Was Henry a Hippie? Locating Thoreau in a Changing Modern World at State Library of Massachusetts

Please join us for an author talk on Wednesday, November 6, with renowned environmental historian Dr. Richard W. Judd, author of the recent book, Finding Thoreau: The Meaning of Nature in the Making of an Environmental Icon. To register, please visit: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SLM-RichardJudd

Henry David Thoreau is one of America’s most widely-recognized authors, but at the time of his death in 1862, he was relatively unknown as a writer. In his book Finding Thoreau, Dr. Judd details Thoreau’s reversal of fortune over the years, from obscurity to fame as an environmental icon. By studying how critics in different ages responded to Thoreau’s writings, this well-researched book explores the ways in which the concepts of the environment and nature have evolved in American culture over the decades.

Dr. Judd is the author of numerous books and articles on the topics of conservation and environmental history, focusing especially on Maine and northern New England. Recently retired, he spent over three decades as a Professor in the History Department at the University of Maine. He has also served as the editor on a number of projects, including Historical Atlas of Maine, the Journal of Forest History, and the periodical Maine History.

DAVID DONOVAN on Henry Beston’s “The Outermost House”

The Friends of the Charlestown Branch of the BPL is pleased to host a presentation by DAVID DONOVAN on Henry Beston’s The Outermost House. This event is free and open to all, with a reception following.  [snow date: Mon. Feb. 12, 6:00 pm]

Published in 1928, Henry Beston’s The Outermost House, was written after Beston spent a long stretch of solitude in a 20’x16’ house located on the dunes of Cape Cod’s Eastham. He used the house as a base while observing and contemplating on the natural wonders of this exceptional maritime setting.

Beston’s work is now considered a classic of American literature as well as one of the seminal works that has influenced today’s environmental movement. The Outermost House has been called one of the motivating factors in establishing the Cape Cod National Seashore, while also greatly influencing the writing of biologist/conservationist Rachel Carson.

Even though the house itself finally succumbed to the natural elements during the Blizzard of ’78, its Outer Cape location, often referred to as a ship-wreck graveyard, continues to be a transitional area, loaded with surprises. The most recent of note took place in November of 2017, with the resurfacing of some of the hull wreckage of the doomed schooner Montclair, which sunk in March of 1927. Beston’s account of the Montclair tragedy is covered in the first five pages of the Lanterns on the Beach chapter of his The Outermost House:
“There has just been a great wreck, the fifth this winter and the worst. On Monday morning last, shortly after five o’clock, the big three-masted schooner Montclair stranded at Orleans and went to pieces in an hour, drowning five of her crew.”

Background information:

Born in Quincy, writer/naturalist Henry Beston (1888-1968) set out in 1926, on what was initially intended to be a two-week vacation, in search of peace and solitude, while also hoping to shake off the haunting memories of his World War I experience. He spent the time in a small frame cottage that he had had built on sand dunes located two miles south of the Nauset Coast Guard Station. The cottage had the Atlantic Ocean near his front door and Nauset Marsh in the back. His only neighbors were the Coast Guardsmen, who patrolled the beach. However, as he recounted later in The Outermost House, “The fortnight ending, I lingered on, and as the year lengthened into autumn, the beauty and mystery of this earth and outer sea so possessed and held me that I could not go.” Thus began a solitary sojourn on the beach, a thoughtful man’s “year in outer nature;” realized in a book that would bring that location to life to legions of devoted readers.

DAVID DONOVAN has been a National Park Service (seasonal) interpretive ranger for the past eight summer seasons at Acadia National Park and Cape Cod National Seashore. As a career biology teacher & certified arborist, his interest has centered on developing and presenting natural history programs. However, this past summer, Donovan collaborated with “The Henry Beston Society” in showcasing the author’s life & literary works, with a focus on his classic The Outermost House. David Donovan & his wife Mary Kay have been Charlestown residents since the late 1960’s.  Both have served as presidents of the Friends of The Charlestown Branch Library.

The Friends of the Charlestown Branch of the Boston Public Library was formed in 1953, becoming the second Friends group to organize within the Boston Public Library system. The Friends schedule four to six evening programs a year, support the Reading is FUNdamental programs for children, and maintain the library’s landscaping. The mission of the Friends remains today what it was in 1953: to serve as an advocacy and support group for the needs of the Charlestown Branch Library, its staff and users. Visit www.friendsofcharlestownlib.org, www.facebook.com/FriendsCharlestownBranchLibrary, and www.bpl.org/branches/charlestown.htm.

Why Thoreau Still Matters: Lessons on Environmentalism & Civil Disobedience

200 years after Henry David Thoreau’s birth in Concord, Massachusetts, a distinguished panel will consider Thoreau’s lessons for today’s world. Explore how Thoreau’s ideas have informed 21st-century civil disobedience and contemporary conversations about humans’ relationships with the natural world.

Panelists will include artist and filmmaker PAUL TURANO (Wander, Wonder, Wilderness), LAURA DASSOW WALLS, author of the new biography, Henry David Thoreau: A Life, acclaimed memoirist HOWARD AXELROD (The Point of Vanishing), MARIA MADISON, president of The Robbins House: Concord’s African American History historic site, and the Rev. FRED SMALL, Minister for Climate Justice at Arlington Street Church.

This event is part of the series “Boston is Thoreau Country: A Multimedia Series Celebrating Thoreau’s Legacy in the Hub,” Co-Presented by Old South Meeting House, The Thoreau Society, and the Boston Literary District and co-sponsored by The Walden Woods Project. CHRISTOPHER LYDON (WBUR Radio host, “Open Source with Christopher Lydon”) will moderate the event.

This program is made possible with funding from the Lowell Institute. Free and open to the public, registration is requested here.

Protecting the Planet: A Discussion of the Climate Crisis and Climate Visionaries

Join Trident Booksellers for a book talk with a focus on the science, communication, advocacy, and opportunity of climate change. The talk will focus on today’s climate crisis and climate visionaries, their inspiring work, and the promising solutions that could bring us to 100% wind, water and solar power by 2050.

The book in focus: Protecting the Planet: Environmental Champions from Conservation to Climate Change by authors MARIAH TINGER and BUDD TITLOW.

This event is free and open to the public.

Protecting the Planet is being sold by Trident Booksellers.  You can purchase a copy in-store or online here.