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Hallowell Literary Lecture

Bradford Pearson

Courtesy of Bradford Pearson

On April 10 and 11, award-winning journalist Bradford Pearson visited The Haverford School community to deliver the Edward R. Hallowell Literary Lecture. 

Bradford Pearson

In an evening lecture, he presented on "Football and Japanese American Incarceration: A True Story of Resistance and Resilience in World War II America." He began with a moving excerpt from his book, The Eagles of Heart Mountain: A True Story of Football, Incarceration, and Resistance in World War II America. The book describes the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and the unlikely success of one internment camp high school’s football team, the Eagles of Heart Mountain. Pearson, who attended Franklin D. Roosevelt High School in New York, uncovered the true cost of FDR’s Executive Order 9066, which forced 120,000 Japanese Americans from their homes. From an extensive and carefully curated selection of sources—first hand accounts, photographs, school projects, and more—Pearson learned about life in the internment camps. He reflected on the kind welcome he received from the Japanese American community, opening their doors and sharing their stories. He also remarked on the times he has been asked, “could this happen again?” As he explained, preventing the repetition of this dark episode of our history is up to us. 

Bradford Pearson

The next morning, Pearson spoke to the Upper School community. In that lecture, he discussed his path to becoming a journalist. “To be successful at anything requires that you first take an interest,” he said. He remembers his childhood curiosity fading when he realized he could perform well enough in school without trying. He “skated by” in school, from adolescence into college, until a torn tendon gave him back all the time he had been spending rowing. Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, his college newspaper, and a near death experience being kidnapped all eventually led him to pursue journalism. He encouraged the students to embrace their curiosity, “the one thing you can’t learn on the job.” As he shared, “Intelligence will only take you so far. Curiosity will take you the rest of the way.” 

Bradford Pearson


About Bradford Pearson

Bradford Pearson is an award-winning journalist whose work examines everything from artificial intelligence to Japanese American incarceration to his own kidnapping. He’s written for The New York Times, and Esquire, Time, and Men’s Health magazines, among many other publications. He is currently a contributing writer for the New York Times’ Special Projects team and the features editor for Philadelphia magazine; in 2024 he was named a National Magazine Award finalist for his work at the magazine.

He is a recipient of the German Marshall Fund of the United States’ Marshall Memorial Fellowship, which took him to Europe to study media on the continent. He grew up in Hyde Park, New York, and now lives in Philadelphia with his wife and two children. 

About the Lecture Series

The Haverford School’s Edward R. Hallowell Literary Lecture Series annually brings to campus a distinguished, nationally known author to present a lecture, to spend a day with the students, and participate in informal readings and discussions to inspire an interest in literature. This fund was originally endowed by a gift from a Haverford Trustee, the late Thomas B. McCabe III, and his wife, Anne, parents of Thomas ’00. Additional gifts to the fund continue to be made by many other friends of Mr. Hallowell and the School.

Upcoming Lectures

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Recent Speakers

2021–22: Elias Rodriques

2019–20:  W.D. Ehrhart

2018–19: Mark Bowden

2016–17: Jennifer Finney Boylan

2015–16: Natasha Trethewey

2014–15: David Finkel

2013–14: Elizabeth Samet