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2013-2014 History Series at Salisbury House

Posted September 11, 2013 in Des Moines West, Community Web Exclusives

Des Moines, IA (September 10, 2013) —Salisbury House & Gardens (SHG) is pleased to announce the dates and speakers for its 2013-2014 History Series at Salisbury House.

Thursday, October 3rd at 7:30 pm – Buddy Levy
RIVER OF DARKNESS:  Francisco Orellana’s Historic Descent of the Amazon

The History Series inaugural lecture will feature author, professor and television personality, Buddy Levy, who will discuss his latest nonfiction book, River of Darkness.  Although this Spanish expedition accidentally ended up hurtling down the Amazon River, the trek was not propelled by a noble desire for exploration.  Orellana’s journey instead was fueled by an intense and insatiable lust for gold.


Thursday, November 14 at 7:30 pm – Jeff Guinn*
The Last Gunfight:  The Real Story of the Shootout at the OK Corral and How it Changed the American West.   

On the afternoon of October 26, 1881, in a vacant lot in Tombstone, Arizona, a showdown between eight armed men erupted in a deadly shootout.  This scenario has spawned countless cinematic interpretations.  But what really happened that day?  Author Jeff Guinn separates fact from fiction in The Last Gunfight.  Utilizing archival research and new material from private collections, Guinn deconstructs the myth of the OK Corral and finds that the truth is even more colorful than the fictional tale.

*This special event will feature the unveiling of a diorama of the OK Corral shootout by acclaimed miniature soldier artist, Doug Cohen, who specializes in topics relating to the American West.  This exhibit is made possible through the generosity of Harry Bookey and Pamela Bass-Bookey for allowing SH&G to display this unique creation from the private collection in conjunction with Jeff Guinn’s talk.


Thursday, April 17 at 7:30 pm – Heath Lee
Winnie Davis Daughter of the Lost Cause 

Des Moines resident Heath Lee discusses her debut biography, about Varina Anne “Winnie” Davis, the youngest daughter of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.  Known throughout the post-Civil War South as the “Daughter of the Confederacy,” the young woman fell in love with the Northern grandson of a famous abolitionist.  Revelations in the press about this relationship brought North-South tensions to a head, and Winnie and her family were forced back into the national spotlight.  Based upon years of research and interviews with descendants of the Davis family, Daughter of the Lost Cause is a real-life saga set in the last days of the Civil War and in the dawn of the New South.


Thursday, May 1st at 7:30 pm- Michael Neiberg

Dance of the Furies:  Europe and the Outbreak of World War I

Michael Neiberg will close the 2013-2014 History Series at Salisbury House with his lecture exploring myths about Europe and World War I.  Neiberg’s book shows that ordinary Europeans, unlike their political and military leadership, neither wanted nor expected war during the summer of 1914.  The author’s extensive research through letters, diaries and memoirs of these everyday citizens across Europe illustrates the shock and horror they experienced when the nightmare of war became a reality.  It was only after the fighting and bloodshed began that national hatreds began to truly emerge.

A ticket for the entire lecture series is $35 if bought before October 3rd. Individual lecture tickets are $10 each, free for students under 18 with an ID (based upon availability).  Advance reservations for the History Series at Salisbury House are required and can be made online at or by phone at (515) 274-1777. Doors open at 6:45 pm for a complimentary wine reception with a lecture time of 7:30 pm.

The History Series at Salisbury House is sponsored by Harry Bookey, Pamela Bass-Bookey and Fred and Charlotte Hubbell.  Accommodations for the authors are graciously provided by the Butler House on Grand.

Salisbury House and Gardens is a 42-room historic house museum owned and operated by the Salisbury House Foundation.  Built by cosmetics magnate Carl Weeks and his wife Edith, between 1923 and 1928, the estate was modeled after King’s House in Salisbury, England, and still houses the Weeks family’s historic and significant collection of paintings, sculpture, rare books and documents, antique furniture, and decorative arts. 

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