Don Wilding is a Cape Cod historian, author, and newspaper columnist. His highly-acclaimed talks feature historic photographs and video footage, focusing on the history of the Outer Beach -- "The Outermost House," along with the great storms and shipwrecks of Old Cape Cod.
The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster, MA has had the distinct honor of hosting author, filmmaker and local historian Don Wilding many times. As Program Coordinator at the Museum, I personally have had Don present his “Henry Beston’s Cape Cod” program 3 times and each time Don has delivered a compelling, thoughtful, thoroughly researched presentation with stunning visuals. Don now has added a few more subjects to his quiver of presentations, and the Museum will be hosting him this November for his program on “Shipwrecks of Cape Cod”. I highly recommend Don Wilding to any organization.
Price Range: Contact for rates
Gig Length: 40 - 75 minutes
What to Expect
Don offers four different lectures on Cape Cod history ...
HENRY BESTON’S CAPE COD
Henry Beston’s book, “The Outermost House,” is considered to be one of the great nature books ever written. Learn how Beston’s trail to Cape Cod began at the Battle of Verdun in World War I, how he tapped into the healing power of nature on Cape Cod’s Outer Beach, how “The Outermost House” inspired legislators in Washington to establish the Cape Cod National Seashore, and the influence that Beston and “The Outermost House” had on Rachel Carson, other nature writers, and the American environmental movement. Featured are archival photos and rough-cut footage from the Beston/Outermost House documentary film, now in production. Don presents the “Henry Beston’s Cape Cod” program as a benefit for the nonprofit Henry Beston Society.
NEPTUNE RISES ON THE DUNES: THE BLIZZARD OF ’78 ON CAPE COD
On February 6-7, 1978, New England was struck by one of the greatest weather events in history, when the now-legendary “Blizzard of ’78” buried Eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island with four feet of snow and 15-foot drifts. On Cape Cod, it wasn’t a “snow event” but a “tidal event.” Hurricane force winds, combined with the highest new moon tides the area has even seen, carved out an entirely new landscape on the Outer Beach. Tides coming in from the ocean and bay near the Eastham rotary even turned the Outer Cape into an island for a short time as the eye of the storm passed directly over the area.
STORM WARRIORS OF CAPE COD: THE RESCUE
MISSION FOR THE WRECK OF THE CASTAGNA
In February, 1914, the Nauset and Cahoon Hollow Lifesaving Stations embarked on one of the U.S. Lifesaving Service’s greatest rescue missions after the Italian bark Castagna ran aground on Cape Cod’s outer bar in South Wellfleet. Facing driving snow, gale force winds, and temperatures below zero, five Castagna crew members either froze to death in the icy masts or were swept overboard. Join Don Wilding to learn all about the local surf men’s efforts to overcome overwhelming odds, saving the rest of the crew from an icy fate.
SHIPWRECKS OF CAPE COD
A look at some of the great shipwrecks and rescues on the Outer Beach of Cape Cod, ranging from the earliest days of the U.S. Lifesaving Service (1872) to the early years of the U.S. Coast Guard in the first half of the 20th century. Don will look at the wrecks of the Castagna, the Francis, the Montclair, the Jason, the Portland, and many more.
Since the start of the millennium, Don Wilding has been telling stories of Cape Cod Outer Beach history through lectures, video, and the written word.
An award-winning writer and editor for Massachusetts newspapers for 30 years, Don pens the popular “Shore Lore” history column for the Cape Codder newspaper of Orleans, and is the author of the book, “Henry Beston’s Cape Cod: How ‘The Outermost House’ Inspired a National Seashore.”
* Co-founder, Henry Beston Society.
* Board of directors, Eastham Historical Society.
* Hosts for Don’s lectures and film screenings: Thoreau Society’s 72nd Annual Gathering, 20th Annual Cape Cod Maritime History Symposium, Cape Cod National Seashore, Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, Eastham Historical Society, Chatham Orpheum Theater, 2014 Newburyport Documentary Film Festival, and dozens of other organizations.
* Co-curator for exhibits: Eastham Historical Society (2015-16); Cape Cod Museum of Natural History (2008).
* Producer for documentary film in progress, “Henry Beston’s Cape Cod.”
* Instructor: Nauset Community Education, Orleans, Mass. (2014); Open Wellfleet University, Wellfleet, Mass. (Spring 2017).
* Speaker at National Literary Landmark dedication for Henry Beston’s Chimney Farm, Nobleboro, ME.
* Guide for selected walks at Cape Cod National Seashore (2003, 2014).
* Schools that have included Don’s lecture program in a course curriculum: Chatham High School (Cape Cod), Tahanto Regional High School (Boylston, Mass.), Franklin Pierce University (Rindge, N.H.), Emerson College, Penn State University, and Captain Nathan Hale Middle School (Coventry, CT).
* Cited as a reference in: “Dwelling in the Dunes: Traditional Use of the Dune Shacks of the Peaked Hill Bars Historic District, Cape Cod,” for the National Park Service, by Robert J. Wolfe, 2005; “Orion on the Dunes: A Biography of Henry Beston,” by Daniel G. Payne. 2016, Godine Publishing.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING …
“I extend to you our gratitude for your expertise in subject and presentation. Having quality speakers and topics are the keys to any lasting program. You have added to that tradition.”
— Robert McCormack, Cape Cod National Seashore
“Thank you so much for taking the time to share your deep knowledge of “The Outermost House” with our (coastal ecology) class. Our walk with you added another layer of understanding to the students’ reading of Beston, and underscored the dynamic nature of life on the Great Beach.”
- Brett Amy Thelen, Franklin Pierce University, Rindge, N.H.
“If you get the chance to meet Don, or read his book, or see his presentation, I highly recommend you do.”
— Peter Doherty, English Department, Tahanto Regional High School, Boylston, Mass.
"Don Wilding's Cape Cod ... hit a history home run!" -- French Cable Museum, Orleans, Mass.
“Don Wilding … is not only a fine writer, but also knows a lot about Cape Cod history as founder of the Henry Beston Society.”
— Provincetown Magazine
“(Don Wilding’s) heart and writing pad are firmly entrenched in the dunes of the Outer Cape.” — The Cape Cod Voice
“I just finished reading your “Henry Beston’s Cape Cod” … and want to say how much I enjoyed the book. I learned more about Beston, about the house, and about the relationship between his life and the National Seashore. I am grateful for the time you and others take particularly in educating young people (as well as adults) on the importance of paying attention to our physical world, of noticing what is happening, a process, which, I think, over time, is fruitful in wisdom.”
— Angelyn Dries, Professor Emerita, Saint Louis University
Additional Booking Notes
Don provides nearly all equipment needed for a presentation: laptop computer, sound system for small to medium-size rooms, and projector. All the host needs to provide a white screen.
Past Booked Events
|April 19, 2017 • 6:30pm - 8:00pm||Henry Beston's Cape Cod|
|February 07, 2017 • 7:00pm - 8:30pm||The Blizzard of '78 on Cape Cod|
|November 13, 2016 • 1:00pm - 2:30pm||Shipwrecks of Cape Cod|
|October 16, 2016 • 10:00am - 11:30am||Henry Beston's Cape Cod|
|October 07, 2016 • 10:30am - 12:00pm||Henry Beston's Cape Cod|
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