All of these recordings of past programs are available free to the public. Please consider making a contribution towards our virtual programming and local history programs.
Virtual Programs Library
february 16, 2023
“Mary Ellen Pleasant” with Cris Eli Blak
Playwright Cris Eli Blak discusses with Dr. Patricia Moonsammy his full-length play about the life of Mary Ellen Pleasant, called the Mother of Civil Rights in California. She came to San Francisco in the 19th century and became a millionaire while advocating for legal and social changes in the city. Despite her financial and social successes, as a Black woman she was in her later years the subject of rumors and defamation. She is buried at Tulocay Cemetery in Napa.
January 19, 2023
“Chinese in Napa Valley” with John McCormick
John McCormick, author of the book “Chinese in Napa Valley: The Forgotten Community that Built Wine Country,” speaks with Jack Jue, Jr. for a Napa County Historical Society guest lecture at the Native Sons Hall on January 19th, 2023. Jack Jue, Jr. is a family historian and author of the blog “Jue Joe Clan History.”
december 8, 2022
Author to Author: Kristen Harnisch and Debra Green
Novelists Kristen Harnisch (The Vintner’s Daughter series) and Debra Green (The Convention of Wives) discuss their newest pieces of historical fiction at Bouchaine Winery’s hospitality room on December 8th.
October 20, 2022
“Napa Valley Case Files” with Ray Guadagni
Retired Napa Superior Court Judge Raymond “Ray” Guadagni talks about his book, Napa Valley Case Files: Justice in Wine Country. The book provides an expert look at eight murder cases that shook Napa County from 1850 to present day.
May 14, 2022
Annual Meeting 2022: Guest Speaker Bo Barrett and Hugh Davies
The Napa County Historical Society held its 74th Annual Members Meeting on May 14th, 2022 at the Cameo Cinema in St. Helena. Guest speaker Bo Barrett, CEO of Chateau Montelena, and Hugh Davies, President of Schramsberg Vineyards, engaged in conversation about the journeys of their own wineries and the rich history of Napa Valley’s wine industry.
April 22, 2022
“The Last Professional” with Ed Davis
Author Ed Davis discusses his novel The Last Professional, the story of a young man riding the rails and fleeing a troubled past at the end of the 20th century.
March 17, 2022
Dr. Paul Gee at Bouchaine Vineyards
Dr. Paul Gee and Mayor Jack Ding of Sonoma met at Bouchaine Winery in March of 2022 to discuss the similarities and differences in their journeys from China to California. Paul Gee, winemaker and owner of Gee Vineyard, was first a radiation physicist before planting his family’s vineyard in 1981.
February 17, 2022
A Rumbling of Women Revisited
Four contributors to the 2018 book, A Rumbling of Women: Napa Feminists 1970-1990 discuss their involvement with the book and their experiences with the Women’s Movement at the end of the 20th century.
January 20, 2022
“History of Missouri Wines and Wineries” with Doug Schneider
The wine industry in Missouri was started by German immigrants who had never made wine before in their lives. Missouri came to the rescue in 1869, when the French wine industry was being devastated by an invasive louse – Missouri knew how to solve the problem and saved the French wine industry.
December 9, 2021
Joseph Chiles: Forgotten Trailblazer” with Rick Chiles
He’s the man who knew everyone, and no one knows now. His life intertwined with many of the best known pioneers—Kit Carson, John C. Fremont, Mariano Vallejo, and John Bidwell–to cross the plains and get involved in the making of this part of California. Rick Chiles talks about his book, Joseph Chiles: Forgotten Trailblazer.
October 21, 2021
Napa Valley Wine Luminaries
Dane Kuta–Napa Valley Wine expert, sommelier, and instructor–presents a lively journey through the history of wine production in the Napa Valley. This presentation highlights only a few of the early Napa winemakers and entrepreneurs who helped to put a tiny wine-growing region on the map.
September 16, 2021
The Gift of Photography in Capturing History and Personal Experiences
Janna Waldinger discusses the importance of photography to history and how the traditions of photography have both changed and remained the same. Janna is a third-generation photographer and co-owner with Lowell Downey of Art & Clarity fine photography based in Napa since 1994. Fundamentally, powerful photography is created by working with the science of light, composition, and perspective.
june 17, 2021
Repurposing and Reusing California Ships
Sheli O. Smith discusses the history of reusing and recycling ships in early California maritime communities up to the present day. Ships continue to serve the people of California, becoming hotels, restaurants, and even sunken attractions and reefs.
may 15, 2021
George Altamura at the Uptown Theater
George Altamura was our keynote speaker for the 73rd Annual Members Meeting on May 15, 2021. Members and their guests gathered at the historic Uptown Theater in downtown Napa to hear Altamura’s stories about his life in Napa, in conversation with Mayor Scott Sedgley.
April 22, 2021
Angwin and Howell Mountain
Katharine Van Arsdale is the Archivist and Special Collections Librarian at Pacific Union College in Angwin, CA. Before coming to Napa County, Katharine worked for several years as a research librarian in Washington, DC. Using her MA in History and MSLS in Library Science from the Catholic University of America, Katharine especially enjoys researching local history and bringing it to life.
February 25, 2021
Lost Napa Valley
Lauren Coodley is the author of three books of Napa history, a textbook of California history and a biography of Upton Sinclair. Beginning her career at Napa’s junior college in the late ’70s, she created and taught “American Women’s History,” “California History,” and “Napa-Vallejo History.” She received the McPherson Distinguished Teaching Award and was the elected president of the faculty.
January 8, 2021
The Napa Murder of Anita Fagiani Andrews: a Cold Case that Caught a Serial Killer
Ray Guadagni, a former Napa Judge, will release his newest book on January 18, 2021. With the success of his self-published memoir in 2016, Adventures of the Squeezebox Kid: a memoir of growing up in Napa in the ’50s and early ’60s. The release of his third book by The History Press/Arcadia Publishing will recount and give detail to The Napa Murder of Anita Fagiani Andrews: A Cold Case that Caught a Serial Killer.