SOLD OUT — Olive Spannaus Education Series: Robert’s Relationships

Join us on March 23 for the inaugural session of the Olive Spannaus Education Series, which highlights underrepresented communities in art, nature, and history and is led by members of those communities.

Authors and historians Maureen Holtz and Nicholas Syrett will discuss lesser-known influential relationships in Robert Allerton’s life, including Agnes Allerton, Anna Rathbone, Ellen Emmett, and John Gregg Allerton. Holtz will draw on her 14 years of research and three Allerton-focused books to provide little-known details of Robert and his stepmother, godmother, and friend/love interest. Syrett will share his research in the history of same-sex partnerships in the United States, highlighting Robert and John’s unique relationship, as detailed in his recent book, An Open Secret: The Family Story of Robert and John Gregg Allerton.

A cash bar will be available at 5:30pm. The program will begin at 6pm and will last approximately one hour.

$5/person (15 & under free) Register here.

We are working to make this program available virtually, and will update this page accordingly.

About the Speakers:

Maureen Holtz’s career choice as high school teacher was sidetracked during the 1970s when she began work in the computer software industry. Upon retirement, she focused on writing novels and non-fiction.

Her publishing credits currently include four non-fiction books. Three of them revolve around Illinois philanthropist (and Chicago’s “Richest Bachelor” in 1906), Robert Allerton. The first, co-authored with Martha Burgin, was Robert Allerton: The Private Man & The Public Gifts (2009), a biography in its second printing. Her follow-up book was Allerton’s Paradises (2011). Her third and fourth non-fiction books were published by Arcadia Publishing in their series commemorating towns and lands in the USA: Images of America: Monticello (2013) and Images of America: Robert Allerton, His Parks and Legacies (2021).

She write novels and non-fiction stories. Her novel about a unique medical tourism model, The Last Resort, was published in August 2014.


Nick Syrett is a historian and associate dean at the University of Kansas. He researches the history of gender, sexuality, and childhood in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century United States and is the author of three books, most recently An Open Secret: The Family Story of Robert and John Gregg Allerton, published in 2021.


If you will need disability-related accommodations in order to participate, please email Christina at


Mar 23 2023


5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: Mar 23 2023
  • Time: 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm




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