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


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

Series Underwriter: St. Johnsbury Academy

Program Underwriters: Bill and Sharon Biddle, Friends of First Wednesdays at the Athenaeum; Gil Steil Associates
Passumpsic Savings Bank-Member FDIC

Printed St. Johnsbury First Wednesdays brochure

Download the 2017-2018 St. Johnsbury Schedule (PDF)

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

Wed 21

Why Facts Don’t Always Change People’s Minds

February 21
7:00 pm
St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, St Johnsbury
Why do people hold false or unsupported beliefs that are so difficult to change? Dartmouth Professor of Government Brendan Nyhan looks at what makes people vulnerable to misinformation about controversial topics, why facts alone are frequently ineffective at countering misperceptions, and what approaches might be more effective. Read More »
Wed 07

Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln

March 7
7:00 pm
St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, St Johnsbury
Douglass and Lincoln — one born a slave, the other born dirt poor — became respectively one of the nation’s greatest orators and one of its greatest presidents. Harvard professor John Stauffer examines their friendship, the similarities in their lives, and their legacies. Read More »
Wed 04

The Invention of History

April 4
7:00 pm
St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, St Johnsbury
We take history for granted, but it owes its inception and survival to two extraordinary individuals. Middlebury College professor Jane Chaplin looks at the contributions of Herodotus (ca. 484-424) and Thucydides (ca. 455-400) to the development of historiography. Read More »
Wed 02

Reckoning with Darwin in American Culture

May 2
7:00 pm
St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, St Johnsbury
Americans came to terms with Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1859) in the aftermath of the Civil War, which shaped how Americans processed new ideas about evolution. Dartmouth history professor Leslie Butler traces the ways Americans responded to Darwin, culminating in the showdown over the teaching of evolution in Dayton, Tennessee in 1925. Read More »