Oliver Wolcott Library - Programs

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Thursday, April 6th 
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Thru Hiking the Appalachian Trail
with Sam Ducharme
Click Here to Register 

"Not all those who wander are lost.” ~ J.R.R. Tolkein

Those who attend this program will be treated to a modern-day adventure. Sam Ducharme set out on a 2,180 mile, 14 state backpacking trip from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mt. Katahdin Maine. During his six month journey he documented the rugged beauty of the Appalachian Mountains, the wildlife, the hardships encountered on the trail, as well as the people, culture and humanity at its finest. Come join him as he takes you through the trail towns, over the mountaintops and through the backcountry. The images and stories will leave you with a renewed awe of the beauty of our country and its people.

See his gear, how he cooked, and hear what it is like sleeping in a hammock for six months through three seasons. You will also hear how Sam returned to the trail the following year, connecting with aspiring Thru Hikers, paying it forward, and his return to the summit of Katahdin one year later.

Sam Ducharme is a retired K9 Officer and is a lifelong resident of Connecticut. He has two adult sons, both serving in the United States Air Force. As an avid outdoorsman, and finding the empty-nest, Sam decided to buy a backpack and a plane ticket to Georgia. From there, he started walking north. With no prior backpacking experience, he learned on the trail. Gear, trail nutrition, enduring the elements, and the logistics involved in a long distance backpacking trip were hard lessons. After 20 years working within Connecticut’s prisons, the search for a positive recharge resulted in a life changing journey. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED

Tuesday, April 11th

7:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Heartbeat: A Native American Musical Experience

with Craig Harris

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Based on extensive research and interviews with more than one hundred influential musicians, producers, and record label owners, Heartbeat is an unprecedented celebration of Native North America’s magnificent audio tapestry. Join percussionist, educator, and author Craig Harris as he leads this exciting multimedia, participatory, and stereotype-defying celebration of Native American music. 

Combining archival video and audio recordings, eye-opening storytelling, and collective music-making, this program spans from  the “heartbeat” of powwow drums and the “warble” of wooden flutes to the electrifying sounds of Native infused rock, jazz, reggae, country music, blues, hip-hip, and electronic dance music. 

A passion for music has fueled Harris’ journey. His music-oriented articles, reviews, and photographs have appeared in newspapers, magazines, and websites for more than four decades.

A skilled percussionist, Harris has appeared in concert and/or on recordings with Rod MacDonald, C.J. Chenier, Jonathan Edwards, Greg Brown, Melanie, Rick Danko (The Band), and Merl Saunders. He currently plays with the Gaea Star Band, and co-hosts the weekly Gaea Crystal Radio Hour for the Dream Vision 7 Radio Network. Holding a masters’ degree in education, Harris taught music in public and charter schools for a more than a quarter-century. Visit his website at: drumawaytheblues.com. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED


Thursday, April 20th
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Revolution: Mapping the Road to American Independence, 1755 - 1783
with Authors Richard Brown & Paul Cohen
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Few wars in history have such a rich literary and cartographic heritage as that of the Revolutionary War. The high skills of the surveyors, artists, and engravers who delineated the topography and fields of battle allow us to observe the unfolding of events that ultimately defined the United States.

When warfare erupted between Britain and her colonists in 1775, maps provided graphic news about military matters. A number of the best examples are reproduced here, including some from the personal collections of King George III, the Duke of Northumberland, and the Marquis de Lafayette. In Revolution, these and other maps from institutional and private collections are published for the first time.

At the Treaty of Paris, the French and Indian War ended, and King George III gained clear title to more territory than had ever been exchanged in any other war before or since. The British military employed its best-trained artists and engineers to map the richest prize in its Empire. They would need those maps for the fratricidal war that would begin twelve years later. Their maps and many others make up the contents of this fascinating and beautiful book.

Revolution: Mapping the Road to American Independence 1755-1783, identifies and illustrates the works that best reveal the unfolding of events that resulted in the establishment of the United States.

Filmmaker Ric Burns called the book “a GPS to the American Revolution” and described it as “ravishingly beautiful.”  Harvard historian Jane Kamensky praised it for casting “new light” on the subject as well as inviting “fresh thinking about the founding of the United States.” An Amazon reviewer wrote:  “The provenance of the maps is almost as fascinating as the history they tell. To look at these maps is to see history as the contemporary map makers saw it.” 

Richard H. Brown is a collector of maps and views of the French and Indian War and American Revolution. He is vice chairman of the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center where he has been instrumental in the creation of We Are One, a Revolutionary War era map exhibition that will travel from Colonial Williamsburg to the New York Historical Society in the fall of 2017. Richard also serves as a member of the Madison Council of the Library of Congress and a councilor of the American Antiquarian Society.

Paul E. Cohen is the co-author of Manhattan in Maps, which received the New York City Book Award in 1997. He is also the author of Mapping the West and the co-editor of American Cities. He has published numerous articles on various cartographic subjects appearing in publications including the New England Quarterly and The Magazine Antiques. He is a partner in Cohen & Taliaferro LLC, New York City, dealers in rare books and antique maps.

A wine & cheese reception will follow. Copies of the book will be available for sale at the event. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED 

Sundays, March 26th & April 23rd
1:00 - 2:30 p.m.

Henry James: A Book Discussion
Led by Mark Scarbrough
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Regarded as one of the key figures of 19th century literary realism, Henry James’s work is valued for his psychological and moral realism, his masterful creation of character, and his assured command of the language. In this series, we’ll explore two of his novels.

March 26: The Spoils of Poynton
In The Spoils of Poynton (1897), Henry James created a work of exquisite ambiguity in his depiction of three women fighting for the allegiance of one weak-willed man.

April 23: What Maisie Knew
The child of parents who divorce, remarry and then embark on adulterous affairs, Maisie survives by her intelligence and spirit. For all its somber theme of childhood innocence exposed to a corrupted adult world, this novel is one of James’s comic masterpieces.

Mark Scarbrough started his professional life as an academic whose focus was Chaucer and Harriet Beecher Stowe. After several years teaching, he resigned and moved to New York to write. In New York, he met and married Bruce Weinstein. Together, they have written more than two dozen cookbooks, and have appeared on The Today Show, CBS This Morning and The View. Mark recently completed a memoir, not yet published, entitled Bookmarked that discusses the confluence of his life and books, with a special emphasis on the significant and complex role James’s novels have had on his life. His website is bruceandmark.com. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED.

Books are available at the library to borrow four weeks in advance of the discussion.


Tuesday, April 25th
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Retirement Planning: Why & When to Consider Long-Term Care Insurance
with David Guttchen & Aldo Pantano
Click Here to Register


The State of Connecticut, in conjunction with the Oliver Wolcott Library, will present this free, two-hour lecture presentation. No insurance sales will take place. Anyone who is between 40 and 65 years of age and have or plan to have assets of at least $75,000 excluding car and home will benefit from this lecture. 

You will gain a better understanding of: the risks and costs of nursing home and home care and why it’s important to consider these long-term care factors in retirement planning; what you need to know before buying long-term care insurance; and the State’s innovative program, the Connecticut Partnership for Long-Term Care, and how it can add to your long-range financial security

David J. Guttchen is the Director of the Health and Human Services Unit for the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management and also is the Director of the Connecticut Partnership for Long-Term Care. Mr. Guttchen has worked on the Partnership project since August 1989 and has been Director since 1992. He also serves as the Chair of Connecticut’s Long-Term Care Planning Committee.

Aldo Pantano is the Training Program Supervisor for the Connecticut Partnership for Long-Term Care (LTC) within the State Office of Policy and Management and is responsible for training insurance agents as well as educating CT residents regarding the need for LTC. Prior to working for the Partnership, Mr. Pantano spent 17 years marketing LTC coverage in the private insurance industry.  REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED 

Thursday, April 27th
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

The Wars of the Roosevelts

A Conversation with Author William J. Mann

Click Here to Register 

The Wars of the Roosevelts: the Ruthless Rise of American’s Greatest Political Family presents a provocative, thoroughly modern revisionist biographical history of one of America’s greatest and most influential families exposing heretofore unknown family secrets and detailing complex family rivalries.

Drawing on previously hidden historical documents and interviews with the long-silent “illegitimate” branch of the family, William J. Mann paints an elegant, meticulously researched, and groundbreaking group portrait of this legendary family. Mann argues that the Roosevelts’ rise to power and prestige was actually driven by a series of intense personal contest that at times devolved into blood sport. His compelling and eye-opening masterwork is the story of a family at war with itself, The Wars of the Roosevelts illuminates not only the enviable strengths but also the profound shame of this remarkable and influential family.

Join Joseph Montebello as he facilitates a conversation with author William J. Mann.

William J. Mann is the New York Times bestselling author of Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn; How to Be a Movie Star: Elizabeth Taylor in Hollywood; Hello, Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand; and Wisecracker: The Life and Times of William Haines, winner of the Lambda Literary Award. He divides his time between Connecticut and Cape Cod. 

A wine & cheese reception will follow. The Hickory Stick Bookshop will provide books for sale & signing. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED

Thursday, May 25th
7:00 - 8:00 p.m. 

Bombs Have No Eyes:
Stories from Japan in Support of Peace Education
with Marina Outwater
Click Here to Register 


Japanese school children visit Nagasaki and Hiroshima’s peace parks and museums in order to fully understand the complexities of war and the damaging effects of nuclear weapons. Japanese schools teach peace curriculums, even at the university level. And yet, in many American classrooms, children do not receive a similar education. Our students often have a limited understanding of the events of World War II in general and typically know even less about Japan’s involvement.

Marina Outwater’s recent trip to Nagasaki and Hiroshima revealed first-hand accounts from survivors who told their stories with nothing more than an intense desire for world peace. Marina will share these moving tales of several hibakusha who were young children at the time of the atomic bombings. After sharing stories and photographs, Marina will discuss the need for peace education and some strategies for implementation in the classroom.

Marina Outwater is a Litchfield resident and a veteran teacher with over twenty years of experience in middle schools. She has a master’s degree in Early Adolescent Education from Bank Street College of Education and is working towards another master’s degree in American History. This past summer, Marina spent two weeks in Nagasaki, Hiroshima, and Kyoto as part of a small study tour of twelve teachers from across the nation investigating peace through the Five College Center for East Asian Studies. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED





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