In recognition of Women’s History Month in March, local author James Andrew Mitchell will speak at the Camden Public Library about his new book “Reopening Pandora’s Box: Women’s Influence in Myth and Reality.” He will talk about and sign the book Tuesday, March 23 beginning 6:30 p.m.

An upbeat examination of women who lived independently, who refused to accept “no” and who have influenced our lives, the book is an accessible, personable overview of women’s influence throughout history, according to art historian Lucie Bauer.

The National Women’s History Project, the group that mobilized the lobbying effort behind President Carter’s Proclamation of National Women’s History Week in March 1980 and getting Congress to expand it to National Women’s History Month, celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2010. The theme this year is Writing Women Back into History, which also is Mitchell’s goal in “Reopening Pandora’s Box.” His book challenges conventional wisdom on the position of women in society, from our development into humans and women’s position in religion to women as artists, writers and leaders. Mitchell uses stories of real as well as mythical women to illustrate that women have had a far more profound influence on history than the mostly male writers and theologians have been prepared to admit. In addition, the book discusses the social and cultural obstacles women have to overcome to assume leadership roles.

Mitchell, who described the book as a romp through women’s history, has had diverse careers in business and government. He and his wife Lolly moved to Maine in 1989 after the sale of their Sakonnet Vineyards, the largest winery in Rhode Island. In Maine, Mitchell returned to an early love, black and white photography, using it as a basis for a photographic essay that was published as “Body & Soul” in 1999. Following this, he turned to writing, focusing on women’s strengths and abilities. His second book, “Finding Their Own Voices,” was published by Down East Books in 2002. It celebrates the remarkable resilience of the human spirit through biographical sketches of more than 30 Maine women.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to dernest@villagesoup.com.