Writers’ Wednesday, Nov. 13

Writers’ Wednesday
November 13th, 2019
5 – 5:30 pm Wine and Cheese
5:30 – 6:30 pm Lecture

Boxcar Diplomacy
Jane Sweetland, guest speaker

Don’t miss this month’s lecture with Jane Sweetland, author.

Jane Sweetland is a former dean and associate vice president at California State University Channel Islands. She has master’s degrees in counseling and writing and a doctorate in education and for many years she taught English and history.  Jane has deep roots in Nevada and enjoys hiking and skiing, and the peace of the lake out her window in Zephyr Cove.

Boxcar Diplomacy is about two trains that crossed the Atlantic after WWII—one in friendship, the other in gratitude.  “The Friendship Train” from America to Europe was initiated by columnist Drew Pearson who noted that Communists were getting a foothold in a hungry Europe and Americans could showcase democracy with gifts of food from their own tables and farms. Not a dime of government money went into the effort and it took just a little over a month for Americans to fill nearly 700 boxcars (about $450 million in today’s dollars) with food that arrived in Le Havre by Christmas, 1947.

Fourteen months later, France sent a thank you: the “Merci” ship was loaded with 49 boxcars, each carrying over a thousand gifts ranging from children’s drawings and handcrafted flags, to valuable artwork and historical artifacts. Nevada’s Merci boxcar and many artifacts are preserved in Carson City. This talk will take you back to a moment at the very beginning of the Cold War, when America united in a gesture of friendship designed to showcase what people living in a free country could do without government permission or support.

These lectures feature a different author who takes part in a book signing, a presentation and a question-and-answer session with the audience. A wine and cheese reception precedes the lecture.

The intent of the program is to highlight writers who specifically focus on Nevada, the Great Basin, or the West in general. The authors talk about the content of their books but also share details about the creative process.

Admission is $5 for adults; free for children 17 and younger and for Nevada Historical Society members. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early as seating is limited in our Events Space. For details, call 775.688.1190.