Frank X. Mullen

Bio:

Frank X. Mullen is the Reno-based newspaperman known for his hard-hitting investigative pieces. He broke stories about rural cancer clusters, dangerous Nevada doctors, and toxic clouds generated by burning munitions in Lassen County. In addition, he is the author of The Donner Party Chronicles: A Day-By-Day Account of a Doomed Wagon Train. Frank teaches journalism classes at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR); lectures about the history of the Silver State; and regularly performs in the Nevada Humanities Chautauqua and other Chautauqua venues nationwide.

In 2002 and 2005, Frank was named Nevada's Outstanding Journalist by the Nevada Press Association. He holds a Masters degree in journalism/new media from UNR, has won many state and national reporting/writing awards, and is working on a number of books about Nevada.

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Presentations:

Chautauqua: Babe Ruth – A Life and a Legend

Chautauqua: The Secret Life of Henry VIII

In the Footsteps of the Donner Party

Silver State on the Silver Screen

Westward Ho, Nevada


CHAUTAUQUA: BABE RUTH - A LIFE AND A LEGEND

The name Babe Ruth is a synonym for greatness in any field of endeavor. The man who became Babe Ruth - George Herman Ruth - was the son of a Baltimore saloon-keeper who grew up in a Catholic reform school. The Baltimore Orioles “adopted” him and he was soon sold to the Red Sox. In Boston he was on his way to the Hall of Fame as a pitcher, but he busted up games with his frequent home runs. By 1920, he was property of the New York Yankees, where he became a mythological figure. The Bambino could be cruel or kind, crude or creative, but he was always entertaining. With his power hitting, he built the modern game of baseball. He will be remembered far beyond his 60 home runs in a season or 714 in a career. Even his bellyaches were epic. Ruth, a teammate said, was the only man who lived up to, or even surpassed, his legend.

Photo Credit:

Appropriate Audience:  All ages.

Duration: C. 1 hour

Presenter Requirements: 

  • Place to hang Babe Ruth’s team jerseys and hats (a coat tree is best).
  • A table and a chair.

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

Categories: Chautauqua


CHAUTAUQUA: THE SECRET LIFE OF HENRY VIII

Henry VIII was both Renaissance Man and brutal tyrant. He raised England up from the Middle Ages but set the stage for revolution and civil war two generations later. He is famous for his serial matrimony, but as this presentation shows, there’s more to his majesty than lust and worries over an heir. Henry describes his upbringing and his motives for breaking from the Church of Rome as well as his dreams for his people and his realm.

Photo Credit: Steve Davis

Appropriate Audience:  All ages.

Duration: C. 1 hour

Presenter Requirements: 

  • Place to hang Henry VIII’s coat of arms behind the presenter.
  • A table.
  • Water

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

Categories: Chautauqua


IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE DONNER PARTY

Frank X. Mullen, author of The Donner Party Chronicles: A Day-By-Day Account of a Doomed Wagon Train, takes audiences on the trail of doomed wagon train pioneers in a presentation that features artifacts and reproductions of items used by 1840s travelers. Mullen explores the tragedy and the triumph of a group of families who thought they were in for a 2,000-mile walk across the continent, but entered the pages of history as victims of an unproven shortcut, unseasonably cold weather, and cannibalism. The families were snowbound in the Sierra about 30 miles west of Reno during the terrible winter of 1846-47 and only about half of the group survived.

Appropriate Audience:  All ages

Duration: C. 1 hour

Presenter Requirements: 

  • Means for screening digital presentation

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

Categories: Nevada, history


SILVER STATE ON THE SILVER SCREEN

There is no doubt that Hollywood has helped to mold the nation’s view of Nevada. And even though the state has reinvented itself many times over, its frontier cachet (and often offbeat image) has survived in both celluloid and digital imagery. Using extracts of films taken from the silent era, via the reign of Marilyn Monroe, to more recent films shot in the Silver State, journalist and author Frank X. Mullen explores Nevada as represented on the silver screen.

Appropriate Audience:  All ages.

Duration: C. 1 hour

Presenter Requirements: 

  • Means for screening film clips on DVD

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

Categories: Nevada, film


WESTWARD HO, NEVADA

From the time of Columbus to the 1840s, Nevada was a vast blank spot on the maps of North America. In this presentation, Frank X. Mullen describes the slow process of exploration as cartographers replaced the “here be dragons” ignorance with accurate information. We’ll look at the geographic disposition of the Native Americans, the early Spanish explorations, the fantastical speculations on maps from the 1700s to the 1840s, and the treks of early travelers including the mountain men, John C. Fremont and the wagon train families before and after the Gold Rush.

Appropriate Audience:  All ages

Duration: C. 1 hour

Presenter Requirements: 

  • Means for screening digital presentation

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

Categories: Nevada, history