Winter Wisdom

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Five Free Presentations and Discussions

Winter Wisdom 2021 is sponsored by The Highlands, Topsham Maine – Thank you!

(Click here to open and print the full Winter Wisdom flyer)



  1. Pre-recorded Video Presentation — All events will begin by watching a pre-recorded video by the presenter, which will appear on the same day as the scheduled event. (This video will be kept on this website through February)
  2. Zoom Virtual Discussion with the presenter — This will be held on the date next to each presenter’s talk at 1 p.m. If you wish to join, you must register. It is a free event but registration is required. Locate the registration link within the information below. Registration is separate for each discussion and you may register at any time before the event. You will receive a link to the Zoom event on the morning of the event.


Robert C. Williams

February 10: Remembering Topsham

Our speaker will recount the history of Topsham, Maine, from 1720 to the present. From early conflict with the Abenaki to thriving activity in the timber, shipbuilding and feldspar industries and now tourist destination and retirement community, the program covers the unique history of this early river town. Robert C. Williams is a retired Russian historian who received his education at Wesleyan and Harvard, and has an extensive teaching and publishing resume.

Watch recorded video


Jud Caswell

January 6: Music as a Form of Community in the Time of Covid

Join local song writer and performer Jud Caswell and his journey from childhood in Morrill, Maine, to national acclaim as “one of the leading singer-songwriters on the current scene” by Sing Out! magazine. A multi-instrumentalist from an early age, he has performed with jazz bands, orchestras and medieval ensembles before finding his home on the acoustic guitar. He will discuss the various themes from contemporary life which have influenced his compositions as well as perform selections from his repertoire. Jud has a BA degree in Music from Dartmouth College and currently resides in Brunswick.

Watch recorded video 

(The recorded video will be kept on this website through February)


January 13: Universal Basic Income (UBI) in a Post Pandemic World

Michael Howard

A number of proposals have been presented to grant an unconditional monthly payment to cover basic expenses arising because of high unemployment and businesses that have been forced to close. What can be said for or against a permanent UBI after the pandemic ends? Michael Howard is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Maine and has authored and/or edited a
number of books on this subject, and is national coordinator for the US Basic Income Guarantee Network.


Watch recorded video:



January 27: The Vikings Raids in Ireland: 790 – 1000

Jim Nelson

Arriving first to plunder but then to settle, these seaborne raiders evolved from feared invaders to assimilated
members of Irish society. Jim Nelson, a native of Lewiston, Maine, attended Amherst and UCLA, and
has published 25 books in both fiction and non-fiction genres.  He has received numerous literary
awards for his works on American naval history.

Reading & Viewing Suggestions

Watch recorded video



February 3: The “Great White Fleet”: Black Sailors, Unions, and Racism on the Palmer Schooners

The Palmer Fleet of massive coal carrying schooners formed a critical component of New England’s early energy infrastructure. Its owner, William F. Palmer was known for his relentless efforts to keep costs low, leaving the most marginalized sailors the most vulnerable. This talk examines the complex role of labor and racism in the early twentieth-century coal fleet. Christopher Timm is Chief Curator of Maine Maritime Museum. As an art historian, his research has focused on the social, cultural and global impact of Maine’s Maritime heritage.

Watch recorded video