I have now spoken about The Way of Improvement Leads Home a dozen or so times and have begun to collect my favorite stories from this tour. Here are my three favorite (in no particular order).
1. Ft. Pitt Museum: When it was announced following my talk that the book would be available for sale at a discounted rate in the museum lobby, a woman in the audience promptly and unexpectedly blurted out that she and her husband were leaving Pittsburgh later that afternoon (after they took a ferry ride on the Allegheny River) and would not be able to buy my book because their suitcases were already packed full with other souvenirs from their trip to the Steel City and there would be no room left in the bags for the book. (Come on, the volume is actually quite thin!)
2. The ambitious Montville Township High School student who wanted to know if I, based upon my research on Fithian, could offer her any tips for getting into Princeton. (Fithian was a member of the class of 1772).
3. Sam Greenfield, the host of the “Sam Greenfield Show” on WVNJ–1160 New York, who insisted on comparing Fithian and his group of friends in the eighteenth-century New Jersey countryside to hippies living together in a commune and “sharing food.”
Stay tuned: I am sure there will be more stories to come.