The Lewes Historical Society announces its History Happy Hour series Fridays through Sept. 27. The presentations will be offered free of charge at 4 p.m. for 20-30 minutes, followed by a question-and-answer period. During the presentations, a glass of wine will be served by the Rose & Crown, Lewes’s upscale British pub. Due to the public’s overwhelming support, the Lewes Historical Society has relocated these programs to the Hotel Rodney, at 142 Second St.
On Friday, Sept. 6, Jim Bertholet will present “The Life and Work of a Surfman in the U.S. Life-Saving Service 1870s -1915.”
Bertholet is a Vietnam veteran who retired after 40 years in sales, sales training and sales management. He is a lifelong history buff who grew up on the Jersey shore and always had a particular interest in maritime history, especially the U.S. Life-Saving Service and U.S. Lighthouses. He moved to Delaware in 2010, where he currently conducts Lewes Historical Society Maritime Tours, presents at the Lewes Life-Saving Station and works on the Wooden Boat Building Volunteer Crew.
History Happy Hours continue Friday, Sept. 13, as speaker William H.J. Manthorpe Jr. presents "A Century of Service.” This presentation documents the presence of the U.S. Navy on Cape Henlopen from 1898 to 1996. It highlights the principal U.S. Navy installations that were on the Cape, and illustrates what the facilities looked like when they were operational and what they look like today. It pictures the equipment used and the daily life of the sailors.
Manthorpe is a retired U.S. Navy captain, government senior civilian executive and university professor. He currently teaches at Delaware Technical Community College. In recent years he has been researching, writing and speaking on naval history with a focus on Delaware’s naval heroes and their battles, naval activities in Delaware Bay and at Cape Henlopen, and Delaware’s ships and shipbuilding.
During a special History Happy Hour Friday, Sept. 20, speaker James Morrison will present "The 1769 Transit of Venus: Part Science, Part History and Part Mystery." Morrison will discuss the importance of the rare event when Venus passes over the sun’s disk and why it was particularly important in 1769. In that year, the American Philosophical Society sponsored three observatories, including a temporary facility in Lewes. Morrison and a colleague in England are the first to have studied the historical records and presented a detailed description of the Lewes observatory. The mystery element is determining the exact location of the observatory.
Morrison is retired from a career in the computer industry that spanned 37 years, including 30 years with IBM, where he held a variety of technical and management positions. After leaving IBM, he formed a systems software consulting firm from which he retired in 2000. He also worked as an engineer on the Apollo program. He is the author of "The Astrolabe," the most complete treatise on the history, theory, design and use of all types of astrolabes and related instruments. He and his wife Lynne have lived in Rehoboth Beach since 2000.
On Friday, Sept. 27, the last History Happy Hour of the season, Paul Collins and William H.J. Manthorpe Jr. will collaborate for a special two-part finale presentation, "Exploring and Charting the Delaware Bay." Collins will begin with a lecture on the early explorers of the region and the charters of the Delaware River and Bay, their nationality, sponsors and missions. Collins will also speak about the geopolitical impact on the region from the Dutch, Swedes, English, and William Penn and the Duke of York, and the pirates in the region and their roles. Manthorpe will pick up the story in the 1750s. He will illustrate, highlight some details and discuss the significance of the first reliable chart of the Delaware River and Bay created by Joshua Fisher of Lewes and Philadelphia. That chart remained the basis for subsequent navigational charts produced for the next 100 years.
The Lewes Historical Society extends thanks to the History Happy Hours’ sponsor, Hotel Rodney. R&L Liquors and Rose & Crown also graciously support this program. Thanks also go to community members, visitors and most of all, the speakers that made the History Happy Hours a success. Go to www.HistoricLewes.org for more information and upcoming events.