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Click this link to register for any of the following programs or our Movie Matinees
or call the library.


One-on-One Genealogy Sessions


Trying to get started on your family tree or looking for some tools to help with research? Are you stuck trying to find an ancestor? Well, we have two genealogy buffs Sam Morrisey and John Dwyer, who can sit with you one-on-one for a ½ hour session. Call now to ensure a spot.

February 20, 2020, March 19, 2020
April 16, 2020, May 21, 2020, June 18, 2020


10:00-10:30, 10:30-11:00, 11:00-11:30, 11:30-12:00
2:00-2:30, 2:30-3:00, 3:00-3:30, 3:30-4:00

Just bring your ancestry information and your laptop/digital device. If you do not have a laptop/digital device that’s ok too. We will have one available. Sam Morrisey has been doing genealogy research for 20 years and is a member of the Judea Chapter of the DAR. John Dwyer learned genealogy from his mother. He started research with his own family tree and has moved on to help others.


Better Angels Debate on U.S. Immigration Policy

Thursday, January 23 @ 6 pm

The Gunnery’s History Chair, Bart McMann, will facilitate a Better Angels Debate (a new way of talking politics) on The Future of U.S. Immigration Policy. Join Bart and his students, for this Better Angels forum, to explore and share views on the political realities surrounding one of the country’s most pressing and divisive issues. America’s immigration policies continue to change over time. Issues that frame such policy include the immigrant’s role in the labor force, rates of immigration to the US, and most recently, concerns about terrorism. The main question to consider is the fairness of these policies in terms of their consideration of immigrants and benefits to the United States. Better Angels is a national citizens’ movement to reduce political polarization in the United States by bringing liberals and conservatives together to understand each other beyond stereotypes, forming red/blue community alliances, teaching practical skills for communicating across political differences, and making a strong public argument for depolarization. The goal of a Better Angels Debate is not to “win” the argument. Rather, it is a highly structured conversation in which a group of people listen carefully and meaningfully engage with each other’s ideas on a difficult issue.


Book Talk & Signing: The General’s Cook by Ramin Ganeshram

Tuesday, February 4 @ 6:30 pm

Author & journalist, Ramin Ganeshram will lead a discussion and signing on her recent historical fiction novel The General’s Cook. Philadelphia 1793. Hercules, President George Washington’s chef, is a fixture on the Philadelphia scene. He is famous for both his culinary prowess and for ruling his kitchen like a commanding general. He has his run of the city and earns twice the salary of an average American workingman. He wears beautiful clothes and attends the theater. Some even say the first celebrity chef. But while valued by the Washingtons for his prowess in the kitchen and rewarded far over and above even white servants, Hercules is enslaved in a city where most black Americans are free. Even while he masterfully manages his kitchen and the lives of those in and around it, Hercules harbors secrets. Eventually Hercules’ carefully crafted intrigues fall apart and he finds himself trapped by his circumstance and the will of George Washington. Based on actual historical events and people, The General’s Cook, will thrill fans as they follow Hercules’ precarious and terrifying bid for freedom.

Ramin Ganeshram is a veteran journalist, who has written features for the New York Times and for New York Newsday. As a professionally trained chef with a Master’s degree in Journalism from Columbia, she is a celebrated food columnist who has been awarded seven Society of Professional Journalist awards for her work and an IACP Cookbook of The Year Award. Ganeshram is the author of several cookbooks. As an American of Trinidadian and Iranian heritage, she specializes in writing about multicultural communities as a news reporter and about food from the perspective of history and culture. Her work has appeared in Saveur, Gourmet, Bon Appetit, National Geographic Traveler, Forbes Traveler, Forbes Four Seasons, and many others. Born and raised in New York City, she lives in Westport, Connecticut.


Local Author Book Talk and Signing

Tuesday, February 11 @ 6:30 pm

Washington, CT author Jamie Jackson Spannhake will lead a discussion and signing on her recent publication The Lawyer, The Lion & The Laundry. In her new book, Jamie shares a profound and practical mind-management strategy that significantly improves life, from the inside-out. The book is intended to be read in three hours and is designed to help anyone trying to manage various responsibilities in life, including career, family, social life, personal hobbies, and spirituality, and so on, without feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Spannhake explains that when she was successfully managing her legal career, family, and personal life, she was so busy that she felt overwhelmed and exhausted. She wasn’t able to enjoy her life because it seemed so chaotic. Over ten years of researching, writing, speaking with others, and experimenting in her own life, she has developed a “mind management” strategy — a way to approach things differently to better handle her competing responsibilities.

Jamie Jackson Spannhake is a lawyer, writer, speaker, and certified health coach. Her writing has appeared in print and online, including at Attorney at Work,, Law Practice Magazine, Law Practice Today, The Brooklyn Journal of International Law, and the Cumberland Law Review. She practices law as a partner in a small firm with offices in New York and Connecticut. In addition, she mothers her eight-year old daughter, successfully co-parents with her ex-husband, loves two dogs and two cats, and parents foster kids. She also volunteers at her daughter’s school regularly practices yoga and meditation, plays tennis and runs. She is enjoying her life, without feeling overwhelmed.

Books will be available for sale and signing at the event.


The Music, Life & Legacy of Mozart

Thursday, February 13 @ 6:30

Vincent P. de Luise, M.D., Cultural Ambassador for the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra, presents Amadeus in Retrospect. The music, life and legacy of Wolfgang Mozart continue to fascinate and enthrall. Who was Mozart? Of course, we all know his music, that rich and deep trove of ineffable melodies from his symphonies, operas, chamber and sacred works that is an essential part of western civilization. The wonderful play and movie, “Amadeus” have introduced Mozart’s music to millions. Yet, much of Mozart’s life remains dotted with questions, falsehood and hyperbole.What did Mozart look like?  What was his relationship with his father Leopold and his sister Nannerl? How did his years of touring Europe as a prodigy affect his health? How did his perfect pitch and eidetic memory inform his compositions? Why was he not as famous during his adult life as he was as a child? What was musical life like in the Vienna of the 1780s? Did he really compose without making mistakes?  How did Mozart make a living without a patron? Why did he die so young? What is the Mozart “effect?”?  Can his music really make you smarter?
Join Dr Vincent de Luise for a fascinating look at Mozart: the man, his life, and his wondrous musical legacy. Dr. de Luise is an assistant clinical professor of ophthalmology at Yale University School of Medicine, and on the adjunct faculty of the Weill Cornell Medical College, where he serves on the Humanities and Medicine Committee and the Music and Medicine Initiative. ​He is president of the Connecticut Summer Opera Foundation and lectures frequently about music and the arts.


Book Talk & Signing with Author & Historian Tom Shachtman

Thursday, February 27 @ 6:30 pm

Historian & Author Tom Shachtman will offer a visual presentation & signing on his most recent publication, The Founding Fortunes.  The Founding Fortunes reveals the ways in which a dozen notable Revolutionaries deeply affected the finances and birth of the new country while making and losing their fortunes and provides a riveting history of economic patriotism that still resonates today.  In addition to nuanced views of the well-known wealthy financiers such as Robert Morris and John Hancock, and of the less wealthy but influential Alexander Hamilton, The Founding Fortunes offers insight into the contributions of those often overlooked by popular history: Henry Laurens, the plantation owner who replaced Hancock as President of Congress; pioneering businessmen William Bingham, Jeremiah Wadsworth, and Stephen Girard; privateer magnate Elias Hasket Derby; and Hamilton’s successors at Treasury, Oliver Wolcott, Jr. and Albert Gallatin. The Founders dealt with tariffs, taxes on the wealthy, the national debt, regional disparities, the census as it affected finances, and how much of what America needs should be manufactured at home in ways that remain startlingly relevant and insightful.

TOM SHACHTMAN has written or co-authored more than 35 books, as well as documentaries for ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, and BBC, and has taught at New York University and lectured at Harvard, Stanford, Georgia Tech, the Smithsonian, and the Library of Congress. He is a former chairman of The Writers Room in Manhattan, a trustee of the Connecticut Humanities Council, and an occasional columnist for the Lakeville Journal.


DNA &Your Family Tree

Thursday, March 5 @ 6:30 pm

Have you heard about DNA testing for genealogy but you’re not sure what it can do for you? DNA is a powerful tool to confirm lineage for those who know their family history. For those who don’t, it can be life changing. Join us as Professional Genealogist, Jennifer Zinck, President of the Connecticut Professional Genealogists Council discusses the different types of DNA tests and how they might help you to knock down tough brick walls and connect branches of your family tree. Learn about the most popular tools and techniques used in genealogy and explore challenges and successes in the modern world of genealogy. Jennifer will even share a case history as it relates to Washington, CT.

Jennifer Zinck is a Professional Genealogist who specializes in Connecticut research and DNA evidence for genealogy. Jennifer is currently serving her third term as the President of the Connecticut Professional Genealogists Council. She is an instructor in the Boston University Genealogical Research Certificate Program. Jennifer enjoys sharing her passion for family history with all ages.





All programs are free and open to the public, but registration is requested.
Please call 860-868-7586 for further information or visit
The Gunn Memorial Library is located at
5 Wykeham Road at Route 47 on the Green, in Washington, CT.