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


Lectures 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, April 29, 2019      6 p.m.

Cape Cod Jazz : From Colombo to the Columns

Speaker:    John Basile

Sponsors: Nancy & Jeffrey Bilezikian, Barnstable Market  & Wequassett Resort & Golf Club

Admission $20

 ABOUT THE SPEAKER: John A.Basile, has been the editor of the Register newspaper (and other associated newspapers)) for 18 years. In addition to “Cape Cod Jazz: From Colombo to the Columns, he has published “Legendary Locals of Yarmouth. He was also a radio newscaster for WOCB and WQRC for more than a decade and was at one time president of the Cape Cod Jazz Society.


DESCRIPTION: John Basile will tell stories about beloved and much missed Cape Cod based jazz greats such as Lou Colombo, Dave McKenna, Bobby Hackett and Cape Cod’s “First Lady of Jazz” Marie Marcus. He will detail the fascinating history that made Cape Cod a music destination. The first notes of jazz hit Cape Cod in the early days of the genre. Bournehurst-on-the –Canal, the Snuggery in Hyannis, the Atlantic House in Provincetown and the Columns in Dennis all hosted the top bands. 


Monday, May 06, 2019

Remember the Ladies Who Led Grace Filled Lives

Speaker:    Jim Perry

Sponsors: Nancy & Jeffrey Bilezikian


ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Jim Perry, a beloved professor at the Academy of Life Long Learning since 2005, has brought light to “hidden history”, perspectives and experiences that have been ignored or overlooked: the historical role of women, the role of slavery and instances of mass violence. 

DESCRIPTION: In a letter dated March 31, 1776, Abigail Adams urged her husband, John, to “remember the ladies” when he and other founding fathers were planning our independence in Philadelphia. Is it true that “women who behave don’t make history? The women we will discuss did not behave according to the standards of their times and they did make history.


Monday, May 13, 2019

Dangers of the Paranormal:A Cape Haunting

Speaker:   Derek Bartlett

Sponsors: Nancy & Jeffrey Bilezikian

ABOUT THE SPEAKER :   Derek is the founder of Cape Cod’s Haunted & History Tour Company. He has conducted over 200 investigations across the United States, has contributed to numerous radio and television productions, and has lectured at numerous colleges and universities.


DESCRIPTION: This lecture is not for the faint of heart! Join Derek Bartlett, founder of Cape and Islands Paranormal Research Society, as he discusses his trials and tribulations as a ghost hunter.He is going to make you think twice about going to a “haunted” location. He will share personal stories of things that have happened to him, such as when he brought an entity home and how a friendly “ghost” turned out to be the meanest entities he has ever come across. He will warn you about a child’s game that bites back and much more. This is a multi-media presentation and audience participation is encouraged. 


Monday, May 20, 2019

The First Ambassador-The Manjiro Story 

Speaker: Gerry Rooney

Sponsor: Inaho Japanese Restaurant

 ABOUT THE SPEAKER:  Gerry Rooney, CEO and President of Whitfield-Manjiro Friendship Society, Inc.; Recipient of the Order of Rising Sun, Gold & Silver Rays and Foreign Minister of Japan Citation.

DESCRIPTION: In 1841 a 14-year old Japanese boy went to sea to fish with four friends. Their boat crashed on an island in a raging storm. Months later the “John Howland” whaling ship from New Bedford rescued them.   

Manjiro, accepted the Captain’s offer to return to the USA with the ship in order to acquire some education.

Thus, Manjiro (Nakahama) became the first Japanese person to live in the USA.


Monday, June 3, 2019

Behind the Scenes of the Cape Playhouse

Speaker:   Michael Rader

Sponsors: Chuck MacMillan & Dianne Mahoney

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Michael Rader, Artistic Director of Cape Cod Playhouse 


DESCRIPTION: Join Cape Playhouse Artistic Director Michael Rader for an engaging talk about the Cape Playhouse’s history, behind the scenes stories and information on the upcoming season.


Monday, June 10, 2019

O'er the Wild & Tractless Sea - The Original Art of the Yankee Whale Hunt

Speaker: Michael Dyer

Sponsor: Cape Cod Family Fishing Charters L.L.C.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Michael Dyers is the senior maritime historian and Curator of Maritime History at the New Bedford Whaling Museum/Old Dartmouth Historical Society. In addition to his specialization in whale men’s art, he has curated several exhibitions on American and world-wide whaling history, maritime decorative arts and cartography. 

 DESCRIPTION: From the 1750s through the first years of the 20th century, American whaling voyages ranged farther off shore, and ultimately around the world, in a pursuit that produced oil and baleen for the growing population and industrialization of the US. Dyer will highlight these unique artworks that capture the essence of whaling and its culture. From navigation exercise drawings to naïve pencil sketches to sophisticated watercolor paintings and scrimshaw, the art of the whale hunt serves as valuable historical source material to document much that words can hardly convey. This talk will highlight some of these art works and bring them together in the larger context of American maritime culture


Monday, June 17, 2019

Nature's Ambassador-The Legend of Thorton W. Burgess

Speaker:    Christie Lowrance

Sponsors: Orenda Wildlife Land Trust, David & Diane Munsell

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Lowrance is the author of the first complete biography of Thorton W. Burgess, a 20th century Cape Cod native, naturalist, conservationist, and children’s author.  

DESCRIPTION: Cape Cod's native son Thornton Burgess is best known as the beloved 20th century author of Old Mother West Wind and scores of other books and thousands of syndicated tales about wildlife creatures, including Reddy Fox, Paddy Beaver, Jimmy Skunk, Peter Rabbit, Sammy Jay, and Grandfather Frog, however, his impact spread beyond children's literature.


Monday, June 24, 2019

Judy Garland: Climbing Over the Rainbow

Speaker: Robert Wyatt

Sponsor: Ted Theodores

ABOUT THE SPEAKER:  Steinway Artist Robert Wyatt has performed throughout the United State and internationally gathering critical acclaim for sensitive and colorful solo, orchestral and chamber music recitals. Featured on NPR and PBS broadcasts, Mr. Wyatt has also performed at the Kennedy Center, the Phillips Collection, the Library of Congress, and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, the 92nd Street Y and Steinway Hall in New York and Boston’s Jordan Hall and the Museum of Fine Arts. 

DESCRIPTION: Enjoy your fantasies and remembrances as American music specialist Robert Wyatt takes you through Judy Garland’s extraordinary life. Film clips will be abundant, starting with The Broadway Melody of 1938 and moving through 1944 blockbuster Meet Me In St, Louis, The Harvey Girls, Cole Porter’s gem ridden The Pirate of 1948 and the sizzling A Star Is Born 


Monday, July 8, 2019

Seducer of Souls: Sandwich's Bathsheba Spooner and the First US Death Penalty Case

Speaker: Greg Williams

Sponsor: Lesley Wallace-Dromara Farm


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: In mid-Revolutionary War Massachusetts, Joshua Spooner was murdered. Charged with that crime were two escaped British Army POAs and a teen-aged Continental Army soldier, along with his lover, Joshua’s  wife, Sandwich’s Bathsheba Spooner. 

Monday, July 15, 2019

Deborah Sampson A Revolution of Her Own - Immersive Living History

Speaker:    Judith Kalaora


ABOUT THE SPEAKER:   Judith Kalaora, History at Play. History at Play was founded in 2010 by actress Judith Kalaora and chronicles the lives of influential and often forgotten women. Judith received her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from Syracuse University and studied at the Globe Education Program at Shakespeare’s Globe Theater in London. 

DESCRIPTION: Deborah Sampson, the first woman to enlist, to fight and to be honorably discharged from the American Military, captivates audiences in an hour long program chronically her life. An indentured servant by the age of 5, Deborah grew up in a man’s world where women were second class citizens. As a self educated woman, Deborah felt a higher calling and on May 23, 1782, she bound her chest, tied back her hair, and walked 150 miles to enlist in the 4th Massachusetts Regiment of the Continental Army under the alias “Robert Shurtlief”. This performance is family friendly and debuted off Broadway in the United Solo Theatre Festival.


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

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 


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.