La Tertulia
Oct 22 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

La Tertulia is a group of members interested in keeping their Spanish speaking skills in practice.

Meets the 2nd and 4th Tuesday
from 6:00 to 8:00 PM

Incessant Pipe: Poetry Salon
Oct 22 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

The Incessant Pipe Poetry Salon will meet upstairs in the Salem Athenaeum. “The Pipe” is a space to read poetry, yours or others, and discuss everything from the price of tea in China to quantum particles (as long as it relates back to poetry). All styles of poetry are welcome. Meets 4th Tuesdays.

New Members Night
Oct 23 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Please join us for an orientation and behind-the-scenes tour of the Salem Athenaeum. 

If you are a new, long-time, or prospective member, this tour will orient you to the Athenaeum building, include an overview of our history, mission, and outline current services and membership benefits.

CSEM Concert
Oct 26 @ 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm

CYPRUS 1400: CROSSROADS OF CULTURES                                

Chansons & Motets from the
Court of King Janus of Lusignan

With traditional music.



The Cambridge Society for Early Music (CSEM) will launch its first concert this season with a very special program: medieval music from the French royal court in Cyprus in the early 15th century. The music comes from a grand manuscript of major importance, the Torino Codex, filled with hundreds of sacred pieces and courtly chansons about love (of course), all unique and anonymous. The collection is tied to the royal court of Cyprus, an outpost of French culture in its final flowering, around 1411 to 1422, during the reign of King Janus of Lusignan and Queen Charlotte of Bourbon. This was a golden moment on the eve of a series of disasters that brought the idyll to an end. The music is highly sophisticated, full of subtle complexities and artful refinements, fiendishly difficult to perform and seldom recorded, but easy to listen to. The medieval ensemble Alkemie will bring this precious music to life. In addition to three enchanting sopranos whose voices blend silkily, there will be a colorful band of instruments, with vieles, harp, recorders, douçaines and percussion. One spectacular piece, played by instruments alone, is a virtual explosion of virtuoso acrobatics. Some rousing Greek and Cypriot traditional music will suggest what the French aristocrats might have overheard when passing through the countryside, where the population was mainly Greek peasantry. The performers are Tracy Cowart, Elena Mullins and Sian Rickett, David McCormick and Niccolo Seligmann. See their website at www.alkemie.org.

Tickets at the door (cash or check): $35 | seniors & Salem Athenaeum members $30 | students $10. Prepaid tickets through CSEM’s website, www.csem.org (surcharge applies).

Information: 617-489-2062. Reception follows.


Book Group
Nov 9 @ 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

Discussion group meets on the second Saturday of the month at 11:00 a.m.

View the reading list.

Monday Evening Conversations
Nov 11 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

The Monday Evening Conversations Group meets on the second Monday of the month at 7:00 PM. All members and other interested parties are invited.

It may be of interest to know that the The Social Library, predecessor of the Salem Athenæum, was founded by a similar discussion group, called the Monday Evening Club. Edward Augustus Holyoke, Rev. Thomas Barnard, Rev. Thomas Gilchrist, Benjamin Lynde, Nathaniel Ropes and others were among the Monday Evening Club founders, who gathered to discuss current events and topics of mutual interest.

Topics for discussion are wide open, but must be amenable to good conversation. Examples include:

  • The long ranging effects of the Civil War
  • The courage to be vulnerable
  • European architecture
  • The importance/non importance of art
  • Why have friends

Meetings will start with something to help frame the discussion for the evening, such as a:

  • brief talk
  • podcast
  • video
  • reading of prose or poetry
  • music

We look forward to talking with you!

La Tertulia
Nov 12 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

La Tertulia is a group of members interested in keeping their Spanish speaking skills in practice.

Meets the 2nd and 4th Tuesday
from 6:00 to 8:00 PM

Incessant Pipe: Contentions
Nov 13 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Philosophy, Science, and Ideas. Come sit around a medium-large table and discuss the big stuff.

2nd Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m.

Adams Lecture: David Blight
Nov 18 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Historian David Blight, author of Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, and winner of this year’s Pulitzer Prize in History, is the 2019 Adams Lecturer. In his remarkable biography, Blight has drawn on new information held in a private collection that few other historians have consulted, as well as recently discovered issues of Douglass’s newspapers. Blight tells the story of Douglass’s two marriages and his complex extended family. Not only an astonishing man of words, Douglass was a thinker steeped in Biblical story and theology. There has not been a major biography of Douglass in a quarter century. David Blight’s Frederick Douglass affords this important American the distinguished biography he deserves.

David W. Blight is the Sterling Professor of History and Director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University. He is is a leading expert on the life and writings of Frederick Douglass and on the Civil War in historical memory and the author or editor of a dozen books, including American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era; and Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory; and annotated editions of Douglass’s first two autobiographies. He has worked on Douglass much of his professional life, and been awarded the Bancroft Prize, the Abraham Lincoln Prize, and the Frederick Douglass Prize, among others. Blight has appeared in several PBS films about African American history and works extensively with museums and other public history projects.

Re-appraisal Reading Circle: Zane Grey
Nov 20 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

November’s meeting is about the works of Zane Gray (1872-1939).

Re-appraisal Reading Circle meets bi-monthly on Wednesdays
 at 7:00 PM

Open meeting discussing the works of a prolific, popular author of the past whose works are held in quantity by the Athenaeum.

2019-20 Discussions:
Sept. 18 Gilbert Parker (1862-1932)

Nov. 20   Zane Grey (1872-1939)

Jan. 15   Joseph Hergesheimer

Mar. 18   Dorothy Sayers

May 27   Ngaio Marsh (1895-1982)