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lecture programs by
Don Wilding’s Cape Cod
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Hosts for Don’s lectures and film screenings: Thoreau Society’s 72nd Annual Gathering, Cape Cod National Seashore, Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, Eastham Historical Society, Chatham Orpheum Theater, 2014 Newburyport Documentary Film Festival, and dozens of other organizations.
Co-curator for exhibits: Eastham Historical Society (2015-16); Cape Cod Museum of Natural History (2008).
Instructor: Nauset Community Education, Orleans, Mass. (2014, 2018); Open University of Wellfleet (Spring and Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2021).
WMVY's "Person of the Week," February 16, 2008;
Speaker at National Literary Landmark dedication for Henry Beston’s Chimney Farm, Nobleboro, ME, 2009.
Speaker at the 20th annual Cape Cod Maritime History Symposium, Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, Brewster, Mass., May 2016.
Guide for selected walks at Cape Cod National Seashore (2003, 2014).
Schools that have included Don’s lecture program in a course curriculum: Chatham High School (Cape Cod), Tahanto Regional High School (Boylston, Mass.), Franklin Pierce University (Rindge, N.H.), Emerson College, Penn State University, Captain Nathan Hale Middle School (Coventry, CT), Orleans Elementary School (Orleans, MA).
Cited as a reference in: “Dwelling in the Dunes: Traditional Use of the Dune Shacks of the Peaked Hill Bars Historic District, Cape Cod,” for the National Park Service, by Robert J. Wolfe, 2005; “Orion on the Dunes: A Biography of Henry Beston,” by Daniel G. Payne. 2016, Godine Publishing.
Journey to Don Wilding’s Cape Cod
Where Land, Sea, and History Meet
Cape Writer Offers Five Lectures
Since the start of the millennium, Don Wilding has been telling stories of Cape Cod Outer Beach history through lectures, video, and the written word.
Don is the author of four books on Cape Cod history. His most recent book, "Cape Cod and the Portland Gale of 1898," was published in May 2023. His earlier books are: “Henry Beston’s Cape Cod: How ‘The Outermost House’ Inspired a National Seashore,” "A Brief History of Eastham: On the Outer Beach of Cape Cod," and "Shipwrecks of Cape Cod: Stories of Triumph & Tragedy." His fifth book, "Historic Storms of Cape Cod," is scheduled to be released on May 20, 2024.
Don has worked as a Cape tour guide and is a regular speaker on Cape Cod lore in Massachusetts and across New England. He was an award-winning newspaper editor, writer, and designer in Massachusetts for 36 years, including a recent stint as a contributing history columnist and photographer for Cape newspapers. Don has also led history walks for the Harwich Conservation Trust since 2018 and was recognized as one of their "Conservationists of the Year" in 2023.
Don, shown at left in the former home of Cape Cod naturalist John Hay, is available for lecture presentations for libraries, historical societies, and other organizations on Cape Cod and in Eastern Massachusetts. See the Contact / Hire page for details.
What they're saying ...
“Don Wilding … calls himself a storyteller, but he is also somewhat of a scholar. He’s a very dynamic man who pulls you into the stories of Cape Cod.”
— Rhoda Flaxman, Retired Professor of Literature, Brown University, and Founder, Open University of Wellfleet
"(Don Wilding's Portland Gale lecture) helped with my research for my book (“Painting The Light”). A great connection."
— Sally Cabot Gunning, June 2023
“Don is the ultimate storyteller and local author.”
— Eastham Historical Society, 2023
"The Portland’s sinking in 1898 gave it the unfortunate moniker “Titanic of New England”. Thank you to author Don Wilding for sharing your extensive research and amazing story of the famous gale, the ship, and the New Englanders who perished."
-- Centerville Public Library, 2023
“Don Wilding -- the hardest working author I know!”
-- "Braintree Jim" Freeman, WOMR, Provincetown
"Don recounts historic maritime disasters and heroic, sometimes tragic, rescue efforts by life-saving services. His decades of experience as an award-winning newspaper editor and writer, show in this well-researched book. Readers will gain a new perspective on the perils of a stormy sea along Cape Cod’s outer beaches."
-- Cape Cod Writers Center, 2022
“Smartly done, Mr. Wilding. I hope you feel extremely good about your effort.”
-- Jack Authelet, Foxborough (Mass.) Town Historian and Author, on Henry Beston’s Cape Cod, 2003
“Shipwrecks of Cape Cod” is a great history and compendium of tragedy and heroism."
-- Seth Rolbein, Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen's Alliance
"(Don Wilding’s) heart and writing pad are firmly entrenched in the dunes of the Outer Cape."
— The Cape Cod Voice, 2001
"Wilding spends his time educating people about the Cape's history, both factual and mystical. 'Shipwrecks of Cape Cod' has been one of the summer's bestsellers and is a perfect gift for a lover of Cape Cod history."
-- The Brewster Bookstore, August 2021
"Great program ('Shipwrecks of Cape Cod') … we look forward to having you again!"
— Tales of Cape Cod, Barnstable, August 2021
"A very interesting and informative presentation. Looking forward to your next book!"
-- Falmouth Newcomers Club, April 2022
“You managed to entertain and educate us with your charming speaking manner. We hope you will consider us for another visit with more stories of the Cape.”
— Rebecca Ward, Dennis-Yarmouth Newcomers, April 2022
"Looking forward to ("Shipwrecks of Cape Cod)." We’ll certainly add to our collection, one for circulating and one for our local history collection."
— Falmouth (Mass.) Public Library, 2021
“(Don Wilding’s) history pieces … are among The Cape Codder’s high points."
— New England Newspaper & Press Association, 2019
“Learn more and hear new stories every time! Your talk was really enjoyed by all, as usual.”
— Deborah Ullman, Chapel in the Pines, Eastham
"A fascinating exploration of the Prohibition era."
— Bob Allison, South Boston Historical Society and Suffolk University
“Thanks for keeping the Cape’s colorful history alive and entertaining.”
— Bob Prescott, Mass. Audubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary
“(Our) members are still talking about your presentation. It was well organized, highly informative and very amusing. Your scholarship was certainly evident. You are most knowledgeable about Cape history.”
— Betty McIntyre, Landfall Sailing Club
“Don Wilding is really steeped in the history of Eastham.”
— Ira Wood, WOMR-FM, Provincetown
"You’re continuing to tell these stories, and as we’re losing our heroes of the old Cape, you’re maintaining that. Everyone should keep an eye on where you are and what you’re speaking about in your different engagements."
-- Robby McQueeney ("The Dune Tramp"), WOMR-FM, Provincetown
“I extend to you our gratitude for your expertise in subject and presentation. Having quality speakers and topics are the keys to any lasting program. You have added to that tradition.”
— Robert McCormack, Cape Cod National Seashore
“A compelling, thoughtful, thoroughly researched presentation with stunning visuals. I highly recommend Don Wilding to any organization.”
— Teresa Izzo, Program Coordinator, Cape Cod Museum of Natural History
Don Wilding's rum running "talk was amazing."
— Cape Cod Maritime Museum
“A great talk about the Rum Runners of Cape Cod. Our meeting room was filled to capacity for this fun and informative talk on Cape Cod history!”
— Dennis Public Library
“(The ‘Journey to the Outer Beach’ course at Nauset Community Education) was great. I learned a lot that I'll be able to use on my tour business.”
— Geoffrey Reuland
“Several of our members have attended presentations given by you and have reacted very positively to your work.”
— George Morgenroth, Cape and Islands Tour Guide Association
“(Don’s ‘Shipwrecks & Rum Runners of Cape Cod’ program) was a huge success. So much, in fact that we have added another date for the folks on the waiting list.”
— Larry Lyford, Thirwood Place, South Yarmouth, Mass.
“Thank you so much for taking the time to share your deep knowledge of “The Outermost House” with our (coastal ecology) class. Our walk with you added another layer of understanding to the students’ reading of Beston, and underscored the dynamic nature of life on the Great Beach.”
- Brett Amy Thelen, Franklin Pierce University, Rindge, N.H.
“If you get the chance to meet Don, or read his book, or see his presentation, I highly recommend you do.”
— Peter Doherty, English Department, Tahanto Regional High School, Boylston, Mass.
“It was an honor to have you give your time to help our kids appreciate the wonders of the outer beach through (Henry) Beston’s, and now their own, eyes."
-- Steve Pacheco, Tahanto Regional High School, Boylston, Mass.
"Don Wilding's Cape Cod ... hit a history homerun!" -- French Cable Museum, Orleans, Mass.
“Don Wilding … is not only a fine writer, but also knows a lot about Cape Cod history as founder of the Henry Beston Society.”
— Provincetown Magazine
“(Don Wilding’s) heart and writing pad are firmly entrenched in the dunes of the Outer Cape.” — The Cape Cod Voice
“If you haven't seen any of Don Wilding's talks, they are fantastic.” — Cove Bluffs Inn, Eastham, Mass.
“I just finished reading your “Henry Beston’s Cape Cod” … and want to say how much I enjoyed the book. I learned more about Beston, about the house, and about the relationship between his life and the National Seashore. I am grateful for the time you and others take particularly in educating young people (as well as adults) on the importance of paying attention to our physical world, of noticing what is happening, a process, which, I think, over time, is fruitful in wisdom.”
— Angelyn Dries, Professor Emerita, Saint Louis University