Hardcore Natural History

2018 Speaker Series with Donald Kohrs

From Chautauqua to Steinbeck

This is a story of immigration of people to America seeking a better life and a place to call home. It is a story about John Steinbeck’s maternal ancestors, the Hamilton family; his grandfather Samuel, great aunt Mary and great uncle Robert Hamilton, the three of whom emigrated from Ireland destined for California.  

It is also a story of their children, first generation Americans, several of whom were provided the opportunity to attend higher academic institutions. One child of the Hamilton clan became a famous judge serving as an Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court. Other children of the Hamilton clan became teachers in the most rural of Monterey County’s one-room schoolhouses, which at the time were little more than board and batten shacks.  One of these teachers, Steinbeck’s mother Olive Hamilton Steinbeck, became a charter member of one of California’s many progressive women’s club of the early nineteenth century, the Salinas Wanderers Study Club. 

Intertwined in this story is the telling of New England Protestant values and the shaping of the morals and ethics of Californians during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, including those of the author, John Steinbeck.

May 11th at 6:30-8p
$10: Non-member online, $5: member online, $15: at the door.