Historical Society of Wilmington

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Historical Society of Wilmington

2019 Presentations and Events






Wednesday August 14th. ~ 6:00 p.m.     Annual Potluck & Annual Meeting @ The Barber House




Wednesday Sept.11th. ~ 7:00 p.m.  Wednesday Sept.11th. ~ 7:00 p.m.Will Melton -  "Liberty Ships, the Murmansk Run, and a Wartime Romance"

@ The Barber House  Liberty Ships, the Murmansk Run, and a Wartime Romance


When historian Herman Melton reached age 89, his son Will convinced him to postpone his latest writing project and chronicle instead his World War II experience fighting the Germans and the Japanese. After his father's death, our speaker Will Melton edited the work and saw it through to publication in 2017 by U.S. Naval Institute Press. Liberty’s War, An Engineer’s Memoir of the Merchant Marines 1942-45 is a rare look at the war through the eyes of an engine-room officer. Will was also the curator of a yearlong exhibit about the story at the American Merchant Marine Museum in Kings Point, Long Island. 


This is not just a war story about men, for love blooms even in wartime, and Will's mother Helen married Herman in the middle of the conflict, and she plays an important role in the book. 


In fact, some of her photographs from the era will illustrate Will's talk, that begins with his father’s dramatic voyage in January 1943, battling German bombers, U-boats, and an Arctic gale, to deliver war materials to our Soviet allies in Murmansk. Signed copies of Liberty’s War will be available following the talk.  



For nearly four decades, Will Melton worked in public relations and fund-raising for higher education and medical research organizations. Boyhood visits with his father to American battlefields and other historic sites sparked a lifelong interest in American history. A resident of South Hadley, Massachusetts, Will is also a musician, performing with mandolin ensembles  in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. He has been a summer visitor to Wilmington’s Lake Raponda for more than thirty years since he married a great-granddaughter of O.O. Ware, who was a shopkeeper in town for many years and a descendant of Wilmington’s early settlers.




Wednesday Oct. 9th. ~ 7:00 p.m.      Claudette Hollenbeck  “Very Long Term History”  @ The Barber House



Wednesday Nov. 13th. ~ 7:00 p.m. End of year business meeting @ The Barber House 






For further informaiton on any of the events or the Historical Soicey please contact Julie Moore at (802) 464-3004