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The Gordon School

The presidency and American history

Author and historian Ted Widmer '76 talks shop with Mr. Anderson

On Friday, October 23rd, at 8:45am, author and historian Ted Widmer '76 (left) and Gordon's eighth grade humanities teacher Luke Anderson (right) will have a lively Zoom conversation about the presidency, race in America, and the parallels between today's America and the divided country of the 1860s.

The conversation is free and open to the public,  with opportunities for questions from the audience.

The Zoom link is

It is part of the ongoing Coffees with Claire series, talks with various members of the Gordon community curated by Claire Phipps, Gordon’s Chief Advancement and Experience Officer. More on that series at

Widmer is a former White House speechwriter whose newest book, Lincoln on the Verge: Thirteen Days to Washington, uses two weeks in the life of the sixteenth president to tell a story of celebrity, the presidency, and the growing pains experienced by a young country.

Anderson teaches United States history to Gordon's eighth grade, using a curriculum that allows students to examine the choices, motives, and responsibilities of individuals throughout history while encouraging them to think critically about their responsibility to themselves and to their communities. 

Anderson's eighth grade students will be in attendance, and the conversation is sure to touch on Gordon's eighth grade trip to Georgia and Alabama. Anderson leads the trip, and Widmer's son Freddy participated in the trip in 2009. More on that trip at

The event is part of a continuing series of public events at Gordon that has included visits from Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, Reverend Paula Lawrence Wehmiller, and Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair. In January, Anderson will give the first of two public talks on his experience teaching race to eighth graders. More on that talk at

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