The Walter W. Craigie Speaker Series

Named in Walter’s honor and to keep his legacy and vision alive, this series brings speakers to St. John’s to talk about a wide variety of topics related to history.

 Walter W. Craigie

Walter W. Craigie

St. John’s Church Foundation’s longest serving trustee, Walter W. Craigie, a former past president of the board and first trustee emeritus, died on March 3, 2016 in Richmond, Virginia.

The Foundation is extremely grateful to Walter for his years of exceptional leadership and service. Walter served for over 20 years as a trustee of the Foundation (1990 - 2010) and served for 10 of these years as the president of the Board of Trustees. As our first trustee emeritus, he continued to serve the Foundation with his significant leadership skills and depth of knowledge.

We initiated the Walter W. Craigie Speaker Series in October 2016 with Dr. Charles F. Bryan, Jr., whose talk entitled Ill Suited to the Job: America's Worst Presidents, packed the Parish Hall.   

President and Chief Conservator for F. Carey Howlett & Associates
Former Director of Conservation at Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

F. Carey Howlett

Wednesday May 16, 2018


  • 8:00 - 8:30 a.m. Continental Breakfast in the Parish Hall

  • 8:30 to 9:00 a.m. Presentation and Q&A inside St. John's Church


The wooden sounding board above the pulpit at Historic St. John’s Church is one of the most important colonial artifacts in Virginia. Dating to 1741 when St. John’s was built, it is one of four surviving colonial sounding boards remaining in Virginia. The sounding board features an inlaid sunburst bearing a human face, a unique feature among colonial Virginia churches. Unfortunately, previous refinishing and layers of aged varnish altered the original appearance of the sun.

The Sounding Board Restoration project, led by Conservator Carey Howlett, was a two-year journey to discover the original appearance of the sounding board and the best way to restore it. The project brought together high-tech science, cutting-edge restoration techniques and old-fashioned detective work. 

Howlett will talk about his conservation work, the discoveries he made and the secrets they reveal.

Dr. Jon Kukla

Wednesday October 4, 2017

Patrick Henry: Champion of Liberty


Please join us for Dr. Jon Kukla’s talk about his new book Patrick Henry: Champion of Liberty. Kukla’s three previous books embody his personal goal of writing first-rate historic scholarship for the general readership. Jon was the former director of Red Hill–The Patrick Henry National Memorial.  His latest book brings both newly discovered documents and new insights to the story of the patriot who played a central role in the movement to independence, the Revolution, the Constitutional era, and the early Republic.


His book is an important contribution to our understanding of the nation’s founding. 

5:30 p.m. Reception in the Parish Hall
6:30 p.m. Presentation and Q&A inside St. John’s Church

 Dr. Kukla signing books at his book reading with SJCF staffer Jamie Isaacs

Dr. Kukla signing books at his book reading with SJCF staffer Jamie Isaacs

Dr. John A. Ragosta

MAY 10, 2017

Patrick Henry: Forgotten Father


John A. Ragosta is a Fellow at Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and a Visiting Assistant Professor at Randolph College. He is the author of Religious Freedom: Jefferson's Legacy, America's Creed (2013) and Wellspring of Liberty: How Virginia's Religious Dissenters Helped Win the American Revolution and Secured Religious Liberty (2010). 


8:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Continental Breakfast in the Parish Hall
8:30 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. Presentation and Q&A inside St. John’s Church

Dr. Charles F. Bryan, Jr.

October 5, 2016

"ill suited for the job: america's worst presidents"

Dr. Bryan retired in 2008 after a thirty year career as a public historian. He first served as assistant editor of the Papers of Andrew Jackson, a University of Tennessee documentary editing project. Then following stints as executive director of the East Tennessee Historical Society and St. Louis Mercantile Library Association, Dr. Bryan was appointed president and chief executive officer of the Virginia Historical Society in 1988. Dr. Bryan is a frequent contributor to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.