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Contemporary Historians Lecture Series Goes Hollywood


Presidio of San Francisco (August 9, 2011) — What do popular films reveal about the American psyche? Film historian Linda Harris Mehr explores this question when the Presidio Trust’s new lecture series, “Contemporary Historians at the Presidio: Voices and Views,” continues Thursday, August 11, at 7 pm at the Golden Gate Club. Admission is free.

In her lecture, “The Way We Thought We Were: Images in World War II Films,” Ms. Mehr, the director of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Margaret Herrick Library, takes a closer look at films of the late 1930’s and 40’s and uncovers the perceptions, hopes, fantasies, and fears of Americans during World War II. In some ways, the roles of women and racial and ethnic minorities changed overtime, while in other cases, old stereotypes were merely replaced with new ones. The evening includes review of several clips and stills from major Hollywood features from the era.

A frequent lecturer across the U.S., Ms. Mehr has taught at USC and UC San Diego. Her research has focused on images of women and ethnic groups in film, Hollywood during periods when the nation is at war, and early serial film heroines.

“Contemporary Historians at the Presidio: Voices and Views” features some of the nation’s preeminent historians. The series explores a wide range of issues, some of which are specific to the Presidio, and others which delve into larger themes in American and world history, thereby placing the Presidio’s extraordinary past into a larger context. The first series of its kind sponsored by the Trust, “Contemporary Historians at the Presidio” was designed to appeal not just to history scholars but to a broader audience as well, and will ultimately become part of the programming for the park’s new heritage center. The series runs through November 17.

“The Way We Thought We Were: Images in World War II Films” takes place Thursday, August 11, at 7 pm at the Golden Gate Club, 135 Fisher Loop, in the Presidio. Admission is free.

The Presidio Trust was established by the United States Congress in 1996 to administer the Presidio of San Francisco, an urban national park site located at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. The Presidio is one of the largest and most ambitious historic preservation projects underway in the United States. The Presidio’s historic buildings represent the nation’s most comprehensive collection of military architecture, dating from the Civil War through the Cold War, including homes and barracks that reflect how the military social hierarchy and domestic life evolved in the Presidio. Since 1994, approximately 75 percent of the park’s historic structures have been rehabilitated for new uses. The Trust has won numerous awards for planning and historic preservation.

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