Brian Elsesser has been teaching history for the last 20 years. He earned his Ph.D at St. Louis University, and wrote his doctoral dissertation on the post-war decline of the St. Louis Public Schools and the impact it had on the region. His specialty is 19th and 20th century Urban America, and he has spoken at the Missouri State Historical Society on topics ranging from urban planning, the St. Louis Public Schools and Civil Rights cases in St. Louis.
In addition to traditional lectures, Dr. Elsesser developed a video documentary and oral history project at Harris-Stowe State University. That project has trained over 200 students in the video arts and has received international recognition.
Brian is an avid bicyclist and runner. He enjoys city living and often rides his bike to work, admiring many of the city's older buildings and historic districts along the way. Dr. Elsesser lives in a 110 year old house in the Central West End with his wife Christine, his twin daughters Claire and Chloe and his two dogs.
It is highly recommended that schools sign up for the whole series. Issues of religion, economics, politics and demography can be tailored to fit your social studies curriculum. This series is recommended for grade 7 or older. Also, Dr. Elsesser can lead walking tours and field trips related to each lecture.
Regional St. Louis: Opportunities and Challenges
What are the assets and liabilities of the St. Louis region? Can our past reveal insights into the future of the region? Considers geography, economics, politics and demography at the beginning of the 21st Century. 1 hour slideshow.
Cahokia: The First Midwestern City
Did you know that the native people in the Mississippi valley built a city 900 years ago that was larger than London? Did you know that trade networks in the region extended all the way from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico? This lecture focuses on Native settlements in the area and considers the reasons for the civilization's decline. 1 hour slideshow.
French St. Louis
Did you know that St. Louis was founded as a commercial outpost? Did you know some of the first settlers were French-speaking and Black? Do you know why the French colonists preferred despotism to democracy? This lecture begins with the fur trade and the founding of Fte. De Chartres and ends with Pierre LaClede's vision for a inter-continental trade hub. 1 hour slideshow.
Gateway City: St. Louis in the Territorial Period
What made St. Louis an attractive city to settlers 200 years ago? Did you know that the city's population doubled every decade from 1800 to 1840? This story begins with the Louisiana Purchase and concludes with statehood and a new capital in St. Charles. With the arrival of English speakers and Protestants, St. Louis experiences significant cultural changes. Moreover, commerce takes off. 1 hour slideshow.
Antebellum St. Louis
What was it like to be a Free Black before the Civil War? What was slavery like in St. Louis? Did you know that one-third of the city was destroyed in 1849? This lecture focuses heavily on the lives of free Blacks and slaves in St. Louis, but also covers the fire and cholera epidemic of 1849 in gruesome detail. 1 hour slideshow.
St. Louis in the Civil War
Did you know that some of the war's first blood was spilt in St. Louis? Many people forget that St. Louis was under martial law for most of the war after street fighting began in the Spring of 1861. This presentation also asks students to consider the legacy of Confederate monuments in the city. 1 hour slideshow. Can also be done as a 3.5 hour bicycle tour.
Gilded Age St. Louis
Did you know that tourists coming to St. Louis used to visit the morgue, prison and insane asylum for fun? Did you know that the mayor of St. Louis considered smokestacks to be a sign of 'health?" Students will learn how the city grew as new industries and immigrants built the 4th largest city in America. 1 hour slideshow.
A Century of Progress and Challenges: St. Louis in the Early 20th Century
Was everyone having a fun time at the Fair? Do you know the story of Ota Benga? This lecture focuses on the World's Fair, the East St. Louis race riots, and early aviation pioneers. 1 hour slideshow.
Progressive Clubwomen in the early 20th century
Did you know that women in St. Louis spearheaded the Suffrage movement of the early 20th century? Before the 19th Amendment became law, women in Missouri like Eva Perry Moore quietly advocated for women's rights through an umbrella of clubs and social organizations. As a founding member of the St. Louis Wednesday Club, Ms. Moore sometimes pushed Victorian club women beyond their comfort levels. This presentation covers both the campaigns and internal politics of one of Missouri's most distinguished suffragettes.
St. Louis in WWII
Did you know more bombs were made and stored in St. Louis than any other city? Did you know that the Army took over and destroyed the Town of Hamburg in St. Charles County for a top secret operation in 1942? This lecture focuses on the war effort, urban blight, the aerospace industry, segregation and early civil rights activity during the war. 1 hour slideshow.
Shattered Spirit: What Did Deseg Busing Do to St. Louis?
Did you grow up with deseg busing? What were the effects of the city-county split on our efforts to educate young St. Louisans? This lecture explains St. Louis's extreme segregation, Brown v. Board of Education, white-flight to the suburbs, and the costly busing solution. Because this presentation involves complex legal principles, it may not be suitable for younger audiences. 1 hour slideshow.
Dr. Elsesser will teach teamwork, history and video-editing to high school students interested in making an original 15 minute documentary on topics related to St. Louis history. This is a 10 week program, but can also be done in an abbreviated Summer day schedule. Upon completion of the project, students will host an opening night show highlighting their work to parents and peers.
$3000 for the first 15 students; $150 for additional students up to 25.
Jan Dolan, Booking Agent - Folktale Productions firstname.lastname@example.org
105 E Drake Ave. St. Louis, MO 63119
314-968-2606, FAX: 314-968-4438