Calendar of Events

Exhibition

Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country

Massachusetts Women in WWI. 12 June 2014 to 24 January 2015

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February

Brown Bag Science in the American Style, 1690-1820: Texts, Objects, and Ideas in Popular Practice 1 February 2012.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Robyn McMillin, University of Oklahoma This project argues that the study of early American science needs to move beyond the long shadow of ...

This project argues that the study of early American science needs to move beyond the long shadow of Benjamin Franklin and his kite. McMillin therefore investigates a much more diverse cast of characters and range of scientific activities, demonstrating that engagement with scientific ideas and practices extended deep into American life. This gives us a rich understanding of what science was, who practiced it, the many ways it circulated, and its power, first in connecting a broad public to British mores and later, by contributing to the creation of a separate identity as U.S. citizens.

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Author Talk, Public Program Thomas Jefferson's Granddaughter in Queen Victoria's England: The Travel Diary of Ellen Wayles Coolidge, 1838-1839 2 February 2012.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM Pre-Talk Reception at 5:30 P.M. Ann Lucas Birle, International Center for Jefferson Studies Ellen Wayles Coolidge arrived in London in June 1838 at the advent of Queen Victoria's reign--the ...

Ellen Wayles Coolidge arrived in London in June 1838 at the advent of Queen Victoria's reign--the citizens were still celebrating the coronation. During her nine-month stay, Coolidge kept a diary that reveals the uncommon education of her youth, when she lived and studied at Monticello with her grandfather, Thomas Jefferson. Birle, editor of the travel diary, will discuss Coolidge's experience abroad and the ways in which her connection to her home and family influenced her perceptions of herself and womanhood in general. As Birle will demonstrate, even as Coolidge's views of herself and other woman changed over time, she continued to define herself in terms of her  connection to Jefferson.

Reservations requested: please call 617-646-0560 or click on the ticket icon above to register online.

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Early American History Seminar Marital Infidelity and Espionage in the Siege of Boston 7 February 2012.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:15PM RSVP required J. L. Bell, Boston 1775 Comment: Robert Allison, Suffolk University This paper will examine patterns in the popular linkage between marital and political infidelities ...

This paper will examine patterns in the popular linkage between marital and political infidelities over a range of espionage cases from the start of the Revolutionary War. Drawing on new findings about such spies as Dr. Benjamin Church, Benjamin Thompson, and the Rev. John Carnes, it will address the topic from multiple perspectives, including actual cases, the use of marital disloyalty as a metaphor for political disloyalty, and how stories of family splits were hidden, preserved, or retold. Each side of the political conflict tried to portray the other's leaders, up to and including Thomas Gage and George Washington, as unfaithful husbands. Betrayal in the home, such reports suggested, led to betrayal of the public. Some men involved in espionage did indeed make a habit of extramarital affairs, but others appear to have undertaken their risky ventures to support their wives and children. Both at the time and in later generations, Americans have been selective about which family splits they recorded, and thus which side's agents appeared most treacherous.

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Member Event A Gilded and Heartbreaking Life: The Photographs of Clover Adams, 1883-1885 8 February 2012.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM NOTICE: THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT The preview of the Society's winter/spring exhibition is sold out. If you wish to add your name to ...

Mrs. Pratt, Mrs. Howe, and Alice Pratt on rocks at Smith's Point, photograph by Clover Adams, 1883.The preview of the Society's winter/spring exhibition is sold out. If you wish to add your name to the waiting list please e-mail Carol Knauff at cknauff@masshist.org. If space becomes available, we will contact you after 2 PM on February 8.

 

 

Special Event for MHS Fellows and Members

MHS Fellows and Members are invited to attend a special preview of the Society's winter exhibition. The evening will begin with remarks by guest curator and MHS Fellow Natalie Dykstra and will be followed by a reception, book signing, and exhibtion viewing.

The striking photographs of Clover Adams, wife of historian and writer Henry Adams, capture iconic moments of Gilded Age Boston and Washington, D.C., while also opening pathways to her long-concealed inner life. Her photographs tell a story—her story. This exhibition features many of Clover's images, some of which have not been shown publicly, along with her letters, the notebook she used to record the technical aspects of her photographs, Henry's letters, and other family materials.

This event launches Natalie Dykstra's new book, Clover Adams: A Gilded and Heartbreaking Life, to be published February 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

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A Gilded and Heartbreaking Life: The Photographs of Clover Adams Exhibitionbegins A Gilded and Heartbreaking Life: The Photographs of Clover Adams, 1883-1885 9 February 2012.Thursday, Monday through Saturday, 10 AM to 4 PM The striking photographs of Clover Adams, wife of historian and writer Henry Adams, capture iconic ...

A Gilded and Heartbreaking Life: The Photographs of Clover AdamsThe striking photographs of Clover Adams, wife of historian and writer Henry Adams, capture iconic moments of Gilded Age Boston and Washington, D.C., while also opening pathways to her long-concealed inner life. Her photographs tell a story—her story. This exhibition features many of Clover's images, some of which have not been shown publicly, along with her letters, the notebook she used to record the technical aspects of her photographs, Henry's letters, and other family materials.

At the heart of Clover’s story is a mystery: just when she found a powerful way through photography to document her life, it started to unravel. On a gloomy Sunday morning in December 1885, Clover committed suicide by drinking from a vial of potassium cyanide, a chemical used to develop photographs. Henry Adams commissioned a bronze statue by Augustus Saint-Gaudens to mark his wife’s grave in Washington’s Rock Creek Cemetery. But he rarely spoke of her and never mentioned her in his Pulitzer prize-winning The Education of Henry Adams.

What got lost—until now—was the remarkable story of how Clover, in the last years of her life, discovered with her camera an eloquent means with which to express herself.

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History of Women and Gender Seminar Performing Civil Rights: Black Women Entertainers, the "Long" Civil Rights Movement, and Second Wave Feminism 9 February 2012.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM RSVP required This program will be held at the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe. Ruth Feldstein, Rutgers University at Newark Comment: Daphne Brooks, Princeton University. During the period that scholars have identified as the "long civil rights movement," black women ...

During the period that scholars have identified as the "long civil rights movement," black women entertainers were among the performers who used their status as celebrities to support black activism, and who made political struggles meaningful to Americans and non-Americans who never participated in marches or other protests. In public performances and political protests-and crucially, in the myriad instances when the lines between those blurred-women entertainers such as Lena Horne, Abbey Lincoln, Diahann Carroll and Miriam Makeba (to name a few) drew attention to unequal relationships between blacks and whites and to relationships between men and women. This paper analyzes how black women performed civil rights in ways that made gender central to a broader vision of black liberation. It suggests that black women entertainers were central to the simultaneous development of black activism in the "long civil rights movement" as well as second wave feminism.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 11 February 2012.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, ...

Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, the tour touches on the history and collections of the MHS and lasts approximately 90 minutes.

The tour is free and open to the public. No reservation is required for individuals or small groups. Parties of 8 or more should contact the MHS prior to attending a tour.  For more information please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

Free and open to the public.

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Author Talk, Brown Bag, Public Program Dr. Joseph Warren: The Boston Tea Party, Bunker Hill, and the Birth of American Liberty 17 February 2012.Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Samuel Forman Joseph Warren (1741-1775) is acknowledged as a pivotal personality in early Revolutionary Era events ...

Image of book cover for "Dr. Joseph Warren" by Sam FormanJoseph Warren (1741-1775) is acknowledged as a pivotal personality in early Revolutionary Era events, yet details of his agency have remained elusive. Famous in his own time and throughout the Early Republic, he is now barely remembered as the hero of the Battle of Bunker Hill, and as the person who sent Paul Revere on his iconic ride. Recounting his story has always been hampered by a paucity of primary sources. Warren's cryptic and incomplete medical account books at the Massachusetts Historical Society remain the largest trove of his primary source documents. Sam Forman describes novel analytic techniques applied to MHS Warren-related manuscript and relic holdings, and how they provided the keys to a fascinating life.

Samuel A. Forman is an historian, physician, educator, and businessman. He is the author of the just-released Dr. Joseph Warren: The Boston Tea Party, Bunker Hill, and the Birth of American Liberty. Based on new scholarship, it is the first full biography of this intriguing Founding figure to appear in 50 years and only the third ever written. He maintains the website Dr. Joseph Warren on the Web, which provides the extensive research material on which his new biography is based.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 18 February 2012.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, ...

Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, the tour touches on the history and collections of the MHS and lasts approximately 90 minutes.

The tour is free and open to the public. No reservation is required for individuals or small groups. Parties of 8 or more should contact the MHS prior to attending a tour.  For more information please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

Free and open to the public.

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Building Closed Presidents' Day 20 February 2012.Monday, all day details
Environmental History Seminar Backwater: Making Space for Slavery in the Red River Valley, 1803-1850 21 February 2012.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:15PM RSVP required Katherine Stevens, Harvard University Comment: Megan Kate Nelson, Harvard University "Backwater" tells the story of the expansion of slavery along the Red River of Louisiana with ...

"Backwater" tells the story of the expansion of slavery along the Red River of Louisiana with attention to the questions and concerns of environmental history. The essay's central character is a phenomenon called the Great Raft, a one-hundred-mile morass of tangled driftwood trees, shrubs, and silt in the middle of what should have been the Red River's main channel. The Raft influenced the lives of all parties involved in the transformation of the Red River into cotton country. Native polities, emigrant planters, slaves forced to emigrate, Indian agents, creole traders, steamboat captains, and inventors all had their lives shaped by the Raft.  

For the most part, the histories of these many actors on the leading edge of plantation slavery have been told separately. Histories of Indian Removal focus on politics either within Indian nations or in U.S. policy. Histories of slaves and slaveholders tend to focus on the plantation without asking how plantation spaces were made in the first place. Histories of technology focus on coteries of inventors, often removing them from the political and material worlds in which they worked. What these separate narratives share, however, is a story of environmental transformation. "Backwater" brings these actors together through the Raft and through an 1830s federal project to "permanently" remove it.

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Conversation, Public Program Faith Healing, Vaccination, and the First Amendment: A Conversation with Alan Rogers 23 February 2012.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM Pre-Talk Reception at 5:30 P.M. Alan Rogers, Boston College Moderated by Steve Marini, Wellesley College Professor Alan Rogers’s research and teaching focuses on the U.S. Constitution and American ...

Professor Alan Rogers’s research and teaching focuses on the U.S. Constitution and American legal history. His most recent book and a cluster of scholarly articles focused on the death penalty in Massachusetts. He is currently working on two projects: the contested intersection of faith healing and the First Amendment; and a history of the anti-vaccination movement from 1721 to the present, for which he was awarded a New England Regional Consortium Fellowship. His most recent book is Murder and the Death Penalty in Massachusetts.

Considering the Common Good: What We Give Up/What We Gain

In this conversation series, facilitated by Professor Stephen Marini of Wellesley College, guests will address issues of self-interest and shared sacrifice, private concerns and community benefits, and the intersection of individual and collective goals. Using historical and contemporary examples, each guest will illustrate approaches, promises, successes and failures. In the ensuing conversations, guests and audience members will explore the challenges and choices involved in defining and balancing individual freedom and the common good.

Reservations requested: please call 617-646-0560 or click on the ticket icon above to register online.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 25 February 2012.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, ...

Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, the tour touches on the history and collections of the MHS and lasts approximately 90 minutes.

The tour is free and open to the public. No reservation is required for individuals or small groups. Parties of 8 or more should contact the MHS prior to attending a tour.  For more information please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

Free and open to the public.

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Immigration and Urban History Seminar The "Coddling Controversy": Italian POWs on Boston's World War II Homefront 28 February 2012.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:15PM RSVP required Anne Marie Reardon, Brandeis University Comment: Stephen Puleo, author of The Boston Italians: A Story of Pride, Perseverance, and Paesani, from the Years of the Great Immigration to the Present Day In early 1944, Italian POWs arrived in Boston to serve in Italian Service Units (ISUs), wearing ...

In early 1944, Italian POWs arrived in Boston to serve in Italian Service Units (ISUs), wearing simplified American military uniforms and doing essential wartime work locally in exchange for increased liberty. Their presence, and more specifically, their level of freedom, led to a local (and eventually national) outcry, accusing the U.S. Army of "coddling" the enemy. Yet the content of these accusations and their rebuttals, couched starkly in the terms of "friends" vs. "enemies," reveals larger ethnic and racial conflicts within the city's fractured wartime social structure over who was fully "American" and deserving of that identity's perceived "rights" in terms of quality jobs, adequate housing, and free personal association.

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Brown Bag American Citizens of the World: The Politics of Peace Reform, 1815-1870 29 February 2012.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Margot Minardi, Reed College details
Author Talk, Public Program New Israel / New England: Jews and Puritans in Early America 29 February 2012.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM Pre-Talk Reception at 5:30 P.M. Michael Hoberman, Fitchburg State University The New England Puritans’ fascination with the legacy of the Jewish religion has been well ...

The New England Puritans’ fascination with the legacy of the Jewish religion has been well documented, but their interactions with actual Jews have escaped sustained historical attention. New Israel/New England tells the story of the Sephardic merchants who traded and sojourned in Boston and Newport between the mid-seventeenth century and the era of the American Revolution. It also explores the complex and often contradictory meanings that the Puritans attached to Judaism and the fraught attitudes that they bore toward the Jews as a people.

More often than not, Michael Hoberman shows, Puritans thought and wrote about Jews in order to resolve their own theological and cultural dilemmas. A number of prominent New Englanders, including Roger Williams, Increase Mather, Samuel Sewall, Benjamin Colman, Cotton Mather, Jonathan Edwards, and Ezra Stiles, wrote extensively about post-biblical Jews, in some cases drawing on their own personal acquaintance with Jewish contemporaries.

Reservations requested: please call 617-646-0560 or click on the ticket icon above to register online.

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March
Member Event The Architecture of Edmund March Wheelwright and the Building of the Harvard Lampoon Castle 1 March 2012.Thursday, 5:30PM - 8:30PM NOTICE: THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT This event is sold out. If you wish to add your name to the waiting list please call 617-646-0560. ...

This event is sold out. If you wish to add your name to the waiting list please call 617-646-0560.

MHS Fellows and Members are invited to a panel discussion featuring MHS Fellows Henry N. Cobb and Edward L. Widmer along with Michael K. Frith, William S. Donnell, and Samuel W. Van Dam about Edmund March Wheelwright, the architect of the Society's landmark building and the Harvard Lampoon Castle. The panel will be moderated by Kurt Andersen with additional commentary by John Tittmann, architect for the Castle restoration project.

5:30 to 7:00 PM Symposium
Cocktail reception will follow

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Public Program, Special Event Clover Adams: Gallery Talk 2 March 2012.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Natalie Dykstra, Guest Curator, Massachusetts Historical Society "Who was Clover Adams?" A gallery talk with guest curator Natalie Dykstra, author of the new ...

"Who was Clover Adams?"

A gallery talk with guest curator Natalie Dykstra, author of the new biography Clover Adams: A Gilded and Heartbreaking Life. Natalie Dykstra received a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship for her work on Clover Adams. She is a fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society and an associate professor of English at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 3 March 2012.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, ...

Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, the tour touches on the history and collections of the MHS and lasts approximately 90 minutes.

The tour is free and open to the public. No reservation is required for individuals or small groups. Parties of 8 or more should contact the MHS prior to attending a tour.  For more information please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

Free and open to the public.

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Early American History Seminar Ancestry as Social Practice in Eighteenth-Century New England: The Origins of Early Republic Genealogical Vogue 6 March 2012.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:15PM RSVP required Karin Wulf, College of William and Mary Comment: Laurel Ulrich, Harvard University This paper derives from Wulf's book project on the practice and significance of Anglo-American ...

This paper derives from Wulf's book project on the practice and significance of Anglo-American genealogy from 1680 to 1820. In this chapter she looks at the extensive genealogical work of eighteenth-century New Englanders and positions those labors both as a social practice drawing on and developing communities of knowledge and as a middle chapter in the Anglo-American reckoning with the relationship of family to history. The keenness for genealogy that eighteenth-century New Englanders exhibited reflected a broader Anglo-American interest in lineage as a way of understanding and ordering the world.  

Wulf is particularly interested in the ways that genealogical interest and local history in New England entwined early and regularly, not emerging in the nineteenth century as parallel interests, but as fruits of the same slow growing tree. She uncovers the eighteenth-century source materials that informed early nineteenth century work and explores the contexts for their production--what prompted them, how they insinuated into family memory practices, and how they interacted with public recordation within churches and in towns.

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Brown Bag Political Appetites: Revolution, Taste, and Culinary Activism in the Early Republic 7 March 2012.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Nancy Siegel, Towson University In the eighteenth century, the American colonies were variously referred to as a crumbling cake or ...

In the eighteenth century, the American colonies were variously referred to as a crumbling cake or even a kettle of fish. As the language of food was easily understood, the use of such similes linking food to politics became increasingly popular, revealing the discourse between culinary history and American political thought. This program examines the development of culinary activism in America to include tea boycotts in the 1760s and the use of homebrews such as Liberty Tea; the development and naming of nationalist recipes in praise of the new and fragile nation such as Independence Cake, Federal Pan Cakes, and Election Cake in American cookery books after the Revolution; and the serving of patriotic cakes and teas on imported and domestically produced ceramics. The pots, plates, and platters that held tea and morsels became a meaningful complement: visual partners adorned with patriotic and nationalistic imagery such as American eagles, political figures, or popular American scenery. Seeing this ensemble of artifacts as culinary activism, one finds that through cookery, broad segments of American society could demonstrate their approval of the democratic process, and the very act of dining often conveyed opinions about the American political system. 

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Conversation, Public Program Reclaiming the Commons: A Conversation with Brian Donahue 7 March 2012.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM Pre-Talk Reception at 5:30 P.M. Brian Donohue, Brandeis University Moderated by Steve Marini, Wellesley College Professor Brian Donahue teaches courses on environmental issues, environmental history, sustainable ...

Professor Brian Donahue teaches courses on environmental issues, environmental history, sustainable farming and forestry, and early American culture at Brandeis University. His primary research interests include the history and the prospects of human engagement with the land, especially in New England. He is the author of The Great Meadow and Reclaiming the Commons: Community and Forests in a New England Town.

Considering the Common Good: What We Give Up/What We Gain

In this conversation series, facilitated by Professor Stephen Marini of Wellesley College, guests will address issues of self-interest and shared sacrifice, private concerns and community benefits, and the intersection of individual and collective goals. Using historical and contemporary examples, each guest will illustrate approaches, promises, successes and failures. In the ensuing conversations, guests and audience members will explore the challenges and choices involved in defining and balancing individual freedom and the common good.

Reservations requested: Please call 617-646-0560 or click the ticket icon above to register online.

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Immigration and Urban History Seminar Policing Migrants and Militants: In Defense of Nation and Empire in the U.S.-Canadian Borderlands 13 March 2012.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:15PM RSVP required Kornel S. Chang, Rutgers University, Newark Comment: Naoko Shibusawa, Brown University The problem of policing the U.S.-Canadian boundary, initiated under Chinese exclusion in 1882, ...

The problem of policing the U.S.-Canadian boundary, initiated under Chinese exclusion in 1882, evolved into a multi-faceted, multi-racial challenge by the early twentieth century. The threats posed by Chinese and Japanese migrants and smugglers and white and South Asian radicals brought the United States, Canada, and Britain together in defense of national and imperial borders in the North American West. Collectively, these self-proclaimed white men's countries developed a transnational surveillance network to police illegal migrants, monitor and track revolutionary nationalists, and suppress labor militancy and revolt across the U.S.-Canadian boundary and across the Pacific. This presentation looks at the formation of the northern border, showing how it was a product of intercolonial cooperation and exchange in which Anglophone empires supported each other's prerogative to imperial rule in Asia and the Pacific. In doing so, it argues that Asiatic exclusion was as much about defending and preserving the empire as it was about keeping out undesirable and inassimilable foreigners.

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Public Program, Author Talk POSTPONED: Where We Worked: A Celebration of America's Workers and the Nation They Built 14 March 2012.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM Jack Larkin Please visit the calendar entry for May 23, 2012, for more information about this event.

Please visit the calendar entry for May 23, 2012, for more information about this event.

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Notice BUILDING OPEN; LIBRARY & EXHIBITIONS OPEN 16 March 2012.Friday, all day Power has been restored at the MHS and the research library and exhibition halls will reopen to the ...

Power has been restored at the MHS and the research library and exhibition halls will reopen to the public.  All staff should report to work as scheduled.

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Brown Bag, Author Talk, Public Program The Rhode Island Campaign: The First French and American Operation of the Revolutionary War 16 March 2012.Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Christian McBurney Christian McBurney will discuss his new book, the most detailed study of the joint French and ...

Christian McBurney will discuss his new book, the most detailed study of the joint French and American effort to capture the British garrison occupying Newport, Rhode Island, during July and August of 1778. One of the most complex and multi-faceted events of the Revolutionary War, the campaign combined land and sea strategies and featured controversial decisions on both sides. McBurney's lecture will highlight the significant involvement of Boston and Massachusetts in the campaign, including the French Fleet’s arrival in Boston, which led to a riot and then to a memorial that is now part of the Freedom Trail. He will also highlight his research findings from the Society’s archives.

Christian M. McBurney, a graduate of Brown University, is a partner in a Washington, DC, law firm. He is the author of several books and articles on early Rhode Island history, including A History of Kingston, Rhode Island, 1700–1900 and British Treatment of Prisoners During the Occupation of Newport, 1776–1779.

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Exhibitionends Like a Wolf for the Prey: The Massachusetts Historical Society Collection Begins 17 March 2012.Saturday, Monday through Saturday, 10 AM to 4 PM In 1790, the Rev. Jeremy Belknap proposed a "Plan for an Antiquarian Society" that would actively ...

In 1790, the Rev. Jeremy Belknap proposed a "Plan for an Antiquarian Society" that would actively collect materials for a "complete history" of the new nation. A year later, Belknap's plan became the "Historical Society"--now the Massachusetts Historical Society--the oldest historical organization in the Western Hemisphere. The ten original members donated books, pamphlets, newspapers, maps and atlases, almanacs, printed sermons, manuscripts, and examples of early Massachusetts coinage from their personal collections. From September 2011 through March 2012, view a selection of the Society's earliest acquisitions in the new Treasures Gallery. The exhibition is free and open to the public, Monday through Saturday, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

The MHS exhibition complements "Making History: Antiquaries in Britain," an exhibition celebrating the tercentenary of the Society of Antiquaries of London, now on display at the McMullen Museum at Boston College until December 11, 2011.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 17 March 2012.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, ...

Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, the tour touches on the history and collections of the MHS and lasts approximately 90 minutes.

The tour is free and open to the public. No reservation is required for individuals or small groups. Parties of 8 or more should contact the MHS prior to attending a tour.  For more information please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

Free and open to the public.

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Special Event, Public Program The 1912 Bread and Roses Strike 20 March 2012.Tuesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Pre-Talk Reception at 5:30 P.M. Robert Forrant, University of Massachusetts-Lowell and James Green, University of Massachusetts-Boston In January 1912, textile workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts, launched an explosive eight-week strike ...

In January 1912, textile workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts, launched an explosive eight-week strike that popularized the slogan "Bread and Roses." The strikers' victory led to improved working conditions and higher wages for more than 150,000 semi-skilled workers in the New England textile industry. Join Robert Forrant, Professor of Economic and Social Development at UMass Lowell, and a panel of labor historians as they discuss the consequences of the strike in the city of Lawrence and on the strike's participants, many of whom were immigrants, and more than half of whom were women. Panelists will also debate the strike's enduring legacy and how contemporary labor practices and policies reflect the victories won almost one hundred years ago.

Reservations requested: please call 617-646-0560 or click on the ticket icon above to register online. 

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Biography Seminar Formidable Families: Writing about Famous Brothers and Sisters 22 March 2012.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM RSVP required George Howe Colt, Paul Fisher, and Louise W. Knight Megan Marshall, Moderator This session, featuring George Howe Colt, Paul Fisher, and Louise W. Knight and moderated by Megan ...

This session, featuring George Howe Colt, Paul Fisher, and Louise W. Knight and moderated by Megan Marshall, will explore the process of developing collective biographies, in particular, research and writing about siblings.  

Panelists:  George Howe Colt is the author of The Big House: A Century in the Life of an American Summer Home, a finalist for the National Book Award in 2003, and November of the Soul: The Enigma of Suicide. He is writing a book about brothers.  

Paul Fisher is a biographer of Henry, William, and Alice James in House of Wits: An Intimate Portrait of the James Family. He is an Assistant Professor of American Studies at Wellesley College, where he teaches 19th century American literature and culture.  

Louise W. Knight is the author of Jane Addams: Spirit in Action and Citizen: Jane Addams and the Struggle for Democracy.  A Visiting Scholar in the Gender Studies Program, Northwestern University, she is writing a biography of Sarah and Angelina Grimke.  

Moderator: Megan Marshall's The Peabody Sisters: Three Women Who Ignited American Romanticism won the Francis Parkman Prize and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Biography. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Writing, Literature and Publishing at Emerson College.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 24 March 2012.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, ...

Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, the tour touches on the history and collections of the MHS and lasts approximately 90 minutes.

The tour is free and open to the public. No reservation is required for individuals or small groups. Parties of 8 or more should contact the MHS prior to attending a tour.  For more information please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

Free and open to the public.

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Environmental History Seminar CANCELLED The Sea Serpent and the Mackerel Jig: Environment and Culture in Coastal New England Fisheries, 1815-1859 27 March 2012.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:15PM RSVP required Jeff Bolster, University of New Hampshire Comment: Joyce Chaplin, Harvard University We regret to announce that this program has been cancelled and will not be rescheduled.

We regret to announce that this program has been cancelled and will not be rescheduled.

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Boston Theatre, Federal Street, Engraving by A. Bowen, 1825 Exhibitionbegins The First Seasons of the Federal Street Theatre, 1794-1798 28 March 2012.Wednesday, Monday through Saturday, 10 AM to 4 PM In 1794, the first public theater in Boston opened on Federal Street despite strong legal and public ...

Boston Theatre, Federal Street, Engraving by A. Bowen, 1825In 1794, the first public theater in Boston opened on Federal Street despite strong legal and public opposition. The First Seasons of the Federal Street Theatre, 1794-1798 documents the battle over the Federal Street Theatre through playbills from early performances as well as the letters and publications of supporters and opponents of public theater in Boston. The MHS show is a satellite display of an exhibition titled Forgotten Chapters of Boston's Literary History on display at the Boston Public Library (BPL). Created by Professor Paul Lewis of the Boston College English Department and his students, the exhibition tells stories about Boston's literary history through letters, manuscripts, and early editions from the collections of the MHS, the BPL, the American Antiquarian Society, and Boston College. Divided into six “chapters,”  the exhibition follows the rise and fall of reputations, recovers out-of-print materials, and walks the streets of Boston in its literary heyday. The materials at the MHS will be on view 28 March through 30 July.

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Member Event New Fellows & Members Reception & Tour 29 March 2012.Thursday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM Please RSVP   All new MHS Fellows and Members are invited to a special reception and tour of the Society. This is ...


All new MHS Fellows and Members are invited to a special reception and tour of the Society. This is a rare opportunity to go behind the scenes of the MHS to see how we collect and preserve the documents that define American history and make them accessible to the public.

6:00 PM Reception
6:30 PM Tour

Space is limited. RSVP online or by calling 617-646-0560.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 31 March 2012.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, ...

Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, the tour touches on the history and collections of the MHS and lasts approximately 90 minutes.

The tour is free and open to the public. No reservation is required for individuals or small groups. Parties of 8 or more should contact the MHS prior to attending a tour.  For more information please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

Free and open to the public.

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April
Early American History Seminar The Court-Martial of Jonathan Barnes 3 April 2012.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:15PM RSVP required Len Travers, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth Comment: Colin Calloway, Dartmouth College Months after the French capitulation at the end of the French and Indian War, a young Massachusetts ...

Months after the French capitulation at the end of the French and Indian War, a young Massachusetts man, Joshua Barnes, was discovered still in the company of his Wabenaki captors. He had been taken more than four years earlier while on patrol along Lake George. Now, Barnes was arrested and faced trial for treason before a British army court-martial. Was he, as the court insisted, a renegade who had willingly adopted Native life and taken up arms against his king? The testimony of both Barnes and the witnesses against him suggest something different: that hostage stress response, known today as Stockholm Syndrome, may better explain the behavior that led to his arrest.  

This paper, digested from a draft chapter for a proposed book, will be a departure from familiar "fate of the captive" narratives, which generally assume a storyline of assimilation into Native societies, "failure" to assimilate, or redemption. The story of Barnes's captivity demonstrates that assimilation-or-ransom was not always the goal of Native American captors, and suggests that white captives frequently, even normally, adopted survival strategies that would be familiar to psychologists and law-enforcement agencies today.

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Conversation, Public Program Common as Air: A Conversation with Lewis Hyde 4 April 2012.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM Pre-Talk Reception at 5:30 P.M. Lewis Hyde, Kenyon College and Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society Moderated by Steve Marini, Wellesley College Lewis Hyde is a poet, essayist, translator, and cultural critic with a particular interest in the ...

Lewis Hyde is a poet, essayist, translator, and cultural critic with a particular interest in the public life of the imagination. Hyde's most recent book, Common as Air, is a spirited defense of our "cultural commons," that vast store of ideas, inventions, and works of art that we have inherited from the past and continue to enrich in the present.

A MacArthur Fellow and former director of undergraduate creative writing at Harvard University, Hyde teaches during the fall semesters at Kenyon College, where he is the Richard L. Thomas Professor of Creative Writing. During the rest of the year he lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he is a Faculty Associate at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

Considering the Common Good: What We Give Up/What We Gain

In this conversation series, facilitated by Professor Stephen Marini of Wellesley College, guests will address issues of self-interest and shared sacrifice, private concerns and community benefits, and the intersection of individual and collective goals. Using historical and contemporary examples, each guest will illustrate approaches, promises, successes and failures. In the ensuing conversations, guests and audience members will explore the challenges and choices involved in defining and balancing individual freedom and the common good.

Reservations requested: Please call 617-646-0560 or click on the ticket icon above to register online.

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Brown Bag, Public Program The Jefferson-Hemings Controversy 6 April 2012.Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Robert Turner, Center for National Security Law, University of Virginia Law School Professor Robert Turner, author and editor of a commissioned review of the evidence in this case, ...

Professor Robert Turner, author and editor of a commissioned review of the evidence in this case, will discuss the process of his team’s inquiry, and conclusions drawn from that investigation. Professor Turner is Associate Director of the Center for National Security Law at the University of Virginia Law School.

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Public Program, Special Event Being Mrs. Henry Adams 6 April 2012.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Peter Drummey, Stephen T. Riley Librarian, MHS In 1872, when Clover Hooper married Henry Adams, she became a partner in a remarkable marriage, and ...

In 1872, when Clover Hooper married Henry Adams, she became a partner in a remarkable marriage, and a member of an illustrious, close-knit, and cantankerous clan. In this talk we will "meet the in-laws" through Clover Adams' photographs of members of her husband's family.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 7 April 2012.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, ...

Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, the tour touches on the history and collections of the MHS and lasts approximately 90 minutes.

The tour is free and open to the public. No reservation is required for individuals or small groups. Parties of 8 or more should contact the MHS prior to attending a tour.  For more information please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

Free and open to the public.

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Environmental History Seminar Controlling the Cost of Fish: Weir Fishermen and Price Control in the Sardine Herring Fishery, 1875-1903 10 April 2012.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:15PM RSVP required Brian J. Payne, Bridgewater State University Comment: Josh Reid, University of Massachusetts, Boston In 1876, Julius Wolff arrived in Eastport, Maine, to try his hand at producing a domestic sardine ...

In 1876, Julius Wolff arrived in Eastport, Maine, to try his hand at producing a domestic sardine that could compete with the European imports. He successfully canned 600 cases of sardines, which quickly sold in the New York market for up to $12.00 a case. Although Wolff tried to keep his new business venture a secret the profits were undeniable and new sardine factories quickly sprung up in Eastport, Lubec, and Robbinston, Maine. By 1899 sixty-eight plants in Maine produced 1,170,568 cases of sardines. The sardine factories were in such fierce competition with one another in acquiring herring fish from the local weir fishermen that they were forced to pay extremely high prices for their catches. Weir fishermen maintained high prices for their catches by selling them via an auction system that directly pitted competing canneries against one another. Because weir fishermen controlled the access to the base material of production, juvenile herring fish, independent of the canneries' management they could exercise a considerable degree of economic power. Although not formally organized into a cooperative or union, these weir fishermen in Downeast Maine still yielded a similar style of control as those formal organizational structures in such a way as to protect their shared interest and to ensure continued local profitability.

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History of Women and Gender Seminar "She thought she could find a better market": White Women and the Re-Gendering of the Antebellum Slave Market and Slave-Trading Community 12 April 2012.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Stephanie Jones-Rogers, Rutgers University Comment: Walter Johnson, Harvard University "She thought she could find a better market" explores white southern women's economic roles in ...

"She thought she could find a better market" explores white southern women's economic roles in antebellum New Orleans slave markets and slave trading communities. It demonstrates that, in spite of formidable social, legal, and economic constraints, single, married and widowed women entered slave markets, attended slave auctions, bought, sold and hired enslaved people, participated in their families' slave trading businesses, and supported the market in slaves by offering their goods and services to New Orleans slave yard operators, traders, brokers, and dealers. Taken together, these women's slave market activities encourage us to reconsider the ways that gender shaped economies and communities woven together by the institution of slavery in the antebellum South.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 14 April 2012.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, ...

Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, the tour touches on the history and collections of the MHS and lasts approximately 90 minutes.

The tour is free and open to the public. No reservation is required for individuals or small groups. Parties of 8 or more should contact the MHS prior to attending a tour.  For more information please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

Free and open to the public.

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Special Event, Public Program Colonial Treasures from the Massachusetts Historical Society: Gallery Talk 14 April 2012.Saturday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM This event will talk place at the Concord Museum Peter Drummey, Massachusetts Historical Society David Wood, Concord Museum Join Massachusetts Historical Librarian Peter Drummey and Concord Museum Curator David Wood for an ...

Join Massachusetts Historical Librarian Peter Drummey and Concord Museum Curator David Wood for an exploration of the subtle and surprising relationships between objects and documents in the collaborative exhibition The Object of History: Colonial Treasures from the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Reservations required: 978-369-9763. Admission to the Museum and the talk is free to MHS Members and Fellows on this day, and $2 off regular Museum admission for the duration of the exhibition: April 13 – June 17, 2012.

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Building Closed Patriots' Day 16 April 2012.Monday, all day details
Brown Bag Prisoners of War and the Making of Revolutionary American Military Culture 18 April 2012.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Trenton Jones, The Johns Hopkins University This program examines the treatment of British, Loyalist, and German Prisoners of War during the ...

This program examines the treatment of British, Loyalist, and German Prisoners of War during the American War for Independence as a window on the development of revolutionary America’s military culture. What can their treatment tell us about revolutionary American values and assumptions about war and warfare? Jones posits that in depriving these men of their liberty, American revolutionaries affirmed their independence not only from political subordination to the British Crown and Parliament, but also from the dominant culture of war in Europe.

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Brown Bag, Author Talk, Public Program Framingham's Civil War Hero, the Life of General George H. Gordon. 20 April 2012.Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Fred Wallace, Framingham Town Historian George H. Gordon, a resident of Framingham, and active member of the Boston community in the mid ...

George H. Gordon, a resident of Framingham, and active member of the Boston community in the mid 1800's, played a prominent role in the Civil War. Until now, however, his contributions had been largely overlooked by historians. The book traces his life from early childhood in Framingham to West Point, through the Mexican-American War of 1846-48. It then follows him through a transition to civilian life as an attorney in Boston, and finally through the tumultuous years of the Civil War. Over 6,000 documents from Gordon's personal papers (letters, diaries, journals, military records), housed at the Massachusetts Historical Society,  were an invaluable resource to the author.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 21 April 2012.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, ...

Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, the tour touches on the history and collections of the MHS and lasts approximately 90 minutes.

The tour is free and open to the public. No reservation is required for individuals or small groups. Parties of 8 or more should contact the MHS prior to attending a tour.  For more information please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

Free and open to the public.

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Author Talk, Public Program Democracies of Glee: Boston's First Professional Theatres, 1794-98 23 April 2012.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM Pre-Talk Reception at 5:30 P.M. Heather Nathans, University of Maryland In 1793, in the face of strong legal and public opposition, the first public theater in Boston ...

In 1793, in the face of strong legal and public opposition, the first public theater in Boston opened on Federal Street. An exhibition at MHS, mounted in coordination with the "Forgotten Chapters in Boston's Literary History" exhibition at the Boston Public Library, documents the battle over the Federal Street Theatre through the letters and publications of supporters and opponents of the theater, together with playbills from early performances.

Registration requested: please call 617-646-0560 or click on the ticket icon above to register online.

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Immigration and Urban History Seminar "A Successful Integrated Development for the Central City": Constructing the Los Angeles Music Center, 1954-1967 24 April 2012.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:15PM RSVP required Andrea Thabet, University of California, Santa Barbara Comment: Samuel Zipp, Brown University When the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion opened in December 1964, it solidified the image of Los Angeles ...

When the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion opened in December 1964, it solidified the image of Los Angeles as a first class city of growing national importance. The Pavilion was the first of a three-building theater and music complex constructed in the heart of downtown Los Angeles atop Bunker Hill and anchoring the city’s reconstructed Civic Center Mall. The Music Center’s other buildings, the Mark Taper Forum and the Howard Ahmanson Theater, opened in 1967 to similar fanfare. 

This research makes two important and related contributions to the standard narratives on postwar urban renewal and cultural institution building. First, it highlights a momentous yet under-analyzed shift in federal urban policy between 1949 and the 1954 Federal Housing Act. Second, the Music Center’s construction illuminates the role of urban policy in crafting cultural spaces in the United States after World War II. Situated at the nexus of urban history, cultural history, and policy history, this research looks beyond the traditional topics of housing and economic growth to frame a new set of questions about the ways in which cultural construction came to fruition through urban renewal policy.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 28 April 2012.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, ...

Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, the tour touches on the history and collections of the MHS and lasts approximately 90 minutes.

The tour is free and open to the public. No reservation is required for individuals or small groups. Parties of 8 or more should contact the MHS prior to attending a tour.  For more information please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

Free and open to the public.

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More events
Brown Bag Science in the American Style, 1690-1820: Texts, Objects, and Ideas in Popular Practice 1 February 2012.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM this event is free Robyn McMillin, University of Oklahoma

This project argues that the study of early American science needs to move beyond the long shadow of Benjamin Franklin and his kite. McMillin therefore investigates a much more diverse cast of characters and range of scientific activities, demonstrating that engagement with scientific ideas and practices extended deep into American life. This gives us a rich understanding of what science was, who practiced it, the many ways it circulated, and its power, first in connecting a broad public to British mores and later, by contributing to the creation of a separate identity as U.S. citizens.

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Author Talk, Public Program Thomas Jefferson's Granddaughter in Queen Victoria's England: The Travel Diary of Ellen Wayles Coolidge, 1838-1839 2 February 2012.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM registration required at no cost Pre-Talk Reception at 5:30 P.M. Ann Lucas Birle, International Center for Jefferson Studies

Ellen Wayles Coolidge arrived in London in June 1838 at the advent of Queen Victoria's reign--the citizens were still celebrating the coronation. During her nine-month stay, Coolidge kept a diary that reveals the uncommon education of her youth, when she lived and studied at Monticello with her grandfather, Thomas Jefferson. Birle, editor of the travel diary, will discuss Coolidge's experience abroad and the ways in which her connection to her home and family influenced her perceptions of herself and womanhood in general. As Birle will demonstrate, even as Coolidge's views of herself and other woman changed over time, she continued to define herself in terms of her  connection to Jefferson.

Reservations requested: please call 617-646-0560 or click on the ticket icon above to register online.

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Early American History Seminar Marital Infidelity and Espionage in the Siege of Boston 7 February 2012.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:15PM Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
J. L. Bell, Boston 1775 Comment: Robert Allison, Suffolk University

This paper will examine patterns in the popular linkage between marital and political infidelities over a range of espionage cases from the start of the Revolutionary War. Drawing on new findings about such spies as Dr. Benjamin Church, Benjamin Thompson, and the Rev. John Carnes, it will address the topic from multiple perspectives, including actual cases, the use of marital disloyalty as a metaphor for political disloyalty, and how stories of family splits were hidden, preserved, or retold. Each side of the political conflict tried to portray the other's leaders, up to and including Thomas Gage and George Washington, as unfaithful husbands. Betrayal in the home, such reports suggested, led to betrayal of the public. Some men involved in espionage did indeed make a habit of extramarital affairs, but others appear to have undertaken their risky ventures to support their wives and children. Both at the time and in later generations, Americans have been selective about which family splits they recorded, and thus which side's agents appeared most treacherous.

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Member Event A Gilded and Heartbreaking Life: The Photographs of Clover Adams, 1883-1885 8 February 2012.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM registration required at no cost NOTICE: THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT

Mrs. Pratt, Mrs. Howe, and Alice Pratt on rocks at Smith's Point, photograph by Clover Adams, 1883.The preview of the Society's winter/spring exhibition is sold out. If you wish to add your name to the waiting list please e-mail Carol Knauff at cknauff@masshist.org. If space becomes available, we will contact you after 2 PM on February 8.

 

 

Special Event for MHS Fellows and Members

MHS Fellows and Members are invited to attend a special preview of the Society's winter exhibition. The evening will begin with remarks by guest curator and MHS Fellow Natalie Dykstra and will be followed by a reception, book signing, and exhibtion viewing.

The striking photographs of Clover Adams, wife of historian and writer Henry Adams, capture iconic moments of Gilded Age Boston and Washington, D.C., while also opening pathways to her long-concealed inner life. Her photographs tell a story—her story. This exhibition features many of Clover's images, some of which have not been shown publicly, along with her letters, the notebook she used to record the technical aspects of her photographs, Henry's letters, and other family materials.

This event launches Natalie Dykstra's new book, Clover Adams: A Gilded and Heartbreaking Life, to be published February 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

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Exhibition A Gilded and Heartbreaking Life: The Photographs of Clover Adams, 1883-1885 9 February 2012 to 2 June 2012 this event is free Monday through Saturday, 10 AM to 4 PM A Gilded and Heartbreaking Life: The Photographs of Clover Adams

A Gilded and Heartbreaking Life: The Photographs of Clover AdamsThe striking photographs of Clover Adams, wife of historian and writer Henry Adams, capture iconic moments of Gilded Age Boston and Washington, D.C., while also opening pathways to her long-concealed inner life. Her photographs tell a story—her story. This exhibition features many of Clover's images, some of which have not been shown publicly, along with her letters, the notebook she used to record the technical aspects of her photographs, Henry's letters, and other family materials.

At the heart of Clover’s story is a mystery: just when she found a powerful way through photography to document her life, it started to unravel. On a gloomy Sunday morning in December 1885, Clover committed suicide by drinking from a vial of potassium cyanide, a chemical used to develop photographs. Henry Adams commissioned a bronze statue by Augustus Saint-Gaudens to mark his wife’s grave in Washington’s Rock Creek Cemetery. But he rarely spoke of her and never mentioned her in his Pulitzer prize-winning The Education of Henry Adams.

What got lost—until now—was the remarkable story of how Clover, in the last years of her life, discovered with her camera an eloquent means with which to express herself.

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History of Women and Gender Seminar Performing Civil Rights: Black Women Entertainers, the "Long" Civil Rights Movement, and Second Wave Feminism 9 February 2012.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
This program will be held at the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe. Ruth Feldstein, Rutgers University at Newark Comment: Daphne Brooks, Princeton University.

During the period that scholars have identified as the "long civil rights movement," black women entertainers were among the performers who used their status as celebrities to support black activism, and who made political struggles meaningful to Americans and non-Americans who never participated in marches or other protests. In public performances and political protests-and crucially, in the myriad instances when the lines between those blurred-women entertainers such as Lena Horne, Abbey Lincoln, Diahann Carroll and Miriam Makeba (to name a few) drew attention to unequal relationships between blacks and whites and to relationships between men and women. This paper analyzes how black women performed civil rights in ways that made gender central to a broader vision of black liberation. It suggests that black women entertainers were central to the simultaneous development of black activism in the "long civil rights movement" as well as second wave feminism.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 11 February 2012.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM this event is free

Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, the tour touches on the history and collections of the MHS and lasts approximately 90 minutes.

The tour is free and open to the public. No reservation is required for individuals or small groups. Parties of 8 or more should contact the MHS prior to attending a tour.  For more information please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

Free and open to the public.

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Author Talk, Brown Bag, Public Program Dr. Joseph Warren: The Boston Tea Party, Bunker Hill, and the Birth of American Liberty 17 February 2012.Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM this event is free Samuel Forman

Image of book cover for "Dr. Joseph Warren" by Sam FormanJoseph Warren (1741-1775) is acknowledged as a pivotal personality in early Revolutionary Era events, yet details of his agency have remained elusive. Famous in his own time and throughout the Early Republic, he is now barely remembered as the hero of the Battle of Bunker Hill, and as the person who sent Paul Revere on his iconic ride. Recounting his story has always been hampered by a paucity of primary sources. Warren's cryptic and incomplete medical account books at the Massachusetts Historical Society remain the largest trove of his primary source documents. Sam Forman describes novel analytic techniques applied to MHS Warren-related manuscript and relic holdings, and how they provided the keys to a fascinating life.

Samuel A. Forman is an historian, physician, educator, and businessman. He is the author of the just-released Dr. Joseph Warren: The Boston Tea Party, Bunker Hill, and the Birth of American Liberty. Based on new scholarship, it is the first full biography of this intriguing Founding figure to appear in 50 years and only the third ever written. He maintains the website Dr. Joseph Warren on the Web, which provides the extensive research material on which his new biography is based.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 18 February 2012.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM this event is free

Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, the tour touches on the history and collections of the MHS and lasts approximately 90 minutes.

The tour is free and open to the public. No reservation is required for individuals or small groups. Parties of 8 or more should contact the MHS prior to attending a tour.  For more information please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

Free and open to the public.

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Building Closed Presidents' Day 20 February 2012.Monday, all day close
Environmental History Seminar Backwater: Making Space for Slavery in the Red River Valley, 1803-1850 21 February 2012.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:15PM Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
Katherine Stevens, Harvard University Comment: Megan Kate Nelson, Harvard University

"Backwater" tells the story of the expansion of slavery along the Red River of Louisiana with attention to the questions and concerns of environmental history. The essay's central character is a phenomenon called the Great Raft, a one-hundred-mile morass of tangled driftwood trees, shrubs, and silt in the middle of what should have been the Red River's main channel. The Raft influenced the lives of all parties involved in the transformation of the Red River into cotton country. Native polities, emigrant planters, slaves forced to emigrate, Indian agents, creole traders, steamboat captains, and inventors all had their lives shaped by the Raft.  

For the most part, the histories of these many actors on the leading edge of plantation slavery have been told separately. Histories of Indian Removal focus on politics either within Indian nations or in U.S. policy. Histories of slaves and slaveholders tend to focus on the plantation without asking how plantation spaces were made in the first place. Histories of technology focus on coteries of inventors, often removing them from the political and material worlds in which they worked. What these separate narratives share, however, is a story of environmental transformation. "Backwater" brings these actors together through the Raft and through an 1830s federal project to "permanently" remove it.

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Conversation, Public Program Faith Healing, Vaccination, and the First Amendment: A Conversation with Alan Rogers 23 February 2012.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM registration required at no cost Pre-Talk Reception at 5:30 P.M. Alan Rogers, Boston College Moderated by Steve Marini, Wellesley College

Professor Alan Rogers’s research and teaching focuses on the U.S. Constitution and American legal history. His most recent book and a cluster of scholarly articles focused on the death penalty in Massachusetts. He is currently working on two projects: the contested intersection of faith healing and the First Amendment; and a history of the anti-vaccination movement from 1721 to the present, for which he was awarded a New England Regional Consortium Fellowship. His most recent book is Murder and the Death Penalty in Massachusetts.

Considering the Common Good: What We Give Up/What We Gain

In this conversation series, facilitated by Professor Stephen Marini of Wellesley College, guests will address issues of self-interest and shared sacrifice, private concerns and community benefits, and the intersection of individual and collective goals. Using historical and contemporary examples, each guest will illustrate approaches, promises, successes and failures. In the ensuing conversations, guests and audience members will explore the challenges and choices involved in defining and balancing individual freedom and the common good.

Reservations requested: please call 617-646-0560 or click on the ticket icon above to register online.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 25 February 2012.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM this event is free

Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, the tour touches on the history and collections of the MHS and lasts approximately 90 minutes.

The tour is free and open to the public. No reservation is required for individuals or small groups. Parties of 8 or more should contact the MHS prior to attending a tour.  For more information please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

Free and open to the public.

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Immigration and Urban History Seminar The "Coddling Controversy": Italian POWs on Boston's World War II Homefront 28 February 2012.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:15PM Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
Anne Marie Reardon, Brandeis University Comment: Stephen Puleo, author of The Boston Italians: A Story of Pride, Perseverance, and Paesani, from the Years of the Great Immigration to the Present Day

In early 1944, Italian POWs arrived in Boston to serve in Italian Service Units (ISUs), wearing simplified American military uniforms and doing essential wartime work locally in exchange for increased liberty. Their presence, and more specifically, their level of freedom, led to a local (and eventually national) outcry, accusing the U.S. Army of "coddling" the enemy. Yet the content of these accusations and their rebuttals, couched starkly in the terms of "friends" vs. "enemies," reveals larger ethnic and racial conflicts within the city's fractured wartime social structure over who was fully "American" and deserving of that identity's perceived "rights" in terms of quality jobs, adequate housing, and free personal association.

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Brown Bag American Citizens of the World: The Politics of Peace Reform, 1815-1870 29 February 2012.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM this event is free Margot Minardi, Reed College close
Author Talk, Public Program New Israel / New England: Jews and Puritans in Early America 29 February 2012.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM registration required at no cost Pre-Talk Reception at 5:30 P.M. Michael Hoberman, Fitchburg State University

The New England Puritans’ fascination with the legacy of the Jewish religion has been well documented, but their interactions with actual Jews have escaped sustained historical attention. New Israel/New England tells the story of the Sephardic merchants who traded and sojourned in Boston and Newport between the mid-seventeenth century and the era of the American Revolution. It also explores the complex and often contradictory meanings that the Puritans attached to Judaism and the fraught attitudes that they bore toward the Jews as a people.

More often than not, Michael Hoberman shows, Puritans thought and wrote about Jews in order to resolve their own theological and cultural dilemmas. A number of prominent New Englanders, including Roger Williams, Increase Mather, Samuel Sewall, Benjamin Colman, Cotton Mather, Jonathan Edwards, and Ezra Stiles, wrote extensively about post-biblical Jews, in some cases drawing on their own personal acquaintance with Jewish contemporaries.

Reservations requested: please call 617-646-0560 or click on the ticket icon above to register online.

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Member Event The Architecture of Edmund March Wheelwright and the Building of the Harvard Lampoon Castle 1 March 2012.Thursday, 5:30PM - 8:30PM registration required at no cost NOTICE: THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT

This event is sold out. If you wish to add your name to the waiting list please call 617-646-0560.

MHS Fellows and Members are invited to a panel discussion featuring MHS Fellows Henry N. Cobb and Edward L. Widmer along with Michael K. Frith, William S. Donnell, and Samuel W. Van Dam about Edmund March Wheelwright, the architect of the Society's landmark building and the Harvard Lampoon Castle. The panel will be moderated by Kurt Andersen with additional commentary by John Tittmann, architect for the Castle restoration project.

5:30 to 7:00 PM Symposium
Cocktail reception will follow

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Public Program, Special Event Clover Adams: Gallery Talk 2 March 2012.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM this event is free Natalie Dykstra, Guest Curator, Massachusetts Historical Society

"Who was Clover Adams?"

A gallery talk with guest curator Natalie Dykstra, author of the new biography Clover Adams: A Gilded and Heartbreaking Life. Natalie Dykstra received a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship for her work on Clover Adams. She is a fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society and an associate professor of English at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 3 March 2012.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM this event is free

Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, the tour touches on the history and collections of the MHS and lasts approximately 90 minutes.

The tour is free and open to the public. No reservation is required for individuals or small groups. Parties of 8 or more should contact the MHS prior to attending a tour.  For more information please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

Free and open to the public.

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Early American History Seminar Ancestry as Social Practice in Eighteenth-Century New England: The Origins of Early Republic Genealogical Vogue 6 March 2012.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:15PM Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
Karin Wulf, College of William and Mary Comment: Laurel Ulrich, Harvard University

This paper derives from Wulf's book project on the practice and significance of Anglo-American genealogy from 1680 to 1820. In this chapter she looks at the extensive genealogical work of eighteenth-century New Englanders and positions those labors both as a social practice drawing on and developing communities of knowledge and as a middle chapter in the Anglo-American reckoning with the relationship of family to history. The keenness for genealogy that eighteenth-century New Englanders exhibited reflected a broader Anglo-American interest in lineage as a way of understanding and ordering the world.  

Wulf is particularly interested in the ways that genealogical interest and local history in New England entwined early and regularly, not emerging in the nineteenth century as parallel interests, but as fruits of the same slow growing tree. She uncovers the eighteenth-century source materials that informed early nineteenth century work and explores the contexts for their production--what prompted them, how they insinuated into family memory practices, and how they interacted with public recordation within churches and in towns.

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Brown Bag Political Appetites: Revolution, Taste, and Culinary Activism in the Early Republic 7 March 2012.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM this event is free Nancy Siegel, Towson University

In the eighteenth century, the American colonies were variously referred to as a crumbling cake or even a kettle of fish. As the language of food was easily understood, the use of such similes linking food to politics became increasingly popular, revealing the discourse between culinary history and American political thought. This program examines the development of culinary activism in America to include tea boycotts in the 1760s and the use of homebrews such as Liberty Tea; the development and naming of nationalist recipes in praise of the new and fragile nation such as Independence Cake, Federal Pan Cakes, and Election Cake in American cookery books after the Revolution; and the serving of patriotic cakes and teas on imported and domestically produced ceramics. The pots, plates, and platters that held tea and morsels became a meaningful complement: visual partners adorned with patriotic and nationalistic imagery such as American eagles, political figures, or popular American scenery. Seeing this ensemble of artifacts as culinary activism, one finds that through cookery, broad segments of American society could demonstrate their approval of the democratic process, and the very act of dining often conveyed opinions about the American political system. 

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Conversation, Public Program Reclaiming the Commons: A Conversation with Brian Donahue 7 March 2012.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM registration required at no cost Pre-Talk Reception at 5:30 P.M. Brian Donohue, Brandeis University Moderated by Steve Marini, Wellesley College

Professor Brian Donahue teaches courses on environmental issues, environmental history, sustainable farming and forestry, and early American culture at Brandeis University. His primary research interests include the history and the prospects of human engagement with the land, especially in New England. He is the author of The Great Meadow and Reclaiming the Commons: Community and Forests in a New England Town.

Considering the Common Good: What We Give Up/What We Gain

In this conversation series, facilitated by Professor Stephen Marini of Wellesley College, guests will address issues of self-interest and shared sacrifice, private concerns and community benefits, and the intersection of individual and collective goals. Using historical and contemporary examples, each guest will illustrate approaches, promises, successes and failures. In the ensuing conversations, guests and audience members will explore the challenges and choices involved in defining and balancing individual freedom and the common good.

Reservations requested: Please call 617-646-0560 or click the ticket icon above to register online.

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Immigration and Urban History Seminar Policing Migrants and Militants: In Defense of Nation and Empire in the U.S.-Canadian Borderlands 13 March 2012.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:15PM Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
Kornel S. Chang, Rutgers University, Newark Comment: Naoko Shibusawa, Brown University

The problem of policing the U.S.-Canadian boundary, initiated under Chinese exclusion in 1882, evolved into a multi-faceted, multi-racial challenge by the early twentieth century. The threats posed by Chinese and Japanese migrants and smugglers and white and South Asian radicals brought the United States, Canada, and Britain together in defense of national and imperial borders in the North American West. Collectively, these self-proclaimed white men's countries developed a transnational surveillance network to police illegal migrants, monitor and track revolutionary nationalists, and suppress labor militancy and revolt across the U.S.-Canadian boundary and across the Pacific. This presentation looks at the formation of the northern border, showing how it was a product of intercolonial cooperation and exchange in which Anglophone empires supported each other's prerogative to imperial rule in Asia and the Pacific. In doing so, it argues that Asiatic exclusion was as much about defending and preserving the empire as it was about keeping out undesirable and inassimilable foreigners.

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Public Program, Author Talk POSTPONED: Where We Worked: A Celebration of America's Workers and the Nation They Built 14 March 2012.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM this event is free Jack Larkin

Please visit the calendar entry for May 23, 2012, for more information about this event.

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Notice BUILDING OPEN; LIBRARY & EXHIBITIONS OPEN 16 March 2012.Friday, all day

Power has been restored at the MHS and the research library and exhibition halls will reopen to the public.  All staff should report to work as scheduled.

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Brown Bag, Author Talk, Public Program The Rhode Island Campaign: The First French and American Operation of the Revolutionary War 16 March 2012.Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM this event is free Christian McBurney

Christian McBurney will discuss his new book, the most detailed study of the joint French and American effort to capture the British garrison occupying Newport, Rhode Island, during July and August of 1778. One of the most complex and multi-faceted events of the Revolutionary War, the campaign combined land and sea strategies and featured controversial decisions on both sides. McBurney's lecture will highlight the significant involvement of Boston and Massachusetts in the campaign, including the French Fleet’s arrival in Boston, which led to a riot and then to a memorial that is now part of the Freedom Trail. He will also highlight his research findings from the Society’s archives.

Christian M. McBurney, a graduate of Brown University, is a partner in a Washington, DC, law firm. He is the author of several books and articles on early Rhode Island history, including A History of Kingston, Rhode Island, 1700–1900 and British Treatment of Prisoners During the Occupation of Newport, 1776–1779.

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Exhibition Like a Wolf for the Prey: The Massachusetts Historical Society Collection Begins 17 March 2012.Saturday, this event is free Monday through Saturday, 10 AM to 4 PM

In 1790, the Rev. Jeremy Belknap proposed a "Plan for an Antiquarian Society" that would actively collect materials for a "complete history" of the new nation. A year later, Belknap's plan became the "Historical Society"--now the Massachusetts Historical Society--the oldest historical organization in the Western Hemisphere. The ten original members donated books, pamphlets, newspapers, maps and atlases, almanacs, printed sermons, manuscripts, and examples of early Massachusetts coinage from their personal collections. From September 2011 through March 2012, view a selection of the Society's earliest acquisitions in the new Treasures Gallery. The exhibition is free and open to the public, Monday through Saturday, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

The MHS exhibition complements "Making History: Antiquaries in Britain," an exhibition celebrating the tercentenary of the Society of Antiquaries of London, now on display at the McMullen Museum at Boston College until December 11, 2011.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 17 March 2012.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM this event is free

Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, the tour touches on the history and collections of the MHS and lasts approximately 90 minutes.

The tour is free and open to the public. No reservation is required for individuals or small groups. Parties of 8 or more should contact the MHS prior to attending a tour.  For more information please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

Free and open to the public.

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Special Event, Public Program The 1912 Bread and Roses Strike 20 March 2012.Tuesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM registration required at no cost Pre-Talk Reception at 5:30 P.M. Robert Forrant, University of Massachusetts-Lowell and James Green, University of Massachusetts-Boston

In January 1912, textile workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts, launched an explosive eight-week strike that popularized the slogan "Bread and Roses." The strikers' victory led to improved working conditions and higher wages for more than 150,000 semi-skilled workers in the New England textile industry. Join Robert Forrant, Professor of Economic and Social Development at UMass Lowell, and a panel of labor historians as they discuss the consequences of the strike in the city of Lawrence and on the strike's participants, many of whom were immigrants, and more than half of whom were women. Panelists will also debate the strike's enduring legacy and how contemporary labor practices and policies reflect the victories won almost one hundred years ago.

Reservations requested: please call 617-646-0560 or click on the ticket icon above to register online. 

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Biography Seminar Formidable Families: Writing about Famous Brothers and Sisters 22 March 2012.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
George Howe Colt, Paul Fisher, and Louise W. Knight Megan Marshall, Moderator

This session, featuring George Howe Colt, Paul Fisher, and Louise W. Knight and moderated by Megan Marshall, will explore the process of developing collective biographies, in particular, research and writing about siblings.  

Panelists:  George Howe Colt is the author of The Big House: A Century in the Life of an American Summer Home, a finalist for the National Book Award in 2003, and November of the Soul: The Enigma of Suicide. He is writing a book about brothers.  

Paul Fisher is a biographer of Henry, William, and Alice James in House of Wits: An Intimate Portrait of the James Family. He is an Assistant Professor of American Studies at Wellesley College, where he teaches 19th century American literature and culture.  

Louise W. Knight is the author of Jane Addams: Spirit in Action and Citizen: Jane Addams and the Struggle for Democracy.  A Visiting Scholar in the Gender Studies Program, Northwestern University, she is writing a biography of Sarah and Angelina Grimke.  

Moderator: Megan Marshall's The Peabody Sisters: Three Women Who Ignited American Romanticism won the Francis Parkman Prize and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Biography. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Writing, Literature and Publishing at Emerson College.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 24 March 2012.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM this event is free

Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, the tour touches on the history and collections of the MHS and lasts approximately 90 minutes.

The tour is free and open to the public. No reservation is required for individuals or small groups. Parties of 8 or more should contact the MHS prior to attending a tour.  For more information please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

Free and open to the public.

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Environmental History Seminar CANCELLED The Sea Serpent and the Mackerel Jig: Environment and Culture in Coastal New England Fisheries, 1815-1859 27 March 2012.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:15PM Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
Jeff Bolster, University of New Hampshire Comment: Joyce Chaplin, Harvard University

We regret to announce that this program has been cancelled and will not be rescheduled.

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Exhibition The First Seasons of the Federal Street Theatre, 1794-1798 28 March 2012 to 30 July 2012 this event is free Monday through Saturday, 10 AM to 4 PM Boston Theatre, Federal Street, Engraving by A. Bowen, 1825

Boston Theatre, Federal Street, Engraving by A. Bowen, 1825In 1794, the first public theater in Boston opened on Federal Street despite strong legal and public opposition. The First Seasons of the Federal Street Theatre, 1794-1798 documents the battle over the Federal Street Theatre through playbills from early performances as well as the letters and publications of supporters and opponents of public theater in Boston. The MHS show is a satellite display of an exhibition titled Forgotten Chapters of Boston's Literary History on display at the Boston Public Library (BPL). Created by Professor Paul Lewis of the Boston College English Department and his students, the exhibition tells stories about Boston's literary history through letters, manuscripts, and early editions from the collections of the MHS, the BPL, the American Antiquarian Society, and Boston College. Divided into six “chapters,”  the exhibition follows the rise and fall of reputations, recovers out-of-print materials, and walks the streets of Boston in its literary heyday. The materials at the MHS will be on view 28 March through 30 July.

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Member Event New Fellows & Members Reception & Tour 29 March 2012.Thursday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM Please RSVP   registration required at no cost


All new MHS Fellows and Members are invited to a special reception and tour of the Society. This is a rare opportunity to go behind the scenes of the MHS to see how we collect and preserve the documents that define American history and make them accessible to the public.

6:00 PM Reception
6:30 PM Tour

Space is limited. RSVP online or by calling 617-646-0560.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 31 March 2012.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM this event is free

Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, the tour touches on the history and collections of the MHS and lasts approximately 90 minutes.

The tour is free and open to the public. No reservation is required for individuals or small groups. Parties of 8 or more should contact the MHS prior to attending a tour.  For more information please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

Free and open to the public.

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Early American History Seminar The Court-Martial of Jonathan Barnes 3 April 2012.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:15PM Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
Len Travers, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth Comment: Colin Calloway, Dartmouth College

Months after the French capitulation at the end of the French and Indian War, a young Massachusetts man, Joshua Barnes, was discovered still in the company of his Wabenaki captors. He had been taken more than four years earlier while on patrol along Lake George. Now, Barnes was arrested and faced trial for treason before a British army court-martial. Was he, as the court insisted, a renegade who had willingly adopted Native life and taken up arms against his king? The testimony of both Barnes and the witnesses against him suggest something different: that hostage stress response, known today as Stockholm Syndrome, may better explain the behavior that led to his arrest.  

This paper, digested from a draft chapter for a proposed book, will be a departure from familiar "fate of the captive" narratives, which generally assume a storyline of assimilation into Native societies, "failure" to assimilate, or redemption. The story of Barnes's captivity demonstrates that assimilation-or-ransom was not always the goal of Native American captors, and suggests that white captives frequently, even normally, adopted survival strategies that would be familiar to psychologists and law-enforcement agencies today.

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Brown Bag Making Black Communities: White Laborers, Black Neighborhoods, and the Evolution of Race and Class in the Post-Revolutionary North 4 April 2012.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM this event is free Joanne Melish, University of Kentucky close
Conversation, Public Program Common as Air: A Conversation with Lewis Hyde 4 April 2012.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM registration required at no cost Pre-Talk Reception at 5:30 P.M. Lewis Hyde, Kenyon College and Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society Moderated by Steve Marini, Wellesley College

Lewis Hyde is a poet, essayist, translator, and cultural critic with a particular interest in the public life of the imagination. Hyde's most recent book, Common as Air, is a spirited defense of our "cultural commons," that vast store of ideas, inventions, and works of art that we have inherited from the past and continue to enrich in the present.

A MacArthur Fellow and former director of undergraduate creative writing at Harvard University, Hyde teaches during the fall semesters at Kenyon College, where he is the Richard L. Thomas Professor of Creative Writing. During the rest of the year he lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he is a Faculty Associate at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

Considering the Common Good: What We Give Up/What We Gain

In this conversation series, facilitated by Professor Stephen Marini of Wellesley College, guests will address issues of self-interest and shared sacrifice, private concerns and community benefits, and the intersection of individual and collective goals. Using historical and contemporary examples, each guest will illustrate approaches, promises, successes and failures. In the ensuing conversations, guests and audience members will explore the challenges and choices involved in defining and balancing individual freedom and the common good.

Reservations requested: Please call 617-646-0560 or click on the ticket icon above to register online.

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Brown Bag, Public Program The Jefferson-Hemings Controversy 6 April 2012.Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM this event is free Robert Turner, Center for National Security Law, University of Virginia Law School

Professor Robert Turner, author and editor of a commissioned review of the evidence in this case, will discuss the process of his team’s inquiry, and conclusions drawn from that investigation. Professor Turner is Associate Director of the Center for National Security Law at the University of Virginia Law School.

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Public Program, Special Event Being Mrs. Henry Adams 6 April 2012.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM this event is free Peter Drummey, Stephen T. Riley Librarian, MHS

In 1872, when Clover Hooper married Henry Adams, she became a partner in a remarkable marriage, and a member of an illustrious, close-knit, and cantankerous clan. In this talk we will "meet the in-laws" through Clover Adams' photographs of members of her husband's family.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 7 April 2012.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM this event is free

Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, the tour touches on the history and collections of the MHS and lasts approximately 90 minutes.

The tour is free and open to the public. No reservation is required for individuals or small groups. Parties of 8 or more should contact the MHS prior to attending a tour.  For more information please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

Free and open to the public.

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Environmental History Seminar Controlling the Cost of Fish: Weir Fishermen and Price Control in the Sardine Herring Fishery, 1875-1903 10 April 2012.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:15PM Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
Brian J. Payne, Bridgewater State University Comment: Josh Reid, University of Massachusetts, Boston

In 1876, Julius Wolff arrived in Eastport, Maine, to try his hand at producing a domestic sardine that could compete with the European imports. He successfully canned 600 cases of sardines, which quickly sold in the New York market for up to $12.00 a case. Although Wolff tried to keep his new business venture a secret the profits were undeniable and new sardine factories quickly sprung up in Eastport, Lubec, and Robbinston, Maine. By 1899 sixty-eight plants in Maine produced 1,170,568 cases of sardines. The sardine factories were in such fierce competition with one another in acquiring herring fish from the local weir fishermen that they were forced to pay extremely high prices for their catches. Weir fishermen maintained high prices for their catches by selling them via an auction system that directly pitted competing canneries against one another. Because weir fishermen controlled the access to the base material of production, juvenile herring fish, independent of the canneries' management they could exercise a considerable degree of economic power. Although not formally organized into a cooperative or union, these weir fishermen in Downeast Maine still yielded a similar style of control as those formal organizational structures in such a way as to protect their shared interest and to ensure continued local profitability.

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History of Women and Gender Seminar "She thought she could find a better market": White Women and the Re-Gendering of the Antebellum Slave Market and Slave-Trading Community 12 April 2012.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
Stephanie Jones-Rogers, Rutgers University Comment: Walter Johnson, Harvard University

"She thought she could find a better market" explores white southern women's economic roles in antebellum New Orleans slave markets and slave trading communities. It demonstrates that, in spite of formidable social, legal, and economic constraints, single, married and widowed women entered slave markets, attended slave auctions, bought, sold and hired enslaved people, participated in their families' slave trading businesses, and supported the market in slaves by offering their goods and services to New Orleans slave yard operators, traders, brokers, and dealers. Taken together, these women's slave market activities encourage us to reconsider the ways that gender shaped economies and communities woven together by the institution of slavery in the antebellum South.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 14 April 2012.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM this event is free

Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, the tour touches on the history and collections of the MHS and lasts approximately 90 minutes.

The tour is free and open to the public. No reservation is required for individuals or small groups. Parties of 8 or more should contact the MHS prior to attending a tour.  For more information please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

Free and open to the public.

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Special Event, Public Program Colonial Treasures from the Massachusetts Historical Society: Gallery Talk 14 April 2012.Saturday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM registration required at no cost This event will talk place at the Concord Museum Peter Drummey, Massachusetts Historical Society David Wood, Concord Museum

Join Massachusetts Historical Librarian Peter Drummey and Concord Museum Curator David Wood for an exploration of the subtle and surprising relationships between objects and documents in the collaborative exhibition The Object of History: Colonial Treasures from the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Reservations required: 978-369-9763. Admission to the Museum and the talk is free to MHS Members and Fellows on this day, and $2 off regular Museum admission for the duration of the exhibition: April 13 – June 17, 2012.

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Building Closed Patriots' Day 16 April 2012.Monday, all day close
Brown Bag Prisoners of War and the Making of Revolutionary American Military Culture 18 April 2012.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM this event is free Trenton Jones, The Johns Hopkins University

This program examines the treatment of British, Loyalist, and German Prisoners of War during the American War for Independence as a window on the development of revolutionary America’s military culture. What can their treatment tell us about revolutionary American values and assumptions about war and warfare? Jones posits that in depriving these men of their liberty, American revolutionaries affirmed their independence not only from political subordination to the British Crown and Parliament, but also from the dominant culture of war in Europe.

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Brown Bag, Author Talk, Public Program Framingham's Civil War Hero, the Life of General George H. Gordon. 20 April 2012.Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM this event is free Fred Wallace, Framingham Town Historian

George H. Gordon, a resident of Framingham, and active member of the Boston community in the mid 1800's, played a prominent role in the Civil War. Until now, however, his contributions had been largely overlooked by historians. The book traces his life from early childhood in Framingham to West Point, through the Mexican-American War of 1846-48. It then follows him through a transition to civilian life as an attorney in Boston, and finally through the tumultuous years of the Civil War. Over 6,000 documents from Gordon's personal papers (letters, diaries, journals, military records), housed at the Massachusetts Historical Society,  were an invaluable resource to the author.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 21 April 2012.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM this event is free

Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, the tour touches on the history and collections of the MHS and lasts approximately 90 minutes.

The tour is free and open to the public. No reservation is required for individuals or small groups. Parties of 8 or more should contact the MHS prior to attending a tour.  For more information please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

Free and open to the public.

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Author Talk, Public Program Democracies of Glee: Boston's First Professional Theatres, 1794-98 23 April 2012.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM registration required at no cost Pre-Talk Reception at 5:30 P.M. Heather Nathans, University of Maryland

In 1793, in the face of strong legal and public opposition, the first public theater in Boston opened on Federal Street. An exhibition at MHS, mounted in coordination with the "Forgotten Chapters in Boston's Literary History" exhibition at the Boston Public Library, documents the battle over the Federal Street Theatre through the letters and publications of supporters and opponents of the theater, together with playbills from early performances.

Registration requested: please call 617-646-0560 or click on the ticket icon above to register online.

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Immigration and Urban History Seminar "A Successful Integrated Development for the Central City": Constructing the Los Angeles Music Center, 1954-1967 24 April 2012.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:15PM Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
Andrea Thabet, University of California, Santa Barbara Comment: Samuel Zipp, Brown University

When the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion opened in December 1964, it solidified the image of Los Angeles as a first class city of growing national importance. The Pavilion was the first of a three-building theater and music complex constructed in the heart of downtown Los Angeles atop Bunker Hill and anchoring the city’s reconstructed Civic Center Mall. The Music Center’s other buildings, the Mark Taper Forum and the Howard Ahmanson Theater, opened in 1967 to similar fanfare. 

This research makes two important and related contributions to the standard narratives on postwar urban renewal and cultural institution building. First, it highlights a momentous yet under-analyzed shift in federal urban policy between 1949 and the 1954 Federal Housing Act. Second, the Music Center’s construction illuminates the role of urban policy in crafting cultural spaces in the United States after World War II. Situated at the nexus of urban history, cultural history, and policy history, this research looks beyond the traditional topics of housing and economic growth to frame a new set of questions about the ways in which cultural construction came to fruition through urban renewal policy.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 28 April 2012.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM this event is free

Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, the tour touches on the history and collections of the MHS and lasts approximately 90 minutes.

The tour is free and open to the public. No reservation is required for individuals or small groups. Parties of 8 or more should contact the MHS prior to attending a tour.  For more information please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

Free and open to the public.

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