University of Pittsburgh
September 24, 2012

Legal and Literary Experts to Discuss Modern Chivalry written by Pitt Founder Hugh Henry Brackenridge

Sept. 28 discussion, display, and Chancellor portraits exhibition all part of ongoing celebration of Pitt’s 225th anniversary

Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926


PITTSBURGH—Some of the earliest political satire written in 18th-century America was composed by Pitt founder Hugh Henry Brackenridge, a versatile educator, author, attorney, lawmaker, and justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court who wrote Modern Chivalry, the first literary work to be published west of the Allegheny Mountains.  Hugh Henry Brackenridge

A panel discussion, Reading Hugh Henry Brackenridge (1748-1816), will feature three Pitt faculty members who will discuss Brackenridge’s satirical novel, Modern Chivalry, which was completed a year before his death. The event—part of the University’s yearlong celebration of the 225th anniversary of its founding—will take place from noon to 1:30 p.m. Sept. 28 in the auditorium of the Frick Fine Arts Building, 650 Schenley Drive, Oakland.

The panelists will explore the early years of Pitt and Pittsburgh, and discuss how Brackenridge’s book can give insights into the public's understanding and investment in law, politics, letters, and education. Brackenridge also was founder of the Pittsburgh Gazette, which would eventually become the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  

The panelists include:

Jean Ferguson Carr, associate professor of English and director of Pitt’s Women’s Studies Program, who teaches about literacy and American literary traditions;

Courtney Weikle-Mills, assistant professor of English, whose specialties include early American literature and the history of the novel; and  

Bernard Hibbitts, professor of law, legal historian, and publisher and editor-in-chief of JURIST, an award-winning legal news service powered by law students that he created at Pitt in 1996. 

Those attending the panel discussion also can visit a free public exhibit in the Frick Fine Arts Cloister, featuring Volumes 1-2 of Modern Chivalry (1804), other books published in Pittsburgh during Brackenridge’s lifetime, manuscripts from the Fort Pitt Trading Post Papers and the Darlington Family Papers, newspapers, and maps. The exhibition was assembled by Pitt’s University Library System.

The free historic exhibition Faces to Names: 225 Years of Pitt Chancellors’ Portraits (1787-2012) continues in the adjacent University Art Gallery. It features, among 18 other portraits, an 1810 painting of Brackenridge by Gilbert Stuart, who produced portraits of the first six presidents of the United States. Faces to Names represents the first time all of these portraits have been displayed for the public in the same space. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Friday. The exhibition runs through Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 12-14, with special extended hours: Oct. 12, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Oct. 13 and 14, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.






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