Site icon History by the Slice


Actress Jenny Goran as Ellen Craft in disguise.
Actress Jennifer Goran as Ellen Craft in disguise.

“A Museum-Quality Presentation”
Mike Rogalla, Children’s Librarian,                     Champaign Public Library

Bringing History to Life Through Drama

Historical novelist Doug Peterson has teamed with actress/director Jennifer Goran to bring to life some of the fascinating characters from his novels. Check out their two programs, “Meet the Vanishing Woman” and “Elizabeth’s War.” These are ideal for schools, community groups, and museums.

Meet The Vanishing Woman 

In 1848, Ellen Craft did the seemingly impossible. This light-skinned slave escaped by posing as a white man, while her husband pretended to be her slave. Now you can meet Ellen Craft in person through a gripping portrayal by Jennifer Goran.

Ellen will explain how she hid in plain sight, disguised as a Georgia planter, while she and her husband traveled from Macon, Georgia, to Philadelphia. The daring pair risked discovery every step of the way.

In addition to hearing Ellen speak of her escape, you can learn about the fascinating background to her story from historical novelist Doug Peterson.

“History By the Slice” presentations are a wonderful way to travel back in time. Book a presentation for your school, church, museum, club, or other organization.

Contact Doug Peterson at:

Elizabeth’s War

They called her “Crazy Bet,” but she was anything but crazy. Elizabeth Van Lew, a Southern belle from a well-respected family, became the mastermind of one of the most famous spy rings of the Civil War. Elizabeth despised slavery, so she spied for the Union cause, operating in the heart of the Confederacy–Richmond, Virginia.

Actress Jennifer Goran steps into the role of the spirited Elizabeth Van Lew, as she explains how she slipped coded messages past Confederate eyes by concealing them in hollow eggs and in a food container with a false bottom.

“History By the Slice” presentations are a wonderful way to travel back in time. Book a presentation for your school, church, museum, club, or other organization.

Contact Doug Peterson at:

Other Talks

In addition to the two dramatizations, “Meet the Vanishing Woman” and “Elizabeth’s War,” Doug Peterson comes to both English and history classes at schools to talk about writing historical novels, as well as the history behind his novels. For example, when Doug talks about Henry “Box” Brown or the Underground Railroad, he brings along a replica of the wooden box that Henry used to mail himself from Richmond to Philadelphia. And when he talks on the Berlin Wall, he brings along a full-size replica of the Berlin Wall, constructed of Styrofoam and made to look like concrete (complete with graffiti).

Doug has done events at the Conner Prairie Interactive History Park near Indianapolis, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, the Museum of Man in San Diego, Malone University in Canton, Ohio, and many schools and groups in Illinois, Ohio, and Tennessee.

Contact Doug at

About Jennifer Goran, Drama Specialist

Jennifer is an award-winning creative dramatics specialist, director, actress, voice-over artist, and teacher. In addition to teaching junior high and high school drama, she has gone into schools to use improvisational drama with students to explore content areas such as social studies, history, and literature. She has also trained teachers in the use of improvisational drama.

Wherever Doug speaks, he gives students a chance to try out Henry Brown’s box for size.


A capacity crowd at Malone University in Canton, Ohio, comes to see a film adaptation of “The Disappearing Man.”


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