Doris Dwyer

Bio:

Doris Dwyer resides in Fallon and has taught history and humanities at Western Nevada College since 1980. She earned her PhD in history from Miami University of Ohio and a MA and AB from Eastern Kentucky University. Her Chautauqua career began in 1994 with a portrayal of gold rusher Sarah Royce. Since then, she has portrayed Donner Party survivor Margaret Breen, contraceptive pioneer Margaret Sanger, Life photographer Margaret Bourke-White, evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, Puritan dissenter Anne Hutchinson, and environmentalist Rachel Carson. Dwyer has performed hundreds of Chautauqua portrayals in Nevada, California, Colorado, Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, and New Hampshire. She is a Governor’s appointee to the Nevada Board of Museums and History, and is a past recipient of the Governor’s Humanities Award and the Nevada Regents’ Teaching Award.

Photo credit: Bernadette Francke

Presentations:

Chautauqua – Margaret Bourke-White

Chautauqua – Margaret Breen

Chautauqua – Sarah Royce

Women’s Voices from the Emigrant Trails


CHAUTAUQUA – MARGARET BOURKE-WHITE

Margaret Bourke-White was a mainstay of American journalism in 20th century America. She was hired by publishing mogul, Henry Luce, as the first photojournalist for Fortune Magazine, a pioneering publication which began during Great Depression and is still in production. Luce also selected her as the first female photographer for Life Magazine and she quickly became a globetrotting icon at the height of her career. Particularly notable are her photographs of monumental 20th century technologies, such as steel furnaces and Public Works Administration dams, and her gritty coverage of the Russian, Italian, and German fronts, including the liberation of Buchenwald, during World War Two. She wrote nine books, among them several collaborations with novelist Erskine Caldwell, to whom she was once married.

Photo Credit: Peggy Viney

Appropriate Audience: Adults; can be tailored for young adults and children.

Duration: Approximately 1-1½ hours Please discuss the appropriate length for your organization with the Presenter.

Presenter Requirements:

  • N/A

Categories: Chautauqua, photography, women’s interest


CHAUTAUQUA – MARGARET BREEN

Margaret Breen, along with her husband Patrick and seven children, set out for California in the spring of 1846. As Irish immigrants, they pursued the American Dream of economic opportunity and reward for honest work. Along the trail they joined with a number of other emigrants to form what has become known as the Donner Party. The group faced great challenges along the trail, and these challenges increased exponentially when the Donner Party became stranded in the Sierras. After experiencing unimaginable horrors in the mountains, the Breen family survived the journey, one of only two families to make it through without loss of life. In later years, the Breens were accused by some of selfishness, and of hoarding their food. Others hailed them as heroes. This Chautauqua presentation sets the record straight, separating the enduring myths of this iconic tragedy from the surviving historical record.

Photo Credit: Steve Davis

Appropriate Audience: Adults; can be tailored for young adults and children.

Duration: Approximately 1-1½ hours Please discuss the appropriate length for your organization with the Presenter.

Presenter Requirements:

  • Table and chair

If equipment indicated above is unavailable, please discuss alternatives with Presenter.

Categories: Chautauqua, Nevada, women’s interest


CHAUTAUQUA – SARAH ROYCE

Sarah Royce was a leading female voice of the Overland Trail during the crucial year of 1849 and her book, Frontier Lady, is a classic of American women’s literature. Sarah was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1819 and her family immigrated to the United States when she was six weeks of age. Raised in Rochester, New York, in the heart of the burned-over district, she was a committed Disciple of Christ and educator. She and her husband joined the first wave of 49’ers following the discovery of gold in California. Her descriptions of travelling through the desert in contemporary Nevada are unmatched in conveying the pitfalls of life on the trail. The mother of four children, including a son who would grow up to become the renowned Harvard philosopher Josiah Royce, Sarah founded church congregations and schools, notably in Grass Valley, California. Mrs. Royce has become representative of the female role in shaping the American culture of the American west.

Photo Credit: Peggy Viney

Appropriate Audience: Adults; can be tailored for young adults and children.

Duration: Approximately 1-1½ hour. Please discuss the appropriate length for your organization with the Presenter.

Presenter Requirements:

  • Table and chair

If equipment indicated above is unavailable, please discuss alternatives with Presenter.

Categories: Chautauqua, literature, Nevada, women’s interest


WOMEN’S VOICES FROM THE EMIGRANT TRAILS

With readings taken from contemporary women’s diaries, journals, and reminiscences, this presentation provides a fresh perspective on what life was like along the emigrant trails. These literary excerpts have been specially selected to shed new light on both the ordinary, everyday experiences that the women underwent, as well some extraordinary and exceptional happenings. Contrasts and comparisons between male and female written recollections offer further insight into the challenges faced by women, and the gamut of emotions they experienced as they journeyed through the strange landscape, dealt with death and disease, experienced encounters with Native Americans, and formed friendships with, and developed animosities towards, others who shared this uniquely American journey. This presentation also addresses the ways in which the overland journeys have changed since the time of the emigrant trails.

Appropriate Audience: Adults; can be tailored for young adults and children.

Duration: Approximately 1-2 hours. Please discuss the appropriate duration for your organization with the presenter.

Presenter Requirements:

  • None requested

Categories: History, Nevada, women’s interest