Book talk with Thomas Dresser

Front cover of Thomas Dresser's book. —Thomas Dresser

Join the Chilmark library for a virtual book talk with Tom Dresser on his latest book, “The Rise of Tourism on Martha’s Vineyard,” on Friday, July 3, at 4 pm. The book provides a synopsis of the evolution of tourism, from the Methodist Camp Meeting Association that began in 1835 to the amusement-park atmosphere at the dawn of the 20th century. According to a press release from the library, other topics covered in the book range from Azorean whalemen to land developers to African American vacationers.

The final chapter, “Two Bridges, Two Presidents,” explores the explosion of the tourist industry in the half-century since the incident on Dike Bridge in 1969 and the filming of “Jaws” on Memorial Bridge in 1974, as well as the presidential vacations of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the summer of 2020 will be very different from previous tourist experiences, the release states. Dresser will discuss the impact of the virus on so many elements of the tourist industry — from restaurants and hotels to bus tours and ice cream parlors.

Dresser has lived on the Vineyard for a quarter-century, and written a dozen nonfiction books about the history of Martha’s Vineyard. Prior to taking up pen and paper, he taught elementary school for a decade. Dresser also ran nursing homes for 20 years in various Massachusetts communities. For 15 years he drove tour buses in the summer, and school buses off-season on the Vineyard.

Email to sign up to get the Zoom invitation. Admission is free, sponsored by the Friends of the Chilmark Library. Call 508-645-3360 or 508-560-1147 for more information.