The House of Velvet and Glass

Wednesday, May 9, 6:30 pm
with Katherine Howe

A scintillating speaker and storyteller, Katherine Howe, author of the bestselling “The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane”, returns with her latest work. A historical novel set in 1915 Boston; Sibyl Allston is still reeling from the deaths of her mother and sister on the Titanic, and is living a life of quiet desperation with her taciturn father and scandal‐plagued brother in an elegant town house in Boston’s Back Bay. But when her brother is suddenly kicked out of Harvard under mysterious circumstances and falls under the sway of a strange young woman, Sibyl turns for help. From the opium dens of Boston’s Chinatown to the opulent salons of high society, from the back alleys of colonial Shanghai to the decks of the Titanic, The House of Velvet and Glass weaves together meticulous period detail, intoxicating romance, and a final shocking twist that will leave readers breathless.

(Lecture to be held at the Cape Cod Conservatory, 60 Highfield Drive, Falmouth, MA)

Clearing the Coastline: The Ecological and Cultural Transformations of Cape Cod

Wednesday, May 30, 6:30 pm
with Matthew McKenzie

In just over a century Cape Cod was transformed from barren agricultural wasteland to bountiful fishery to pastoral postcard wilderness suitable for the tourist trade. This complex social, ecological, and scientific transformation fundamentally altered how Cape Codders used and managed their local marine resources, and determined how they eventually lost them. The Cape Cod story takes the usual land‐use progression—from pristine wilderness to exploitation of resources to barren wasteland—and turns it on its head. Clearing the Coastline shows how fishermen abandoned colonial traditions of small‐scale fisheries management, and how ecological, cultural, and scientific changes, as well as commercial pressures, eroded established, local conservation regimes. Without these protections, small fish and small fishermen alike were cleared from Cape Cod’s coastal margins to make room for new people, whose reinvention of the Cape as a pastoral “wilderness” allowed them to overlook the social and ecological dislocation that came before.

(Lecture to be held at the Cape Cod Conservatory, 60 Highfield Drive, Falmouth, MA)