Oliver Wolcott Library - Programs

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Thursday, August 24th
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

You Don’t Look Your Age…And Other Fairy Tales

with Author Sheila Nevins

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Sheila Nevins is the best friend you never knew you had. She is your discreet confidante you can tell any secret to, your sage mentor at work who helps you navigate the often uneven playing field, your wise sister who has “been there, done that,” your hysterical girlfriend whose stories about men will make you laugh until you cry. Sheila Nevins is the one person who always tells it like it is. In You Don’t Look Your Age, the famed documentary producer finally steps out from behind the camera and takes her place front and center.

In these pages you will read about the real life challenges of being a woman in a man’s world, what it means to be a working mother, what it’s like to be an older woman in a youth-obsessed culture, the sometimes changing, often sweet truth about marriages, what being a feminist really means, and that you are in good company if your adult children don’t return your phone calls.

Sheila Nevins has a BA from Barnard and an MFA from the Yale School of Drama, and is a television producer and the President of HBO Documentary Films. She has produced over one thousand documentary films for HBO and is one of the most influential people in documentary filmmaking. She has worked on productions that have been recognized with 32 Primetime Emmy Awards, 34 News and Doc Emmy Awards, 42 Peabody Awards, and 26 Academy Awards. Nevins has won 32 individual Primetime Emmy Awards, more than any other person. A wine & cheese reception will follow. The Hickory Stick Bookshop will provide books for sale & signing. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED 


Wednesday, September 6th
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

101 Things...

with Author Georgene Summers

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What has happened in our society to make people numb to the needs of others and to embrace a world of Me and Entitlement rather than one of Us? In 101 Things that Piss Me Off, Society on Trial, Georgene Summers shines a humorous but truthful light onto every day occurrences which happen to all of us as we move through our daily activities. 

We don’t like what’s happening but it’s becoming more and more prevalent to see people behaving in thoughtless and rude ways, not thinking about how their actions impact others. What are the key causes for this apparent lack of empathy for others and for a general malaise that is apparent in our lives?  How large a part does the Internet play in what is happening in our world in a negative way? How can we as individuals change things? Georgene will explore how we have come to this place and what we can do to change it, if anything!

California girl Georgene Summers is an Adventurer, Author, Talk Show Host, Wild-Life Photographer, Strategic Intervention Change Coach, Marriage & Relationship Coach, Know Your WHY Coach, Inventor, Businesswoman, Fashionista - the wildly animated Summers seems to have done it all. In 2002 at the age of 60 she moved alone to Africa not knowing a soul and started a project working with Xhosa tribeswomen teaching them how to make commercially viable beaded cellphone bags. After returning to the states in 2011 Georgene studied with renowned Motivational Speaker Tony Robbins and is now a Certified Strategic Intervention Coach and Marriage & Relationship Coach on a Mission. She is also the author of three books on relationships. Visit her website at: aworld4women.com. A wine & cheese reception will follow. The author will provide books for sale & signing. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED 

OWL Monday Scholars
Modern Art & Ideas

Mondays, September 11 through October 2
12:30 - 2:00 p.m.   
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Facilitated by Patricia Moore, Monday Scholars is a weekly series that meets in the library’s Jamie Gagarin Community Room. It’s the best of online learning and classroom discussion. Each week, a new lecture topic is watched and then discussed by all who attend. All you need to do is come ready to engage your mind and participate in the discussion. Registration Required. 

About the Course:
In Modern Art and Ideas, we will learn about modern and contemporary art. Themes can provide an effective structure for engaging with art. We will explore four themes that educators at The Museum of Modern Art use frequently in their teaching: Places & Spaces, Art & Identity, Transforming Everyday Objects, and Art & Society. We will explore the content and context of works of art in MoMA’s collection through a variety of accessible and relevant themes and hear directly from artists about their ideas and processes.

About the Professor:
Lisa Mazzola is the Assistant Director of School and Teacher Programs at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. She has also taught in an adjunct capacity for NYU and Columbia Teacher’s College in their Arts Administration and Arts Education masters programs. Prior to her work at MoMA, Lisa coordinated gallery education and special projects at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution in New York City and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.


Wednesday, September 13th
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Genius Loci: The Art of Remembrance
with Photographer Charles Moretz
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Charles Moretz is an artist and designer whose colossal photographs were installed in the Windows on the World, the restaurant atop the north tower of the World Trade Center. He named his collection Genius Loci, a Latin phrase meaning “the spirit of a place,” because his photographs captured the detail, the scale and the life of the Twin Towers.

Moretz moved to lower Manhattan in the 1970s when the Twin Towers were being constructed. He watched as they injected a new life to the area, and the buildings became his “artistic muse,” a grandiose subject he captured on film. His photographs were soon noticed by Port Authority officials and in 1982 he was commissioned to take majestic photographs of the buildings to be installed in Windows on the World as part of a permanent exhibition.

Using pictures and words, this program will touch on Moretz’s experiences in lower Manhattan in the ‘70s, the history of the World Trade Center, the architectural details of the buildings, and his photographic work.

Charles Moretz is the Founder and Creative Director of Genius Loci USA, Inc. Genius Loci is an uplifting and inspiring 9/11 Memorial design honoring and celebrating the original World Trade Center, a City within a City, and those who lived and worked there. The principal feature of the memorial is his signature collection of Twin Tower photography. He is also Creative Director of Seventy Acres Landscape Architecture & Design in Wilton. A wine & cheese reception will follow. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED 



Sunday, September 17th
1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

Nuns, Nazis and Notre Dame:

A Conversation with Gerald O’Reilly

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The In the forthcoming book Nuns, Nazis and Notre Dame: Tales of the Great Depression, World War II and the Fighting Irish, author Tim Pletkovich examines the early life of Gerald A. O’Reilly (1923-). Gerry, the father of six children and a long-time resident of Litchfield, was raised in Brooklyn, New York during the 1920s and ‘30s when The Dodgers were king, stickball ruled the streets -- and rumblings of another war in Europe shook the earth from across the Atlantic. 

Gerry’s story takes us from the alleys of trolley-car Brooklyn to the hallways of Notre Dame during legendary football Coach Frank Leahy’s national championship years, to the innermost thoughts of an elite 10th Mountain Division soldier thrust into the horror of battle in Italy’s harsh Apennine mountains. (Gerry is the last surviving member of his company.)

Join William F. B. O’Reilly and Peter Vermilyea who will moderate and facilitate this conversation with Gerry, and who will provide additional insights on the stories of Gerry’s incredible life.

They will discuss Gerry’s colorful life journey: President Teddy Roosevelt’s introduction of his parents to each other; lying beneath moving subway cars on a boyhood bet; nuns halting a Dodger game to retrieve truant students; raiding Mussolini’s personal wine cellar after sacking his house; fibbing to Pope Pius XII in Rome (white lie); courting the late Maureen Buckley O’Reilly (1933-1964) of the Connecticut Buckley family in heady post-war Manhattan, and proposing from a hospital bed to elegant magazine beauty editor Seton Lindsay O’Reilly to whom he has been married for 46 years.

Gerry O’Reilly is charter member of America’s fast-vanishing Greatest Generation. Nuns, Nazis and Notre Dame is a poignant and charming celebration of his life. 

Meet the Moderators:
William F. B. O’Reilly is a partner at The November Team, a New York-based political and corporate communications firm, and a twice-weekly political columnist for Newsday. He regularly appears on local and national television and radio shows, and co-hosts a weekly political TV program called Newsbreakers which airs in New York and New Jersey. Bill, his wife Corrinne, and their three daughters live in Mount Kisco, NY.

Peter Vermilyea teaches history at Western Connecticut State University and at Housatonic Valley Regional High School in Falls Village. He is the author of four books including The Hidden History of Litchfield County and Of the People, By the People, For the People and Other Quotations from Abraham Lincoln. Peter also maintains the blog Hidden in Plain Sight about the history of Litchfield at hiddeninplainsightblog.com. He lives in Litchfield with his wife and two sons.

Gerry’s biography, Nuns, Nazis, and Notre Dame, has not been published yet but will be forthcoming. Those attending the event who wish to purchase a copy may request notice when it is officially released.

Please join us for this fascinating discussion and celebration of Gerry O’Reilly. A wine & cheese reception will follow. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED



Wednesday, September 20th
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

The Other Alcott

A Conversation with Author Elise Hooper

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We all know the story of the March sisters, heroines of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. But while everyone cheers on Jo March, based on Louisa herself, Amy March is often the least favorite sister. Now, it’s time to learn the truth about the real “Amy,” Louisa’s sister, May. Elise Hooper’s debut novel conjures the fascinating, untold story of May Alcott - Louisa’s youngest sister and an artist in her own right.

Outgoing and creative, May Alcott is a talented artist who took lessons in Boston and faced scorn for entering what was a man’s profession. When Louisa’s Little Women is published, its success eases the family’s financial burdens, but May is struck by the portrayal of selfish, spoiled “Amy March” and embarks on a quest to discover her own true identity, as an artist and a woman. From Boston to Rome, London, and Paris, this brave, talented, and determined woman forges an amazing life of her own, making her so much more than merely “The Other Alcott.”

Martha Hall Kelly, author of Lilac Girls, will facilitate the conversation. Martha and Elise will be discussing the importance of telling women’s stories, as well as the challenges and opportunities of writing historical fiction.

A New Englander by birth, Elise now lives with her husband and two young daughters in the Pacific Northwest’s Puget Sound. When not writing, she teaches American history and literature to high school students. She’s drawn to historical figures, especially women, who linger in the footnotes of history books yet have fascinating stories waiting to be told. The Other Alcott is Elise’s first novel. A wine & cheese reception will follow. The Hickory Stick Bookshop will provide books for sale & signing. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED   



Thursday, September 21st
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Walking to Listen: 4,000 Miles Across America
with Author Andrew Forsthoefel
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Walking to Listen: 4,000 Miles Across America, One Story at a Time is a memoir of one young man’s coming of age on a journey across America - told through the stories of the people of all ages, races, and inclinations he meets along the way.

At 23, Andrew Forsthoefel headed out the back door of his home in Pennsylvania, with a backpack, an audio recorder, his copies of Whitman and Rilke, and a sign that read “Walking to Listen.” He had just graduated from Middlebury College and was ready to begin his adult life, but he didn’t know how, so he decided to take a cross-country quest for guidance, one where everyone he met would be his guide.

In the year that followed, he faced an Appalachian winter and a Mojave summer. He met beasts inside: fear, loneliness, doubt. But he also encountered incredible kindness from strangers. Thousands shared their stories with him, sometimes confiding their prejudices too. Often he didn’t know how to respond. How to find unity in diversity? How to stay connected, even as fear works to tear us apart? He listened for answers to these questions, and to the existential questions every human must face, and began to find that the answer might be in listening itself.

Andrew Forsthoefel is a writer, radio producer, and public speaker. He facilitates workshops on walking and listening as practices in personal transformation, interconnection, and conflict resolution. His year walking across the U.S. was the greatest privilege and blessing of his life. A wine & cheese reception will follow. The Hickory Stick Bookshop will provide books for sale & signing. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED

Wednesday, October 4th
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Victorian Fashion: Real or Not?
with Susan J. Jerome
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Queen Victoria and the Victorian Age give rise to images of women swathed in yards and yard of fabric, proper bonnets on the head, gloves on the hands and tightly-corseted waists. We also think of children dressed like little adults and men in dark frock coats and stiff white shirts But is this a true understanding of the fashions worn during the Victorian era? 

Queen Victoria, by inheriting the throne at an early age and living into her 80s, endowed much of the nineteenth century with her name. She reigned during a time of great advancements in science and social beliefs. Social, technological, and political changes are reflected in the notable evolution of women’s, children’s, and men’s clothing.

This powerpoint program explores the many changes that occurred throughout the Victorian era and how these influenced fashion. We will look at what was stylish - real or otherwise – during this most fashionable time.

Susan J. Jerome is the Collections Manager at the University of Rhode Island Historic Textile and Costume Collection. She earned her MS degree from the University of Rhode Island, Department of Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design. Prior to continuing her education, she worked for a number of years at Mystic Seaport Museum. Ms. Jerome also works as a textile and quilt conservator and a consultant to museums and historical societies. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED


Wednesday, October 11th
6:30 - 7:30 p.m.

The Cookbook Club

Pumpkins, Apples, Potatoes & More!

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Celebrate nature’s bounty at our Fall Harvest Potluck! Join librarians Audra MacLaren and Patricia Moore as we discuss and share our fall harvest dishes. At each meeting members bring dishes prepared from the selected cookbooks. If you’re running short on time, don’t worry; just bring yourself - there is always a surplus of delicious food to enjoy.

When you register for the program we will assign you an appetizer, entrée, side-dish, or dessert and the rest is up to you. If you are looking for some autumnal ideas we will have cookbooks on display in the library focusing on apples, pumpkins, and other fall favorites beginning a month before the meeting.

Come for the delectable dishes and the lovely conversation. Don’t worry - we are all just amateur cooks who love books! REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED


Sunday, October 15th
1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

Poetry Reading & Discussion

with Wise Old Owls
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For ten years a small group of poets has met each month at the Oliver Wolcott Library. They kidded themselves they were turning into wise old owls. Then, they began publishing books, teaching here and there, and writing and writing. Two passed away; one moved away. New members took their places.

Join us as the owls will read short selections from their poems, and try to explain what motivated them, and the value in meeting with a supportive group of peers. The criticism which members have provided each other has improved all their work. They will talk about their poems and try to answer any questions.

The owls are now planning an anthology of their poems, to be published by Christmas.

The owls are: Marie Prentice, John Perry, Wendy McGaffey, Jack Sheedy, Cynthia Rabinowitz, Rob Nessler, Connie Budelis, and Jim Kelleher. Also, in absentia, John Hart, and in memoriam Bee Simont and Bob Potter. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED

Tuesday, October 17th
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Spies in the Family

A Conversation with Author Eva Dillon

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Spies in the Family: An American Spymaster, His Russian Crown Jewel, and the Friendship that Helped End the Cold War is a riveting true-life thriller and revealing memoir from the daughter of an American intelligence officer. 

In the summer of 1975, seventeen-year-old Eva Dillon’s family was living in New Delhi when her father was exposed as a CIA spy. Eva had long believed that her father was a U.S. State Department employee. She had no idea that he was handling the CIA’s highest-ranking double agent - Dmitri Fedorovich Polyakov - a Soviet general whose code name was TOPHAT.

Spanning fifty years and three continents, Spies in the Family is a deeply researched account of two families on opposite sides of the lethal espionage campaigns of the Cold War, and two men whose devoted friendship lasted a lifetime, until the devastating final days of their lives. With impeccable insider access to both families as well as knowledgeable CIA and FBI officers, Dillon goes beyond the fog of secrecy to craft an unforgettable story of friendship and betrayal, double agents and clandestine lives.

Join Joseph Montebello as he facilitates this conversation with author Eva Dillon.

Eva Dillon spent twenty-five years in the magazine publishing business, including stints at Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, The New Yorker, and as president of Reader’s Digest. Dillon and her six siblings grew up moving around the world for her father’s CIA assignments from Berlin to Mexico City to Rome to New Delhi. A wine & cheese reception will follow. The Hickory Stick Bookshop will provide books for sale & signing. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED 

Thursday, October 19th
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Imagine That! Igniting Your Brain For Creativity & Peak Performance

with Author James Mapes

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In Imagine That!: Igniting Your Brain for Creativity and Peak Performance, James Mapes shares the knowledge and experience he has gained in his thirty-plus years as a researcher, speaker, and personal coach. Imagine That! is a guidebook that shows readers how to lead an exceptional life. Enhanced by exercises, in-depth research, and real-life anecdotes, Mapes dives deep into topics as diverse as reframing thinking patterns, shattering a series of limiting myths, hypnosis, stretch goals, transforming fear into love, and forgiveness.

“If you want to be a winner in life and achieve your dreams, you’ve got to have a game plan,” said former NFL Coach Lou Holtz. “Mapes gives it to you – period! James Mapes’ Imagine That! will not only help you reignite your purpose, it’s going to help you be the best you can be.”
The founder of Quantum Leap Thinking, creator of The Transformational Coach, and an expert on the psychology of applied imagination, James Mapes is a highly acclaimed business speaker and personal excellence coach.

For more than thirty years, he has dedicated himself to helping individuals, teams, and organizations break through barriers to reach their goals and achieve success. His clients include Fortune 500 companies and major nonprofit organizations in the areas of finance, technology, healthcare, academia, and the military, including IBM, the U.S. Coast Guard, Lockheed Martin, and the Princeton Center for Leadership Training.  

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

Tuesday, October 24th
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Thin Lines: A Vineyard Journey
with Author John Pryor Fulkerson
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After an inspiring vacation in France’s Rhone Valley, a surgeon decides to grow grapes in the harsh northwest Connecticut hills and create fine wines from them. In Thin Lines: A Vineyard Journey, John Pryor Fulkerson details his experience of gathering friends and family to help with the harvest, the crush, the fermentation, and the final preparation of fine wine.

Throughout this journey, he acquires much more than wine - he also engages more closely with friends and family while cultivating a profound bond with nature. Fulkerson’s love of viticulture and wine making is evident as he chronicles his challenges and victories in eloquent detail. Sprinkled throughout the narrative are original poems that enrich the story and bring the reader deeper into the experience.

Whether you’re a casual wine drinker or are cultivating an interest in viticulture, you’ll find much to love in this story of one man’s journey through the grape-growing and winemaking process.

John Pryor Fulkerson’s love of words began when he was a young boy in New York. He grew up listening to his grandmother recite the works of Kipling and Wordsworth. In college, he exchanged long, entertaining letters with his father, a physician, and also began writing and studying poetry while pursuing pre-medical courses.

Inspired by his father and other physicians in his family, John went to Yale Medical School and became an orthopedic surgeon. Today he continues to write poetry and counts Rumi, Billy Collins, Rudyard Kipling, Rainer Rilke, Lao Tzu, and William Wordsworth among others as writers that influenced him. Lynn Fulkerson, shown here with John, provided the cover art for the book. A wine & cheese reception will follow. The Hickory Stick Bookshop will provide books for sale & signing.  REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED


Wednesday, October 25th
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Light: Its Mysteries & Hidden Secrets
with Joe Dougherty
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When you hear or read about astronomy, descriptions of stars or galaxies, or the discovery of planets in a distant solar system, do you ever wonder how scientists discovered all that information?

It is amazing to be reminded that man has never traveled further than the moon and our farthest and most sophisticated spacecrafts have only recently ventured into interstellar space. Yet, we know a tremendous amount about galaxies millions of light years away.

This presentation will explore light….what it is and how scientists have harnessed it to reveal much of what we know about our universe. Specifically, we will learn about the chemical composition of stars, how to determine the distance and temperatures of astronomical objects and how scientists are discovering new “exoplanets” daily.

Joe Dougherty is the President of the Litchfield Hills Amateur Astronomy Club. He has specialized in the field of astro-imaging for nearly 10 years. He has given numerous presentations on imaging to the public and other amateur astronomers over the years. Recently, he has been exploring the use of new tools, software and imaging cameras used in the field of Spectroscopy of stars. He resides in Waterbury, CT and holds an M.B.A. and B.S. in Mathematics. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED 







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