Liam Riordan lectures at MMA Delano Hall. Photo by Aaron Paley.

Each year, the Castine Historical Society brings in speakers for its Annual Meeting, as well as for special events or subjects.  These lectures are recorded and made available to everyone.

To view a video, please press the “play” icon on the video.  To play the video in full screen, simply click on the “four arrows” icon on the bottom right hand corner of the entry.  To leave full screen and return to your normal view, press the “esc” button.


Special Speakers


A lecture by Dr. Mary Freeman, assistant professor of history at the University of Maine, exploring slavery and emancipation in Maine, antislavery activism and the role of African Americans, and Underground Railroad myths.

View this talk on the CHS YouTube channel by clicking HERE.


In her talk, Dr. Kate McMahon of the Smithsonian Institution discusses how the United States prohibited its citizens from participating in the African slave trade in 1808. Yet despite this, northern New Englanders, including Mainers, plied the coasts of Africa in increasing numbers from 1808 until 1862, transporting and selling hundreds of thousands of captive Africans to the Caribbean and South America. This talk discusses how this brutal traffic occurred, and the ways in which African people resisted their enslavement.

View this talk on the CHS YouTube channel by clicking HERE.


A woman, Pamela Cummings, standing in the foreground inside an old, uninsulated building with windows behind her. There are posters leaning up against the walls.  “Portland’s Abyssinian Meeting House and Its Ties to the Underground Railroad” 

Portland’s African American meeting house, a National Historic Registry site located at 75 Newbury Street in Portland was the historical, religious, educational, and cultural center of Portland’s 19th-century African American community. It has a unique tie to Castine as one of its founders and deacons, Abraham Niles, was born, raised, and educated in Castine before moving to Portland to continue his career as a sailor.

View this talk on the CHS YouTube channel by clicking HERE.

“The Singular Life of Mary Tyler Jackson” with local historian Georgia Zildjian

A talk on two generation of Castine’s African American Jackson family by local author and historian, Georgia Zildjian.

“Hidden Legacies: Uncovering Castine’s African American History” with Lisa Simpson Lutts, Executive Director of Castine Historical Society

Lisa Simpson Lutts talks about the stories of 18th and 19th century African and African American residents of Castine. Over the past few years, CHS staff researched archival records to uncover these stories, which were ignored in the town’s written histories. Attendees will learn about the earliest enslaved people who worked in Castine and hear the stories of free black families and individuals who lived and worked in Castine.

“The Place Justice Initiative: A Statewide Truth-seeking and Historical Recovery Initiative of the Permanent Commission” with Meadow Dibble and Erika Arthur

The Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous, and Tribal Populations has launched a Place Justice Project that seeks to engage Wabanaki and Maine communities in examining a wide range of commemorative practices to better understand and respond to the ways in which racialized and Indigenous populations are represented in or absent from the narratives inscribed on our natural and built environment. Whose memory is visible and celebrated, and whose has been erased or misrepresented? How do the politics and practices of public remembrance and forgetting continue to impact our communities today?

Three centuries of Maine’s Black history with historian and journalist Bob Greene

Did you know that Maine’s Black history goes back to at least 12 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock? The history of the Pine Tree State includes many Black builders, farmers, fishermen, ship captains, educators, and more whose lives have often been forgotten or ignored. The Castine Historical Society presents historian Bob Greene, who explores and celebrates this often hidden side of Maine’s history.

The 13th Annual Deborah Pulliam Memorial Lecture with Carl Little

Guest curator for the Clark Fitz-Gerald exhibition Carl Little will deliver an illustrated lecture. In “Clark Fitz-Gerald: Castine’s Celebrated Sculptor-in-Residence” Little will highlight the life and work of the famed 20th-century sculptor, providing context for his place in modern sculpture, in Maine and beyond. The talk will feature photographs, sketches, caricatures and other materials from the Fitz-the Castine Historical Society, part of the gift of the artist’s children Leah and Stephen Fitz-Gerald.

Cotton’s Ocean: Castine and the Antebellum Cotton Trade

Dr. Stephen J. Hornsby gives a talk on “Cotton’s Ocean: Castine and the Antebellum Cotton Trade.” The lecture focuses on the importance of the trans-Atlantic cotton trade for the growth of the shipbuilding and ship owning industries in Maine before the Civil War, and how Castine fit into this world of oceanic commerce.

Perfected Visions of the Past: Maritime Maine in Almost 2020 Hindsight.

Lincoln Paine, noted maritime historian, author, editor, and curator was the speaker for the 12th Annual Deborah Pulliam Memorial Lecture on July 15.

Voting Down the Rose: Maine’s Fight for Woman Suffrage

Anne Gass gives a talk entitled “Voting Down the Rose: Maine’s Fight for Woman Suffrage,” based on Anne Gass’s great-grandmother, Florence Brooks Whitehouse. Florence was a novelist, painter, vocalist, and mother of three sons when she first joined the suffrage movement in 1914.

Deborah Pulliam Memorial Lecture 2019

Richard Ames, Guest Curator for our 2019 exhibit “Risky Business: Square-Rigged Ships and Salted Fish” gives an illustrated talk on his research on Castine’s square-rigged ships and maritime trade in the 19th century.

Deborah Pulliam Memorial Lecture 2018

Tomlin Coggeshall, grandson of Frances Perkins and founder of the Frances Perkins Center, delivers a lecture entitled “Molly Dewson and Frances Perkins: Two Powerful Women.”

Stephen Fitz-Gerald

The Castine artist Clark Fitz-Gerald (1917-2004) created many works in his long and successful career.  In this talk entitled “Treasures from Clark Fitz-Gerald’s Sketchbooks”, the audience views a digital sampling of these visual treasures with commentary by his son, Stephen, who is also an artist.

Susan Ware

Women’s historian and Molly Dewson biographer Susan Ware gives a talk entitled “Two Lifelong Partnerships: Molly Dewson and Polly Porter, and the Historian Who Wrote About Them.”  Additional information about Ms. Ware can be found HERE.

Frederick Church’s Paintings of Maine

Noted art historian and author John Wilmerding joins the Castine Historical Society for a special event celebrating the opening of the Samuel L. Grindle House.  A bio for Mr. Wilmerding can be found HERE.

Here’s Looking At You, Castine

Members of the Castine Arts Association present a tribute to the town historically, literarily, poetically, photographically, and anecdotally.  Includes special appearances by Mary Appleman, Harry Kaiserian, Paul Gray, Dixie Gray, Sandy Dinsmore, and Riva Berleant.

Jim Stone

Noted historian and educator Jim Stone takes us on a historical tour of Castine through the ages, much as he used to walk tourists through the town on an architectural tour.


Annual Meeting Lectures

     Annual Meeting 2023

Following a brief CHS business meeting, Executive Director Lisa Simpson Lutts and Collections Manager Jules Thomson give a presentation highlighting new acquisitions to the CHS permanent collection.  Video can be viewed HERE.

Annual Meeting 2022

Following a brief CHS business meeting, nationally-known artist, Robert Shetterly, gives a talk on portraits he has painted and the stories of the people who affected him the most with their courage & commitment.

Annual Meeting 2021

Maine Maritime Academy instructor Captain Richard F. Miller gives a talk entitled “The Square Rigged Ship: Form & Function – Then and Now.” Captain Miller is an Associate Professor and Department Chair of Marine Transportation at Maine Maritime Academy in Castine. His classes of instruction include Terrestrial Navigation (Coastal Piloting), Celestial Navigation, Seamanship, Electronic Navigation, Meteorology, and Marine Weather Routing.

Annual Meeting 2019

Christopher Timm, Curator of Exhibits for the Maine Maritime Museum, gives an illustrated talk called “Maine and the Caribbean: A Plantation? A Paradise?” Mr. Timm discusses how Mainers have long traded with, fought over, and traveled to the Caribbean. He looks at how has our view of the region changed over time, and looks at the role of Maine’s ships and mariners.

Annual Meeting 2018

Castine summer resident and writer Lee Smith gives a talk entitled “BELIEVE IT OR NOT!  Fact….or Fiction?”  The author of 17 works of fiction, Lee has received many awards including the North Carolina Award for Literature and an Academy Award in Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Annual Meeting 2016

Peter Davis, Castine resident and award winning author and filmmaker, is the speaker at the 50th Annual Meeting and makes observations about the Society’s first half century.  His talk is entitled, “Happy 50th Birthday, Castine Historical Society: Some Truths, Lies and Consequences of Your First Half Century.”  Mr. Davis’ bio can be found HERE.

Annual Meeting 2015

Building and Grounds Committee Chair Marcia Mason, Contractor Steve Shea, and former Curator Paige Lilly speak about the construction of the renovated Grindle House.

Annual Meeting 2014

Gail Winkler, distinguished preservationist and design historian, discusses the thinking that went into the interior design decisions for the restoration of the Historical Society’s acquisition of the Grindle House. Dr. Winkler’s bio can be found HERE.