Fort Leavenworth Historical Society

Fort Leavenworth Historical Society Fort Leavenworth Historical Society Fort Leavenworth/KS - Opening The West Since 1827
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Since 1955, the Fort Leavenworth Historical Society has supported the history of the post, Leavenworth area, and history in general by supporting monthly programs by diverse speakers on topics of interest.

Mission: The Society is a Private Volunteer Organization, chartered to operate on Fort Leavenworth in accordance with Army Regulations.

So here's a fun fact: while the true identity of the Man in the Iron Mask (the movie about whom is the subject of our aw...
02/03/2020

So here's a fun fact: while the true identity of the Man in the Iron Mask (the movie about whom is the subject of our award-winning History vs. Hollywood series on February 13th) is a mystery, this was not the only time that a nameless prisoner was kept confined for most of his adult life.

Ivan VI came to the Romanov throne in 1740 at age 2 months. He was deposed one year later and spent the remainder of his life in total isolation on the orders of Empresses Elizabeth and Catherine the Great, never educated, and only seeing his jailer. Called "the nameless one," he was killed at age 23 by his guards when a group of army officers attempted to rescue him. Lesson: being a Romanov is risky.

Now back to The Man in the Iron Mask. Who was he? The rightful King of France? Did the Alexandre Dumas book get it right? Did Leonardo DiCaprio? Did Richard Chamberlain?

So many questions that demand answers. Dr. Jonathan Abel has them. Come and find out. 7PM, 13 February at the Leavenworth Public Library.

Pssst. Here's what's coming next. Pass it on.
01/23/2020

Pssst. Here's what's coming next. Pass it on.

Flying. WWI. Possibly Snoopy. It doesn't get better.Join us as History vs. Hollywood examines the 1965 epic, "The Blue M...
01/15/2020

Flying. WWI. Possibly Snoopy. It doesn't get better.

Join us as History vs. Hollywood examines the 1965 epic, "The Blue Max."

Tomorrow at 7PM @ Leavenworth Public Library!

Ta-Da!!!We were deluged with letters (okay, emails) chiding us for not including The Blue Max in our series of History v...
01/13/2020

Ta-Da!!!

We were deluged with letters (okay, emails) chiding us for not including The Blue Max in our series of History vs. Hollywood. Ease up, people. Your wish has been granted.

Accordingly, this Thursday at 7PM at the Leavenworth Public Library, Herr Prof. Dr. Mark Hull will examine the story behind the story and see how well the 1965 movie compares to the facts. Was the Imperial German Air Service overflowing with Peppards? Was the Blue Max really blue? Can James Mason pull off a realistic German accent? How much computer animation was used in what are certainly the greatest aerial combat scenes ever filmed (hint: none)?

Notice: there will be authentic show and tell items from from German aviation history AND the award-winning trivia give-away to attendees who correctly answer questions based on the presentation.

Be there or be square!

The Fort Leavenworth Historical Society is proud to announce that our creative differences with Col. (ret.) David Cotter...
12/16/2019

The Fort Leavenworth Historical Society is proud to announce that our creative differences with Col. (ret.) David Cotter have been resolved, his on-set trailer is now stocked with green M&Ms and San Pelligrino sparkling water, and he has script approval.

To wit, his previously-scheduled talk on the epic 1976 film "Midway" shall be held this Thursday, December 19th, at 7PM at the Leavenworth Public Library. We guarantee this will be the best time you will have through the Christmas and New Year holidays. Dave will examine whether the movie was an accurate reflection of the 1942 battle that changed the war in the Pacific.

The movie starred Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda, Glenn Ford, and Toshiro Mifune (as Admiral Yamamoto), and a cast of thousands. Apparently every one of them a pipe smoker.

Do you have an opinion on this History vs. Hollywood episode? Come share it. Also, there are valuable prizes for correctly answering devilishly clever trivia questions. Let's see if you really know your movie/history.

Without further ado...we proudly announce David Cotter's talk on Midway. This much-anticipated event was originally sche...
11/15/2019

Without further ado...we proudly announce David Cotter's talk on Midway. This much-anticipated event was originally scheduled for October but due to circumstances beyond our control, Dave was away filming the 2019 "Midway" remake, where he plays the commander of the Japanese Combined Fleet, Admiral Yamamoto. Or at least that's what he told us.

So between now and then, find this 1976 gem and watch it. Then come hear Dave's masterful comparison of the actual battle in 1942 with the motion picture. To get you in the right frame of mind, here are two clips - the original film trailer and an interview with Charlton Heston talking about his memories of the production. Enjoy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMrVTMRbtJg

https://youtu.be/DNWgCt6zBFc

And we'll see you on 19 December at the Leavenworth Public Library...in Sensurround!

Why pick one great thing over another when you can have both? Tomorrow night: Dr. Janet Valentine explores the fascinati...
11/13/2019

Why pick one great thing over another when you can have both? Tomorrow night: Dr. Janet Valentine explores the fascinating story behind the story - the History vs. Hollywood of the Gregory Peck 1959 Korean War classic, "Pork Chop Hill." 7PM at the Leavenworth Public Library.

There were really two battles of Pork Chop Hill in April and July 1953, which occurred as the Armistice talks continued. Why did the battles happen - at what cost - and how much did S.L.A. Marshall's book and then the James Webb screenplay get right?

So can we really have both? History AND Hollywood? I don't know about that. Come and find out.

Dr. Valentine is a Korean War scholar and expert and the perfect guide for this adventure.

Don't forget our prize giveaway for being the first to answer any of several questions based on the talk. Must be present to win. Must be age 3 or older. No returns on petrified corn. 😀

Here at the Fort Leavenworth Historical Society home office in Sausalito, we've taken a poll. The question was, "What is...
10/22/2019

Here at the Fort Leavenworth Historical Society home office in Sausalito, we've taken a poll. The question was, "What is the greatest Samurai-themed movie of all time?" Answers ranged from the classic "Seven Samurai" (good guess) to the (rather unfortunate) "47 Ronin" with Keanu Reeves.

There is, of course, a correct answer. Be there in a minute.

The Japanese term is Chanbara (チャンバラ) or "sword-fighting movies" and refers to a whole genre of visual stories in the tradition of Kabuki. There are a great many, going back to the early days of motion pictures in the 1920s.

And obviously the best of them is "The Last Samurai" starring Tom Cruise. No question about it. Have a different opinion? Then come share it with our in-house expert on all things Japanese, FLHS President Chris Johnson as he examines the History vs. Hollywood of this film.This Thursday at 7PM, at the Leavenworth Public Library.

Be careful, though. Johnson has wicked Ninja skills.

Celebrate the arrival of Autumn. With History. And Hollywood. All together now: Celebrate the arrival of Autumn with the...
09/23/2019

Celebrate the arrival of Autumn. With History. And Hollywood. All together now: Celebrate the arrival of Autumn with the FLHS and our History vs. Hollywood theme!

In three days: Dr. Gates Brown presents "Dr. Strangelove." Can you spot all the "easter eggs" (hidden references) that Stanley Kubrick put into this film? Let's see.

We hope to see you there. 7PM this Thursday at the Leavenworth Library.

People have been waiting for IT. Waiting time's up.Here's what we're doing for 2020. Please join us on the adventures ah...
09/16/2019

People have been waiting for IT. Waiting time's up.

Here's what we're doing for 2020. Please join us on the adventures ahead, featuring the most engaging speakers you've ever heard on how movies you love (or hate) stack up against the measure of history.

Pennywise thinks you should...

Thank you to everyone who attended Dr. Harry Laver's talk on Thursday evening. We are also pleased to present photo evid...
08/27/2019

Thank you to everyone who attended Dr. Harry Laver's talk on Thursday evening. We are also pleased to present photo evidence of what Time magazine is calling "the finest-looking group of people ever assembled under one roof." Nicely done, audience!

Please join us on 26 September when Dr. Gates Brown will examine the History vs. Hollywood behind "Dr. Strangelove or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb." If you have never seen it, you have 29 days to rectify that alarming oversight. Don't force us to send the FLHS mascot to remind you.

August 22nd is just around the corner, as cool Pacific breezes wind their way into the greater Midwest. How better to sp...
08/09/2019

August 22nd is just around the corner, as cool Pacific breezes wind their way into the greater Midwest. How better to spend a refreshing evening than with Dr. Harry Laver and his expert look at the movie "Glory."

As with most fact-based movies, one of the questions viewers often ask is, "Does the main character in the film look like the real person?" Hmmm. Let's find out. In this clever photo array both the authentic Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and Matthew Broderick are hiding. Can you find them? This is a lot tougher than "Where's Waldo?" so take your time. Ask friends for help if needed.

If you are sure - really sure - you'll be entered into the prize drawing at the end of Dr. Laver's talk. Leavenworth Public Library at 7PM. See you there!

In celebration of Military Dog Hero Month - no need to look that up, we're fully trustworthy - we are proud to present t...
07/11/2019

In celebration of Military Dog Hero Month - no need to look that up, we're fully trustworthy - we are proud to present this visual tribute to our comrades in fur, regardless of what side they barked on.

Do your part: Find a Dog. Give Dog a snack. Repeat Step Two as needed, which will be early and often.

Also, we announce the resumption of our History vs. Hollywood Series, which on August 22nd features the great Dr. Harry Laver on the must-see move "Glory." This is, of course, the story of the 54th Massachusetts. So how accurate is it? Are you sure you know?

22nd August, 7PM at the Leavenworth Public LIbrary

A few good seats still available for tomorrow night's sensational, one-time-only bravura performace of Mr. Gary Linhart....
06/12/2019

A few good seats still available for tomorrow night's sensational, one-time-only bravura performace of Mr. Gary Linhart. Ever wondered how historical that historical movies actually are? Come find out as we explore the History vs. Hollywood of "Gettysburg."

In the meantime, today's Gettysburg trivia question: who starred in both the Six Million Dollar Man and Gettysburg, and in what respective roles? The correct answer at tomorrow's event enters you in our special prize drawing for, well, special prizes.

7PM at the Leavenworth Public Library.

In advance of Gary Linhart's 13 June talk on the History vs. Hollywood in the blockbuster movie "Gettysburg," we were ab...
06/06/2019

In advance of Gary Linhart's 13 June talk on the History vs. Hollywood in the blockbuster movie "Gettysburg," we were able to sit down with FLHS President, historian Chris Johnson. Back in the day, Chris and Gary were roommates at the United States Military Academy, so who better to give us insight on Gary's lifelong connection to Gettysburg and its place in our national memory.

We caught up with Chris in the middle of a recent "crawdadding" trip through the Mississippi swamps. The audio was interrupted in places due to technical difficulties when crawdads gnawed through the microphone cord.

Q: So can you tell us more about how "Gettysburg" influenced Gary's time at West Point?

A: What? I can't hear over all that buzzing. Is that a gator over yonder?

Q: I really can't say. Could you tell us, did Gary have an interest in Gettysburg even back at the Academy?

A: Well, he sure did. I remember one time [audio lost]...and that really happened, believe it or not!

Q: We didn't hear most of that. Can you repeat what Gary said or did?

A: Gary...[sound of mosquitoes]...and I've never told anyone that before.

Q: Uh huh. That about wraps it up, I think. Thanks, Chris.

It's safe to say that Gary Linhart is an expert historian of this most famous of battles, what it represents, and how the movie did (or did not) capture it. Was Martin Sheen the embodiment of Robert E. Lee, or not so much? How close was Jeff Daniel's portrayal of Joshua Chamberlain to the real man?

Join us at 7PM on the 13th and find out!

No crawdads, please.

I don't see any reason to beat around the bush because clearly and without question, "Waterloo" is the greatest military...
05/16/2019

I don't see any reason to beat around the bush because clearly and without question, "Waterloo" is the greatest military movie ever made. Great history, Great cast, Great extras, Great locations. Just Great, really.

Or do you disagree? Hmmm. Well then perhaps you should come on the 23rd at 7PM and hear Dr. Mark Gerges' expert take on all this.

You can watch the full movie here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSaGPlpb830

Please note, we speak now of the 1970 epic starring Rod Steiger as Emperor Napoleon I. Not:

- the 1968 stoner classic, Waterloo Haze
- the Abba hit, Waterloo
- the 1931 and 1940 films, Waterloo Bridge
- the somewhat peculiar 2012 film, Lines of Wellington
- or any other film you partially remember being about the Battle of Waterloo, but was not.😀

On Thursday, May 23rd, we finally get to understand one of the most perplexing mysteries in modern history: What really ...
05/01/2019

On Thursday, May 23rd, we finally get to understand one of the most perplexing mysteries in modern history: What really happened on June 18th, 1815? Up until now, we've only had a few cryptic clues. Here's one of them, carved on a tree when Swedish archaeologists arrived:

"At Waterloo Napoleon did surrender
Oh yeah
And I have met my destiny in quite a similar way
The history book on the shelf
Is always repeating itself
Waterloo, I was defeated, you won the war"

What does that mean? And more importantly, how does the 1970 cast-of-thousands (literally, thousands) movie "Waterloo" compare to the history of the battle? Dr. Mark Gerges is an internationally-recognized Napoleonic War expert, and he alone can guide us through the historical minefield. Come and see.

Today is the day to celebrate your inner Buccaneerness/Buccaneerosity!Join us at 7PM this everning at the Leavenworth Pu...
04/11/2019

Today is the day to celebrate your inner Buccaneerness/Buccaneerosity!

Join us at 7PM this everning at the Leavenworth Public Library when Dr. Rich Barbuto explores the rich history behind the 1958 Hollywood epic, The Buccaneer.

Here's a taste: Did you know of the popular German New Year's Eve custom where the family gathers on the stroke of midnight and acts out their favorite scenes from Koenig der Freibeuter? See...you've already learned something.

Be with us tonight and learn lots more.

In connection with Dr. Barbuto's talk on 11 April, the energy is electric. There's an uptick in Jean Lafitte costume sal...
03/28/2019

In connection with Dr. Barbuto's talk on 11 April, the energy is electric. There's an uptick in Jean Lafitte costume sales and the War of 1812 is trending. Don't miss out.

History vs. Hollywood takes on the 1958 epic "Buccaneer" - Leavenworth Public Library. Unleash your inner pirate.

April 11th is the day to celebrate pirates. Here's why:The FLHS series History vs. Hollywood presents 1958's "The Buccan...
03/27/2019

April 11th is the day to celebrate pirates. Here's why:

The FLHS series History vs. Hollywood presents 1958's "The Buccaneer," starring Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner. It's practically a documentary of the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812.

Or maybe it isn't. Can anyone really say for sure?

As it happens, Dr. Rich Barbuto can. Come join him and us for the historical event of the season on 11 April at 7:00PM at the Leavenworth Public Library. He will reveal what is honest history and what's celluloid invention.

Whether Rich will wear an eyepatch is anyone's guess :o)

By my last count, 83 people have written in to ask how much a loaded B-17G. weighs - and the answer is, of course, 54,00...
03/07/2019
aviation-history.co

By my last count, 83 people have written in to ask how much a loaded B-17G. weighs - and the answer is, of course, 54,000 pounds.

Now that we're done with that, please have a look at this link to prepare for the adventure ahead: 14 March at 7PM at the Leavenworth Public Library where combat aviation expert Dr. John Curatola will examine the History vs. Hollywood of the movie "Memphis Belle."

http://aviation-history.com/boeing/b17.html

And don't ask planes how much they weigh - it's a bit personal, don't you think?

We begin the run-up to our next program - Dr. John Curatola on the Hollywood film "Memphis Belle" (14 March at 7PM at th...
03/04/2019

We begin the run-up to our next program - Dr. John Curatola on the Hollywood film "Memphis Belle" (14 March at 7PM at the Leavenworth Public Library) by addressing perhaps the most frequent question we get from our readers: As depicted by Harry Connick Jr. in the film, how much time did aircrew spend singing big band songs while waiting for the next mission over Axis-controlled territory. So we went directly to the source and asked Dr. Curatola.

FLHS: "I get the feeling that Connick's portrayal was spot on and really captured an essential aspect of pre-flight procedure on a B-17. Can you comment?"

Dr. C: "That's not an aspect of pre-flight."

FLHS: "Are you sure? The movie suggested it was."

Dr. C: "Quite sure. Sorry, I have to take this [points to imaginary phone]."

So there you have it. For the rich detail that only John Curatola can provide, join us in person for the next in our History vs. Hollywood presentation on 14 March.

In the meantime, check out his book "Bigger Bombs for a Brighter Tomorrow: The Strategic Air Command and American War Plans at the Dawn of the Atomic Age, 1945-1950." It is excellent and so is Dr. Curatola.

Two days, people - well, not counting today, ONE day.While we have no wish to get involved on either side in the explosi...
02/13/2019

Two days, people - well, not counting today, ONE day.

While we have no wish to get involved on either side in the explosive public debate over cats vs. dogs in Robin Hood costumes (the recent "Who Rules Nottingham Forest - Fluffy or Fido?" article in the Leavenworth Times, for example), we feel compelled to add that both sides should come together for at least one evening.

And that evening is this Thursday, 7PM at the Leavenworth Public Library. Dr. David Mills delivers an virtuoso talk on the Hollywood vs. History of the Robin Hood legend. Or is it fact? Be there and find out.

Historical accuracy matters. So let's be sure to ask Dr. David Mills about these. The comic book looks legit from where ...
02/06/2019

Historical accuracy matters. So let's be sure to ask Dr. David Mills about these. The comic book looks legit from where I'm sitting. And no, these are not my dogs.

Robin Hood: History vs. Hollywood. February 14th at 7PM at the Leavenworth Public Library.

In a follow-up to yesterday's post, we should clarify: you can bring your horse to Dr. David Mills' talk on  the history...
02/05/2019

In a follow-up to yesterday's post, we should clarify: you can bring your horse to Dr. David Mills' talk on the history vs. hollywood of Robin Hood. February 14th, but ONLY if the horse is in Robin Hood costume, as certified by the USDF. I hope that answers the rather persistent questions from equestrians out there.

See you at the talk - 7PM, Leavenworth Public Library.

In this time of Polar Vortex, our thoughts naturally turn to Robin Hood.But which one? 1922's Douglas Fairbanks? 2018's ...
02/04/2019

In this time of Polar Vortex, our thoughts naturally turn to Robin Hood.

But which one? 1922's Douglas Fairbanks? 2018's Robin Hood? 2010's Russell Crowe epic? Disney's 1973 favorite? Robin Hood on Ice?

You can see my problem. Thankfully Dr. David Mills is around to provide answers. We've timed this so you can bring your Special Someone to our Valentine's Day Extravaganza, February 14th, at the Leavenworth Public Library. There, at 7PM, enjoy a night of Medieval-ish romance and storytelling as Dr. Mills separates fact from fiction, and fact from Hollywood. Pretty hot stuff, right?

See you there!

Address

LTC Chris Johnson/Department Of Military History US Army Command And General Staff College 100 Stimson Avenue
Fort Leavenworth, KS
66027

General information

The Society has been involved in the research and commemoration of areas of historical interest on post, repair and cleaning of historical markers and monuments, and providing tour guides for post tours to official groups. We provide funds for the Frontier Army Museum to purchase artifacts and through our activities advertise the Frontier Army Museum. The museum, part of the Army museum system, is not permitted to use its operating budget on advertising. Our major focus is the operation of the Society Gift and Book Shop, located inside the Frontier Army Museum. A portion of the profits from the Gift Shop is given to the Museum to allow purchasing of additional items for the collections.

Telephone

(913) 684-3349

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