Past Topics

Far Hills Speaker Series, a partnership between Wright Library and Oakwood Historical Society

Far Hills Speaker Series: Topic Archive

Looking for information about a past FHSS event you attended years ago, or a local history topic that intrigues you? This list provides links to webpages about past events. Many of the event pages included topic summaries, presenter names, and suggested reading. 

To dig deeper on any of these topics, please reach out to Wright Library's reference librarians or the Oakwood Historical Society. 

Videos of recorded events can be found on YouTube.

YouTube logo Far Hills Speaker Series YouTube Playlist

2021 Topics


Chocolate and Esther Price


The iconic gold foil box with the red ribbon is well known in the Dayton region, but how and where did Esther Price’s candy make its start? Presented by Jim Revelos, Quality Manager for Esther Price Candies.


The Little Man Who Wasn’t There: In Search of Al Fouts

Join Dayton attorney and author, David Greer, to learn about Al Fouts. Described in a Dayton Daily News article as “a little man who cast a deep shadow in downtown Dayton,” Fouts was a leader of the criminal underworld.


The Dean, Dillinger and Dayton Ohio: Legend – Lore – Legacy

Author Stephen C. Grismer will introduce gangsters and mobsters with Greater Dayton connections.


Dayton Beer: A History of Brewing in the Miami Valley

Author Timothy R. Gaffney will talk about the history of beer brewing in the Miami Valley.


History, Mystery, Mayhem & Murder

Angie Hoschouer is the Manager of Development and Marketing at Woodland Cemetery, Arboretum and Foundation will share stories on the darker side of life in Dayton's past.


Oakwood's First Residents

Bill Kennedy is the Regional Coordinator for the Eastern Region of the Ohio History Connection.  As an archaeologist, Bill is also a specialist in pre-contact native peoples of Ohio and will discuss the early native settlers that once lived in the Oakwood region. 


Other Past Topics


Oakwood & Dayton History

Inside Fifth and Ludlow: Creating a Podcast about Local History

Join us for a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Fifth and Ludlow by George Drake, Jr., a podcast story of 1920s Dayton, inspired by a mysterious letter found beneath a bathtub.

The Forgotten: Hidden Heroes

Join Johnnie Freeman, author of The Forgotten: Hidden Heroes (Dayton 1913 Flood), for a presentation on some overlooked heroes of Dayton's past.

The Oakwood Street Railway

The 125th anniversary of the conversion of the Oakwood Street Railway conversion from horse to electric on May 16, 1895 is the centerpiece of this interesting exploration of the history of transportation in Oakwood.

Grand Eccentrics: When Dayton Was America's Silicon Valley

Author Mark Bernstein will discussion the various towering figures of Dayton history covered in his book.

The Day Lincoln Spoke in Dayton​

Come discover what it was like to hear Abraham Lincoln on his visit to Dayton in 1859.  Please join Wright Library and the Oakwood Historical Society at this presentation with Jim Crabtree as Lincoln. 

Jack Egan, Dayton Lawyer - A Short History of Dayton's Dark Side from 1899 to 1936

Prominent defense attorney for a bewildering assortment of bank robbers, bootleggers, hit men, con men, and gangsters from 1900 until his death in 1936. Presented by David Greer, Esq.

Railway Transportation and the Rise of the South Dayton Suburbs

How the earliest suburban plats to the south of Dayton developed under the influence of steam and electric-powered railways. Presented by David Schmidt.

Street Names of Dayton

The men and women whose streets bear their name and how they contributed to the history of Dayton. Presented by Angie Hoschouer.

The Classic Architecture of Oakwood

Learn about some of Oakwood's well-preserved homes and public buildings representing the best of 20th century architecture in America. Presented by Mark W. Risley.

Fall 2018 WWII Series

Dayton Code Breakers

Top-secret Navy project during WWII, underway to build a decoding machine, right here in NCR Building 26. Learn about the success of the WAVES and Joseph Desch in this remarkable story. Presented by Jim Charters.

Polonium in the Playhouse

An intriguing story of secret chemical production for the atomic bomb. Learn about how the Talbot Family's "Runnymede Playhouse" in Oakwood served as a top-secret laboratory where the triggering mechanisms for the atomic bombs were developed. The author of the book Polonium in the Playhouse, Linda Carrick Thomas, will be presenting.

The Russian Spy in the Dayton Manhattan Project

Learn about George Koval: American-born spy who gave secrets of the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union. Presented by Dr. Don Sullenger, who worked at Mound Laboratories from July 1962 until August 1992.