Stuart Lutz has always been fascinated by the stories told by older people. Perhaps it started when he was a boy and heard his great-grandparents recount their immigrant voyage to America, their first airplane sighting, and the first time his great-grandmother could legally vote (even though she had been married four years). Also, when he was young, he was intrigued during a family trip to Charleston, South Carolina, when the tour guide pointed out the building that still housed some Confederate widows, even though the Civil War had been over for 125 years. He could not understand how that could be, until the guide explained that some young ladies married much older men who had fought in the Civil War.
Lutz's interests in history and writing come together in The Last Leaf, an oral history book featuring the stories of almost forty survivors and eyewitnesses to historically important events. Lutz is the only person to have interviewed the last three Civil War widows (the last one died in 2008), but The Last Leaf also features the last American World War I soldier, the final living person to have flown with Amelia Earhart, the final pitcher to give up a home run to Babe Ruth in his historic 1927 season (when Ruth hit sixty home runs), the last suffragette, the final Medal of Honor winner for heroism on Pearl Harbor Day, the last person to have made design contributions to the ENIAC (the first electronic, programmable computer), the final Iwo Jima flag raiser, the last survivor of the sunken Lusitania, the final Harry Houdini stage hand, and the last employees of Thomas Edison and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Each chapter blends the narrative of the "Last Leaves" with historical background so readers can understand what occurred and the long-term importance of each event.
Lutz owns Stuart Lutz Historic Documents, Inc., a firm that sells rare letters and manuscripts (www.HistoryDocs.com). He has written for American Heritage and Civil War Times Illustrated, and appeared on National Public Radio. He has a B.A. in American History from Johns Hopkins and frequenty appears on the History Channel program Cajun Pawn Stars as the historic document appraiser and authenticator.
If you are interested in having me speak before your group (I have a 45 minute Power Point presentation), please email me at StuartKL@aol.com or call me toll free at 1 (877) 428-9362.