The Mill Valley Historical Society proudly presents what has come to be affectionately known as the “First Wednesday” program. On the first Wednesday of each month, we invite a guest speaker to present to MVHS members. Generally, the talks focus on Mill Valley or Bay Area history.

Past speakers and topics have included: Local historian Barry Spitz on the history of the Dipsea Race; railroad historian Richard Torney on the many ways railroads have touched Mill Valley; historian Betty Goerke sharing her expertise on the coastal Miwoks and Chief Marin; beat poets/authors Locke McCorkle and Al Young on their early days of living and writing in Mill Valley with counter-culture icons Jack Kerouac, Alan Watts, Jack Cassady, and Allen Ginsburg.

The First Wednesday talks begin at 7pm and are held in the Mill Valley public library.

These events are free of charge.

Upcoming Speakers

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Explore Past First Wednesday Lectures

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  • Audio
  • Past 1st Wed Talks 2017
  • Past 1st Wed Talks 2018
  • Past 1st Wed Talks 2019
  • Past 1st Wed Talks 2020
  • Video

Mar 13 2020

Marincello Revisited – March 2020 First Wed. Talk

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Nov 6 2019

Blithedale: The Cushing’s Place in Mill Valley – by Tim Wood

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Sep 4 2019

Mill Valley’s Secret Places – A Talk by Phil Rhodes

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Apr 3 2019

Tilden Daken: The Mill Valley Years – A talk by Bonnie Portnoy

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Mar 6 2019

March 2019 First Wed. Lecture: The Grateful Dead and Marin County with Dennis McNally with musical guests Ted and Stuart Silverman.

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Sep 5 2018

Of Marsh and Men: Staying above water at Bothin with Laurel Collins

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Jun 6 2018

Jack London with Lou Leal

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May 2 2018

It Happened in Marin with Jim Holden

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Apr 4 2018

A Broken Propeller with Betty Goerke

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Mar 7 2018

The Bolinas-Fairfax Road: 139 years of History with Brian K. Crawford

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Feb 7 2018

How a Mountain Was Made with Greg Sarris

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Dec 6 2017

Someplace to Go with Dr. Victoria Sweet

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Aug 26 2012

The 2012 Mill Valley Historical Society Walk Into History

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Meet The Host of First Wednesdays: Debra Schwartz

Debra Schwartz is the host and creative mind behind the First Wednesday Lecture series. She is also a wife, mother, naturalist, oral historian and the founder of Tam Hiking Tours.

Debra has lived in Mill Valley for over twenty years, and in the past eight years has hiked over 8,000 miles on Mt. Tam. She is a National Outdoor Leadership (NOL) Wilderness Medicine Institute Certified First Aid Responder, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Mill Valley Historical Society.

As an Earth, Planetary Science and Native American Studies student at UC Berkeley Debra discovered her passion for connection through narrative storytelling, as both fields explore the profound and intimate relationship between Earth and all living beings.

Debra designs, organizes and facilitates the First Wednesday Lecture series for the community. Her passion for her work is reflected in the outstanding quality of speakers that the series offers, and the hundreds of attendees who frequent the events.