In her bestselling memoir, The Woman in Battle, Loreta Janeta Velasquez claimed to have posed as a man to fight for the Confederacy, but in fact she never saw combat. Always a sensational press favorite, Velasquez displayed throughout her life an uncanny ability to manipulate popular media and to benefit from her fame in a way that prefigured celebrities of our own time. After the Civil War ended, she created a phony mining company, coned North Carolina residents to back her financially in a fake immigration scheme, and attracted investors to build a railroad across western Mexico. Velasquez was one of the first women to venture into journalism and presidential politics. In Inventing Loreta Velasquez, acclaimed historian William C. Davis delves into the life of one of America’s early celebrities, peeling back the myths she herself created to reveal a startling and even more implausible reality.
March 16 @ 7:15 pm - 8:45 pm