Book Group
Jul 11 @ 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
Jul 13 @ 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!

Writing Group: The Monday Group
Jul 13 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

The Monday Group offers support and feedback for adult writers under 40 at the beginnings of their careers. Those interested should contact leader Blake Campbell (blakecampbell1919@gmail.com) to assess whether this group is right for you.

Writers’ Open Studio
Jul 14 @ 8:40 am – 11:30 am

Weekly Writing Studios at the Salem Athenaeum.

The building will be open from 8:40-11:30 every Tuesday (unless announced otherwise). Feel free to come by and write in a quiet peaceful setting.

Come for as long as you’d like–for 20 minutes or all three hours.

La Tertulia
Jul 14 @ 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

Writers’ Open Studio
Jul 21 @ 8:40 am – 11:30 am

Weekly Writing Studios at the Salem Athenaeum.

The building will be open from 8:40-11:30 every Tuesday (unless announced otherwise). Feel free to come by and write in a quiet peaceful setting.

Come for as long as you’d like–for 20 minutes or all three hours.

Salem Writers’ Group
Jul 21 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

All are welcome to bring work-in-progress to share with the group for feedback. The group is facilitated by J.D. Scrimgeour, Professor of English, Salem State University.

Deborah Plummer: Achieving Racial Equity…One Friend at a Time
Jul 22 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Cross-racial friendships that foster inter-group contact remain one of the most effective methods of improving race relations. They are successive approximations toward the goal of the beloved community, bringing us closer to a shared American experience, moving us from separate and unequal to together and equal. Cross-racial friends have the power to reduce bias and change cultural beliefs not just for the individual dyad; they hold the potential for positive change for their families and their circle of friends. Over time, these friendships have profound effects on healing divisions among different racial groups and fostering racial equity. Yet, most Americans do not have friends of a different race. This presentation will examine the factors for why that it is so.



Deborah L. Plummer, PhD, is a psychologist, university professor, author, and speaker on topics central to racial equality, inclusion, and mutual respect. Her groundbreaking and timely book, Some of My Friends Are…The Daunting Challenges and Untapped Benefits of Cross Racial Friendships (Beacon Press) examines race relations through the lens of friendships, exploring how cross-racial friendships work and fail within American society. She is also the editor of the Handbook of Diversity Management (Rowman and Littlefield) and author of Advancing Inclusion: A Guide for Effective Diversity Council and Employee Resource Group Membership (Half Dozen Publications), and award-winning Racing Across the Lines: Changing Race Relations through Friendships (Pilgrim Press).

She has written for Diversity Executive, Boston Globe Magazine, and Medium and has authored several book chapters and published numerous journal articles for the professional academic community. Her essay “The Girl from the Ghetto” is published in the anthology All of the Women in My Family Sing: Women Write the World, Essays on Equality, Justice and Freedom (NBTT Press).

As a scholar-practitioner, Debbie has designed several assessment tools: Antiracist Style Indicator (ASI), Racial Identity Self-Assessment Inventory (RISAI) and the Diversity Engagement Survey (DES). Her work has been featured in several media outlets and she has served for many years as an expert commentator for several news outlets.

Debbie has held past roles as an academic medical center vice chancellor, hospital system chief diversity officer, staff psychologist, tenured psychology professor, and founding director of a graduate degree program in diversity management. She has been named by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of the Top 15 Chief Diversity Officers to Know.

Debbie currently lives in Cleveland, Ohio with her husband, Michael Bussey where she serves on the boards of Nana’sTribe Foundation, Books@Work, and Positive Education Program (PEP). She considers her second home to be the Greater Boston area where she cherishes her work with Facing History and Ourselves, a non-profit, international educational and professional development organization, and is a proud board member of GrubStreet, a leading narrative arts center located in Boston. In her next life, she plans to come back as a master chef (think Ina Garten) or a singer, dancer and entertainer (think Beyonce).


Memoir Writers Group
Jul 23 @ 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm

Meets monthly on fourth Thursdays.

This group is for people who are writing, or wish to write, memoirs. It will not be a class, but rather an opportunity for participants to share and discuss each other’s work, and to offer guidance, advice, and companionship through the memoir-writing process.

Online Salon: Emrys Jones — A Journal of the Plague Year
Jul 24 @ 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm

Dr. Jones will be presenting this lecture for us live on Zoom from the U.K., hence the earlier start time.

In this introduction to Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year (1722), Dr. Emrys Jones will seek to give a sense of the work’s underlying strangeness: the difficulty of categorizing it or of identifying exactly why it was written. Is it a novel? Was it helpful as a practical guide for preventing the spread of disease? Or was Defoe more interested in the plague for what it might tell us about communication and miscommunication in times of crisis? By addressing these questions, we can better understand the text’s resonance both in the eighteenth century and in the time of COVID-19.


Dr. Emrys D. Jones is Senior Lecturer in Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture at King’s College London. His book Friendship and Allegiance in Eighteenth-Century Literature (2013) explored the significance of sociability for writers such as Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift and Alexander Pope. He is co-editor of the academic journal, Literature and History, and hosts the podcast, Pop Enlightenments, which explores representations of the eighteenth century in contemporary popular culture.