ARISTOCRATS AND THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION. Thursday, Oct. 18, 7 p.m., Salem Athenaeum, 337 Essex St., Salem. Former U.S. diplomat and soviet affairs analyst Douglas Smith talks about his latest book, “Former People: The Final Days of the Russian Aristocracy,” which recounts the history of the aristocracy caught up in the maelstrom of the Bolshevik Revolution and the creation of Stalin’s Russia. $15/general, $10/Athenaeum members, free/students with ID. www.salemathenaeum.net or 978-744-2540.
SALEM WITCH TRIALS STREET-BY-STREET, NEIGHBOR-BY-NEIGHBOR. Thursday, Oct. 18, 7 p.m., National Park Visitor Center, 2 New Liberty St., Salem. Salem resident and historian Timothy Kendall will present an illustrated lecture, titled “Salem in 1692: Our Neighbors and Neighborhood during the Witch Year,” which is based on his research and recent publication of the “2013 Salem Witch Trials Calendar.” Kendall’s calendar guide will be available for purchase and signing. Free. Doors open at 6:45 p.m. www.nps.gov/sama or 978-740-1650.
“THE VALUE OF DESIGN.” Thursday, Oct. 18, 7 p.m., Rose Performance Hall, Walter J. Manninen Center for the Arts, Endicott College, 376 Hale St., Beverly. Valerie Fletcher, executive director of the Institute for Human Centered Design, will present a lecture focusing on celebrating the benefits of interior design and how design shapes and impacts humans’ everyday lives. Free. Dessert reception will follow lecture. www.endicott.edu/centerforthearts.
POLITICS AND POETRY. Thursday, Oct. 18, 7:30 p.m., Martin Luther King Jr. Room, Ellison Campus Center, 352 Lafayette St., Salem. Salem State’s event features essayist and journalist Steve Almond and January O’Neil, executive director of the Massachusetts Poetry Festival and award-winning poet. Free. 978-542-7890 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHEN SALEM RULED THE WORLD. Friday, Oct. 19, 10 a.m., Explorers Lifelong Learning Institute Center, 10 Federal St., Salem. Historian Robert Booth will trace the rise of Salem to the position of global capital of commerce in the 1780s and its abrupt fall from greatness. Citing his recent book, “Death of an Empire: The Rise and Murderous Fall of Salem, America’s Richest City,” Booth will tell the story of Salem’s friendship with India, China and the Muslim world. Free. 978-744-0804 or www.explorerslli.org.