In the News

April Marks 150th Anniversary of Lincoln Assassination

President Lincoln’s Cottage commemorates Abraham Lincoln 150 years after his final visit to the site and his death with free public programs throughout April.

Washington, DC – This April, President Lincoln’s Cottage in Washington, D.C. will mark the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s last visit and his assassination with a range of free events, exhibits, and programs commemorating his life. Highlights include: a retracing of Lincoln’s daily commute on horseback through the streets of Washington, D.C.; an exhibit examining presidential security; and a dynamic forum featuring innovative scholars and visionary leaders on the lasting influence of Lincoln’s brave ideas.

“Abraham Lincoln last visited the Soldiers’ Home on April 13, 1865, the day before his assassination,” notes Executive Director Erin Carlson Mast. “Though living here was a great risk for the Lincoln family, they eagerly anticipated another season in residence during the summer of 1865. Lincoln’s life was cut short that spring, but his courageous ideas and vision of freedom live on at this authentic place.  We are pleased to close the Civil War sesquicentennial anniversary with a series of free public programs, so that together we can reflect on Lincoln’s life and continued resonance in all of our lives 150 years later.”

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Four Named Finalists for the Prestigious George Washington Book Prize 2015

Chestertown, MD, Feb. 20, 2015 — In celebration of George Washington’s birthday, Washington College named four finalists for the 2015 George Washington Book Prize. One of the nation’s largest and most prestigious literary awards, the George Washington Book Prize recognizes the best new books on early American history.

The $50,000 award is sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, George Washington’s Mount Vernon, and Washington College. Now in its eleventh year, the award recognizes works that not only shed new light on the nation’s founding era, but also have the potential to advance broad public understanding of American history.

This year’s four honorees spark new thinking on the American Revolution: its causes and principles, the meaning of liberty and freedom in the young democracy, and the impact of the Revolution that reverberated throughout the 18th-century Atlantic world. They include:

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Feb. 11, 2015 — Let’s Talk Live: Mount Vernon’s Curt Viebranz and David Bruce Smith talk about the real George Washington with reporter Sonya Gavankar

Feb. 11, 2015 — When it comes to shining a spotlight on the Founding Fathers, David Bruce Smith’s Grateful American™ Foundation does a great job finding the fascinating facts that bring them to life. On today’s episode of Let’s Talk Live, reporter Sonya Gavankar interview Smith — and Curt Viebranz, President and CEO of George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

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Wall Street Journal reports: “Civics Instruction Moves Up in Class”  

WSJDec. 26, 2014, Wall Street Journal — “After years on the back burner of the nation’s educational agenda, civics is making a comeback, with a number of states mandating new classes or assessments and a burgeoning national push for high-school seniors to pass the exam required of new citizens,” reports Caroline Porter in today’s issue of the Wall Street Journal.

“For the first time this past school year, a civics exam in Florida counted toward students’ grades, following a mandated class and exam instated the year before, while students in Tennessee started facing a required test two years ago. The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education mandated that the subject be a key component for learning at the state’s colleges and universities starting this school year. Both California and Illinois have statewide task forces and local projects aimed at embedding civics in schools.”

Click here to read all about it.

What was the impact of the Boston Tea Party?

BostonTeaPartyDecember 16, 1773 – When the English East India Company sought financial assistance, England allows the company to ship surplus tea to America at low cost. This rankled the American colonists, who resented the implementation of a single company controlling the tea trade, as well as the right of the British government to tax the colonies without their consent. Meeting at the Old South Meeting House, Bostonians led by Josiah Quincy and Samuel Adams discussed the new British tax on tea and subsequently boarded three ships in the nearby harbor, tossing the 342 chests of tea overboard. The Boston Tea Party caused Parliament to close the port of Boston and pushed the American colonies one step closer to war.

November 19, 1863: Lincoln Delivers the Gettysburg Address

lincoln-gettysburg-addressThis Month in History: Dressed in a black suit, tall silk hat and white gloves, 151 years ago this month Abraham Lincoln delivered the famous Gettysburg Address to a crowd of onlookers in what is now Lincoln Square. They had come to hear what the President would say about the bloody battle on July 3, where 51,000 soldiers were killed, wounded, or captured.

Lincoln had arrived on the day before, and was escorted to David Wills’ home, where he is known to have finished the 272-word speech. It described his vision for “a new birth of freedom” for America, and while reaction to the address was mixed initially, today the Gettysburg Address is considered one of the greatest speeches of all time. Read more to learn why.

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In the News: Gilder Lehrman President Jim Basker Interviews David Bruce Smith

October 1, 2014 — Why did David Bruce Smith create the Grateful American™ Foundation? And what are his goals?

In this segment of the Grateful American™ Radio Show, David is interviewed by Jim Basker, president of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. Basker asks:

* What inspired David to create the Grateful American Foundation?

* What are his plans and goals for the Foundation?

* David’s father, Robert H. Smith, long considered himself a grateful American. How did that impact David and his family?

* David’s grandfather, Charles E. Smith, was a developer in DC and also an immigrant. What lessons do you think Robert learn from his father — and what life lessons did he teach David about the importance of giving back?

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C.V. Starr Center Fall Events: A Busy Season of Public Programs Lies Ahead

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 12.12.48 PMArmies will clash, tomahawks gleam, and bombs burst in air this semester at the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience. “We have a busy season of public programs ahead, many of them around the common theme of Americans in wartime, from the forests of colonial Virginia to the Pacific skies of World War II,” says Adam Goodheart, Hodson Trust-Griswold Director for the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience.

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Press Release: July 4 — Grateful American™ Website Launches and Asks: “How are you a Grateful American?”

DavidBruceSmith_photo_MtVernonJuly 4, 2014, Washington, DC — In what ways do you consider yourself to be a Grateful American? That’s the question that author and publisher David Bruce Smith is investigating in his new Foundation through The Grateful American™ Series. With the goal of restoring enthusiasm for American history in kids and adults, Smith’s new website, which launched today, is a portal for parents to learn more about the nation’s Founding Fathers, presidential and historic homes, and other fascinating facts. 

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In the News — DCTV features Grateful American™ TV Show

Screen Shot 2014-07-04 at 4.43.04 PMJuly 1, 2014, Washington, DC — Today marks the start of the airing on DCTV of the Grateful American™ TV Show, co-hosted by David Bruce Smith, founder, and Hope Katz Gibbs, executive director, of the Grateful American™ Foundation.

These 6-minute episodes of the show, including fascinating interviews with the directors at “Alexander Hamilton’s The Grange,” and “Lincoln’s Cottage at Soldiers’ Home.” Coming later this summer are interviews with Kat Imhoff at James and Dolley Madison’s Montpelier, and the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution.

And that’s the beginning.

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In the News: Lincoln Leadership Institute Features David Bruce Smith in July “News & Notes”

Screen Shot 2014-07-04 at 3.32.49 PMJuly 1, 2014, Gettysburg, PA — Author David Bruce Smith, founder of the Grateful American™ Foundation, is featured in this month’s issue of the Lincoln Leadership Institute’s “News & Notes.”

In a Q&A with managing director Angela Sontheimer, the newsletter of Steven B. Wiley’s leadership training facility shines a spotlight on Smith’s book, “Three Miles from Providence: The Tale of Abraham Lincoln and the Soldiers’ Home”

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In the News: June 21 — Civil War Veterans Post Celebrates Reopening in Chestertown, MD

SumnerPostJune 21, 2014, Chesterown, MD — The Grateful American Foundation is proud to announce the reopening of the Charles Sumner Post #25, Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) established in Chestertown, Maryland in 1882 today.

Starting at 9 a.m., visitors are invited to tour the newly renovated educational center, museum and performance space and celebrate all day long with music, food, games, and Civil War re-enactors.

“The newly restored building is one of only two such posts to remain standing in the United States today,” explains Leslie Prince Raimond (pictured right), who has been the executive director of Kent County Arts Council since 1991.

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Press Release: Historian Thomas Fleming Shares 10 Fascinating Facts About the Founding Fathers

May 16, 2014, New York, NY — “Novelists focus on the intimate side of life,” insists best-selling author Thomas Fleming, who has penned dozens of historic books including his recent novel, The Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers.

“This is the first time anyone has looked at the intimate side of the lives of these famous Americans with an historian’s eyes,” Fleming told David Bruce Smith and Hope Katz Gibbs, co-hosts of the The Grateful American™ TV Show.

The video interview with Fleming was shot in the beautiful formal dining room of Alexander Hamilton’s home, The Grange, in New York City, where Fleming shared anecdotes about the men and women who shaped the founding of the United States.

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Press Release: The Grateful American™ Series Visits Lincoln’s Cottage at the Soldiers’ Home

April 1, 2014, Washington, DC — For American history buffs, there’s nothing quite like visiting the home of a former president. And when that president is one of the nation’s most revered and beloved, as is Abraham Lincoln, it’s especially meaningful to meander through his summer home in Washington, DC.

David Bruce Smith and Hope Katz Gibbs were thrilled to sit down for an interview with Erin Carlson Mast, executive director of President Lincoln’s Cottage at The Soldiers’ Home, which stands just 3.5 miles from the White House.

In this interview, you’ll learn how Lincoln travelled to and from the Cottage, why he once met visitors in his bed slippers, and five things parents can do to make learning about history fun for their children. Plus, fun facts about Lincoln’s life to discuss at the dinner table!

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Press Release: The Grateful American™ Series Heads Inside George Washington’s Personal Library at Mount Vernon

March 27, 2014, Washington, DC — What made George Washington the icon that he became? That’s the question that David Bruce Smith, creator of the Grateful American™ Series, asked this month of Doug Bradburn, PhD, executive director of the new presidential library at Mount Vernon, Washington’s home, in Alexandria, VA.

Bradburn doesn’t claim that the nation’s first president was perfect. In fact, Washington had adversity and failures, Bradburn points out. What makes him stand out is that “he just overcomes them.”

Knowing about Washington’s successes and his failures are part of what make him admirable, and what makes learning about him interesting. And learning about him, and history in general, is a mission of Publisher David Bruce Smith.

“You have to know where you came from to know where you are going,” Smith says. That philosophy explains why he launched the the Grateful American™ Series in January 2014.

The interactive, multimedia program is designed to restore enthusiasm in American history in children—and grown-ups, too. Throughout the year, Smith will be recording interviews for the Inkandescent Radio Network with the executives who run the nation’s presidential homes, as well as historians, authors, and educators who know the importance of keeping our nation’s history alive.

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In the News — History News Network, “David Bruce Smith Interviews Mount Vernon Director for Grateful American™ Series”

HNNMarch 26, 2014, George Mason University: History News Network — In today’s issue of Rick Shenkman’s History News Network, he features an interview by David Bruce Smith, creator of the Grateful American™ Series. Smith interviewed Doug Bradburn, founding director of the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington. Scroll down to read their Q&A.

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Press Release: The Grateful American™ Series Interviews Adam Goodheart, author of “1861”

March 15, 2014, Chestertown, PA — Civil War expert Adam Goodheart brings the history of the Civil War to life in this latest interview on David Bruce Smith’s Grateful American™ Radio Show on the Inkandescent Radio Network.

The author of “1861” and the upcoming “1865,” Goodheart has penned two books that capture the essence of the battles and the time. A historian, essayist, and journalist, Goodheart’s articles have appeared in National Geographic, Outside, Smithsonian, and The Atlantic, and he is a regular columnist for The New York Times’ acclaimed Civil War series, “Disunion.”

Goodheart is also the director of Washington College’s C. V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. He splits his time living there and in Washington, DC.

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March 2014: The Grateful American™ Series Heads to Mount Vernon to Interview Executive Director Doug Bradburn


March 2014, Mt. Vernon / Alexandria, VA — We began the interactive, multimedia program, designed to restore enthusiasm in American history for children—and grown ups, too!—with a radio show on the Inkandescent Radio Network.

Throughout the year, we’ll be interviewing the executives who run the nation’s presidential homes, as well as historians, authors, and educators who know the importance of keeping our nation’s history alive.

In February, we had the privilege of heading to Mount Vernon to interview Doug Bradburn, founding director of the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington. We sat in the stacks with Martha Washington’s papers, adjacent to the room filled with books owned by George Washington himself.

Scroll down for our Q&A. — David Bruce Smith, founder, and Hope Katz Gibbs, executive director, The Grateful American™ Foundation

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In the News — History News Network: Publisher explains why he launched new multimedia series to inspire love of history

February 21, 2014, History News Network — In this article by History News Network Publisher Rick Shenkman, he interviews David Bruce Smith, creator of the Grateful American™ Series about his inspiration, plans, and long-term goals for his project to restore enthusiasm in history for kids.

Shenkman asked: What inspired you to launch the series? Smith said: “My father. He always said how grateful he was to be an American, and that really stuck with me. Most of my family are Jewish immigrants, and they knew how lucky they were to be in this country. I have always felt that way, too, and I passed that on to my children. I hope to inspire others to do the same.”

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Press Release: Happy Presidents’ Day: David Bruce Smith Publications Launches The Grateful American™ Series

February 17, 2014, Washington, DC — In celebration of Presidents’ Day, David Bruce Smith launched today his new interactive multimedia program, designed to restore enthusiasm for American history in children—and grown-ups, too.

“You have to know where you came from to know where you are going,” insists Smith, a Washington, DC-based author and publisher who recently penned, American Hero: John Marshall, Chief Justice of the United States. “Kids are often asked to memorize a bunch of dates that don’t mean anything to them, so history seems boring,” he says. “Then they are given standardized tests, which don’t measure what they don’t know—they measure what they haven’t been taught. It’s not the teachers’ fault. The system is dysfunctional.”

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