The Freethought Society and the Ethical Humanist Society of Philadelphia (EHSP), together with the Center for Inquiry, are pleased to announce a co-hosted Robert G. Ingersoll birthday party and presentation by Tom Flynn on Sunday, August 11, 2013.
NOTE: Due to the illness of his wife, Tom Flynn will not be a presenter on Aug. 11, however, Margaret Downey will substitute for him. She will be giving Flynn’s presentation and using his slides, and she will unquestionably add her own style to the event. Margaret is uniquely qualified to substitute for Tom since she has traveled with him as a co-presenter, and is a member of the Robert G. Ingersoll Museum Advisory Board. She has given presentations on Ingersoll and his wife Eva, and has even dressed as Mrs. Ingersoll. A photo of her in costume has been added to this notice. We are sorry that Tom Flynn will not be able to attend and we wish his wife a speedy recovery.
Flynn’s presentation, “Freethought’s Forgotten History,” will take place at the Ethical Society Building located at 1906 South Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 11:00 AM speech is free and open to the public, but a $5 donation is requested to offset expenses. Birthday cake, punch and coffee will be served after the presentation.
It is too often forgotten, but Dundee, New York lies near the center of one of America’s great cradles of radical reform. During the nineteenth century and into the early twentieth century, west-central New York State was a boiling cauldron of activism and controversy in areas like the abolition of slavery, women’s rights, and freethought —the principled critique of religious orthodoxy.
America’s best-known nineteenth-century freethinker, Ingersoll was born in nearby Dresden. He is the subject of a new book by historian Susan Jacoby (The Great Agnostic: Robert Ingersoll and American Freethought). Within a two-hour drive to one another are located some 59 historic sites relating to figures like Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, Mark Twain, Matilda Joslyn Gage, Obadiah Dogberry, and Margaret Sanger.
Don’t recognize the name of Obadiah Dogberry? You also might not know what event happened at the corner of Fourth and Franklin in Watkins Glen, New York that shaped the future of American obscenity law. Ingersoll Museum director Flynn will fill in all the details as he presents a whirlwind illustrated tour of Ingersoll’s birthplace and the Freethought Trail.
Flynn is Executive Director of the Council for Secular Humanism, editor of Free Inquiry magazine, and director of the Robert Green Ingersoll Birthplace Museum. He co-founded the Freethought Trail with Sally Roesch Wagner, director of the Matilda Joslyn Gage Museum.
Flynn is editor of the reference work The New Encyclopedia of Unbelief (2007) and author of several books including The Trouble With Christmas which is always displayed on every Tree of Knowledge displayed around the country.
A birthday party with cake will take place after the Flynn presentation in the upstairs location at the Ethical Society Building.