Past Swensrud Fellowship Recipients
Marla Blair teaches eighth-grade United States History at the Charles Brown Middle School in Newton, Massachusetts. Her project, "John Brown's Social Network," will focus on documents that illuminate the nature of Brown's relationships with his followers, his financial backers, and other abolitionists. Using documents from collections such as the Theodore Parker papers, the Stevens family papers, and a collection of letter received by Samuel Gridley Howe, Marla's students will investigate John Brown's motives and his beliefs about how to end slavery in the United Sates. Students will also consider Brown's relationships with other abolitionists and their reactions to Brown's radical methods.
Carolyn Dunne teaches Global History and United States History at Boston College High School in Dorchester. Using the Society's wealth of materials from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, she will explore American imperial policy and our nation's expansion into Latin America and Asia. Her project will touch on topics including the annexation of Hawaii, the Spanish-American War, the annexation of the Philippines, and the creation of the Panama Canal. Carolyn's students will ultimately debate the pros and cons of imperial expansion themselves, using materials from the Henry Cabot Lodge papers and documents created by George Boutwell and other members of the Anti-Imperialist League.
William Miskinis, a United States History teacher at Littleton High School, will use his project to help his students better understand the historical roots of a contemporary issue: prison reform. He will explore how prison and asylum reform was connected other nineteenth-century reform effort, such as temperance, and the role of religion in Americans' reform impulse. William's project will use a variety of sources, including the notebooks of Rev. Jared Curtis, chaplain of the Mass. State Prison, to identify the assumptions underlying different nineteenth-century reform movements, and analyze the methodologies employed by reformers. His students will eventually be asked to debate whether reformers were truly trying to help those in need or whether their ultimate goal was to maintain a vanishing social and political status quo.
Matthew Johnson teaches social studies at South Shore Vocational Technical High School in Hanover, Massachusetts, where he also serves as department chair. His fellowship project explores the complex history of slavery in Massachusetts from the 1630s to 1860. Matthew uses primary sources to explore topics such as the early abolitionist debate between Samuel Sewall and John Saffin; runaway slaves, personal liberty laws, and the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850; and Massachusetts reaction to the Kansas-Nebraska Bill and the caning of Senator Charles Sumner.
Jennifer Larose teaches United States history in Scituate, Massachusetts. Her curriculum project, "Chief Justice William Cushing and the Abolition of Slavery," serves to introduce middle school and high school students to the fact that slavery existed in Massachusetts beginning in the 1630s. Lessons use primary-source material related to Chief Justice William Cushing, a local Scituate resident, to personalize the movement and help students better understand how Massachusetts led the way in the anti-slavery and abolitionist movements.
Danielle Fernandez teaches Untied States and world history at North Quincy High School. Her curriculum unit, "The Siege of Boston," documents daily life for civilians and soldiers from 19 April 1775 through 17 March 1776. During this period, when American militiamen effectively contained British troops within Boston, the town's inhabitants were forced to make critical decisions about their lives and their loyalties. General George Washington, meanwhile, was charged with bringing order to the newly formed Continental Army while also driving the British from Boston. Using the eyewitness accounts featured in these letters and diaries, students can investigate and analyze the decisions made by Washington, his troops, and other men and women living in the besieged town.
Richard Gallagher teaches middle school in White River Junction, Vermont. His curriculum unit is centered on the theme of American identity. When and why did colonist stop thinking of themselves as British and start to think of themselves as Americans' The selected primary source materials, activities, and project help students understand of both the interconnectedness of the world during the era of the American Revolution and how interested parties tried to shape the interpretation of revolutionary events to support their own perspective. Throughout the unit students will be asked analyze both historic and contemporary documents that support this understanding.
Rajeeve Martyn taught history at Madison Park Technical Vocational High School in Roxbury, Massachusetts. His curriculum unit, "The Massachusetts Civil War Experience," was designed to help students better understand why men and women chose to go to war in 1861. Students can read primary sources from the Society's collections, including letters, diaries, and recruiting posters in order to evaluate individual soldiers' expectations and motivations, and how their pre-war ideas were challenged or confirmed by the realities of warfare. A concluding lesson asks students to compare Civil War recruiting tactics with contemporary military practices.
Susannah Wheelwright teaches sixth-grade social studies at the Robert Adams Middle School in Holliston, Massachusetts. Susannah?s curriculum unit uses travel narratives and diaries to explore world geography. While investigating the Society?s collections Susannah discovered documents that describe voyages to seven regions of the world: Africa, Western Asia, Central and South Asia, Southeast Asia and Oceania, North and East Asia, Europe, and South America. Students will compare and contrast the historical geography of a region described in primary source travel documents with what they know about the region?s geography today.
Timothy Castner teaches United States and World History at Nashoba Regional High School in Bolton, Massachusetts. Tim’s project explores the interplay of religion and politics during critical periods of Massachusetts and American history: the American Revolution, the creation of the Massachusetts Constitution, and the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. Students will read the sermons, dairies, and correspondence of influential figures such as Rev. Jonathan Mayhew, John Adams, and Elbridge Gerry in order to better understand the important role that religion has played in the formation of American government.
Elizabeth Lambert teaches sixth grade English/Language Arts and Social Studies at the Miscoe Hill School in Mendon, Massachusetts. Betsy explores connections between antebellum Boston and the ?Golden Age’ of Athens and Greece. Areas of study include the role of maritime trade, philosophy, suffrage and abolition, and architecture. Through such collections as the Brook Farm records and the papers of Caroline Healey Dall, Betsy’s project will reinforces students’ prior knowledge of ancient history while exposing them to the culture, values, and ideals of early nineteenth-century Boston.
Beth teaches United States History, Government, and Economics at the Boston Collegiate Charter School in Dorchester. Her curriculum unit explores local Boston politics and reform through the papers of the Good Government Association. The project will culminate in a visit to the Massachusetts Historical Society where students will have the opportunity to become historians themselves. Staff will work with Beth to guide students through the process of researching, requesting and viewing original manuscripts and items on microfilm.
Victor teaches at Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts. He examined Shays' Rebellion, 1786-1787 and the continuing debate over the meaning of republicanism. Using the papers of John Temple, James Bowdoin, Robert Treat Paine, Theodore Sedgwick, and others, Victor's project explores the political and constitutional background of the Rebellion, government responses to the rebellion, and the rebellion's legacy in Massachusetts and beyond.
Michael teaches History at Shawsheen Regional Vocational Technical High School. In his curriculum unit, "Propaganda: Shaping the events that influenced the 19th of April, 1775," Michael uses letters, broadsides, newspapers, engravings and sermons to demonstrate how key figures such as Samuel Adams, John Hancock and Joseph Warren used propaganda to push the revolutionary cause. Students will examine the contrasting British and colonial accounts of the Battle at Lexington and Concord and write an essay on which side fired the first shot. They also examine how colonial leaders used propaganda to spread the news of the battle to the other colonies.
Sven teaches third grade at The Brookwood School in Manchester, Massachusetts. Sven's curriculum unit, titled "18th-Century Broadsides: The Power of Words," introduces students to different types of 18th-century broadsides: those used as proclamations, as advertisements and as forms of activism. In the section that discusses broadsides as forms of activism, he focuses specifically on the pre-revolutionary period by covering the Non-Importation movement and the Boston Tea Party. In a final project, students apply their knowledge of broadsides by creating their own.
Diane is a Library Media Specialist at Ephraim Curtis Middle School in Sudbury. She uses Horace Mann's reports about the conditions of schools, letters from his wife and colleagues, and biographies to engage students in why he became involved in the school reform movement, how he affected change, and the long-term impact of his efforts.
Richard teaches AP United States History at Stoneham High School. In his curriculum project, titled "Turbulent Times and Willing Contributors 1854-1860: Kansas Resettlement and the Harpers Ferry Raid," he has compiled primary sources, mainly personal correspondence, that detail the effort to settle Kansas as a free state, the attack on Charles Sumner in Congress, and John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry.
Richard teaches United States History at Lexington High School. In his project, "The Growth of Anti-Slavery Sentiment in Boston: 1835-1854," he uses the letters and speeches of individuals involved in the anti-abolition and anti-slavery movements to explain how and why sentiment toward the institution of slavery changed in the northeast over time. In the final lesson, students study the Anthony Burns Trial of 1854.
Lori Matten teaches AP United States History and Modern World History at Buckingham, Browne & Nichols School in Cambridge. Lori's curriculum project focuses on "The Haitian Revolution." Students read and analyze the Declaration of the Rights of Man and discuss it in relation to the colonial social structure in Haiti. They also consult selections from the Thomas Pickering Papers to learn about the U.S. position regarding the Haitian Revolution.
Rebecca teaches Biology and Physical Science at Arlington High School. Her project, titled "Topics in Medicine During the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries in Massachusetts," examines significant events in medical history, including the first uses of vaccines and anesthesia. Rebecca's students read the diary entries and essays of noted physicians and researchers and compare them to modern medical essays and dissertations.
Wendy teaches History at Dover-Sherborn Middle School. In her curriculum project, titled "Womanhood and Activism in Antebellum America," Wendy explores nineteenth-century womanhood. She uses a variety of primary sources, especially the papers of Caroline Healy Dall, to discover how the "woman's sphere" was defined in the nineteenth century and how women pushed the boundaries of their sphere to improve American society.
Duncan teaches United States History and World History at Newton North High School. Duncan's curriculum project, titled "The Story of How Massachusetts Women Helped the Union Win the Civil War," focuses on the Massachusetts home front during the Civil War, particularly the experiences of women involved in the Women's Auxiliary of the U.S. Sanitary Commission.
Regina teaches social studies to sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students at the Tobin School in Boston. In her curriculum project "Daily Life for African Americans in Boston in the Era of the American Revolution, she uses newspapers, manuscripts, and pamphlets to explore the social, economic, and political activities of the free African American community in eighteenth-century Boston.
Phil taught English and social studies at the Park School in Brookline, Massachusetts, for twenty-five years. His project, "The Boston-Canton China Trade," uses facsimiles of letters, diaries, and logbooks held by the MHS to explore the relationship between the two countries. Phil's students plot trade routes between Boston and Canton, learn about the types and prices of trade goods, and read first-hand accounts written by Bostonians in China.
Siobhan teaches fifth-grade at the Douglas School in Acton. In order to enhance her unit on the American Revolution, Siobhan examined materials related to the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere's Ride, and the Battles of Lexington and Concord. Her curriculum has students writing a play based on the events of the Boston Tea Party and taking field trips to various sites in Massachusetts connected to the American Revolution.
Robert teaches United States History, World History, and Economics at Needham High School. His project, titled "One President's Adolescence: Ordinary and Extraordinary Letters, Diary Entries, and Parental Advice from John Quincy Adams's Early Years," focuses on the years between 1773 and 1782. Students read the letters and diary entries of John Quincy Adams to discover how his life was both similar and different from their own.
Riza teaches at Grover Cleveland Middle School, in Boston, where she has responsibility for a sixth-grade interdisciplinary cluster charged with blending the study of history and literature. In her project, "The Historical and Literary Dimensions of American Heroism as Seen in the Life and Letters of Abigail Adams," Riza uses the letters of Abigail Adams to explore the historical and literary dimensions of American heroism.
Featured in the PBS series "Only a Teacher: The History of Teaching in America" and a recipient of Harvard University's Derek Bok Prize for Public Service, Dean has been teaching Social Science at Beverly High School, since 1970. Dean introduced his students to the resources available at the MHS and the Beverly Historical Society and administered the creation of a website based on the students' research at these institutions.