November 18, 2017
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“Life and Death on the Greenland Patrol” Subject of Castine Historical Society Lecture

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Castine, Maine – On Tuesday, August 7, at 7:30pm, the Castine Historical Society will present the fourth annual Deborah Pulliam Memorial Lecture at Delano Auditorium on the Maine Maritime Academy campus in Castine. This year’s Pulliam lecturer is Dr. P.J. Capelotti, Associate Professor of Anthropology at Abington College of Pennsylvania State University, and author or editor of 15 scholarly books, including Life and Death on the Greenland Patrol. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, is being presented in conjunction with the Castine Historical Society’s summer exhibit “Schooner Bowdoin on the Greenland Patrol”, co-sponsored with Maine Maritime Academy.
Dr. Capelotti earned B.A. and M.A. degrees in history from the University of Rhode Island and an M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology from Rutgers University, and served 24 years in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve before retiring earlier this summer. It was while in the Coast Guard that Dr. Capelotti came across the diary of Thaddeus Novak, a seaman from Detroit who served on the Greenland Patrol in the summer of 1942. Life and Death on the Greenland Patrol is Dr. Capelotti’s edited version of Novak’s diary, which gives a remarkable account of a sailor thrown into a global war in a remote area full of environmental hardships that few endured in World War II. The book was selected as ‘Best Book of the Year’ in 2006 by the Foundation for Coast Guard History.
Dr. Capelotti’s primary research has concentrated on the history and archeology of polar exploration, more specifically the American explorations in Franz Josef Land and the explorations of Benjamin Leigh Smith. In the course of his research, he has been to the North Pole twice, visited several islands in the Franz Josef Land archipelago, made six trips to Svalbard, and is a regular Visiting Scholar at Cambridge University’s Scott Polar Research Institute in the United Kingdom.
The annual lecture honors the late Deborah Pulliam, a generous benefactor of the Castine Historical Society and many other organizations in Castine and beyond. CHS is open seven days a week through Labor Day; 10am-4pm Mondays-Saturdays and 1-4pm Sundays. For more information on the “Schooner Bowdoin on the Greenland Patrol” exhibit, the Pulliam lecture or the full schedule of events for summer 2012, visit CHS online at, email or call 326-4118.