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Woolfolk discusses the rise of the WASP establishment at Community Lecture Series event

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Alan Woolfolk

Flagler College Vice President of Academic Affairs Alan Woolfolk’s will discuss the WASP establishment during his Community Lecture Series event on March 12.

Feb. 22, 2013

During the late nineteenth century, a national upper class developed as a clearly defined status group in the United States that was defined by not only the concentration of wealth and power, but also by a distinctive life-style.

This demographic will be the topic of Flagler College Vice President of Academic Affairs Alan Woolfolk’s presentation during his Community Lecture Series event on March 12.

“The primary point is to place Henry Flagler and his accomplishments, including the construction of the Hotel Ponce de Leon, in a larger national context that highlights the development of this national upper class,” said Woolfolk, whose lecture is titled “The Rise of the WASP Establishment.” “This class was characterized by an exclusiveness that frequently led to outright discrimination against all who were not white, Anglo Saxon and Protestant.”

Woolfolk says that the WASP lifestyle also included access to exclusive institutions and resorts, such as Flagler’s Hotel Ponce de Leon.

“These exclusive institutions provided venues for the development of an upper-class ethos and social graces, as well as the display of a type of conspicuous consumption and leisure that was intended to distinguish ‘old money’ from ‘new money,’” said Woolfolk. “Henry Flagler cannot be understood apart from the complexities and contradictions of this class. For better or worse, he helped to form it.“

Woolfolk holds a B.S. in economics and political science from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.S in political science from the University of Oregon and an M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania. He is currently Dean of the Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Flagler College. 

In honor of the 125th anniversary of the former Hotel Ponce de Leon, the 2013 Community Lecture Series will focus on “The Hotel Ponce de Leon Deconstructed: Building the Future for Modern America.”

The series will feature a lineup of historians and scholars discussing Henry Flagler’s vision for St. Augustine, social classes and American politics during the late 19th century, the influence of art, music and literature during the Gilded Age, as well as other exciting topics. 

This year, thanks to VISIT FLORIDA’s Cultural Heritage and Nature Tourism Grant Program, Flagler College will offer complimentary admission to the spring 2013 Flagler College Community Lecture Series for any St. Johns County tourism employee. Tourism employees interested in attending any of the five lectures offered will need to present their employee name tag or ID at the lecture series registration table.

Tickets are $5 per person for a single lecture, or $15 for four lectures. Active military personnel may attend at no charge. Lectures begin at 10 a.m. in the Flagler Room at Flagler College, 74 King St. The lecture will last approximately one hour and will be followed by a coffee and pastry reception.

Reservations for the lecture series are required due to limited space. Call (904) 819-6282 for reservations or more information. To watch a live stream of these lectures, visit