Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Jim McAllister + Salem History = FUN!!

If your idea of a history lecture is something boring and with no relationship to what you care about, you have never been to one of Jim McAllister's talks on Salem's history.  Jim makes history literally come alive, and he interjects so much humor into his talks that you cannot help but become engaged with the subject.

How can you attend one of his great talks?  Here are some ways:

Jim McAllister's                                                                                                                                                WINTER 2013 LECTURE SERIES                                                                                                                                  Tuesday evenings, March 5- April 2                                                                                                                     First Church in Salem, 316 Essex Street, Salem, MA

Tuesday, March 5                                                                                                                                                             
McIntire District Madness
Get in the mood for March you-know-what with Jim’s collection of offbeat facts, historical moments, important personalities, and entertaining anecdotes relating to one of America’s most treasured architectural neighborhoods.  Includes information gleaned from written memoirs, personal interviews, newspaper accounts, and regional history books.

Tuesday, March 12                                                                                                                                                                                              
One Man’s Salem, Part One  ( 1900-1920)
The lively Salem YMCA,  amateur theatre groups, World War I volunteer activities, social events at Hamilton Hall, the Salem Fire, local museum and civic activities, politics,  and many other aspects of Salem life 1900-1920 come to life through the  eyes – and journals  - of a lifelong resident, Frank Fabens.

Tuesday March 19                                                                                                                                                           
One Man’s Salem Part Two (1921-1944)
This second “Frank Fabens talk” blends his personal journey – including his pursuit of education and an acting career, friendships, summers in New Hampshire, World War II volunteer activities  - with information about Salem celebrations, the impact of the 1929 stock market crash, local politics, neighborhood  and church activities, and much, much more.

Tuesday March 26                                                                                                                                                    
Montparnasse Madness
Wonderful tales of expatriate Paris in the post World One era involving the famous – including Hemingway, Fitzgerald , Gertrude Stein, Cole Porter, and Picasso – and the not so famous. The talk will draw heavily on the memoirs and “mood pieces”  left behind by those who lived in or visited Montparnasse in the 1920s, or by writers who chronicled their oft times bizarre comings and goings

Tuesday, April 2                                                                                                                                                             
Stories My Mother and Other Strangers Told Me
Stories gathered over the years from friends and other folks via Bowman’s Bakery, the Essex Camera Shop, street corner conversations,  local publications and unpublished memoirs, unsolicited letters, and other sources. These stories, all of which relate to Salem or Salemites, and range from the elegant to the absurd, are just too good to take to the grave.     

Jim’s  one - hour lectures will begin at 7 p.m. and will be held in the Cleveland Room at the First Church in Salem,  316 Essex Street.  Please use the new entrance to the right and rear of the church. Doors open at 6:30. Admission is $12. Prepaid season series subscriptions (transferable) are available at a reduced rate of $48 and can be obtained by contacting culturecorner@gmail.com or 978.745.6314 prior to the first lecture. 


  1. I went on this Salem walking tour and they were talking about the tunnels in town and how the original building that stood where the Hawthorne is was connected to them. Will there be a lecture on them? I was told I could get more info in the book Salem Secret Underground. Could there be more information on Thomas Perkins, the opium dealer who founded Perkins Library for the Blind and MGH, who used to own the previous building?

  2. I will pass your questions along to Jim. We do not run any tours in Salem, but perhaps he will answer through this site.

  3. Jim responds:
    For Salem tunnel information or lectures I would suggesting consulting the book the writer mentioned or its author.

    The Thomas Perkins who gave the Franklin Building to the Salem Marine Society was not the same one connected to the school for the blind and MGH. He was instead a Topsfield native who moved to Salem and made a a fortune in the maritime trade as a partner in the firm Peabody (Joseph) and Perkins. He split his time between residences in Salem and Topsfield, and when he died in 1830 left the Franklin Building - demolished in the 1920s to make way for the Hawthorne Hotel - to the Salem Marine Society.