Henry Beston’s Cape Cod

Don Wilding, the co-founder of the nonprofit Henry Beston Society on Cape Cod and author of the book, Henry Beston’s Cape Cod, will present his lecture/documentary film footage screening, Henry Beston’s Cape Cod: Inspiration for a National Seashore, at the Mattapoisett Free Public Library, 7 Barstow St., on Wednesday, April 24 at 6:30 p.m.

Wilding has presented this program on Cape Cod and across New England extensively since 2001. Beston’s book, The Outermost House, was written in 1927 after Beston spent a solitary year in a 20×16 cottage on Eastham’s outer beach. The Outermost House is now considered an American classic on the level of the works of Thoreau, Muir and other noted nature writers, and was cited as a major influence on the establishment of the Cape Cod National Seashore in 1961. Noted author Rachel Carson said that The Outermost House was the only book to ever influence her writing.

Wilding, 52, published his own book, Henry Beston’s Cape Cod, in 2003, shortly after co-founding the nonprofit Beston Society with his wife, Nita. The Beston Society is based in North Eastham, just a few miles from where Beston walked the outer beach, and has sponsored and/or taken part in lectures, theater productions and exhibits on the Cape. Wilding and the Beston Society are now producing a documentary film about Beston’s story and his influence on the Cape Cod National Seashore, in association with filmmaker Christopher Seufert and Mooncusser Films of Chatham.

Wilding’s presentation includes over 100 slides of Beston and his famous cottage, along with footage from the documentary film project. The program tells how the Quincy native, still shaken by his experiences as an ambulance driver in France during World War I, took to writing fairy tales and eventually found the peace of mind he was looking for on Cape Cod’s outer beach. In doing so, he not only found himself as a writer, but his prose from The Outermost House found its way into National Park Service reports about Cape Cod that sealed its establishment as a national treasure.

Wilding will be available to sign copies of his book, along with copies of the DVD, Henry Beston’s Cape Cod: Meditations of the Outer Beach. The DVD, a fundraiser for the documentary film project, includes samples of interviews and scenic footage that have been gathered so far.

For more information on the Beston Society, call (508) 246-7242 or visit www.henrybeston.org.

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