Franklin and South Dennis,
Nonprofit groups, schools, and other organizations interested in hiring Don for a lecture can contact him at email@example.com.
SPEAKER'S FEE: $250
Don has presented his programs to a wide variety of audiences since 2001, including the Cape Cod National Seashore, the Boston Public Library, the Thoreau Society, the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, the Eastham Historical Society, and the Thornton Burgess Society, as well as classes from the Orleans Elementary School, Captain Nathan Hill Middle School (Coventry, Conn.), Tahanto Regional High School (Boylston, Mass.), Chatham High School on Cape Cod, Penn State University, Emerson College, and Franklin Pierce University (New Hampshire). Don has led history walks at Cape Cod National Seashore, and taught Cape history courses at the Open University of Wellfleet and Nauset Community Education.
Don’s talks include:
SHIPWRECKS OF CAPE COD: STORIES OF TRAGEDY & TRIUMPH
Cape Cod’s outer beach, often referred to as the “Graveyard of Ships,” has always been known for its shipwrecks. Between 1626 and the mid-twentieth century, this solitary forty-mile stretch of beach and sandbars saw the demise of over 3,000 vessels along its shifting shoals. It’s been said that if all the wrecks were raised, one could walk from Provincetown to Chatham without getting his or her feet wet. Don revisits some of these disasters and the heroic, and sometimes tragic, rescue efforts of the U.S. Lifesaving Service and Coast Guard.
CAPE COD AND THE PORTLAND GALE OF 1898
On the night of November 26, 1898, with a killer storm of historic proportions approaching, the steamer Portland set out from Boston. By the following night, the winter hurricane sent the vessel to the depths of Massachusetts Bay off Cape Cod, claiming nearly two hundred lives. On the Cape, a few dozen victims of the Portland disaster washed ashore, while ships piled up in harbors, high tides swept away railroad tracks, and the landscape and beaches were changed forever. Several Cape Cod mariners went to sea and never returned, caught in the gale’s evil clutches. Don revisits this disaster and the heroic deeds of the U.S. Life-Saving Service and the Cape’s citizenry in what came to be known as “The Portland Gale.”
HENRY BESTON’S CAPE COD
Henry Beston’s book, “The Outermost House,” is considered to be one of the great nature books ever written. Learn how Beston’s trail to Cape Cod began at the Battle of Verdun in World War I, how he tapped into the healing power of nature on Cape Cod’s Outer Beach, how “The Outermost House” inspired legislators in Washington to establish the Cape Cod National Seashore, and the influence that Beston and “The Outermost House” had on Rachel Carson, other nature writers, and the American environmental movement.
RUM RUNNERS OF CAPE COD
During the era of Prohibition (1920-1933), rum running was big business on Cape Cod. Farmers and fishermen of the Cape took to the seas, heading offshore to "Rum Row" to bring the criminal yet coveted alcohol to the mainland under cover of darkness, while the possibility of being caught by the Coast Guard was always present. Busy harbors and remote estuaries, many of which are now popular tourist destinations, were all game for bringing the booze ashore, while law enforcement officials often turned a blind eye. Join Don for this comprehensive look at how "the Noble Experiment" turned into a profitable and potentially dangerous undertaking for many of the Cape's residents.
CAPE COD STORM STORIES
Sailors and settlers on the Cape have a long history of battling the elements, including vicious hurricanes and northeasters. Don takes a look back at the hurricanes of 1938 and 1944, Hurricanes Edna, Carol, Bob, and the near-miss of Edouard, as well as the JFK Inaugural Storm of 1961, "The Perfect Storm," the "Surprise Storm" of 2005, and the legendary "Blizzard of '78."
CAPE COD LORE
Cape Cod's history is full of mysterious stories and legends, whether it be ghosts, pirates, witches, mystical dunes, shipwrecks, sea monsters, and tall tales that Cape Cod natives can't resist telling. Join Don for a look back at a collection of stories you may or may not want to believe.
WHERE DON'S BEEN ...
CAPE COD, MASS.
Cape Cod National Seashore, Salt Pond Visitors Center.
Cape Cod National Seashore (walks).
Eastham Chamber of Commerce
Eastham Senior Center
Eastham Historical Society
Eastham Public Library
Nauset Fellowship (Universalist / Unitarian) of Chapel in the Pines.
Eastham 350th Anniversary celebration, 2001.
The Inn at the Oaks (Penn. State University).
Captain’s Quarters (tourist group from Georgia)
Massachusetts Audubon Society’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary.
Wellfleet Historical Society (at the Wellfleet Public Library).
Cape Cod National Seashore, Marconi Beach (for Tahanto Regional High School, Boylston, Mass.).
Open University of Wellfleet (at Wellfleet Preservation Hall).
Nauset Newcomers (at Wellfleet Cinemas).
Truro Library, North Truro.
Provincetown Public Library.
Pilgrim Monument & Provincetown Museum (Provincetown 2020 event).
Nauset Heights Association, East Orleans.
Nauset Community Education at Nauset Middle School.
Cape Cod Hospital Auxiliary (Orleans branch) at Church of the Holy Spirit.
Atwood House Museum (Chatham Historical Society).
Chatham High School.
Eldredge Public Library.
Chatham Orpheum (Rough cut screening of footage from the Henry Beston’s Cape Cod documentary film).
Cape Cod Museum of Natural History.
Brewster Ladies’ Library.
Brewster Men’s Club (at Ocean Edge)
Cape Cod Sea Camps.
Epoch Senior Center.
Harwich Council on Aging at Harwich Community Center.
Harwich Conservation Trust at Harwich Community Center.
Harwich Historical Society.
Brooks Free Library, Harwich.
Cape Cod Museum of Art.
Dennis Public Library, Dennisport.
South Dennis Free Library, South Dennis.
Dennis Memorial Library.
Mayflower Retirement Community, West Yarmouth.
Historical Society of Old Yarmouth at Old Yarmouth Inn.
South Yarmouth Public Library.
Cultural Center of Cape Cod (for the Cape Cod Film Society).
Thirwood Place, South Yarmouth.
Cape Cod Community College, West Barnstable.
Cape Cod Writers’ Center (at the Cape Cod Maritime Museum).
Cape Cod Maritime Museum.
Tales of Cape Cod.
Barnstable Senior Center.
Cotuit Library, Cotuit.
Osterville Free Library, Osterville.
Hyannis Public Library.
Mashpee Public Library.
Thornton W. Burgess Society (Green Briar Center).
Sandwich Council on Aging.
Sandwich Glass Museum (Talk of the Town Series).
Bourne Newcomers & Neighbors.
Bourne Historical Society
Woods Hole Biological Laboratory.
Falmouth Public Library.
Encore of Falmouth Newcomers (at First Congregational Church of Falmouth).
Falmouth Newcomers (at First Congregational Church of Falmouth).
Abington Public Library.
Athol Public Library.
Boston Public Library.
South Boston Historical Society.
Tahanto Regional High School.
Bridgewater Public Library.
Brookline Adult Education.
Cambridge Center for Adult Education.
Paul Pratt Memorial Library.
Thoreau Society (72nd Annual.Gathering, 2013).
Dover Town Library.
Foxborough Historical Society.
Framingham Public Library.
Franklin Public Library.
Hingham Public Library.
Holliston Public Library.
Bancroft Memorial Library.
Hudson Public Library.
Ventress Memorial Library.
Mansfield Council on Aging.
Mansfield Public Library.
Mattapoisett Free Public Library.
Maynard Public Library.
Mitchell Memorial Club (for the Massachusetts Beach Buggy Association).
Milford Town Library.
Cornerstone at Milford.
Morse Institute Library.
Newburyport Film Festival, The Screening Room Theater (rough cut screening of film, 2014).
Newton Free Library.
Norfolk Public Library.
North Attleboro Historical Society.
Northboro Free Library.
Norton Public Library.
Norton Institute for Continuing Education (Wheaton College).
Plymouth Public Library.
Thomas Crane Public Library.
Raynham Historical Society.
Hawthorne Hotel (2003 annual meeting of Annie’s Book Stop owners ).
Sharon Adult Center (at the Community Center).
Somerset Public Library.
Southboro Public Library.
Uxbridge Free Library.
Walpole Public Library.
Corbin Public Library.
Wellesley Free Library.
Weston Senior Citizens Club.
Winchester Public Library.
Damariscotta Lake Watershed Association.
National Literary Landmark dedication for Henry Beston’s Chimney Farm at Nobleboro Grange.
Hopkinton Public Library.
Weaver Memorial Library.
North Kingstown Free Library.