Billingsley to discuss book on social, family history at museum
At noon on Wednesday, April 19,  Old Independence Regional Museum will present its second springtime Brown Bag with a Book program. Historian and professional genealogist Carolyn Earle Billingsley will discuss and sign copies of her book, Communities of Kinship: Antebellum Families and the Settlement of the Cotton Frontier (University of Georgia Press, 2004.) The book, a pioneering work in the fusion of social and family history, traces the migration of a network of families across the South from the Revolutionary era until the Civil War.
The author’s personal story is no less interesting than her book. A resident of central Arkansas since 1973, Billingsley spent the 1970s and '80s playing the role of suburban mom to her four children. In 1990, she enrolled at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock as a 41-year-old freshman. Graduating four years later with a B.A. in history and minor in German, she received a two-year Fulbright Scholarship to study German translation and Austrian history at Karl-Franzens Universistät in Graz, Austria. Following her study in Austria, Billingsley received a graduate fellowship to attend Rice University, where she served as an editorial intern at the Journal of Southern History and the Jefferson Davis Papers. She received the M.A. and Ph.D. in history at Rice.
Communities of Kinship is Billingsley’s revised dissertation. In addition, she has published extensively in the field of family and local history. Billingsley currently resides in Alexander, Ark., where she works as a professional genealogist and independent historian and manages her family’s land.
Bring a sack lunch to the museum (380 South 9th St.), relax, eat, and listen. Old Independence Regional Museum will provide free water and soft drinks.