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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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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May
Early American History Seminar The Classical Origins of the American Self: Puritans and Indians in New England Epics 1 May 2012.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:15PM RSVP required Joanne van der Woude, Harvard University Comment: Elizabeth Maddock Dillon, Northeastern University In colonial New England, classicism was not a common stylistic choice for preachers and poets. ...

In colonial New England, classicism was not a common stylistic choice for preachers and poets. Puritan authors much preferred typology-casting Biblical figures as figurative forefathers of their own leaders-to antique heroes and forms. The guiding question of this paper is big and simple: what representative advantages does classicism confer? Or, what do you see if you look at early New England through a classical, rather than a Scriptural lens? What gets lost and what gets emphasized when Boston, for once, is a new Troy or Rome, instead of a shining Jerusalem? Only two exceptional events, Thomas Morton's Merrymount and King Philip's War, prompted a turn to classic origins: Morton's own The New English Canaan (Amsterdam, 1637) and Benjamin Tompson's New-Englands Crisis (London, 1676) and New-Englands Tears (1677). These (proto-)epics display an acute concern with place. Both authors depict the landscape and leadership of New England based on classical precedence-to opposite ends, one might argue. This paper will consider the larger stakes of such representations with an eye to future Puritan epics, such as Cotton Mather's Magnalia (1702).

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Brown Bag Clio and America's Civil War 2 May 2012.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Jordan Watkins, University of Nevada, Las Vegas This project examines the place of historical thought and historical representation in the build up ...

This project examines the place of historical thought and historical representation in the build up to, and event and aftermath of, America's Civil War. A religiously tinged republicanism and a politicized millenarianism informed much of the antebellum abolitionist and the proslavery anti-abolitionist rhetoric and the arrival of the war intensified chiliastic sentiment. While the apocalypticism continued throughout the war, widespread destruction dampened hopes of Christ’s return. Perhaps the impact of the Civil War on American historical consciousness can be profitably compared to the French Revolution’s impact on European historical consciousness.

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Biography Seminar POSTPONED: Biographers' Round Table: A Conversation with Stacy Schiff 3 May 2012.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Susan Ware, Moderator This program has been postponed until our 2012-2013 New England Biography Seminar series. Ms. Schiff ...

This program has been postponed until our 2012-2013 New England Biography Seminar series. Ms. Schiff will present on January 24, 2013. We apologize for any inconvenience that this change may cause.

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Public Program Clover: Artistry in Light and Shadow 4 May 2012.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Anne Bentley, MHS Curator of Art This talk, led by MHS curator of Art Anne Bentley, will examine Clover Adams's use of the ...

This talk, led by MHS curator of Art Anne Bentley, will examine Clover Adams's use of the photographic medium to reflect her emotional connections to the arts and her subjects.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 5 May 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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Brown Bag A Consuming Femininity: Gender, Culture, and the Material Worlds of Young Womanhood, 1750-1850 7 May 2012.Monday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Kathryn Goetz, University of Minnesota details
Brown Bag Yankee Passages to India 9 May 2012.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Hari Vishwanadha, Santa Monica College This project focuses on the young captains and sailors who went to seek a fortune and found a ...

This project focuses on the young captains and sailors who went to seek a fortune and found a strange and rich world that profoundly influenced them and the young nation. As they encountered an entirely different culture and society, these men negotiated innumerable differences in traditions and beliefs in order to survive and succeed.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 12 May 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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Library Closed Library Closing @ 3:00 PM 16 May 2012.Wednesday, all day details
Special Event, Member Event MHS Annual Meeting and Kennedy Medal Ceremony 16 May 2012.Wednesday, 5:00PM - 8:00PM Please RSVP   Special event for MHS Fellows and Members MHS annual business meeting followed by a program and reception honoring Gordon S. Wood, recipient ...

MHS annual business meeting followed by a program and reception honoring Gordon S. Wood, recipient of the John F. Kennedy Medal.

5:00 PM
Annual Meeting for elected MHS Fellows

6:00 PM
MHS Fellows and Members are invited to the presentation of the Kennedy Medal and remarks by recipient, Gordon S. Wood. A reception will follow.

RSVP by May 9 by calling 617-646-0560 or by clicking on the link above.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 19 May 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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Brown Bag Researching a Naval History of the American Revolution 23 May 2012.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Sam Willis Sam Willis is currently researching the naval aspects of the American Revolution. He is interested ...

Sam Willis is currently researching the naval aspects of the American Revolution. He is interested in telling the story from the American, British, French, Spanish and Dutch perspectives. A major theme in his work is how naval power crossed the boundaries between land in sea and affected many different people in many different ways.

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Author Talk, Public Program Where We Worked: A Celebration of America’s Workers and the Nation They Built 23 May 2012.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM Pre-Talk Reception at 5:30 P.M. Jack Larkin, Clark University & Old Sturbridge Village Jack Larkin is Affiliate Professor of History at Clark University and Chief Historian Emeritus at ...

Jack Larkin is Affiliate Professor of History at Clark University and Chief Historian Emeritus at Old Sturbridge Village, the outdoor museum of early American history. He has also written The Reshaping of Everyday Life 1790-1840, and Where We Lived: Discovering the Places We Once Called Home, The American Home 1775-1840.

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

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Library Closed Library Closing @ 3:00 PM 24 May 2012.Thursday, all day details
Building Closedbegins Memorial Day 26 May 2012.Saturday, all day details
Building Closedends Memorial Day 28 May 2012.Monday, all day details
Author Talk, Public Program Chasing Venus: The Race to Measure the Heavens 30 May 2012.Wednesday, 7:00PM - 8:00PM LOCATION: Arnold Arboretum (Weld Hill Research Building, 1300 Centre Street, Roslindale) Andrea Wulf, Design Historian and Writer On June 6, 1761 and June 3, 1769, the planet Venus passed between Earth and Sun – each time ...

On June 6, 1761 and June 3, 1769, the planet Venus passed between Earth and Sun – each time visible as a small black dot against the burning face of the Sun for six hours. Transits of Venus always arrive in pairs – eight years apart – but then it takes more than a century before they are seen again. In the 1760s the world’s scientific community was electrified because the transit would allow them for the first time to calculate the distance between the planets in our solar system. This would require triangulated data to be compiled from various exact points around the globe – all taken simultaneously during the short period of the actual Transit. Join us for an intriguing glimpse at the spirit of the Enlightenment and the collaborative race to measure the heavens. Chasing Venus will be published in May 2012 in conjunction of the Transit of Venus on June 5/6, 2012.

Offered by the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Historical Society. Fee: $10 MHS and Arboretum members, $20 nonmember. Register by phone at 617-384-5277.

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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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Early American History Seminar The Classical Origins of the American Self: Puritans and Indians in New England Epics 1 May 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.
Joanne van der Woude, Harvard University Comment: Elizabeth Maddock Dillon, Northeastern University

In colonial New England, classicism was not a common stylistic choice for preachers and poets. Puritan authors much preferred typology-casting Biblical figures as figurative forefathers of their own leaders-to antique heroes and forms. The guiding question of this paper is big and simple: what representative advantages does classicism confer? Or, what do you see if you look at early New England through a classical, rather than a Scriptural lens? What gets lost and what gets emphasized when Boston, for once, is a new Troy or Rome, instead of a shining Jerusalem? Only two exceptional events, Thomas Morton's Merrymount and King Philip's War, prompted a turn to classic origins: Morton's own The New English Canaan (Amsterdam, 1637) and Benjamin Tompson's New-Englands Crisis (London, 1676) and New-Englands Tears (1677). These (proto-)epics display an acute concern with place. Both authors depict the landscape and leadership of New England based on classical precedence-to opposite ends, one might argue. This paper will consider the larger stakes of such representations with an eye to future Puritan epics, such as Cotton Mather's Magnalia (1702).

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Brown Bag Clio and America's Civil War 2 May 2012.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM this event is free Jordan Watkins, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

This project examines the place of historical thought and historical representation in the build up to, and event and aftermath of, America's Civil War. A religiously tinged republicanism and a politicized millenarianism informed much of the antebellum abolitionist and the proslavery anti-abolitionist rhetoric and the arrival of the war intensified chiliastic sentiment. While the apocalypticism continued throughout the war, widespread destruction dampened hopes of Christ’s return. Perhaps the impact of the Civil War on American historical consciousness can be profitably compared to the French Revolution’s impact on European historical consciousness.

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Biography Seminar POSTPONED: Biographers' Round Table: A Conversation with Stacy Schiff 3 May 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.
Susan Ware, Moderator

This program has been postponed until our 2012-2013 New England Biography Seminar series. Ms. Schiff will present on January 24, 2013. We apologize for any inconvenience that this change may cause.

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Public Program Clover: Artistry in Light and Shadow 4 May 2012.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM this event is free Anne Bentley, MHS Curator of Art

This talk, led by MHS curator of Art Anne Bentley, will examine Clover Adams's use of the photographic medium to reflect her emotional connections to the arts and her subjects.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 5 May 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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Brown Bag A Consuming Femininity: Gender, Culture, and the Material Worlds of Young Womanhood, 1750-1850 7 May 2012.Monday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM this event is free Kathryn Goetz, University of Minnesota close
Brown Bag Yankee Passages to India 9 May 2012.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM this event is free Hari Vishwanadha, Santa Monica College

This project focuses on the young captains and sailors who went to seek a fortune and found a strange and rich world that profoundly influenced them and the young nation. As they encountered an entirely different culture and society, these men negotiated innumerable differences in traditions and beliefs in order to survive and succeed.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 12 May 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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Library Closed Library Closing @ 3:00 PM 16 May 2012.Wednesday, all day close
Special Event, Member Event MHS Annual Meeting and Kennedy Medal Ceremony 16 May 2012.Wednesday, 5:00PM - 8:00PM Please RSVP   registration required at no cost Special event for MHS Fellows and Members

MHS annual business meeting followed by a program and reception honoring Gordon S. Wood, recipient of the John F. Kennedy Medal.

5:00 PM
Annual Meeting for elected MHS Fellows

6:00 PM
MHS Fellows and Members are invited to the presentation of the Kennedy Medal and remarks by recipient, Gordon S. Wood. A reception will follow.

RSVP by May 9 by calling 617-646-0560 or by clicking on the link above.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 19 May 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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Brown Bag Researching a Naval History of the American Revolution 23 May 2012.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM this event is free Sam Willis

Sam Willis is currently researching the naval aspects of the American Revolution. He is interested in telling the story from the American, British, French, Spanish and Dutch perspectives. A major theme in his work is how naval power crossed the boundaries between land in sea and affected many different people in many different ways.

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Author Talk, Public Program Where We Worked: A Celebration of America’s Workers and the Nation They Built 23 May 2012.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM registration required at no cost Pre-Talk Reception at 5:30 P.M. Jack Larkin, Clark University & Old Sturbridge Village

Jack Larkin is Affiliate Professor of History at Clark University and Chief Historian Emeritus at Old Sturbridge Village, the outdoor museum of early American history. He has also written The Reshaping of Everyday Life 1790-1840, and Where We Lived: Discovering the Places We Once Called Home, The American Home 1775-1840.

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

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Library Closed Library Closing @ 3:00 PM 24 May 2012.Thursday, all day close
Building Closed Memorial Day 26 May 2012 to 28 May 2012 close
Author Talk, Public Program Chasing Venus: The Race to Measure the Heavens 30 May 2012.Wednesday, 7:00PM - 8:00PM registration required LOCATION: Arnold Arboretum (Weld Hill Research Building, 1300 Centre Street, Roslindale) Andrea Wulf, Design Historian and Writer

On June 6, 1761 and June 3, 1769, the planet Venus passed between Earth and Sun – each time visible as a small black dot against the burning face of the Sun for six hours. Transits of Venus always arrive in pairs – eight years apart – but then it takes more than a century before they are seen again. In the 1760s the world’s scientific community was electrified because the transit would allow them for the first time to calculate the distance between the planets in our solar system. This would require triangulated data to be compiled from various exact points around the globe – all taken simultaneously during the short period of the actual Transit. Join us for an intriguing glimpse at the spirit of the Enlightenment and the collaborative race to measure the heavens. Chasing Venus will be published in May 2012 in conjunction of the Transit of Venus on June 5/6, 2012.

Offered by the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Historical Society. Fee: $10 MHS and Arboretum members, $20 nonmember. Register by phone at 617-384-5277.

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