25th Annual Dinner To Feature "Rhett, Dorothy, And Mr. Smith"

January 02, 2007 at 2:49 PM


       Dr. Todd Pfannestiel, assistant professor of history at Clarion University of Pennsylvania, will be the guest speaker for the DuBois Area Historical Society’s 25 th Anniversary Dinner on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2007, at 6 p.m. at the DuBois Senior Center.

       The buffet dinner will include: ham, roast turkey, oven roasted potatoes, tossed salad, green bean almondine, bread, and butter. The cost of the evening is $15. Reservations are due by Jan. 22, 2007, and should be sent to DuBois Area Historical Society, P.O. Box 401, DuBois, Pa. 15801.

       Pfannestiel will present “Rhett, Dorothy, and Mr. Smith: Motion Pictures and American Values in the Great Depression,” a multi-media presentation featuring film clips and focusing on how major motion pictures of the 1930s helped America through the Depression.

       “In the hard times of the Great Depression, the motion picture industry prospered,” said Pfannestiel. “Throughout Pennsylvania, even the smallest towns and most distant rural areas had a nearby movie house where people could find a few hours’ escape from work and worry. Along with the entertainment, they were offered a new value system emerging with FDR’s New Deal program that emphasized cooperation, high hopes and an image of government as a positive force for change.”

       Pfannestiel teaches courses on recent American history and popular culture at Clarion University. He joined the Clarion faculty in 1998, where he advises the Phi Alpha Theta Honor Society in History and the History Club. He originated the annual Halloween Ghost Walk at Clarion University and is currently leading a project to compile and preserve the history of Clarion University.

       He earned his B.A. as a Fulbright College Scholar summa cum laude in history and economics from the University of Arkansas, and his Ph.D. in history from The College of William and Mary in Virginia. He is the author of “Rethinking the Red Scare: The Lusk Committee and New York’s Crusade Against Radicalism” and coauthor of “Creamed Onions for Supper: The Great Depression in Western Pennsylvania.” He is currently working on a book that will examine the Vietnam War through the combat diaries of infantry soldiers.

       He has served as a Pennsylvania Humanities Council Commonwealth Speaker, an Andrew Mellon Fellow in the Humanities, a former National Science Foundation graduate fellow, and is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the American Historical Association, the American Popular Culture Association, and Phi Beta Kappa.

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