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Friday, August 16 | 6:00 pm

Historian, author, and Hershey native, Professor Robert P. Watson Ph.D. will discuss the process of historiography, fun twists and turns in uncovering history, and what we think we know and what we don't know about the past.

To indicate how many in your party will attend, please RSVP to:

Books will be on sale at the program. HHC members receive a 10% discount.


Robert P. Watson is an award-winning author who has published over 45 books and 200 scholarly articles and essays on topics in political, military, and social history, as well as two multi-edition, multi-volume encyclopedia sets on the presidents and first ladies. Some of his recent books include Affairs of State, America’s First Crisis, The Presidents’ Wives, The Nazi Titanic, The Ghost Ship of Brooklyn, George Washington’s Final Battle, Escape, When Washington Burned, and American’s First Plague. He is currently working on the forthcoming books Rebels at the Gates and The Founding, both for 2025. Watson’s books have won numerous awards, are in international translation, and have been featured at literary festivals, on PBS and C-SPAN’s Book TV, and in three televised history documentaries.  


A frequent media commentator, Watson has been interviewed thousands of times by news outlets around the world, including CNN, MSNBC, USA Today, The New York Times, NPR, and the BBC, and has appeared on Hardball, The Daily Show, C-SPAN’s American History TV, The Washington Journal, etc. He was a longtime Sunday columnist for the Sun-Sentinel newspaper and, for many years, a political analyst for WPTV 5 (NBC), WPBT 2 (PBS), WIOD 610 AM, WFTL 850 AM, RTE 1 Ireland, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. He has served as researcher and an on-screen expert for three dozen historical documentaries for Discovery, Science, National Geographic, History, Fuse, Super Channel, and other networks, including three seasons of an international award-winning series on Nazi secrets.


Dr. Watson co-convened a half-dozen national history conferences, co-founded the annual Truman Legacy Symposium for the Truman Presidential Library, and served on the boards of numerous academic associations, community organizations, and the Harry S. Truman Foundation, Calvin Coolidge Foundation, and George McGovern Center for Leadership. He also served as founder and editor of the scholarly journal White House Studies, assistant editor and book review editor of The Social Science Journal, “Presidency Series” editor for the State University of New York Press, and has been a visiting scholar or lecturer with the nation’s preeminent historic sites, including the Truman Presidential Library, Ford Presidential Museum, Illinois Holocaust Museum, US Military Academy at West Point, National Archives, Smithsonian Institution, Pentagon, Museum of the American Revolution, American Revolution Institute, Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History, National Museum of the US Navy, George Washington’s Mount Vernon, Society of the Cincinnati, James Madison’s Montpelier, Fraunces Tavern Museum, Gettysburg National Battlefield, National Civil War Museum, American Civil War Museum, Mount Rushmore, US Capitol Historical Society, White House Historical Association, Virginia Museum of History and Culture, Museum of Jewish Heritage in NYC, Andersonville National Historic Site, and others.

Watson co-chaired initiatives to develop the Calvin Coolidge Historic Site’s Presidential Library and Museum in Vermont, renovate the Truman Little White House, and secure both the 2012 presidential debate at Lynn University and the 2008 Democratic and Republican primary debates at Florida Atlantic University. He developed curriculum guides and programs for teachers and schools for the musicals Hamilton and Six, the play To Kill a Mockingbird, and the presidential debates. He is one of a small and select group of historians invited every few years by C-SPAN and other organizations to rank the presidents.

As a community leader, Professor Watson has hosted many voter registration drives, civic education programs for schools, workshops for social studies teachers, and initiatives to support women- and minority-owned businesses and socially responsible business practices. He served as a judge for History Day contests, pronouncer for spelling bees, and moderator for political debates and community town halls throughout south Florida. He also co-founded three non-profits dedicated to civic engagement, political reform, and fact-checking political ads, has hosted for three decades a distinguished lecture series focusing on social justice and civility, whereby he has interviewed roughly 200 national leaders in politics, the law, diplomacy, the military, and the arts, and, with his then-teenage son, organized an annual writing contest for five years for students in Florida called “Let’s Write Together.” Watson has delivered over 2,500 lectures to libraries, museums, historic sites, community groups, and corporate conventions around the world, is a popular lecturer with One Day University, Curiosity Stream, the 92Y, and aboard luxury cruise ships, and has led “study tours” to historic sites around the U.S. and internationally.

The recipient of many awards for his contributions to the study of the presidency, election commentary, community service, civics programs for schools, and efforts in the community to combat anti-Semitism, hate, and incivility, Professor Watson has been named “Professor of the Year” four times and has won all three campus-wide faculty awards—service, research, and teaching—several times at both Florida Atlantic University and Lynn University.

Robert was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, attended public schools in  Hershey, and was educated at Virginia Tech, where he lettered on the football and track teams. Winning 10 state championships in three different sports, he was inducted into two sports halls of fame. Watson taught previously at Troy, Northern Arizona, the University of Hawaii, Florida State’s London campus, Florida International University, Florida Atlantic University, and with the Junior Statesman Foundation at Yale, Stanford, and Georgetown, and now holds the titles Distinguished Professor of American History, Avron Fogelman Research Professor, and Assistant Director of the Center for Citizenship and Civility at Lynn University. He is the proud father of Alexander and Isabella.

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