The Frankfort Heritage Lecture Series is intended explore themes in Frankfort and Franklin County cultural history - the big, small, and tangential - including the people, places, events, industries, and organizations that shaped our community and environment, as well as include topics in historic preservation such as architecture, archaeology, public policy, and more.
It is also intended to align with the efforts and purpose of the America250 and America250KY Commissions by telling our community's story in the context of American and Kentucky history.
We are proud to collaborate with the Paul Sawyier Public Library and Frankfort Plant Board!
All events are free and will be followed by a brief Q&A with the speaker. If the presentation is part of a book tour, a book signing will follow the Q&A.
Unless otherwise specified, all events take place:
SECOND SATURDAYS OF THE MONTH
PAUL SAWYIER PUBLIC LIBRARY
319 WAPPING STREET
FRANKFORT, KY 40601
SPEAKER: Jessica Stavros, Executive Director of Liberty Hall Historic Site
In the late 19th century, famed American artist and poet Robert Burns Wilson made Frankfort his adoptive home. During his time here, Wilson had a deep friendship with fellow artist Paul Sawyier and Mary Mason Scott, the last member of the Brown family to live in Liberty Hall. This discussion will not only focus on the connection between Wilson and Frankfort’s most famous house, but it will also highlight the art & poetry he left behind that is now a part of Liberty Hall’s permanent collection.
Jessica Stavros has been a museum professional and local historian for nearly 20 years. She received a Bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Louisville and a Master’s degree in Business Communication from Spalding University, both of which were fully funded by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation in Washington DC. She is also a graduate of the History Leadership Institute, class of 2016.
Her passion lies in 19th century Ohio Valley history, and this focus brought her to work within historic house & community museums in the Louisville area. As the Southeast Regional Director for the Indiana State Museum & Historic Sites, she directed 3 historic sites located in Southern Indiana – Culbertson Mansion in New Albany, Corydon Capitol in Corydon, and Lanier Mansion in Madison. Most recently, she served as Deputy Director of the Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort, Kentucky.
SPEAKER: Howard W. Cox, retired Assistant Inspector General for Investigations, Central Intelligence Agency
A fresh examination of the life and crimes of the highest-ranking federal official ever tried for treason and espionage, American Traitor examines the career of the notorious Gen. James Wilkinson, whose corruption and espionage exposed the United States to grave dangers during the early years of the republic. Wilkinson is largely forgotten today, which is unfortunate because his sordid story is a cautionary tale about unscrupulous actors who would take advantage of gaps in the law, oversight, and accountability for self-dealing.
Wilkinson's military career began during the Revolutionary War and continued through the War of 1812. As he rose to the rank of commanding general of the US Army, Wilkinson betrayed virtually everyone he worked with to advance his career and finances. He was a spy for Spain, plotted to have western territories split from the United States, and accepted kickbacks from contractors. His negligence and greed also caused the largest peacetime disaster in the history of the US Army. Howard W. Cox picks apart Wilkinson's misdeeds with the eye of an experienced investigator.
American Traitor offers the most in-depth analysis of Wilkinson's court-martial trials and how he evaded efforts to hold him accountable. This astounding history of villainy in the early republic will fascinate anyone with an interest in the period as well as readers of espionage history.
Howard W. Cox is a retired member of the Senior Intelligence Service of the Central Intelligence Agency. During his 40-year career as a federal government employee, Howard served as a cyber crimes prosecutor with the Department of Justice, and as an attorney and criminal investigator with the Department of Defense, the General Services Administration, and the US Postal Service. He also served as staff counsel to the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Prior to his civilian service, he was a trial attorney with the US Army Judge Advocate General's Corps. He is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and Seton Hall University.
American Traitor: General James Wilkinson's Betrayal and Escape From Justice is his first book.