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)

Cosmos: Exhibit Opening
Nov 22 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Young children are curious about everything; they are constantly asking why. This exhibit celebrates people whose wonder was life-long and whose scientific discoveries extended human understanding, from sand dollars to the stars. Math and science volumes from the Athenaeum’s Historic Collection by Newton, Franklin, Darwin and others will be displayed.

Lecture by Hale Bradt on Sir Isaac Newton at 7:15 p.m.

La Tertulia
Nov 26 @ 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
Nov 26 @ 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.

Thanksgiving Holiday
Nov 28 @ 12:00 am – Nov 29 @ 11:45 pm

The Athenaeum is closed on Thursday and Friday of Thanksgiving weekend.

We will re-open on Saturday, 11/30 at 10:00 a.m.

Art in Bloom
Dec 4 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

The MFA “Art in Bloom” roadshow makes a stop at the Salem Athenaeum to create a holiday floral arrangement inspired by a famous painting. The presentation is an hour long, featuring half PowerPoint, half live floral demo, and 100% stunning results.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, was the first museum in the United States to introduce the public to a show of art and flowers – Art in Bloom – over 40 years ago. During a four-day period every spring, about 50 of the Museum’s art objects are interpreted through floral arrangements. Many other events happen during Art in Bloom, including lectures and Master Classes led by world-renowned floral designers, ongoing demonstrations of flower arranging, activities for children, and more. Art in Bloom is free to members, and is the busiest week of the year for the Museum. This presentation will give you some of its background and many examples of AIB designs.

The flower arrangement made at this event will be raffled off to an audience member.

Samples of 2019 Art in Bloom installations at the MFA. What will they bring to the Athenaeum?


Monday Evening Conversations
Dec 9 @ 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
Dec 10 @ 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
Dec 11 @ 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.