Palmer helped recoup her husband's lost fortune after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and presided over Chicago's glittering society scene for a quarter of a century.  At the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893, she served as hostess to the world. Intelligent, witty, and fallible, Bertha Palmer still compels our attention today.

With experience as an actor, historian, and teacher, Leslie Goddard brings a unique perspective to her theatrical events.  Trained as a historian, she earned a Ph.D. from Northwestern University specializing in women's studies and U.S. history. She also holds both a master's and a bachelor's degree in theater and has performed onstage for more than twenty years.  Her programs combine this onstage experience with her background as a researcher and educator.

 

Recorded Tuesday, June 26, 2007 at Ela Area Public Library.