2658 East Main Road | Portsmouth, RI | 02871 | (401) 683-9457 | Hours

Famous RI Women Activists: Howe, Elliott, and Belmont

In recognition of Women's History month, Portsmouth Free Public Library will host a lecture on three Rhode Island women of the 19th and 20th centuries presented by Fred Zilian, Ph. D. A talented, independent-minded woman, Julia Ward Howe was a poet, writer, playwright, preacher, lecturer, and reform leader. Her daughter, Maud Howe Elliott, was a social and political activist, Pulitzer prize-winning author, and founder of the Newport Art Association. Alva Vanderbilt Belmont was a prominent multi-millionaire American socialite and a major figure in the American women's suffrage movement. Q & A to follow.

After a 21-year career as an infantry officer in the Army, Fred Zilian was an educator at Portsmouth Abbey School, 1992-2015, where he taught history, ethics, and German. He was an adjunct professor (history and politics) at Salve Regina University, 2016-2022. He now gives tours of Newport and of the Battle of Rhode Island.

Zilian holds a Ph.D. in international relations/strategic studies from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of numerous articles, essays, and book reviews on history, American society, Germany, religion, music, education, climate change, and globalization in numerous publications.  He is the author of: From Confrontation to Cooperation: The Takeover of the National People’s (East German) Army by the Bundeswehr. For 20 years he performed as Abraham Lincoln in his one-man play, “Honest Abe.”

Dr. Zilian is an opinion contributor to The Hill (www.thehill.com ) and a contributing editor to The History News Network (www.historynewsnetwork.org ). He also contributes to the Online Review of Rhode Island History (www.smallstatebighistory.com ). He blogs on a wide variety of subjects at www.zilianblog.com . He is writing a book on “The Citizen and the Challenge of American Civilization.”


Room Reservation: 
Wednesday, March 29
Program Time: 
6:30pm - 7:30pm
Event Category: 
Name of Organization: 
Portsmouth Free Public Library
Contact Name: 
Carolyn Magnus
Contact Phone Number: 
401 683-9457 ext. 113
Contact Email: