Summer Programs

Olde Colonial Courthouse


Route 6A & Rendezvous Lane

Barnstable Village. 

Parking on the street, at St. Mary's or Sturgis Library




Admission-$5 members, 

$10 non-members


cash, checks, credit cards accepted 

Gathering Room


Programs begin at 7 pm followed by a dessert reception 

2019 Summer Program Series



Tales of Cape Cod gratefully recognizes St. Mary’s Episcopal Church as the Lead Sponsor for our 2019 Summer Speaker Series.


Monday, July 22, 2019

The Truth Be Damned-U.S. v. James "Whitey" Bulger

Speaker:  Janet Uhlar

Sponsor: Susan Rhilinger


ABOUT THE SPEAKER:  Jane Uhlar, a resident of Cape Cod, has authored two books on forgotten heroes of the American Revolution: Liberty’s Martyr-The Story of Dr. Joseph Warren (2009) and Freedom’s Cost-The Story of General Nathanael Greene (2011). 


DESCRIPTION: Janet Uhlar was a juror in the trial of James “Whitey” Bulger, an experience which forever changed her. It was not Bulger’s criminality as that was anticipated. It was the corruption reveals within the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), detailed in numerous testimonies. Janet offers a presentation of what she learned during and after the trial through personal conversations with Bulger, and others related to the trial. From these experiences and interviews, she wrote a story as a roman a clef, entitled The Truth Be Damned.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Adrift: True Story of Tragedy on the Icy Atlantic & The One Who Lived to Tell About It

Speaker:   Brian Murphy

Sponsors: Doug Mitchell & Christine Welsh, &  HESLINGA & TATE Wealth Management Group of

                   Wells Fargo Advisors 

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Brian Murphy. Murphy joined the Washington Post as a journalist after more than 20 years as an award winning foreign correspondent and bureau chief for the Associated Press in Europe and the Middle East. 


DESCRIPTION: A story of tragedy at sea where every desperate act meant life or death. The small ship the John Rutledge making the Liverpool to New York trip in the early months of 1856 carried mail, crates of dry goods and more than 100 passengers mostly Irish emigrants. Suddenly an iceberg tore the ship asunder and five lifeboats were lowered. As four boats drifted away into the fog and icy water, never to be heard from again, the last boat was wrenched away from the sinking ship with the ship’s log, a few blankets, some water and biscuits and thirteen souls. Only one would survive- Thomas Nye of Fairhaven. This is his story.

Friday, Aug. 2, 2019

Kurt Vonnegut's Barnstable Years; A Daughter's Recollections

Speaker:   Edit Vonnegut

Sponsors: Liz Nill & Craig Schelter


DESCRIPTION: A slide show of Kurt Vonnegut’s years in Barnstable, audio recordings and memories of growing up with him. Part of the Vonnegut Weekend presented by Sturgis Library.

Monday, Aug. 5, 2019

Voyages and Adventurers in Pre-Pilgrim New England

Speaker: Tim Lindberg

Sponsor: Lineal Inc.


ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Tim Lindberg was born in Brockton, MA, but has lived for over 40 years in London, spending all of his 65 summers on the Cape, and for 30 years here in Barnstable Village. After a long career in international banking he has pursued his interest in history, and as a member of London’s Haykluyt Society, has a particular interest in early explorers to New England and North America.  

DESCRIPTION: In the run up to the 400th anniversary of the landing of the Pilgrims, it is interesting to recount the many voyages and adventurers who had charted, traded, promoted and interacted with original inhabitants of this – to them – New World. These early adventurers, businessmen, fishermen, and explorers set the stage for all that followed.  The Hakluyt Society was formed in London in 1846 dedicated to the preservation and publishing of primary records of these early voyages. Thanks to Richard Hakluyt and the Society named after him, we have a relatively good understanding of this period in time.

Monday, Aug. 12, 2019

Frederick Douglass: Stories are A Tellin- A One Man Play

Speaker:   Guy Peartree

Sponsors: Town of Barnstable & The Hyannis Chamber of Commerce



Guy Peartree has been telling stories since 1989. He performs historical characterizations of Frederick Douglass, William Brown and George Washington Carver; as well as folktales from around the world. Guy Peartree also writes his own tales and believes the task of the writer and the storyteller is the same: 

"To let the voices of our culture and imagination speak."


DESCRIPTION: Set in 1859, when Frederick Douglass, a relentless anti-slavery orator, was being sought for arrest by the state of Virginia for his alleged activity in John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry. Peartree's one-man play encompasses Douglass' life from his birth into slavery, his relationships and experiences on the slave plantation, his education, escape from slavery, and ascendancy as America's foremost black abolitionist. 

Monday, Aug. 19, 2019

The Kennedy Oral History Project Documentary

Film:  Interviews with Cape Codders who knew the Kennedy Family in the 1950's and 1960's 

Sponsors:Heslinga & Tate


Monday, Aug. 26, 2019

1919 The Year That Changed the World

Speaker:   Martin Sandler

Sponsors: Peter & Susan Eleftherakis


ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Martin Sandler. Sandler is a writer, educator and producer of television programs. He has also taught American history and photography at Smith College, University of Massachusetts and has taught American studies in junior high and high schools. Sandler received the Boston Globe Horn Book Award, seven Emmy Awards, and Golden Cine Award. He has also been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize twice. 


DESCRIPTION:  Acclaimed author Sandler examines the pinnacle events of 1919 and their relevance to significant issues in American life today.1919 was a world-shaking year. America was recovering from World War I and black soldiers returned to racism so violent that that summer would become known as the Red Summer. The suffrage movement had a long-fought win when women gained the right to vote. Laborers took to the streets to protest working conditions; nationalistic fervor led to a communism scare; and temperance gained such traction that prohibition went into effect. Each of these movements reached a tipping point that year. 

Monday, Sept. 9, 2019

Religious Freedom in Colonial America

Speaker:   Lisle Dalton

Sponsors: Susan & Gene Guill


Lisle Dalton is a professor of Religious Studies at Hartwick College in Oneonta, NY where he has taught since 1999.  He teaches courses in American religious history, including those that explore how religion relates to politics, popular culture, science, medicine, and technology.  He currently is working on a book that will focus on religion and the American railroads.  A Cape visitor since childhood, he currently splits time between upstate New York and West Barnstable. 

DESCRIPTION: An overview to the social and political ideal of religious freedom as it emerged in colonial New England with attention to trends on or near Cape Cod including a discussion of the origins of religious freedom, how it was lived out in a practical sense by religious groups and its limitations.

Monday, Sept. 16, 2019

A Thriving Art Community Then & Now: History of Cape Cod Art Center

Speakers: Roberta Miller & Susan Guill

Sponsor:  Ted Theodores


DESCRIPTION: A slide presentation and talk of the influence of the Cape Cod Art Center’s artists in the mid Cape area; a review of the 70 year plus history as vividly illustrated by art work by some of the Cape’s finest artists.  

Monday, Sept. 23, 2019

A Very Fine Place If The Harbor Were Good, Samuel de Champlains 1605 Exploration of Cape Cod

Speaker:   William Burke

Sponsors: Barnstable Marine Service, Inc. & William & Antonia Cook

ABOUT THE SPEAKER:  William Burke has been the National Seashore’s “Keeper of Time” for the past 15 years and a park ranger and park historian for the National Park Service for over 30 year. A wash ashore from Western Massachusetts, a former Eagle Scout, a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Providence College with BA in History, Bill has an MA from the College of William & Mary in colonial history and historical archaeology. 


DESCRIPTION: French explorer Samuel de Champlain left us remarkably descriptive maps and narratives of Cape Cod during his 1605-1606 travels along the New England coast.Cape Cod National Seashore Historian Bill Burke will present an illustrated program to take a critical look at Champlain’s vivid descriptions of the landforms, Native people and animals and plants he encountered and whether they are still relevant to today’s Cape.After a brief but brutal climax to their voyage, the French abandoned their dreams of a Cape settlement and turned back north to present-day Canada, forever altering the course of European settlement of the region.

Monday, Sept. 30, 2019

Mary Chilton Winslow and the Mayflower Voyage

Speaker:    Joyce Prince

Sponsors: Town of Barnstable & The Hyannis Chamber of Commerce


DESCRIPTION: The story of Mary Chilton, a descendant of James Chilton, one of the Mayflower passengers, who traveled across the vast ocean to the New World and settled in Plymouth and participated in the first Thanksgiving 

Monday, Oct. 7, 2019

Decision in Pocasset: The Sacrificial Murder of Edith Freeman

Speaker: Greg Williams

Sponsor: Anonymous


ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Greg Williams retired as a judge after 15 years on the District Court bench, the last ten as First Justice of Edgartown District Court and as Presiding Justice of the Southern District of the Appellate Division, which decides appeals in civil cases 

DESCRIPTION: A tragedy eventually linked to the “Jolly Jane Toppan” story in Cataumet. Charles Freeman led a Christian sect in 1870s Pocasset. But when he was “commanded” to make a sacrifice, he looked to his daughter...  

Charles Freeman, a religious fanatic in Pocasset who murdered his young daughter as a sacrifice. His vocal defender was Alden Davis, whose family was later wiped out by “Jolly Jane” Toppan. Local, religious fanaticism, insanity, ties to Jolly Jane.