Hauenstein Center welcomes White House historian for Presidents Day event

Portrait photo of Matthew Costello

The Hauenstein Center, in partnership with the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum, welcomes author and historian Matthew Costello as part of the center’s Presidents Day commemoration. 

Costello, who co-edited and authored a chapter in the book, “Mourning the Presidents: Loss and Legacy in American Culture,” will speak at 6 p.m. on February 20 at the DeVos Center on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus. 

Currently, Costello serves as director of the David M. Rubenstein National Center for White House History at the White House Historical Association. 

Costello’s presentation will focus on his recent work as he examines the evolution of how Americans have grieved their chief executives through the nation’s history and how American society is reflected in those memorials. 

Costello collaborated with Lindsay Chervinsky, who spoke at the Hauenstein Center Presidents Day celebration in 2022, as editors on the project.

The remembrance of presidents is a topic familiar to Costello, whose first book, “The Property of the Nation: George Washington’s Tomb, Mount Vernon, and the Memory of the First President,” examined how the early nation came to terms with the loss of its first president in the months and years following his death and how it shaped his legacy in the process.

“I hope audience members will learn more about how Americans have historically mourned their leaders, and how those traditions and rituals changed over time to meet a variety of needs and interests,” Costello said. 


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