First Wednesdays

A Humanities Lecture Series, October through May

St. Johnsbury First Wednesdays

Venue: St. Johnsbury Athenaeum

1171 Main Street, St. Johnsbury
Library phone: (802) 748-8291
Library website
Directions to the library

Underwriters

Statewide Underwriters: The Alma Gibbs Donchian Foundation, the Windham Foundation, and the Institute of Museum & Library Services through the Vermont Department of Libraries.

Series Underwriter: St. Johnsbury Academy

Program Underwriters: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in partnership with Pulitzer Prizes
, Passumpsic Savings Bank-Member FDIC, Vermont Council on World Affairs

Library Sponsors: Adler and McCabe, plc; Friends of the Athenaeum

Printed St. Johnsbury First Wednesdays brochure

Download the 2018-2019 St. Johnsbury Schedule (PDF)

All First Wednesdays events are free and open to the public!

Wed 03

Bread and Roses, Too

October 3
7:00 pm
St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, St Johnsbury
Acclaimed children’s book author Katherine Paterson discusses her novel of historical fiction that tells the story of the 1912 “Bread and Roses” strike in the Lawrence, Massachusetts textile mills through the eyes of an Italian-American girl and a runaway boy. Read More »
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Wed 07

The Fate of Western Democracy

November 7
7:00 pm
St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, St Johnsbury
Liberal democracy—the system of representative democracy, individual liberty, and the rule of law on which America was founded—is being challenged by both foreign powers and domestic politicians who favor more autocratic governance. Visiting scholar at Middlebury College Stan Sloan discusses these threats. Read More »
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Thu 06

Charles Dickens and the Writing of A Christmas Carol

December 6
7:00 pm
St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, St Johnsbury
Dickens scholar Barry Deitz considers Dickens’s career up to the publication of A Christmas Carol in 1843, what the novella’s success meant to Dickens’s life and work, and how the story has resonated since, including in films. Read More »
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Wed 02

Music, Storytelling, and Politics

January 2, 2019
7:00 pm
St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, St Johnsbury
Ugandan ethnomusicologist and Middlebury assistant professor Damascus Kafumbe examines music-making and storytelling, especially as they are used both to maintain political power and to help people survive political repression in his native Uganda. Read More »
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Wed 06

The News about the News

February 6, 2019
7:00 pm
St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, St Johnsbury
In today’s political and cultural atmosphere, it is vital the public stays informed and the press does its job. Journalists Cindy Skrzycki and Pulitzer Prize winner David Shribman examine the current media landscape, distinguishing between fake and real news, amateur and professional, slanted and objective. Read More »
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Wed 06

The Power of the Journey in Their Eyes Were Watching God

March 6, 2019
7:00 pm
St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, St Johnsbury
Zora Neale Hurston’s landmark novel tells the story of Janie Mae Crawford’s journey from adolescence to maturity, from dependence to autonomy, and most importantly, from silence to speech. Middlebury professor Will Nash examines Janie’s timeless and profoundly relevant journey. Read More »
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Wed 03

Vincent Van Gogh and the Books He Read

April 3, 2019
7:00 pm
St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, St Johnsbury
Van Gogh’s letters reveal that his paintings and drawings were inspired by his reading as well as by people, nature, and other painters’ work. Art historian Carol Berry shows the profound influence of the works of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, and others on Van Gogh’s life and art. Read More »
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Thu 02

Bierstadt’s “Domes of Yosemite,” and the Creation of an American Icon

May 2, 2019
7:00 pm
St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, St Johnsbury
Yosemite was more than the first federally protected American landscape; it was an emblem of freedom in the years surrounding the Civil War. Eleanor Jones Harvey, senior curator at Smithsonian American Art Museum, discusses the story behind Bierstadt’s monumental painting, weaving together several historical threads to deepen our appreciation of Yosemite as part of our national identity. Read More »
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