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Celebrating the stewards of maritime history

Published June 14. 2013 4:00AM

The Board of Trustees of New London Maritime Society, Inc., invites friends and members to a 15th anniversary celebration of the Frank L. McGuire II Maritime Research Library from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

It's a two-part celebration. First, Verlyn Klinkenborg will give a reading from his new book, "More Scenes from the Rural Life," at 4:30 p.m. at the Monte Cristo Bookshop, 13 Washington St. The reading is free and open to the public.

At 6 p.m., the Custom House Maritime Museum at 150 Bank St. hosts a reception for Klinkenborg in the courtyard beneath the museum's new tent. The reception is for NLMS members only. Klinkenborg is a member of the editorial board of The New York Times, to which he also contributes pieces about his farm in upstate New York, collected in "The Rural Life."

Opening Saturday is "Celebrating Fifteen Years of the Frank L. McGuire Maritime Library," an exhibition at the Custom House Maritime Museum, curated by NLMS Librarian Brian Rogers. The library was named in 1988 for the late attorney Frank Lewis McGuire II. As part of the New London Maritime Society and its Custom House Maritime Museum, the library focuses on the maritime history of the seaport founded in 1646 by John Winthrop Jr. Books on view relate to figures in New London history including Winthrop himself, 19th-century diver/engineer Thomas A. Scott, Eugene O'Neill and Admiral Hyman Rickover. Newspapers announce the opening of the first Thames River Bridge in 1889, the 1954 launch of the USS Nautilus, and other events. A 10-foot 1855 triptych of Long Island Sound charts offers a birds-eye view of the shoreline.

After the federal government decided to close the Custom House in 1983, local attorney Frank L. McGuire II provided the support to enable the New London Maritime Society and its director, Lucille Showalter, to acquire and renovate the 1835 granite building as a museum.

The commemorative library exhibit is on view through July, from 1 to 5 p.m. daily except Monday. Contact librarian and exhibit curator Brian Rogers for more information at (860) 572-0291 or bdrog@conncoll.edu.

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