History author to discuss search for lost colony June 15

June 11, 2019

History buffs and mystery fans alike can enjoy a presentation by author Andrew Lawler at 1 p.m., Saturday, June 15, at the Lewes Public Library. Lawler’s critically acclaimed book “The Secret Token” explores America’s oldest unsolved mystery – the fate of 115 men, women and children who vanished from their settlement on North Carolina’s Roanoke Island in 1587. The event is jointly sponsored by the History Book Festival and the Lewes Public Library. Admission is free.

The settlers’ disappearance and the lone clue they left behind – a secret token carved into a tree – have baffled historians and amateur sleuths for centuries. Following a chance encounter with a British archaeologist, Lawler discovered that solid answers to the mystery were within reach. He set out to unravel the enigma of the lost settlers and documented his work in “The Secret Token: Myth, Obsession, and the Search for the Lost Colony of Roanoke.” 

Lawler also is the author of the highly acclaimed “Why Did the Chicken Cross the World?” He is a contributing writer for Science, a contributing editor for Archaeology magazine, and has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Geographic, Smithsonian and Slate.

“’The Secret Token’ documents the hardships encountered by the earliest European settlers to America, including those who arrived in Lewes less than 50 years after the Roanoke Island colonists,” said Ron Collins, History Book Festival co-chair. “We’re proud to host the author for his presentation in the first town and the First State.”

“The Secret Token” and other books featured in the History Book Festival are available for purchase at Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach and Biblion in Lewes. Books also are available for purchase at festival events, or they may be borrowed from the Lewes Public Library.

The June 15 program is the second of two preview events ahead of the 3rd Annual History Book Festival, which will be held at venues throughout Lewes in late September.

The History Book Festival is the first and only book festival in the United States devoted exclusively to history. Led by a volunteer board and funded in part by tax-deductible contributions through the Greater Lewes Foundation, the festival’s organizers believe in the power of history, literature and civil dialogue to influence the future for the better. For more information, go to

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