Mabel H. Cabot will give a slide talk about her book “Vanished Kingdoms: A Woman Explorer in Tibet, China & Mongolia 1921-1925” Tuesday, Sept. 14 at the downtown Camden Public Library at 6:30 p.m.

“Vanished Kingdoms” is the story of a remarkable young woman named Janet Elliott Wulsin who, bucking both the traditions and expectations of her upper-class family, escaped her cloistered world in New York to explore remote corners of Western China, Inner Mongolia and northwestern Tibet. The talk is co-sponsored by the Camden Public Library, the Camden Conference and the Owl & Turtle book store.

Wulsin’s story went largely untold until, after her death in 1963, her daughter, Cabot, found her mother’s private letters and diaries. Cabot spent the next four years conducting research in the Harvard University Library and the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology to unravel her mother’s fascinating story. Cabot shares her mother’s adventures in a magnificently illustrated book, which contains more than 140 photographs documenting the lost world of Imperial China.

From the Gobi Desert to the Yellow River, Wulsin and her husband Frederick Wulsin traveled on camelback, taking pictures of the local people. From village temples to kitchen utensils, their photographs and slides capture the daily culture and historic traditions of remote peoples, still living in almost complete isolation. Janet Wulsin recorded her journey in letters and photographs but, like other female explorers of her era, gained little recognition for her adventures. “Vanished Kingdom” features Wulsin’s original photographs, many hand-colored, in conjunction with her personal writings, those of other expedition members and historical information provided by the author.

Cabot has had a diversified and adventurous life of her own. Trained as a museum curator, she has worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and served as the social secretary to the Reagan White House from 1980 to 1984. Cabot was the Director of Corporate Programming for The Ford Motor Company from 1989 to 1999. She currently serves on the boards of the American Friends of the British Museum, the International Center for Journalists, The American Repertory Theatre and the College of the Atlantic; and is on the staff of the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass.. She lives in Cambridge, Mass. and West Tremont with her husband, Louis W. Cabot.

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