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Spend an Evening with Walt Whitman at Doane

Carrol PetersonFormer Doane Professor Carrol Peterson will make his return to Doane's campus as a part of the Lucille Cobb Lecture Series, which is sponsored each year by the English Department.

He will entertain audiences with a lecture and presentation titled, "An Evening with Walt Whitman." The lecture begins at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 26 in the Whitcomb Lee Conservatory, and is free and open to the public.

Peterson has been performing interpretations of Whitman through the Great Plains Chautauqua Society. Founded in North Dakota in the mid-1970s, the society uses historians, literary scholars and others to personify historically significant individuals.

According to Peterson, Crete was the location of the first Chautauqua in Nebraska. (A Chautauqua is an educational gathering that consists of lectures, dramatic readings or concerts.) Peterson said summer sessions were held from 1882 to 1897 in what is now known as Tuxedo Park.

He played his first role as Thomas Paine with the Chautauqua society in 1988. Since then, he has portrayed Whitman in a variety of venues. Peterson has even impersonated Whitman before members of Congress during a meeting of the Federation of State Humanities Council in Washington, D.C.

"The entire troupe travels together, sharing the outdoor, tent-covered stage. On a given night, one character presents a 40-minute monologue, after which the audience is invited to ask questions," Peterson said in a previous interview. "The actors remain ‘in character' during a portion of the discussion time, creating powerful interchange with the audience. They feel they are actually speaking with the historical figure."

Peterson spent much of his academic career at Doane. He replaced Lucille Cobb as head of the English Department when he was a professor at Doane. He joined Doane's faculty in 1964 and retired after 37 years of service as department chair and professor.

For more information on the event, contact Liam Purdon at 402.826.8276.