Filson Biennial Conference

Filson Biennial Conference

The Filson organizes a conference every other year on a topic of interest to both scholars and to the residents of the Ohio Valley. These conferences allow Filson members to interact with the most innovative research on the region and give scholars an opportunity to present new ideas in an intellectually diverse gathering of researchers, educators, archivists, public historians, and editors. These conferences are made possible in part by the Thomas Walker Bullitt Perpetual Trust.

Information on the upcoming 2021 conference will be posted to this page, while synopses, programs, and audio recordings from previous conferences are linked below:


1946 Reconsidered: The Ohio Valley in the Post-World War II Era

The Filson Historical Society, supported in part by the Thomas Walker Bullitt Perpetual Trust, announces its 2021 biennial conference “1946 Reconsidered: The Post-WWII Ohio Valley.”

In 1950, WWII veteran and Louisville architect Stratton Hammon wrote to a colleague at Better Homes & Gardens magazine,

Before the war, Louisville was one of the lowest building cost markets in the country because its economy was largely based on agriculture, horses, corn for whiskey and tobacco. The war, however, changed all this. Because we have a hydroelectric dam here, a tremendous number of large plants located here—rubber, aircraft, aluminum, International Harvester, etc. This at once changed our non-union town to a union town and the price of building is, I believe, much above the balance of the country because of the high wages and because we have never yet caught up with the industrial building program.

Hammon accounted for the sea changes he had seen in his professional field, but the social, demographic, spatial, institutional, and environmental changes wrought by the war went beyond the recounting of any one individual. What had Hammon overlooked? What changes were afoot in 1950 that would more fully emerge in later years? How was his world—and ours—fundamentally reshaped after soldiers and civilian war workers returned home?

The Filson invites a multidisciplinary group of scholars to Louisville in October 2021 to catalog some of the profound changes and challenges that the end of WWII brought to the Ohio Valley seventy-five years ago. The Filson invites paper proposals from scholars in the fields of history, American studies, English, sociology, urban planning, public health, education, archives and oral history, and other related disciplines that contribute to our understanding of the profound changes that swept the Ohio Valley in the post-World War II era.

The conference will run for two days, over approximately six sessions and an evening keynote. Individual papers of merit, roundtables of loosely structured discussion among four to six participants, and traditional panels of three papers plus a commenter will be considered. A final schedule will be made public early in 2021.

The Filson encourages potential presenters to submit applications to the Filson’s Scholarly Research Fellowship program at the standing deadlines in February and October to conduct research for the conference.

Contact Scholar in Residence, Dr. Patrick A. Lewis, with inquires, gro.l1601542820aciro1601542820tsihn1601542820oslif1601542820@siwe1601542820lkcir1601542820tap1601542820

Venue Rental

Spaces Available for Rent Beginning 2021

The Filson Historical Society is a unique venue that blends the historic with the modern and provides a stunning background for any event. Several areas of the campus are available to be rented for dinners, retreats, meetings, receptions, parties, or weddings. The venues have access to 74 free parking spaces and wifi, as well as small catering areas. All of the Filson’s facilities have accessible parking.

View a virtual tour of our spaces!

Visit the Filson

1310 S. 3rd St., Louisville, KY 40208
(502) 635-5083

The Filson is temporarily closed to the public to protect our staff, volunteers, and patrons during the coronavirus pandemic. All events are currently postponed or virtual; to register for our live virtual events, please visit our Events Page; for information on recorded lectures and other activities, please visit us online at Bringing History Home.

We continue to provide remote research services; please email gro.l1601542820aciro1601542820tsihn1601542820oslif1601542820@hcra1601542820eser1601542820.


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