Follow Us!

The Muster Roll

Friends Speaker Series

Sponsored by the Sherrin H. and Bruce A. Baky Foundation

As part of the Friends mission to provide interesting and compelling programming for the public, the annual Speaker Series is held in cooperation with the Washington Memorial Chapel. This series, which runs from October through May, gathers an array of historians, scientists, authors, archeologists, actors and performers to share with the public their multiple points of view on history, the natural world and the ongoing commemoration of Valley Forge.

October to April presentations are free and held at Washington Memorial Chapel, on Route 23 in Valley Forge, on Tuesdays at 7 pm. The May presentation will be held in the theater at Valley Forge. A complimentary reception follows each talk.

For directions to the Chapel, visit

March 1, 2016
Economics of the Valley Forge Encampment

The tragedy at Valley Forge during George Washington’s military encampment in the winter of 1777–1778 provides a vivid lesson in economics. Trade disruptions and price controls—mistaken policies of the nascent republic, consistent with the political philosophy of the times—were contributing factors to the death of nearly two thousand soldiers camped at Valley Forge. Tonight we will employ a fundamental supply and demand analysis, and then illustrate a price ceiling and subsequent shortage. The glitter of British entertainments in Philadelphian society and the harshness of the Continental soldiers’ meager existence twenty miles away provide a sharp contrast and sparks the imagination for any student of economics.

About the Speaker

Dr. Susan Christoffersen

Dr. Susan Christoffersen is an associate professor of economics at Philadelphia University in the Kanbar College School of Business Administration. She earned her Ph.D. in Economics with distinction in 1990 from NYU. Her extensive publication record includes theoretical work on international innovation races and the impact of research subsidies; the focus of her applied work is the textile industry and most currently the economic history of Colonial America and the tragedy at Valley Forge. Her paper, “Unintended Consequences of Trade Distortions and Price Controls: A National Tragedy provides a Teaching Moment”, can be found in the Journal for Economic Educators Vol. 13 no. 1, Spring 2014.

April 5
Mary Thompson
Mount Vernon during the Revolutionary War
The research librarian at Mount Vernon gives us a behind-the-scenes look at what was happening at Washington’s Virginia home during America’s long fight for freedom.
May 3
Todd Andrlik
Reporting the Revolutionary War
Revolutionary War news coverage, as reported in the eighteenth century newspapers of Britain and the United States, and shared by the award-winning author of Reporting the Revolutionary War.

Special Location: Park Theater  •  Tickets required
Friends Members and WM Chapel donors: FREE  •  Non-members: $20