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Category Archives: Lectures

Sunken Gold: Seminar with Joseph Williams on 20 June

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Join us Wednesday, 20 June 2018 for The Sunken Gold: A Story of World War I Espionage and the Greatest Treasure Salvage in History, a presentation and book signing with Joseph A. Williams.  See the author’s riveting book trailer here.

On January 25, 1917, HMS Laurentic struck two German mines off the coast of Ireland and sank. The ship was carrying 44 tons of gold bullion to the still-neutral United States via Canada in order to finance the war effort for Britain and its allies. Britain desperately needed that sunken treasure, but any salvage had to be secret since the British government dared not alert the Germans to the presence of the gold.  Lieutenant Commander Guybon Damant was the most qualified officer to head the risky mission. Wild gales battered the wreck into the shape of an accordion, turning the operation into a multiyear struggle of man versus nature.

As the war raged on, Damant was called off the salvage to lead a team of covert divers to investigate and search through the contents of recently sunk U-boats for ciphers, minefield schematics, and other secrets. The information they obtained, once in the hands of British intelligence, proved critical toward Allied efforts to defeat the U-boats and win the war.  But Damant had become obsessed with completing his long-deferred mission. His team struggled for five more years as it became apparent that the work could only be accomplished by muscle, grit, and persistence. Using newly discovered sources, author Joseph A. Williams provides the first full-length account of the quest for the Laurentic’s gold. More than an incredible story about undersea diving adventure, The Sunken Gold is a story of human persistence, bravery, and patriotism.

Register Here
Wednesday, 20 June:  Registration/Refreshments at 6:30 PM, Lecture at  7:00 PM
Location: Hendrick Hudson Free Library, 185 Kings Ferry Road, Montrose, NY.

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Blackbeard’s Last Battle – Seminar with Kevin Duffus 19 May

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Blackbeard (c. 1736 engraving)

Join us as author Kevin Duffus presents Blackbeard’s Last Battle: the Conflicting Interpretations of his Origins and Motivations.  The notorious pirate Blackbeard stands among the most popular figures of early colonial American history, yet no one still knows who he really was. To this day, his identity, his origins, and his motivations for committing acts of piracy remain in contention. Did he hail from England, Jamaica, or the Carolinas? Was his surname Teach or Thatch, or something else entirely? Was he an undistinguished common sailor suddenly thrust into command of a pirate ship? Was he a former Royal Navy sailor and an aristocratic, Anglican slave-owning planter who inexplicably turned Jacobite and pirate? Or was he an ordinary mariner on a salvage mission lured into piracy by a mob of looters, who later became a pawn in an attempted political coup in proprietary North Carolina?

These conflicting interpretations have provoked rancorous debate among archaeologists and historians. At stake are the credibilities of monolithic institutions and museums, the reputations of researchers and authors, the financial stakes of publishers, and the future of a popular historical narrative. For more than 45 years, award-winning research historian Kevin Duffus has followed the wake of the notorious pirate’s journey through history. Along the way he has discovered startling clues and pivotal waypoints in Blackbeard’s odyssey that point to a startling conclusion—one that many scholars do not want the public to know.  

Saturday, 19 May: Registration at 10:30 AM, Lecture at  11:00 AM
Location: Hendrick Hudson Free Library, 185 Kings Ferry Road, Montrose, NY

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Heaven’s Ditch Seminar with Jack Kelly 10 March

 

Heaven’s Ditch: God, Gold and Murder on the Erie Canal
Presentation and Book Signing with Author Jack Kelly

Register Here for 10 March, 2018
Registration at 10:30 AM, Lecture at  11:00 AM
Hendrick Hudson Free Library, 185 Kings Ferry Road, Montrose, NY

Join us as author Jack Kelly offers a fresh look at a critical moment in American history as the nation celebrates the Canal’s bicentennial.  A technological marvel of its age, the Erie Canal was the epitome of the can-do attitude of the age of the common man. The visionaries of the era didn’t just dream, they made things happen, building a 360-mile waterway entirely by hand. They invented new religions and new modes of living. The canal made New York the financial capital of America, brought the modern world crashing into the frontier and stimulated the nation’s commerce for decades to come.  Heaven’s Ditch illuminates the spiritual and political upheavals along this “psychic highway” from its opening in 1825 down through 1844. It tells its story through a fascinating cast of characters: William Morgan planned to expose the secrets of Freemasonry–his fate permanently altered American politics. Charles Finney touched off the greatest revival of religion in our history. “Wage slave” Sam Patch became America’s first celebrity daredevil. William Miller envisioned the apocalypse. Joseph Smith, a farm boy and spiritual prodigy, gave birth to a new and distinctly American religion. Along the way, the reader encounters the very first “crime of the century,” a treasure hunt, searing acts of violence, a visionary cross-dresser, and a panoply of fanatics, mystics, and hoaxers. The climax arrives on the day millions believe the world will end.

The Public is invited. Please register here or contact NMHS at 914737-7878, ext. 0 if you plan to attend. A $5-$10 donation is appreciated.  After the lecture, NMHS will host a luncheon—$25 prepaid with cash bar.  Reservations are required for lunch.

Can’t make it to a seminar?  Be sure to Subscribe to our YouTube Channel to see the presentation online!

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Bannerman’s Island Lecture – Briarcliff Manor Library March 18th

In case you missed Thom Johnson at our seminar in Chappaqua last year (or want to see his fabulous lecture again!), he’ll be at Briarcliff Public Library on Sunday, March 18th at 2pm.  Click here to view the flyer.  To register call 914-941-7072 or email Shelley Glick at sglick@wlsmail.org.

One of the founders of the Bannerman Castle Trust and co-author of the Arcadia
Press book on the castle, Thom will present a slide lecture on the history of the island and the arsenal that Francis Bannerman VI built there. This talk will cover the island’s history prior to the arsenal, why it was built there, its years as a working arsenal, the shut down, sale to the State, the fire in 1969, and the creation of the Bannerman Castle Trust. This lecture will be illustrated with historic photos and artwork and current images of the site.

Thom Johnson is a life time resident of the Hudson Valley who first saw the Castle over 45 years ago and has been researching it for all of those years. He is a retired arts educator that believes in using our history sites to guide both young and older citizens on how to preserve and reuse these sites.

 

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Iron Dawn Seminar with Richard Snow 27 January

Iron Dawn: The Monitor, the Merrimack, and the Civil War Sea Battle that Changed History – Presentation and Book Signing with Author Richard Snow

Register Here for Saturday, 27 January
Registration at 10:30 AM, Lecture at  11:00 AM
Hendrick Hudson Free Library, 185 Kings Ferry Road, Montrose, NY

Author Richard Snow argues that no single sea battle has had more far-reaching consequences than the one fought in the harbor at Hampton Roads, Virginia, in March 1862. The Confederacy, with no fleet of its own, built an iron fort containing ten heavy guns on the hull of a captured Union frigate named the Merrimack. The North got word of the project when it was already well along, and, in desperation, commissioned an eccentric inventor named John Ericsson to build the Monitor, an entirely revolutionary iron warship – at the time, the single most complicated machine ever made. Abraham Lincoln himself was closely involved with the ship’s design. Rushed through to completion in just 100 days, it mounted only two guns, but they were housed in a shot-proof revolving turret. The ship hurried south from Brooklyn (and nearly sank twice on the voyage), only to arrive to find the Merrimack had arrived blazing that morning, destroyed half the Union fleet, and would be back to finish the job the next day. When she returned, the Monitor was there. She fought the Merrimack to a standstill, and saved the Union cause. As soon as word of the battle spread, Great Britain—the foremost sea power of the day—ceased work on all wooden ships. A thousand-year-old tradition ended, and the path to the naval future opened.

The Public is invited. Please register here or contact NMHS at 914737-7878, ext. 0 if you plan to attend. A $5-$10 donation is appreciated.  After the lecture, NMHS will host a luncheon—$25 prepaid with cash bar.  Reservations are required for lunch.

Can’t make it to a seminar?  Be sure to Subscribe to our YouTube Channel to see the presentation online!

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2018 Seminar Series Schedule

The 2018 NMHS Seminar Series Schedule is here!  Save the dates below for the upcoming lineup of world-class speakers.  For more information: click on the links below, check out the 2018 NMHS Seminar Series webpage, or download the printer-friendly Seminar Brochure.  We invite you to Sponsor the Series and take advantage of everything our sponsorship options have to offer!  Sign up online, call (914) 737-7878 Ext. 0, or email NMHS@seahistory.org to sign up today!

​Sat 27 January Iron Dawn with Richard Snow
Sat 10 March Heaven’s Ditch with Jack Kelly
Sat 19 May Blackbeard’s Last Battle with Kevin Duffus
Wed 20 June The Sunken Gold with Joseph Williams
Sat 21 July Hudson River Maritime Museum Excursion
Sat 22 September Art of the Yankee Whale Hunt with Michael Dyer
Sat 3 November Hell Around the Horn with Rick Spilman
Sat 1 December Hudson River Lighthouses II with Scott Craven

Members of the general public are encouraged to attend!  NMHS Seminar Series events are both a great way to learn about new facets of our maritime heritage and also to meet others who share an interest and enthusiasm for the field.  Continental Breakfast & Registration for Saturday seminars begins at 10:30 AM, with lectures starting at 11:00 AM.  (The schedule varies for the June Wednesday evening seminar and the July excursion.  Please see individual listings for details.)  Unless otherwise noted, all seminars are held at the Hendrick Hudson Free Library (185 Kings Ferry Road in Montrose, NY).  There is no charge to attend the seminars, but a $5 to $10 donation at the door is appreciated to support our educational mission.   On our Saturday seminars, if you would  like to join NMHS and the speaker for lunch following the presentation, the cost is $25 prepaid, with cash bar.  For more information and to register for any seminar, please email or call 914 737-7878 x 0.  Can’t make it to a seminar?  Be sure to Subscribe to our YouTube Channel to see the presentation online!

With a Seminar Sponsorship you can support the Series AND enjoy family fun at maritime museums across the country!  A contribution of $100 or higher not only entitles you to a reserved spot for the complete 2018  seminar series, but also to a one-year membership in the Council of American Maritime Museums (CAMM), which includes free admission for a year to over 75 museums nationwide!  (As a Friend of NMHS you’ll also receive the quarterly magazine Sea History, a 10% discount on NMHS merchandise, a membership card and decal.)  Your generosity enables the Society to fulfill its mission by presenting a dynamic range of seminars that promote greater understanding of our rich seafaring heritage and create a constituency to advocate for our maritime legacy.   Thank you!


Check out the full 2018 Seminar Lineup
Sign up for a Seminar Sponsorship

Friend us on Facebook
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Subscribe on YouTube

The NMHS Seminar Series is generously supported by our Sponsors
Howard Slotnick and The Henry L. & Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation
and our Seminar Friends Denise Dunn, Linda Hallenbeck, Liam Murphy, John Plotke, John Shanahan, Jane Syracuse, and Karin Wexler.

The NMHS Seminar Series was founded in 1992 under the auspices of the National Maritime Historical Society at its headquarters on Charles Point in Peekskill, New York.  Its mission is to build greater awareness of the rich seafaring heritage of the Hudson River Valley and the world at large, and to create a constituency to advocate for our maritime legacy.  Through its monthly lecture series and annual outreach events, the NMHS Seminar Series is actively engaged in promoting maritime heritage, providing valuable educational programs and preserving historic ships and traditional seafaring skills. Since its inception, the Series has organized over 300 lectures, seminars, field trips and ship preservation projects featuring noted authors, historians, film producers and artists to publicize the maritime history of our area and abroad.

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Early Dutch New York with Marine Artist Len Tantillo

Join the National Maritime Historical Society for
Early Dutch New York with Marine Artist Len Tantillo

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Coffee & Registration at 10:30 AM; Lecture at 11:00 AM
Holiday Potluck Luncheon to Follow

Cortlandt Yacht Club – 238 Kings Ferry Road, Montrose, NY

Historical and marine artist Len Tantillo will present on paintings of Early Dutch New York, inspired by the “rivers of New Netherland” — the Hudson, the Connecticut and the Delaware. Upon these waterways hundreds of vessels carried goods and passengers, and the diversity and organic beauty of their varied designs has long been an inspiration to the artist. A licensed architect who left the field of architecture in 1986 to pursue a career in the fine art of historical and marine painting, Len Tantillo has produced over 300 paintings and drawings and has appeared internationally in exhibitions, publications and film documentaries. To see more of his extraordinary work, visit www.lftantillo.com.

Please RSVP HERE, or you may contact NMHS at 914-737-7878, ext. 0 or via email if you plan to attend. A $5 to $10 donation is appreciated. After the lecture, NMHS will host its annual Holiday Potluck Party — please bring a favorite dish, drink or dessert that serves six to eight people and join in the fun!


Can’t attend this seminar?
Be sure to subscribe to our NMHS YouTube Channel and view it there!

Check out the full Seminar Lineup
Get your Seminar Season Passes

Friend us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
Subscribe on YouTube

  The NMHS Seminar Series is generously supported by our sponsors: Howard Slotnick, The Henry L. & Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation, Liam Murphy, John Plotke, Jane Syracuse, Linda Hallenbeck and the Division Street Grill.

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Finest Hours & So Close to Home Seminar Series 11/3 and 11/4

Join the National Maritime Historical Society and
New York Times Bestselling Author Michael Tougias
for a Film Screening, Lecture & Book Signing

The Finest Hours    &    So Close to Home 
        

Friday, November 3, 2017
Refreshments at 6:30 PM; Film Screening at 7:00 PM

Saturday, November 4, 2017
Continental Breakfast & Registration at 10:30 AM; Lecture at 11:00 AM

Both Events at the Chappaqua Library Theatre
195 South Greeley Avenue, Chappaqua, NY

RSVP by clicking HERE

Join us on Friday evening along with New York Times bestselling author Michael Tougias for a film screening of The Finest Hours, a feature-length motion picture produced by Walt Disney Pictures based on his book about the Coast Guard’s daring rescue attempt off the coast of Cape Cod after a pair of oil tankers were destroyed during a blizzard in 1952.  Following the screening, Michael will speak briefly about how the film was made, and signed books will be available for purchase.

Join us again on Saturday when Michael Tougias returns to the Chappaqua library to give a two-part multimedia presentation on The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Most Daring Sea Rescue and also his book So Close To Home: The True Story of an American Family’s Fight for Survival During WWII, about the Downs family as they struggle against sharks, hypothermia, drowning, and dehydration in their effort to survive the aftermath of a deadly May 19, 1942 U-boat attack.  Book signing will follow.

The Public is invited to both events.  Space is limited and advance registration is recommended (and appreciated!).  Please RSVP by clicking HERE You may also contact NMHS at 914-737-7878, ext. 0 if you plan to attend.  A $5 or $10 donation is appreciated. After the lecture on Saturday, NMHS will host a luncheon—$25 prepaid with cash bar. (Lunch reservations are required.)

Can’t attend this seminar?  We’ll post the presentation online on our NMHS YouTube Channel.  Click Subscribe to be notified when we post all our seminars!


Check out the full Seminar Lineup

Get your Seminar Season Passes
Friend us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
Subscribe on YouTube

 

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September Seminar – U Boats in the Bahamas with Eric Wiberg

The National Maritime Historical Society
presents
“U-Boats in the Bahamas” Seminar and Book Signing
with Author Eric Wiberg
Saturday, 23 September 2017

Hendrick Hudson Free Library, 185 Kings Ferry Road, Montrose, NY 10548
Continental Breakfast & Registration at 10:30 AM; Lecture at 11:00 AM

Please join us as author, maritime attorney, historian and avid sailor Eric Wiberg presents his book U-Boats in the Bahamas, the never-told story of the 112 German and Italian submarines that sank 130 Allied ships in World War II in the Bahamas area where the author grew up. Merchant mariners heroically put themselves in danger as they performed the critical task of moving the military and civilian supplies vital to ultimate victory. Book signing will follow.

The Public is invited. Please contact NMHS at 914-737-7878, ext. 0, or email NMHS@seahistory.org if you plan to attend. A $5 to $10 donation is appreciated. After the lecture, NMHS will host a luncheon—$25 prepaid with cash bar. Reservations required.

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June and July Seminar Series: Bannerman’s Island

Wednesday, 21 June
Bannerman’s Island—Seminar with Thom Johnson
LOCATION: Chappaqua Library, 195 South Greeley Avenue, Chappaqua, NY
Refreshments: 6:30 PM
Presentation: 7:00 PM

Is Bannerman’s Island haunted? Please join us in welcoming historian and guide Thom Johnson as he presents and recounts the history of Bannerman’s Island, with its castle-like structure looming in the Hudson River.  Originally built to resemble a Scottish castle and to store military goods for the government, Thom shares the fascinating story of this mysterious island and its abandoned arsenal.

The public is invited to attend. Suggested Donation: $5 to $10.
E-mail or call 914-737-7878, ext. 0 to reserve your place.

Saturday, 22 July
Bannerman’s Island – Visit and Tour with Thom Johnson
LOCATION: Beacon Station, 8 Long Dock Road, Beacon, NY

Thom Johnson will  take us on an excursion!  Meet us at Beacon Train Station, or join fellow members on Metro North departing from Peekskill station for a narrated trip up the Hudson. From the dock at Beacon Station we’ll board the Estuary Steward for a ride to Bannerman’s Island followed by a walking tour. Boxed lunches will be served aboard on the trip back to Beacon station.
Price: $70 per person. Seating is very limited and early reservations are suggested.

E-mail or call 914-737-7878, ext. 0 to reserve your place.

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