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'Kissing Sailor' to kick off museum lecture series

January 6, 2013

WOONSOCKET — The deep of winter has arrived and along with it the Museum of Work & Culture's popular Ranger Day lecture series on both local and national topics of interest.
The annual lecture series sponsored by the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor and the Rhode Island Historical Society is a great way to spend a winter Sunday afternoon, according to Raymond H. Bacon, museum co-manager.
“This is our 16th year doing the presentations,” Bacon said. The talks are free of charge and are offered in the Market Square cultural and education center's upstairs ITU meeting hall, he said.
A given talk can draw 30 to 100 people, and are both informative and entertaining, according to Bacon. “It is certainly a cultural experience for visitors,” he said.
The lectures begin at 1:30 p.m. on the scheduled Sunday they will be offered.
The first lecture in the series will be held on Jan. 13, and host author Lawrence Verria for a discussion of the book “The Kissing Sailor,” he wrote with George Galdorisi.
Verria, a Social Studies teacher for the North Kingstown School Department, and Galdorisi tell the story of Rhode Island lobsterman George Mendonsa, long believed to be the sailor in Alfred Eisentaedt's famous end of World War II photograph of a sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square as the war ended on Aug. 14, 1945. The question of who had actually been photographed by Eisentaedt for his famous photograph has drawn several attempts to find a definitive answer over the years and the authors believe their research into all aspects of the photograph have solved the mystery.
The series will continue on Jan. 27th when Jeff Emidy of the Rhode Island Historical Society gives a presentation on the visual history of Woonsocket from his popular “Then and Now,” photographic project, Bacon said.
Burrillville historians Carlo and Betty Mencucci will be on stage on Feb. 24 for their presentation of the third part of their look into the history of Glocester.
A selection of short Quebec films competing in international film contests will be presented during the series on March 10, Bacon said. The line-up of films is still being finalized and will be released at a later date, he said.
This year's lecture series will conclude with the help of city native Neil Lanctot, the son of the late Mayor Francis L. Lanctot, Bacon said.
Neil Lanctot, a university professor and author, will give a talk on his book, The Roy Campanella Story, on March 24, Bacon said.

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