Thursday, March 08, 2007

Podcast #74 - Dinner For Four - Which Famous American History Figures Would You Invite to Dinner?

Hello. Today's podcast is a question that I began thinking about a couple of weeks ago as I ate at Gadsby's Tavern in Alexandria, Virginia - a historic tavern that once served the likes of George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. What would it be like to dine with famous Americans from US History? Who would I invite and where would we eat?

In today's podcast I explain who I would invite, where we would eat and what we would discuss.

I also want to hear from you. Who would you invite and where would you eat this amazing meal? After listening to the podcast please post your response as a comment to this blog.

I would invite 1) George Washington, 2) Abraham Lincoln and 3) David McCullough. In the podcast I discuss why I selected these individuals and what topics we would cover during the meal.

Here are the guidelines:

- You can invite 3 individuals from American history - can be living or deceased. (I am not including family relatives or major religious figures.)

- Where you would eat this meal?

- What questions would you ask and what topics do you think would be included?

Please post your comments to this blog entry. I will quickly approve all responses and post them so that we can all share in this experiment. I can't wait to see your selections and why.

If you want to contact me directly or have a question or comment about the Speaking of History podcast please e-mail me at

Show Notes for Podcast #74:


  1. Let's see .. . . Harry Truman, a 1920s flapper, and Patrick's Aunt Mame . . .. all interesting people.

    I still remember a show from when I had to still be a kid with Steve Allen where he had historical figures from different eras sitting around the table. I'm wondering if a service like YouTube might ressurect that . .

    We would all be eating an Italian meal in a family style restaurant and _not_ be in a hurry.

  2. Great question. As a presidential historian, I could choose the Washington, Lincoln, Etc.

    But, as the director of a county museum in Batavia, NY. I would pick Civil War General Emory Upton, Medal of Honor Receipient Charles Rand and the founder of Western New York Joseph Ellicott. I've been studying those guys for 9 years, and I have a few questions that I need the answer to that i can't get anywhere else.

    I would take them to Pontillo's Pizza (Its on of the oldest pizza places in WNY at about 55 year old) for Pizza and the Western New York classics: Chicken Wings and Beef on Wick.

  3. I was intrigued by your choice of David McCullough and your questions on historical research. It made me think about what a struggle historical research can be for all of us, and whether noted historian, such as McCullough, might have some worthy suggestions for our students (and us!) as to how best to approach and organize research. Perhaps that would be a worthy topic to explore in the future.

  4. Oh my gosh Eric ... just getting around to reading this but I had to answer months later ... I would invite Jesse James and Mark Twain. I would have to leave the fourth place at the table empty because I would want these two all to myself. Mostly I would just want them to talk to each other but I would ask them 10,000 questions about Missouri in their era, and their roles in the goings-on. If you said, "You can't have the dinner unless you invite a third person," then it would have to be Harry Truman. But as much as I love Harry, he would have to promise to do more listening than talking!
    Pat Hughes

  5. Easy one for me. I'd invite Lincoln (I've been fascinated my entire life by him); Theodore Roosevelt (just to hear him ramble on about almost any subject under the sun); Tecumseh (the Native American leader); and Hellen Keller. All were great leaders in their own way.

  6. Anonymous11:06 AM

    This is such a fun question. I am going to use it as a blog/podcast question for my 8th grade GT history class. I would like to sit down with John Adams, Benjaman Franklin, and Andrew Jackson. I would like to be in a very relaxed place like a bar and grill. I think it would be hilarious to watch the arguments and dialogue with these guys. Not only would I gain great historical insight, but good times would be had by all! This group may get kicked out of the bar after a few hours...great entertainment!