The Amazing Adventure of Bertha Benz (and the history of the German automobile)

Porsche, BMW, Audi, and Mercedes Benz have millions of fans all over the world and are synonymous with the quality and success of German engineering. Hardly anyone knows, however, that the history of the automobile’s origin is, to a great extent, due to Bertha Benz, a young mother of five, who, in a secret attempt to visit her mother, became the first human being to drive an automobile over a long distance. Join German historian Anette Isaacs, M.A., as she introduces you to Bertha Benz who was born 170 years ago and who truly changed the world with her history-making adventure!

Why I’m Optimistic with Myra Loris

In the first of her five-part series, Harper College Instructor Myra Loris presents Optimism Overall: a look at prominent contemporary and historical philosophies about the power of optimism. She’ll include a breakdown of trends and events in contemporary American life that encourage optimism; in short, why we have reason to be optimistic.

Secret Places/Unknown Spaces

Author and historian Jerome M. O’Connor shares insights from his upcoming book which observes the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in 2020. Indispensable to the re-telling is that he personally visited all sites. Explore the British airfields, including pilot and movie star Jimmy Stewart’s base, where the Eighth Air Force launched attacks against Germany. See Berlin then and now. Enter the Berlin house where, over breakfast, the “final solution” to murder Europe’s Jews was decided. View the London mansion where 63 captured German generals lived in near luxury – or so they thought.

Hitler Vs. Art

Being obsessive-compulsive about all of his ideas, Adolph Hitler was specific about which sculpture, paintings, dance and music would be tolerated and collected by the Reich and which “degenerative” art had to be destroyed. Harper College instructor Ann Leslie takes you down the Nazi path of destruction as she describes how they stole and destroyed some of the world’s most precious work.

Why It Matters: Culture

What is the role of the arts and culture? Harper College instructor Myra Loris explores some of the ways in which culture has reflected and created a unique American historical experience. Review the New Deal Arts Programs at the 1933 and 1965 World’s Fairs, art as a propaganda tool during WWII, and more.

Why It Matters: Immigration

Harper College instructor Myra Loris shares current issues relating to immigration and when, historically, we have addressed the issues in successful and meaningful ways, advancing both the individuals involved and the nation. Focuses on the work and ideas of Jacob Riis, Lillian Wald, Jane Addams, LBJ and more.

Why It Matters: Infrastructure

Harper College instructor Myra Loris explores the current state of US infrastructure and when, historically, we have successfully mastered the infrastructure challenges that an expanding nation required. She will examine the Transcontinental Railroad, the Erie Canal, the WPA, the Federal Highway Program and more.

Harper: The Vatican Part II

Take a journey inside the walls of the Vatican. Explore the Belvedere Gardens, Vatican Library and the Vatican Museums and see the great works of artists such as Raphael, Michelangelo, and the masterpieces of classical sculpture. Learn about the contributions and foibles of some of the more famous (or infamous) Popes. Discover lesser known parts of this complex structure. Even if you haven’t been to Rome, you will come away with a better understanding of this amazingly fascinating city.

Harper: Stepping into Illinois History

Celebrate the Illinois Bicentennial by investigating the fascinating historical sites in our state. Discover the ancient Native American city at Cahokia Mounds, the seat of the French government at Fort de Chartres, and Camp DuBois where Lewis and Clark spent the winter before their Voyage of Discovery. See how early Illinois residents lived in Bishop Hill and Nauvoo, and visit the homes of Presidents Lincoln and Grant.

Harper: The Vatican Part I

Explore the rich history of Vatican City, the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. How did this uncultivated piece of land along the right bank of the Tiber develop into an area of such importance? How does the significance of St. Peter’s Basilica fit into Roman history? Examine its architectural heritage from a wooden structure of the 4th century to one of the world’s most magnificent structures. Live through the sack of Rome in 1527 using actual accounts of the event.