Doris Kearns Goodwin speaks at Shatto lecture

Chelsea Hoag, Campus Carrier Managing Editor

Presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin spoke about her newest book, “The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism,” at the Gloria Shatto Lecture on March 19.

“The Bully Pulpit” documents the friendship and heartbreak both Roosevelt and Taft experienced in their lives through the evaluation of more than 400 letters between the two beginning in their thirties and ending only months before Roosevelt’s death.

Provost Kathy Richardson said she felt Goodwin’s connection with Roosevelt’s history is a great match to Berry and “is why we prompted the invitation.”

After Roosevelt visited Berry on Oct. 8, 1910, Martha gave Roosevelt Cabin its official name. The cabin is one of the oldest buildings on main campus and has served many purposes from the school kitchen to a place of prayer. Martha Berry also lived there for four years. 

Goodwin spoke about her friendship as a young woman with President Lyndon B. Johnson, collaborating with Stephen Spielberg and Daniel Day-Lewis for the movie “Lincoln” and how she first learned to tell a good story. 

                                                                           Jason Huynh, Photojournalism Editor
Doris Kearns Goodwin speaks at this year’s Shatto Lecture about her past and current
works as a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian.

“I grew up in New York and my father was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan … Whenever he came home from work, I recounted the history of the Dodger games and I now realize I probably did it in excruciating detail, but he made me feel like I was telling him something in history as a fabulous story even though it was history only five hours old,” Goodwin said. “I think I learned the narrative art from those nightly sessions with my father because at first I’d blurt out, ‘The Dodgers won or the Dodgers lost,’ which took much of the drama out of these two-hour tellings away. So I finally learned that you have to tell a story from beginning to middle to end.”

Senior history major Meg Ratliff asked Goodwin during the question and answer session before the lecture which president is most influential.

“I think a lot of the other presidents I have respect and admiration for, but there was something about Lincoln that you’d figure if you could follow the kind of person he was, you’d become a better person,” Goodwin said. 

College President Stephen R. Briggs said he was impressed with Goodwin’s ability to narrate.

“With her ability to tell stories and her wealth in stories, you can tell she loves her craft,” Briggs said.

Alumna Nona Patterson (58) asked Goodwin after the Shatto Lecture what it was like to work on the set of the movie “Lincoln” and if she attended the Academy Awards.

Goodwin responded by telling the story of when she first met Daniel Day-Lewis. She said he needed a year to prepare for the role before they could begin filming, showing the talent and determination of Lewis as an actor.

 “People like (Goodwin) because of the way she speaks. She is so well-spoken,” Patterson said. 

Like Goodwin, Patterson said she believes in keeping a journal in order to practice writing well.

Spielberg and Goodwin are teaming up again to make “The Bully Pulpit” into a feature film.  

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