Moravian Historical Society - Lecture and Music Series

Sunday, November 13, 2022 at 3:00 p.m.: Free Talk in the Museum

andrea smith event

The Walking Purchase of 1737 was a controversial land deal between the Pennsylvania proprietors and four Delaware (Lenape) leaders that granted the proprietors some 1.2 million acres in choice land in the Lehigh Valley and beyond.  Delaware participants protested the transaction before, during, and after it occurred, and these protests led to official inquiries in the 1750s.  This background was well-known by the early twentieth century, and historical accounts often described it as the “shameful,” “notorious,” or “controversial” Walking Purchase.  Why, then, did the State of Pennsylvania develop four historical markers to this event in the 1920s?  In this talk, I explore the cast of characters involved in this curious case of public history making, the opposition they confronted, and their motivations for staging grand public celebrations in 1925.


Andrea Lynn Smith is professor of anthropology in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at Lafayette College (Easton, PA).  Her research and courses focus on social memory and collective silencing, public history, and colonialism.  Her publications include Colonial Memory and Postcolonial Europe: Maltese Settlers in Algeria and France (2006); and Rebuilding Shattered Worlds: Creating Community by Voicing the Past (2016).  The forthcoming book, Memory Wars: Natives and Settlers Remember Washington's Sullivan Expedition of 1779, (2023) explores monuments to a Revolutionary War expedition in Pennsylvania and New York.  

moravian historical piano
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Thank you to our sponsor!

This series is funded in part, by the Martin Guitar Charitable Foundation.

An Ancient American Piano with Clues About Piano Origins


Join the Moravian Historical Society (MHS) for this informative lecture-demo with John Watson and Thomas Dressler. John Watson will provide compelling research that attributes the MHS 18th century piano to Johann Gottlob Klemm (later John Clemm). If Clemm’s authorship of the MHS upright piano is correct, the MHS instrument stands as the best preserved survivor of his work and likely the first piano made in America. 


In 2019, John Watson and early keyboard maker, Tom Winter, were on site at the Moravian Historical Society’s Museum to study and document the instrument. After that research, they built an accurate, playable reproduction which they then donated to the Moravian Historical Society. 


Watson will present this talk, accompanied by Thomas Dressler who will play the reproduction piano.


John Watson is an independent conservator and maker of early keyboard instruments. From 1988-2016 he served as conservator and curator of musical instruments for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. He has made more than 33 reproduction keyboard instruments including a replica of an English Harpsichord that belonged to George Washington (in the collection of Mount Vernon). He has authored numerous articles and publications including Changing Keys: Keyboard Musical Instruments for America 1700–1830 published by Scarecrow Press in association with The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 2013.


Thomas Dressler has performed for more than forty years, often on historic instruments, including some of America's oldest and most historic organs. He earned a Bachelor of Music in Organ Performance, cum laude, from Susquehanna University, and a Master of Music in Performance, with honors, from Westminster Choir College. Dressler has held large church positions in Philadelphia and New Jersey and on October 1, 2022 he will become the Director of Music at College Hill Presbyterian Church in Easton, Pa. 

The program is free to attend but seating is very limited. Advance registration is required.

Join Moravian Historical Society during the summer for a Free Summer Concert on the Lawn! 
Pack a picnic basket, bring a chair or blanket and meet us on the lawn of the historic 1740-1743 Whitefield House lawn for a free community concert.

Moravian Historical Society concert
Moravian Historical Society Dave Fry
Moravian Historical Society concert
Northampton County Seal

 Events are sponsored in part by the Northampton County Hotel Tax Grant.