Mary S. Stern Lecture
Doris Kearns Goodwin
Photo Credit: Annie Leibowitz


Doris Kearns Goodwin spoke on October 5, 2021, at the Aronoff Center for the Arts.

Goodwin is a presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author. She brings history alive with an uncanny sense for detail and a master storyteller’s grasp of drama and depth as she examines the leadership triumphs, trials and tribulations of the men and women who have shaped this nation, culled from her lifetime examination of the U.S. presidency.

In advance of this year’s lecture and through December 30, 2021, the Library is exhibiting its collection of Lincoln letters and memorabilia in the Cincinnati Room. The Library is also offering several book clubs and community forums focusing around the central themes of leadership found in Leadership in Turbulent Times.


Our inaugural Mary S. Stern lecturer was Bryan Stevenson (2019), author of Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption.

Stevenson is a widely acclaimed public interest lawyer who has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated and the condemned. His work fighting poverty and challenging racial discrimination in the criminal justice system has won him numerous awards including the prestigious MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Prize. Stevenson has received 29 honorary doctoral degrees including degrees from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Oxford University. His critically-acclaimed New York Times bestseller Just Mercy, has been awarded several honors including the Carnegie Medal by the American Library Association for the best nonfiction book of 2014 and a 2015 NAACP Image Award.

Bryan Stevenson
Photo Credit: Nina Subin

Mary S. Stern

About the Mary S. Stern Lecture Series

The Library Foundation is the grateful beneficiary of an endowed fund from the late Mary S. Stern to be used for an annual lecture series for the Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library.  The series will bring internationally renowned thought leaders to the Cincinnati community.  Formed in 2018, the Mary S. Stern Lecture Committee selects the lecture topic and presenter who can honor her legacy by advancing the Library’s mission to connect our community with a world of ideas and information.  The committee is committed to making the topic and speaker accessible to the community physically and financially.

The Mary S. Stern Lecture Committee members are Sandy and Peter Stern, Betsy Sittenfeld (and the late Paul G. Sittenfeld), and Vicky and Rick Reynolds.