Henry Beston and “The Outermost House” Talk with David Donovan on Thurs., March 15

Henry Beston’s “The Outermost House” is considered a classic of American literature as well as one of the seminal works that has influenced today’s environmental movement. Join David Donovan at the Jesup Memorial Library on Thursday, March 15 at 7 p.m. to learn more about Beston, his life and “The Outermost House.” Donovan says, “Henry Beston was a ‘John Muir of the East.’ He got down into what it means to be really human, which has nothing to do with technology or modern civilization. It has to do with being really connected to nature—the ocean, the beach, the night sky, and yes, all the other living things.”

In 1926 Beston went to “The Outermost House” a 20’x16’ house located on the dunes of Cape Cod’s Eastham for what was intended to be a two-week vacation. The cottage had the Atlantic Ocean near the front door and Nauset Marsh in the back. Beston’s only neighbors were the Coast Guardsmen, who patrolled the beach. However, as he recounted, “The fortnight ending, I lingered on, and as the year lengthened into autumn, the beauty and mystery of this earth and outer sea so possessed and held me that I could not go.” He used the house as a base for observation, writing the book long hand on his kitchen table overlooking the ocean. “The Outermost House” has been called one of the motivating factors in the establishment of the Cape Cod National Seashore, and noted biologist and conservationist Rachel Carson said the book greatly influenced her writing.

Donovan is a career biology teacher, who spent seven years as a seasonal interpretive ranger in Acadia National Park, before spending the summer of 2017 on the Cape Cod National Seashore, where he collaborated with “The Henry Beston Society” for a talk on Beston. For many years, he has been a gallery guide at The Harvard Museum of Natural History, where he specializes in the interpretation of the Ware Collection of Glass Plants. In addition, Donovan has led “Winter among the Trees” educational programs at Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum.

For more information on the talk contact the Jesup at 207-288-4245 or mrice@jesuplibrary.org.