Oliver Wolcott Library - Programs

Oliver Wolcott Library
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Events are updated regularly. Please check back! 

Wednesday, June 1st
2:00 - 3:00 p.m.

The Stone Walls & Structures of England & New England 
with Andrew Pighills
Click Here to Register 

Here in New England we have a unique historical record in drystone walls and structures. Stone Artisan Andrew Pighills believes the more he can make their history a part of our lives, the better chance there is of preserving this wonderful heritage for future generations.

In this slide presentation and lecture Andrew will draw comparisons, both similar and dissimilar, in geology, building styles and techniques, and follow the development and evolution of stone walls and structures in England and New England from colonial times to the present day. He will explain how they fit into the garden and wider landscape past and present.

Born in Yorkshire, England, Andrew Pighills is an accomplished stone artisan, gardener and horticulturist. He received his training with The Royal Horticultural Society and has spent 30+ years creating gardens and building dry stone walls in England.

Today, he is one of a handful of US-based, certified, professional members of The Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain. Andrew moved to the United States more than ten years ago and now continues this venerable craft here. His stone work has been featured on British and American television, in the New York Times, on Martha Stewart Living radio, and in books and magazines. Visit his blog at: http://heaveandhoe.blogspot.com. Registration is required.

Wednesday, June 8th
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

The Cookbook Club - Salad
with OWL Staff
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SALAD! Join Adult Services Librarian Audra MacLaren and Librarian Patricia Moore as we discuss and celebrate food and cookbooks with the Cookbook Club. Come to our June meeting to eat and discuss all things salad - tossed, Caesar, potato, seafood, Cobb! The choice is yours! Just be sure to come ready to eat!

Beginning a month before the discussion date we will have an assortment of cookbooks available for check out - select the one that most interests you.

Over the course of the month we encourage you to make recipes from your selected cookbook and come ready to chat about what worked, what didn’t, and what you cannot wait to make again. Audra and Patricia will be bringing some of their favorites to the discussion and if you are feeling adventurous we encourage you to do the same - don’t be intimidated, we are all just amateur cooks who love books. Learn more about the highlighted cookbooks, read about trial recipes, and reference the post-meeting round-up of recipes on our new blog: owlcookbookclub.wordpress.com. Registration is required.

Wednesday, June 15th
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

The Flags at Shea
with Author Frank Strauss
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In 1948 after getting an autograph from Babe Ruth, Frank Strauss, at age 13, thought he’d be a lifetime Yankees fan. But that all changed in 1965 when Yogi Berra was fired from the Yankees and then hired as a coach for the Mets. In his book, The Flags of Shea, Strauss captures the New York Mets glory days. Through a “you-are-there” narrative, his book covers such topics as the Miracle Mets of ’69; Harrelson and Pete Rose brawling in the 1973 playoffs; Willie Mays saying goodbye to baseball; Lenny Dykstra’s home run to win game three in the ’86 playoffs; and much more. The lights may have been turned out and the stadium is no more, but the memories still remain.

The Flags at Shea had its origins as a scrapbook of Mets’ World Series memorabilia. It was Strauss’ wife who advised him to turn it into a book. Overall it is a salute to the Mets teams that won four pennants and two World Series while playing at Shea Stadium and touches on what happened in the intervening years. 

Frank Strauss grew up in Jackson Heights, Queens. After graduating from Antioch College, he worked as a journalist and public relations official in Manhattan. While working as a marketing and public relations director at the Council of Jewish Federations in New York, he met and married his wife, Joan. Today they divide their time between New York City and Goshen, Connecticut. Reception will follow with light refreshments. The author will provide books for sale & signing. Registration is required. 


Thursday, June 16th
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Lilac Girls 
A Conversation with Author Martha Hall Kelly
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Join Joseph Montebello as he facilitates a very special conversation with author Martha Hall Kelly. 

Inspired by the true story of Caroline Ferriday using her home in Bethlehem, Connecticut and her social position to help the women who were tortured and experimented on at Ravensbrück concentration camp by the Nazis during World War II, Lilac Girls is a powerful historical fiction novel that has been meticulously researched.

Between 1939 and 1945, it is estimated that 130,000 female prisoners passed through the Ravensbrück camp system. Only 15,000 of the total survived until liberation. Although the inmates came from every country in German-occupied Europe, the largest single national group incarcerated in the camp consisted of Polish women.

Starting in the summer of 1942, medical experiments were conducted without consent on 86 women; 74 of them were Polish inmates. Two types of the experiments were conducted on the Polish political prisoners. The first type tested the efficacy of sulfonamide drugs. These experiments involved deliberate cutting into and infecting of leg bones and muscles with virulent bacteria, cutting nerves, introducing substances like pieces of wood or glass into tissues, and fracturing bones. 

The second set of experiments studied bone, muscle, and nerve regeneration, and the possibility of transplanting bones from one person to another. Out of the 74 Polish victims, called Lapins, or Rabbits by the experimenters, five died as a result of the experiments, six with unhealed wounds were executed, and (with assistance from other inmates) the rest survived with permanent physical damage.

To prepare for the writing of the novel, Martha visited the Ravensbruck and the Museum of Martyrdom, a former Gestapo detention center. She describes on her website that, “It’s somewhat terrifying descending into the Museum of Martyrdom Under the Clock. I’d read many cryptic references to ‘Under the clock’ in the Ravensbruck Concentration Camp survivor testimonies and was beyond curious to see it for myself. The museum is….housed in the basement of the building the Nazis used for their Lublin headquarters. A visitor wouldn’t give it a second look, for it’s an ordinary looking building from the outside, but there is a hellish prison below, now a museum dedicated to those who gave their lives in the extraordinarily active Polish underground.”

In Lilac Girls, Martha Hall Kelly has crafted a remarkable novel of the quest for love and freedom, of terrible secrets and redemption. It is a story that will keep readers bonded with the characters, searching for the truth, until the final pages.

Martha Hall Kelly worked as an advertising copywriter for many years. Lilac Girls, her first novel, took ten years to research and five years to write. She is currently working on a prequel to Lilac Girls. Visit her website at marthahallkelly.com. A wine & cheese reception will follow the event. The Hickory Stick Bookshop will provide books for sale & signing. Registration is required. 



Tuesday, June 28th
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Mark Twain’s Hartford
with Author Steve Courtney
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"Of all the beautiful towns it has been my fortune to see,” Samuel Clemens said on his first visit in 1868, “Hartford is the chief.” Throughout his two decades of residence in the city he enjoyed a joyful family life, produced his best-read books, pursued vigorous social activities and poked fun at local icons such as the insurance industry and the Charter Oak.

Mark Twain’s Hartford follows the tale of the author’s early life, the city he saw when he arrived, his interrelationships with city matters and people, the building of his grand home on Farmington Avenue and his family’s eventual departure in the face of financial distress. It covers the city’s role in spurring him to comedy, the tragedy that led him to call Hartford the “city of Heartbreak,” and the later revival and restoration of his house to the iconic national landmark it is today.

Steve Courtney has been a journalist for 40 years, largely at The Hartford Courant, and won the 2009 Connecticut Book Award for Joseph Hopkins Twichell: The Life and Times of Mark Twain’s Closest Friend. He served as publicist for The Mark Twain House & Museum, founded its Writing Program and Twainian lecture series, and now works in the Museum’s Curatorial Department. A wine & cheese reception will follow the event. The author will provide books for sale & signing. Registration is required. 

Sundays, July 10th & August 14th
1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

Harper Lee: A Book Discussion Series
Led by Joseph Montebello
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In 1961 To Kill a Mockingbird won the Pulitzer Prize and has become a classic of modern American literature. The plot and characters are loosely based on Lee’s observations of her family and neighbors, as well as an event that occurred near her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama. The novel deals with the irrationality of adult attitudes towards race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s, as depicted through the eyes of two children. Go Set a Watchman, was written in the mid-1950s about these same characters but was not published until July 2015.

Join Joseph Montebello as he leads a book discussion on these two novels. The discussion will begin with Go Set a Watchman on July 10 and finish with To Kill a Mockingbird on August 14. Books will be available to borrow beginning in June.

Joseph Montebello was the former Vice-President and Creative Director at HarperCollins. During his tenure, he worked with some of the most prominent authors publishing today: Annie Dillard, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Tony Hillerman, Stuart Woods, Jackie Collins, Roxana Robinson, Allen Ginsberg, among many others. In addition to being Creative director, he also founded his own imprint Harper Style, where he published books on fashion, photography, and interior design. He discovered Carolyne Roehm and published her series of flower books. He is a contributing editor for Litchfield magazine, The Litchfield County Times, Passport Magazine, and Berkshire Style







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