by Stan Cutler

The Friends of the Chestnut Hill Library’s Winter Speaker Series will kick off on Tuesday, Jan. 28. We only have 70 chairs but sometimes draw crowds of more than 100. You can just walk in, but if you’d like to reserve a seat for any of these free events, visit and sign up. The season promises to be fascinating. Join your neighbors for education, enlightenment, entertainment, cookies and conversation in the Community Room of our library at 8711 Germantown Ave.  All presentations are FREE on Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m. 

Would you like to deliver a talk? Are you an educator, either active or retired, who wants to give a lecture on the most important things you know? Are you a creative professional, a musician, writer or artist, who wants to share your work? Are you a business professional who has learned secrets of success that you think everyone ought to know? Are you an expert on a fascinating topic? If so, and you’d like to propose your talk for the upcoming Spring 2020 Series, please submit your proposal at

Here is a list of presentations for The Friends of the Chestnut Hill Library’s Winter Speaker Series:

The Civilian Experience of The American Revolution in The Delaware Valley
Claude Epstein, Tuesday Jan. 28, 1:30 p.m.

Within the war zone of the American Revolution, civilians were killed, maimed and raped, their property and public buildings destroyed. Some turned these dire circumstance into money-making opportunities. Claude Epstein is a retired Stockton University professor of hydrology andan expert on the impact of European settlement on the Delaware Valley’s natural resources.

An African American Family’s Experiences of Slavery, Repression and Struggle
Willadine Bain, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 1:30 p.m.

For Black History Month, hear stories told by Willadine Bain’s great grandmother and grandparents, about her ex-slave grandfather who became a Savannah millionaire, why her grandmother’s first husband died in a duel, about the precious gold necklace and other stories. Mrs. Bain, author of the “The Gold Necklace,” is a Howard graduate who retired from the School District of Philadelphia as an Assistant Director of Curriculum. 

Rescued from the Brink
Bill Konstant, Tuesday Feb. 25, 1:30 p.m.

Hear about successful efforts to save the Panamanian golden frog, Asian rhinos, American bison, mountain gorillas, bald eagles and other animals. Story-teller, zoologist and global wildlife conservationist Bill Konstant tells of his personal experiences with international organizations dedicated to rescuing endangered species on four continents.

Environmental Impacts of Fracking and Plastic BagsKelly O’Day, Tuesday, Mar. 10, 1:30 p.m.

Philadelphia Environmental Engineer Kelly O’Day presents evidence of the ways Marcellus shale gas is changing the economics of plastic production, consequently increasing the risks of plastic pollution and climate change. Mr. O’Day recently retired from a successful career as an environmental engineering consultant. He is well-known in scientific circles as an articulate and knowledgeable advocate for the environment. 

Philadelphia Super-Star Actor Edwin Forrest
Arthur Bloom, Tuesday Mar. 17th, 1:30 p.m.

In the early 19th Century, the most famous actor in America was Edwin Forrest, a complicated, notorious Philadelphian. Hear accounts of his sensational public divorce case, his affinity for the hyper-masculine imagery of Jacksonian democracy, his participation in the Astor Place Riot and other scandals. Arthur Bloom is the retired Dean of Visual and Performing Arts at Kutztown University and the author of published books about Joseph Jefferson and Edwin Booth.

How the Delaware Valley Lenape Had Their Land Taken With European Settlement Claude Epstein, Tuesday Mar. 24, 1:30 p.m.

Focusing on the political environment up to and during the American Revolution, an exploration of the Lenape’s quandaries, the roles played by Quaker proprietors, the Pennsylvania Assembly, the frontier settlers, the Iroquois Nation and European governments. (This is an updated version of a previous talk at the Library.) Claude Epstein is a retired  Stockton University professor of hydrology and an expert on the impact of European settlement on the Delaware Valley’s natural resources.