Membership

The Massachusetts Historical Society has two membership categories—Fellows and Members. Both groups are important to the life of the Society. Fellows and Members help support the Society's mission and receive benefits such as a subscription to our annual journal, the Massachusetts Historical Review, and invitations to special events.

Members

Membership at the MHS is open to all with an interest in American history. The Society welcomes Members from near and far to join its community of history lovers. The MHS offers a handful of different membership categories aimed to encourage participation in its various activities. Learn how to become a Member or renew your membership now.

Fellows

Election as a Fellow of the MHS is an honor bestowed by the Society on distinguished scholars and civic leaders. The Fellows are the legal governing body of the MHS, and therefore have the privilege of shaping the Society. Learn more about the MHS Fellows or renew your Fellow dues.



Join Us at an Upcoming Program

Public Program, Adams Series The Adams Series - Program One: The Remarkable Education of John Quincy Adams 29 January 2015.Thursday, all day Please RSVP   6:00 pm program with 5:30 reception Phyllis Lee Levin, independent author $10 fee (no charge for Fellows and Members) A patriot by birth, John Quincy Adams’s destiny was foreordained. He was not only “The ...

The Remarkable Education of John Quincy Adams A patriot by birth, John Quincy Adams’s destiny was foreordained. He was not only “The Greatest Traveler of His Age,” but a gifted linguist and diplomat. His world encompassed the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the early and late Napoleonic Age. As an adolescent, he met everyone who was anyone in Europe, including America’s own luminaries, Franklin and Jefferson. Coming back to America he was determined to make his own career, but was soon embarked, at Washington’s appointment, on work aboard. At 50, he returned to America to serve as Secretary of State to President Monroe. He was inaugurated President in 1824, after which he served as a stirring defender of the slaves of the Amistad rebellion and as a member of the House of Representatives from 1831 until his death in 1848. In The Remarkable Education of John Quincy Adams, Phyllis Lee Levin provides the deeply researched and beautifully written definitive story of the intellectual development of one of the most fascinating and towering early Americans.

Phyllis Lee Levin is the author of several books including Abigail Adams and Edith and Woodrow. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, she has been a reporter, editor, and columnist for The New York Times. As writer and editor at Vogue she wrote a profile of Patricia Nixon whom she interviewed at the White House. She lives in Manhattan. 

Please call 617-646-0578 to register

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Public Program, Adams Series John & Abigail: A Life in Letters 31 January 2015.Saturday, 9:00AM - 3:00PM Please RSVP   This program will take place at the Abigail Adams Birthplace in Weymouth, Massachusetts Immerse yourself in the lives of John & Abigail Adams! This hands-on workshop will (re)introduce ...

Immerse yourself in the lives of John & Abigail Adams! This hands-on workshop will (re)introduce participants to the famous couple and their rich correspondence. What can these letters tell us about life in the late eighteenth century? We will explore topics such education, women’s rights, and the challenges John and Abigail faced as a young family living through a revolution. Participants will have the opportunity to view treasures from the Society’s collections and tour the Abigail Adams Birthplace in Weymouth. This program is open to all K-12 educators, as well as history enthusiasts. Teachers can earn 10 PDPs.

Pleae visit http://www.abigailadamsbirthplace.com/ for directions to the Birthplace.

Fee: $25 per person

For more information: contact the education department at education@masshist.org or 617-646-0557.

To register: complete this registration form, or contact the education department at education@masshist.org or 617-646-0557.

Program Highlights

  • Tour the Abigail Adams Birthplace
  • Try your hand at transcribing eighteenth-century Adams letters and diaries.
  • Analyze documents from the 1770s and 1780s, and explore the relationships forged between Thomas Jefferson and different members of the Adams family.

Watercolor, circa 1800; birthplace of Abigail (Smith) Adams

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February
Public Program, Adams Series The Adams Series - Program Two: Nation Builder: John Quincy Adams and the Grand Strategy of the Republic 5 February 2015.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   6:00 pm program with 5:30 reception Charles Edel, Assistant Professor - U.S. Naval War College $10 fee (no charge for Fellows and Members) America “goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy”—John Quincy ...

America “goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy”—John Quincy Adams’s famous words are often quoted to justify noninterference in other nations’ affairs. Yet when he spoke them, Adams was not advocating neutrality or passivity but rather outlining a national policy that balanced democratic idealism with a pragmatic understanding of the young republic’s capabilities and limitations. America’s rise from a confederation of revolutionary colonies to a world power is often treated as inevitable, but Charles N. Edel’s provocative biography of Adams argues that he served as the central architect of a grand strategy that shaped America’s rise. Adams’s particular combination of ideas and policies made him a critical link between the founding generation and the Civil War–era nation of Lincoln. While Adams did not live to see all of his strategy fulfilled, his vision shaped the nation’s agenda for decades afterward and continues to resonate as America pursues its place in the twenty-first-century world.

Charles EdelCharles Edel serves an Assistant Professor of Strategy and Policy at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, R.I., where he focuses on U.S. foreign policy and grand strategy, American political history, and the connections between foreign policy and domestic politics.  He holds a Ph.D. in History from Yale University, and received a B.A. in Classical Civilization from Yale College. He worked at Peking University's Center for International and Strategic Studies as a Henry A. Luce Scholar. Previously, he served in various roles in the U.S. government as a political and counterterrorism analyst, worked as a research associate at the Council of Foreign Relations, and taught high school history in New York.

Please call 617-646-0578 to register

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Public Program Begin at the Beginning: Boston’s Founding Documents 7 February 2015.Saturday, 1:00PM - 3:00PM Please RSVP   In a new discussion group co-hosted by the Massachusetts Historical Society and the Partnership of ...

In a new discussion group co-hosted by the Massachusetts Historical Society and the Partnership of Historic Bostons, we’ll look at the documents at the heart of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Among them are the Charter and Winthrop’s sermon to his fellow passengers on board ship to New England.  Whether you’re an expert or a newcomer to early Boston, please join us for the first meeting in a  stimulating, exhilarating series of discussions. The meeting is chaired by Partnership President Rose A. Doherty. 

Discussion group limited to 15. Available on a first come first serve basis.

Links to the documents are available at the registration site. (Registration for this discussion group is coordinated by the Partnership of Historic Bostons)

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Public Program Arts and Crafts Architecture: History and Heritage in New England 11 February 2015.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   Pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Maureen Meister, independent art historian $10 fee (no charge for Fellows and Members) Maureen Meister’s new book is the first comprehensive study of the Arts and Crafts ...

Maureen Meister’s new book is the first comprehensive study of the Arts and Crafts architecture in the region. Focusing on the 1890s through the 1920s, she will explain how a group of Boston architects and craftsmen encountered English Arts and Crafts theorists, including John Ruskin and William Morris, and produced exquisite works of their own. Among the architects were Ralph Adams Cram, Lois Lilley Howe, Charles Maginnis, and R. Clipston Sturgis. They were conservative in some respects, promoting designs based on historical precedent and the region's heritage, while they also were forward-looking, blending Arts and Crafts values with Progressive Era idealism. They have left us with a legacy of landmark buildings, honored today in cities and towns across New England.

Maureen Meister is an art historian who writes about American art and architecture of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She is the author of Architecture and the Arts and Crafts Movement in Boston: Harvard's H. Langford Warren, 2003, and was volume editor of H. H. Richardson: The Architect, His Peers, and Their Era, 1999. She holds a doctorate from Brown University and an A.B. from Mount Holyoke College. She has taught at Boston area universities, including Lesley, Northeastern, and Tufts.  

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Special Event Everyday Life in America: Behind Closed Doors 12 February 2015.Thursday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM This event is open only to MHS Fund Giving Circle members. Location: Concord Museum in Concord, Mass. MHS Fund Giving Circle members are invited to a special evening at the Concord Museum. Enjoy an ...

MHS Fund Giving Circle members are invited to a special evening at the Concord Museum. Enjoy an intimate reception in Brooke Hall along with a gallery tour led by Curator David Wood of Behind Closed Doors: Asleep in New England, an exhibition that looks at the complex role sleep has played in everyday life.

Space is limited. To reserve, please call 617-646-0543.

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Public Program The Great Catastrophe: Armenians and Turks Come to Terms with Genocide, Memory, and Identity 17 February 2015.Tuesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Thomas de Waal, Senior Associate - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace The destruction of the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire in 1915-16 was a brutal mass crime that ...

The destruction of the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire in 1915-16 was a brutal mass crime that prefigured other genocides in the 20th century. By various estimates, more than a million Armenians were killed and the survivors were scattered across the world. In Great Catastrophe, the eminent scholar and reporter Thomas de Waal looks at the changing narratives and politics of the Armenian Genocide and tells the story of recent efforts by courageous Armenians, Kurds, and Turks to come to terms with the disaster as Turkey enters a new post-Kemalist era. Drawing on archival sources, reportage and moving personal stories, de Waal tells the full story of Armenian-Turkish relations since the Genocide in all its extraordinary twists and turns. He strips away the propaganda to look both at the realities of a terrible crime and also the divisive "politics of genocide" it produced. The book throws light not only on our understanding of Armenian-Turkish relations but also of how mass atrocities and historical tragedies shape contemporary politics.

Thomas de Waal is a writer and scholar on the Caucasus and Black Sea region and currently Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is the author of three books, including The Caucasus: An Introduction. From 1991 to 2000, de Waal worked as a newspaper journalist in Moscow and for the BBC World Service in London.

Please call 617-646-0578 to register

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Public Program Comic Books in the History Classroom 18 February 2015.Wednesday, 9:00AM - 3:00PM Please RSVP   Learn how to capture your students’ attention and engage their imagination using comic books ...

Learn how to capture your students’ attention and engage their imagination using comic books and graphic novels! Together with a historian we will explore the history of colonial Massachusetts, and hear from artists who have brought this period to life through images. We will also meet with teachers who have used comics in the classroom and brainstorm methods for incorporating them into history and English/language arts lessons. This program is open to all K-12 educators, as well as history enthusiasts. Teachers can earn 5 PDPs.

Fee: $25 per person

For more information: complete this registration form, or contact the education department at education@masshist.org or 617-646-0557.

To register: contact the education department at education@masshist.org or 617-646-0557.

Program Highlights

  • Meet artists who have created and contributed to comic books on the history of colonial America.
  • View original political cartoons and other documents from the Society’s collections.
  • Learn how to incorporate comic books from multiple historical eras into your lesson plans.
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Public Program, Adams Series The Adams Series - Program Three: The Culinary Lives of John and Abigail Adams: A Cookbook 19 February 2015.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   6:00 pm program with 5:30 reception Rosana Y. Wan, independent author $10 fee (no charge for Fellows and Members) On November 29, 1798, Abigail Adams wrote “When I look Back upon the Year past, I perceive ...

On November 29, 1798, Abigail Adams wrote “When I look Back upon the Year past, I perceive many, very many causes for thanksgiving, both of a publick and private nature.” Throughout their dialog, John reported on having formal dinners in Europe or delegates in Philadelphia while Abigail grew from a New England wife to the The Culinary Lives of John and Abigail AdamsFirst Lady. By studying "receipts" from 18th century cookbooks, we can paint a portrait of their culinary lives. While together, Abigail once wrote to her sister that her “Good Man is so very fat that [she is] lean as a rale,” before ending the letter “But is dinner time, and I must bid you good by…” While they were separate, they reminded each other of dishes they enjoyed including “rusticrat potatoes” and “fine salmon” while continuing the talk of independence. Rosana Y. Wan will speak about the process of documenting the culinary history of the Adams family and putting together her cookbook.

Rosana Yin-Ting Wan was born in Hong Kong and migrated to the United States as a child. Growing up in Houston, Texas, she began her passion of history by giving short lectures on classical music composers to fellow music class students. She received her B.A. in history from Suffolk University in 2011. As an independent scholar, a museum docent, and a sergeant in the Army National Guard, she continues to pursue her studies in the history of the American Revolution, late 18th century culinary culture, and fine arts. She is the first recipient of the John C. Cavanagh Prize in History at Suffolk University in 2011 and a member of the Phi Alpha Theta (National History Honor Society). She is also a recipient of the 2014 Outstanding New Interpreter Award from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Please call 617-646-0578 to register

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The Bloody Massacre engraving by Paul Revere Special Event, Member Event God Save the People! MHS Fellows and Members Preview Reception 26 February 2015.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM This event is open only to MHS Fellows and Members MHS Fellows and Members are invited to a special preview of and reception for God Save the ...

MHS Fellows and Members are invited to a special preview of and reception for God Save the People! From the Stamp Act to Bunker Hill. To tell the story of the coming of the American Revolution in Boston, this exhibition follows the evolution of colonial thought and political action through the letters and diaries of men and women caught up in the conflict, together with political cartoons, newspapers, maps, artifacts, and portraits.

Become a Member today!

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March
Public Program, Landscape Architecture Series Landscape Architecture Series Program One: Charles Eliot and the Modernization of Boston's Landscape 4 March 2015.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   There will be a 5:30 reception before the 6:00 pm program Anita Berrizbeitia, Professor of Landscape Architecture - Harvard Graduate School of Design $10 fee (no charge for Fellows and Members of the MHS, Mount Auburn Cemetery and the Nichols House Museum) Charles Eliot was the son of Harvard President Charles William Eliot, a visionary landscape ...

Charles Eliot was the son of Harvard President Charles William Eliot, a visionary landscape architect, and protégé of Frederick Law Olmsted. He inspired the 1891 Trustees of Public Reservations — what is now the oldest regional land trust in the world — and had a central role in shaping the Boston Metropolitan Park System. He was the guiding vision behind the transformation of the banks of Charles River in Cambridge and, although he did not live to see his plans reach fruition, his work accelerated the rescue of the Charles from a virtual sewer to one of the most picturesque features of region’s landscape. Professor Berizbeitia will talk about Eliot’s work and his legacy in landscape design.

Anita Berrizbeitia is Professor of Landscape Architecture and Director of the Master in Landscape Architecture Degree Programs at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Her research focuses on design theories of modern and contemporary landscape architecture, the productive aspects of landscapes, and Latin American cities and landscapes. Berrizbeitia has taught design theory and studio, most recently at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design, where she was Associate Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture. Her studios investigate innovative approaches to the conceptualization of public space, especially on sites where urbanism, globalization, and local cultural conditions intersect. From 1987 to 1993, she practiced with Child Associates, Inc., in Boston, where she collaborated on many award-winning projects. She was awarded the 2005/2006 Prince Charitable Trusts Rome Prize Fellowship in Landscape Architecture. A native of Caracas, Venezuela, she studied architecture at the Universidad Simon Bolivar before receiving a BA from Wellesley College and an MLA from the GSD.

The Landscape Architects series has been made possible by the generous underwriting of Stephen Stimson Associates Landscape Architects and is cosponsored by the Mount Auburn Cemetery and the Nichols House Museum. 

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Public Program, Landscape Architecture Series Landscape Architecture Series Program Two: The Brookline Troika: Olmsted, Richardson, Sargent and the Planning of a “Model Community.” 11 March 2015.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   There will be a 5:30 reception before the 6:00 pm program Keith Morgan, Director of Architectural Studies - Boston University $10 fee (no charge for Fellows and Members of the MHS, Mount Auburn Cemetery and the Nichols House Museum) Derived from the recently publish book, Community by Design:  The Olmsted Office and the ...

Derived from the recently publish book, Community by Design:  The Olmsted Office and the Making of Brookline, Massachusetts, this lecture will explore the close and dynamic relationship of the country’s leading landscape architect, architect, and horticulturalist in the evolution of Boston’s premier suburb. These three men lived within easy walking distance of each other in the Green Hill section of Brookline and used their private residences and landscapes as teaching and professional spaces as well.  Their friendships and (occasional) conflicts informed the character of the suburban development for a community that called itself “the richest town in the world” and believed that its model was worthy of emulation.

Keith N. Morgan is a Professor of the History of Art & Architecture and American & New England Studies at Boston University, where he has taught since 1980. He currently direct BU’s Architectural Studies Program and is a former national president of the Society of Architectural Historians. Written in collaboration with Elizabeth Hope Cushing and Roger Reed, Community by Design was published in 2013 by the University of Massachusetts Press for the Library of American Landscape History and received the Ruth Emery Prize of the Victorian Society in America.

This series has been made possible by the generous underwriting of Stephen Stimson Associates Landscape Architects and is cosponsored by the Mount Auburn Cemetery and the Nichols House Museum. 

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Public Program, Landscape Architecture Series Landscape Architecture Series Program Three: Arthur Shurcliff 18 March 2015.Wednesday, all day Please RSVP   There will be a 5:30 reception before the 6:00 pm program Elizabeth Hope Cushing, independent author $10 fee (no charge for Fellows and Members of the MHS, Mount Auburn Cemetery and the Nichols House Museum) In 1928 Boston landscape architect Arthur A. Shurcliff began what became one of the most important ...

In 1928 Boston landscape architect Arthur A. Shurcliff began what became one of the most important examples of the American Colonial Revival landscape—Colonial Williamsburg, a project that stretched into the 1940s and included town and highway planning as well as residential and institutional gardens. A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1894, Shurcliff immediately went back to school at Harvard University where his mentor, Charles Eliot, helped him piece together a program in the Art History Department, the Lawrence Scientific School and the Bussey Institute. Upon graduation with a second Bachelor of Science, he worked in Frederick Law Olmsted’s office for eight years, acquiring a broad and sophisticated knowledge of the profession. When he opened his practice in 1904, Shurcliff emphasized his expertise in town planning. Two decades later, when he was tapped to be Chief Landscape Architect at Colonial Williamsburg, he was a seasoned professional whose commissions included his Boston work, campus design, town planning, and a robust practice in private domestic design.  How he utilized the skills he acquired over the years, and how his professional expertise intermingled with his avocational interests in history, craftsmanship, and design is the subject of Cushing’s biography—a story that inexorably sweeps him to his work in the restoration and recreation at Colonial Williamsburg.

Elizabeth Hope Cushing, Ph.D., is the author of a newly published book about Boston landscape architect Arthur A. Shurcliff (1870–1957), based on her doctoral dissertation for the American and New England Studies program at Boston University. She is also a coauthor, with Keith N. Morgan and Roger Reed, of  Community by Design, released in 2013.  Cushing is a practicing landscape historian who consults, writes, and lectures on landscape matters. She has written cultural landscape history reports for the Taft Art Museum in Cincinnati, The National Park Service, the Department of Conservation and Recreation of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and other institutions and agencies. Her contributor credits include Pioneers of American Landscape Design (McGraw Hill Companies, 2000), Design with Culture: Claiming America’s Landscape Heritage (University of Virginia Press, 2005), Shaping the American Landscape (University of Virginia Press, 2009), and Drawing Toward Home (Historic New England, 2010). She has received a grant from the Gill Family Foundation to write a biography of Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., which she is currently researching.

This series has been made possible by the generous underwriting of Stephen Stimson Associates Landscape Architects and is cosponsored by the Mount Auburn Cemetery and the Nichols House Museum. 

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Public Program Lincoln and the Legacy of Conflict Series Program One: A Dialog: James McPherson and Louis Masur, facilitated by Dennis Fiori 26 March 2015.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   There will be a 5:30 reception before the 6:00 pm program James McPherson, Princeton University; Louis Masur, Rutgers University, and Dennis Fiori, Massachusetts Historical Society $20 fee (no charge for Fellows and Members) On the eve of the 150th anniversary of the assassination of President Lincoln, two eminent Civil War ...

On the eve of the 150th anniversary of the assassination of President Lincoln, two eminent Civil War historians will discuss the cause of the war, the abolition of slavery, how the aftermath of the war weighed on Lincoln, and what the Civil War means to America today. Their conversation will spring, in part, from their new books, McPherson’s The War that Forged a Nation and Masur’s Lincoln’s Last Speech.

James M. McPherson is a renowned historian of the American Civil War, and is the George Henry Davis '86 Professor Emeritus of United States History at Princeton University. He is the author of many works of history, including Battle Cry of Freedom, which won the 1989 Pulitzer Prize and has sold over half a million copies.

Louis P. Masur is Distinguished Professor of American Studies and History at Rutgers University. He is the author of many books, including The Civil War: A Concise History and Lincoln's Hundred Days: The Emancipation Proclamation and the War for the Union. Masur’s essays and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, and Los Angeles Times. 

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Public Program Emancipation & Assassination: Remembering Abraham Lincoln 28 March 2015.Saturday, 9:00AM - 3:00PM Please RSVP   How did the people of Massachusetts react to Lincoln’s presidential politics? How did they ...

How did the people of Massachusetts react to Lincoln’s presidential politics? How did they mourn his death in 1865? Using documents and artifacts from the Society’s collections, participants will explore Lincoln’s legacy in his own time, and debate what his legacy is – or should be – in the twenty-first century. This program is open to all K-12 educators, as well as history enthusiasts. Teachers can earn 5 PDPs for the workshop (and additional PDPs for attending related programs).

Fee: $25 per person

For more information: contact the education department at education@masshist.org or 617-646-0557.

To register: contact the education department at education@masshist.org or 617-646-0557.

Program Highlights

  • Learn more about new digital resources available from the MHS and Ford's Theatre.
  • View Lincoln-related treasures from the Society’s collections.
  • Discover methods for teaching Lincoln's life and legacy.
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Public Program, Adams Series The Adams Series - Program One: The Remarkable Education of John Quincy Adams 29 January 2015.Thursday, all day Please RSVP   registration required 6:00 pm program with 5:30 reception Phyllis Lee Levin, independent author $10 fee (no charge for Fellows and Members)

The Remarkable Education of John Quincy Adams A patriot by birth, John Quincy Adams’s destiny was foreordained. He was not only “The Greatest Traveler of His Age,” but a gifted linguist and diplomat. His world encompassed the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the early and late Napoleonic Age. As an adolescent, he met everyone who was anyone in Europe, including America’s own luminaries, Franklin and Jefferson. Coming back to America he was determined to make his own career, but was soon embarked, at Washington’s appointment, on work aboard. At 50, he returned to America to serve as Secretary of State to President Monroe. He was inaugurated President in 1824, after which he served as a stirring defender of the slaves of the Amistad rebellion and as a member of the House of Representatives from 1831 until his death in 1848. In The Remarkable Education of John Quincy Adams, Phyllis Lee Levin provides the deeply researched and beautifully written definitive story of the intellectual development of one of the most fascinating and towering early Americans.

Phyllis Lee Levin is the author of several books including Abigail Adams and Edith and Woodrow. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, she has been a reporter, editor, and columnist for The New York Times. As writer and editor at Vogue she wrote a profile of Patricia Nixon whom she interviewed at the White House. She lives in Manhattan. 

Please call 617-646-0578 to register

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Public Program, Adams Series John & Abigail: A Life in Letters 31 January 2015.Saturday, 9:00AM - 3:00PM Please RSVP   registration required This program will take place at the Abigail Adams Birthplace in Weymouth, Massachusetts

Immerse yourself in the lives of John & Abigail Adams! This hands-on workshop will (re)introduce participants to the famous couple and their rich correspondence. What can these letters tell us about life in the late eighteenth century? We will explore topics such education, women’s rights, and the challenges John and Abigail faced as a young family living through a revolution. Participants will have the opportunity to view treasures from the Society’s collections and tour the Abigail Adams Birthplace in Weymouth. This program is open to all K-12 educators, as well as history enthusiasts. Teachers can earn 10 PDPs.

Pleae visit http://www.abigailadamsbirthplace.com/ for directions to the Birthplace.

Fee: $25 per person

For more information: contact the education department at education@masshist.org or 617-646-0557.

To register: complete this registration form, or contact the education department at education@masshist.org or 617-646-0557.

Program Highlights

  • Tour the Abigail Adams Birthplace
  • Try your hand at transcribing eighteenth-century Adams letters and diaries.
  • Analyze documents from the 1770s and 1780s, and explore the relationships forged between Thomas Jefferson and different members of the Adams family.

Watercolor, circa 1800; birthplace of Abigail (Smith) Adams

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Public Program, Adams Series The Adams Series - Program Two: Nation Builder: John Quincy Adams and the Grand Strategy of the Republic 5 February 2015.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   registration required 6:00 pm program with 5:30 reception Charles Edel, Assistant Professor - U.S. Naval War College $10 fee (no charge for Fellows and Members)

America “goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy”—John Quincy Adams’s famous words are often quoted to justify noninterference in other nations’ affairs. Yet when he spoke them, Adams was not advocating neutrality or passivity but rather outlining a national policy that balanced democratic idealism with a pragmatic understanding of the young republic’s capabilities and limitations. America’s rise from a confederation of revolutionary colonies to a world power is often treated as inevitable, but Charles N. Edel’s provocative biography of Adams argues that he served as the central architect of a grand strategy that shaped America’s rise. Adams’s particular combination of ideas and policies made him a critical link between the founding generation and the Civil War–era nation of Lincoln. While Adams did not live to see all of his strategy fulfilled, his vision shaped the nation’s agenda for decades afterward and continues to resonate as America pursues its place in the twenty-first-century world.

Charles EdelCharles Edel serves an Assistant Professor of Strategy and Policy at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, R.I., where he focuses on U.S. foreign policy and grand strategy, American political history, and the connections between foreign policy and domestic politics.  He holds a Ph.D. in History from Yale University, and received a B.A. in Classical Civilization from Yale College. He worked at Peking University's Center for International and Strategic Studies as a Henry A. Luce Scholar. Previously, he served in various roles in the U.S. government as a political and counterterrorism analyst, worked as a research associate at the Council of Foreign Relations, and taught high school history in New York.

Please call 617-646-0578 to register

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Public Program Begin at the Beginning: Boston’s Founding Documents 7 February 2015.Saturday, 1:00PM - 3:00PM Please RSVP  this event is free

In a new discussion group co-hosted by the Massachusetts Historical Society and the Partnership of Historic Bostons, we’ll look at the documents at the heart of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Among them are the Charter and Winthrop’s sermon to his fellow passengers on board ship to New England.  Whether you’re an expert or a newcomer to early Boston, please join us for the first meeting in a  stimulating, exhilarating series of discussions. The meeting is chaired by Partnership President Rose A. Doherty. 

Discussion group limited to 15. Available on a first come first serve basis.

Links to the documents are available at the registration site. (Registration for this discussion group is coordinated by the Partnership of Historic Bostons)

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Public Program Arts and Crafts Architecture: History and Heritage in New England 11 February 2015.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   registration required Pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Maureen Meister, independent art historian $10 fee (no charge for Fellows and Members)

Maureen Meister’s new book is the first comprehensive study of the Arts and Crafts architecture in the region. Focusing on the 1890s through the 1920s, she will explain how a group of Boston architects and craftsmen encountered English Arts and Crafts theorists, including John Ruskin and William Morris, and produced exquisite works of their own. Among the architects were Ralph Adams Cram, Lois Lilley Howe, Charles Maginnis, and R. Clipston Sturgis. They were conservative in some respects, promoting designs based on historical precedent and the region's heritage, while they also were forward-looking, blending Arts and Crafts values with Progressive Era idealism. They have left us with a legacy of landmark buildings, honored today in cities and towns across New England.

Maureen Meister is an art historian who writes about American art and architecture of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She is the author of Architecture and the Arts and Crafts Movement in Boston: Harvard's H. Langford Warren, 2003, and was volume editor of H. H. Richardson: The Architect, His Peers, and Their Era, 1999. She holds a doctorate from Brown University and an A.B. from Mount Holyoke College. She has taught at Boston area universities, including Lesley, Northeastern, and Tufts.  

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Special Event Everyday Life in America: Behind Closed Doors 12 February 2015.Thursday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM this event is free This event is open only to MHS Fund Giving Circle members. Location: Concord Museum in Concord, Mass.

MHS Fund Giving Circle members are invited to a special evening at the Concord Museum. Enjoy an intimate reception in Brooke Hall along with a gallery tour led by Curator David Wood of Behind Closed Doors: Asleep in New England, an exhibition that looks at the complex role sleep has played in everyday life.

Space is limited. To reserve, please call 617-646-0543.

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Public Program The Great Catastrophe: Armenians and Turks Come to Terms with Genocide, Memory, and Identity 17 February 2015.Tuesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM this event is free Thomas de Waal, Senior Associate - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

The destruction of the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire in 1915-16 was a brutal mass crime that prefigured other genocides in the 20th century. By various estimates, more than a million Armenians were killed and the survivors were scattered across the world. In Great Catastrophe, the eminent scholar and reporter Thomas de Waal looks at the changing narratives and politics of the Armenian Genocide and tells the story of recent efforts by courageous Armenians, Kurds, and Turks to come to terms with the disaster as Turkey enters a new post-Kemalist era. Drawing on archival sources, reportage and moving personal stories, de Waal tells the full story of Armenian-Turkish relations since the Genocide in all its extraordinary twists and turns. He strips away the propaganda to look both at the realities of a terrible crime and also the divisive "politics of genocide" it produced. The book throws light not only on our understanding of Armenian-Turkish relations but also of how mass atrocities and historical tragedies shape contemporary politics.

Thomas de Waal is a writer and scholar on the Caucasus and Black Sea region and currently Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is the author of three books, including The Caucasus: An Introduction. From 1991 to 2000, de Waal worked as a newspaper journalist in Moscow and for the BBC World Service in London.

Please call 617-646-0578 to register

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Public Program Comic Books in the History Classroom 18 February 2015.Wednesday, 9:00AM - 3:00PM Please RSVP   registration required

Learn how to capture your students’ attention and engage their imagination using comic books and graphic novels! Together with a historian we will explore the history of colonial Massachusetts, and hear from artists who have brought this period to life through images. We will also meet with teachers who have used comics in the classroom and brainstorm methods for incorporating them into history and English/language arts lessons. This program is open to all K-12 educators, as well as history enthusiasts. Teachers can earn 5 PDPs.

Fee: $25 per person

For more information: complete this registration form, or contact the education department at education@masshist.org or 617-646-0557.

To register: contact the education department at education@masshist.org or 617-646-0557.

Program Highlights

  • Meet artists who have created and contributed to comic books on the history of colonial America.
  • View original political cartoons and other documents from the Society’s collections.
  • Learn how to incorporate comic books from multiple historical eras into your lesson plans.
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Public Program, Adams Series The Adams Series - Program Three: The Culinary Lives of John and Abigail Adams: A Cookbook 19 February 2015.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   registration required 6:00 pm program with 5:30 reception Rosana Y. Wan, independent author $10 fee (no charge for Fellows and Members)

On November 29, 1798, Abigail Adams wrote “When I look Back upon the Year past, I perceive many, very many causes for thanksgiving, both of a publick and private nature.” Throughout their dialog, John reported on having formal dinners in Europe or delegates in Philadelphia while Abigail grew from a New England wife to the The Culinary Lives of John and Abigail AdamsFirst Lady. By studying "receipts" from 18th century cookbooks, we can paint a portrait of their culinary lives. While together, Abigail once wrote to her sister that her “Good Man is so very fat that [she is] lean as a rale,” before ending the letter “But is dinner time, and I must bid you good by…” While they were separate, they reminded each other of dishes they enjoyed including “rusticrat potatoes” and “fine salmon” while continuing the talk of independence. Rosana Y. Wan will speak about the process of documenting the culinary history of the Adams family and putting together her cookbook.

Rosana Yin-Ting Wan was born in Hong Kong and migrated to the United States as a child. Growing up in Houston, Texas, she began her passion of history by giving short lectures on classical music composers to fellow music class students. She received her B.A. in history from Suffolk University in 2011. As an independent scholar, a museum docent, and a sergeant in the Army National Guard, she continues to pursue her studies in the history of the American Revolution, late 18th century culinary culture, and fine arts. She is the first recipient of the John C. Cavanagh Prize in History at Suffolk University in 2011 and a member of the Phi Alpha Theta (National History Honor Society). She is also a recipient of the 2014 Outstanding New Interpreter Award from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Please call 617-646-0578 to register

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Special Event, Member Event God Save the People! MHS Fellows and Members Preview Reception 26 February 2015.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM registration required at no cost This event is open only to MHS Fellows and Members The Bloody Massacre engraving by Paul Revere

MHS Fellows and Members are invited to a special preview of and reception for God Save the People! From the Stamp Act to Bunker Hill. To tell the story of the coming of the American Revolution in Boston, this exhibition follows the evolution of colonial thought and political action through the letters and diaries of men and women caught up in the conflict, together with political cartoons, newspapers, maps, artifacts, and portraits.

Become a Member today!

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Public Program, Landscape Architecture Series Landscape Architecture Series Program One: Charles Eliot and the Modernization of Boston's Landscape 4 March 2015.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   registration required There will be a 5:30 reception before the 6:00 pm program Anita Berrizbeitia, Professor of Landscape Architecture - Harvard Graduate School of Design $10 fee (no charge for Fellows and Members of the MHS, Mount Auburn Cemetery and the Nichols House Museum)

Charles Eliot was the son of Harvard President Charles William Eliot, a visionary landscape architect, and protégé of Frederick Law Olmsted. He inspired the 1891 Trustees of Public Reservations — what is now the oldest regional land trust in the world — and had a central role in shaping the Boston Metropolitan Park System. He was the guiding vision behind the transformation of the banks of Charles River in Cambridge and, although he did not live to see his plans reach fruition, his work accelerated the rescue of the Charles from a virtual sewer to one of the most picturesque features of region’s landscape. Professor Berizbeitia will talk about Eliot’s work and his legacy in landscape design.

Anita Berrizbeitia is Professor of Landscape Architecture and Director of the Master in Landscape Architecture Degree Programs at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Her research focuses on design theories of modern and contemporary landscape architecture, the productive aspects of landscapes, and Latin American cities and landscapes. Berrizbeitia has taught design theory and studio, most recently at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design, where she was Associate Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture. Her studios investigate innovative approaches to the conceptualization of public space, especially on sites where urbanism, globalization, and local cultural conditions intersect. From 1987 to 1993, she practiced with Child Associates, Inc., in Boston, where she collaborated on many award-winning projects. She was awarded the 2005/2006 Prince Charitable Trusts Rome Prize Fellowship in Landscape Architecture. A native of Caracas, Venezuela, she studied architecture at the Universidad Simon Bolivar before receiving a BA from Wellesley College and an MLA from the GSD.

The Landscape Architects series has been made possible by the generous underwriting of Stephen Stimson Associates Landscape Architects and is cosponsored by the Mount Auburn Cemetery and the Nichols House Museum. 

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Public Program, Landscape Architecture Series Landscape Architecture Series Program Two: The Brookline Troika: Olmsted, Richardson, Sargent and the Planning of a “Model Community.” 11 March 2015.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   registration required There will be a 5:30 reception before the 6:00 pm program Keith Morgan, Director of Architectural Studies - Boston University $10 fee (no charge for Fellows and Members of the MHS, Mount Auburn Cemetery and the Nichols House Museum)

Derived from the recently publish book, Community by Design:  The Olmsted Office and the Making of Brookline, Massachusetts, this lecture will explore the close and dynamic relationship of the country’s leading landscape architect, architect, and horticulturalist in the evolution of Boston’s premier suburb. These three men lived within easy walking distance of each other in the Green Hill section of Brookline and used their private residences and landscapes as teaching and professional spaces as well.  Their friendships and (occasional) conflicts informed the character of the suburban development for a community that called itself “the richest town in the world” and believed that its model was worthy of emulation.

Keith N. Morgan is a Professor of the History of Art & Architecture and American & New England Studies at Boston University, where he has taught since 1980. He currently direct BU’s Architectural Studies Program and is a former national president of the Society of Architectural Historians. Written in collaboration with Elizabeth Hope Cushing and Roger Reed, Community by Design was published in 2013 by the University of Massachusetts Press for the Library of American Landscape History and received the Ruth Emery Prize of the Victorian Society in America.

This series has been made possible by the generous underwriting of Stephen Stimson Associates Landscape Architects and is cosponsored by the Mount Auburn Cemetery and the Nichols House Museum. 

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Public Program, Landscape Architecture Series Landscape Architecture Series Program Three: Arthur Shurcliff 18 March 2015.Wednesday, all day Please RSVP   registration required There will be a 5:30 reception before the 6:00 pm program Elizabeth Hope Cushing, independent author $10 fee (no charge for Fellows and Members of the MHS, Mount Auburn Cemetery and the Nichols House Museum)

In 1928 Boston landscape architect Arthur A. Shurcliff began what became one of the most important examples of the American Colonial Revival landscape—Colonial Williamsburg, a project that stretched into the 1940s and included town and highway planning as well as residential and institutional gardens. A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1894, Shurcliff immediately went back to school at Harvard University where his mentor, Charles Eliot, helped him piece together a program in the Art History Department, the Lawrence Scientific School and the Bussey Institute. Upon graduation with a second Bachelor of Science, he worked in Frederick Law Olmsted’s office for eight years, acquiring a broad and sophisticated knowledge of the profession. When he opened his practice in 1904, Shurcliff emphasized his expertise in town planning. Two decades later, when he was tapped to be Chief Landscape Architect at Colonial Williamsburg, he was a seasoned professional whose commissions included his Boston work, campus design, town planning, and a robust practice in private domestic design.  How he utilized the skills he acquired over the years, and how his professional expertise intermingled with his avocational interests in history, craftsmanship, and design is the subject of Cushing’s biography—a story that inexorably sweeps him to his work in the restoration and recreation at Colonial Williamsburg.

Elizabeth Hope Cushing, Ph.D., is the author of a newly published book about Boston landscape architect Arthur A. Shurcliff (1870–1957), based on her doctoral dissertation for the American and New England Studies program at Boston University. She is also a coauthor, with Keith N. Morgan and Roger Reed, of  Community by Design, released in 2013.  Cushing is a practicing landscape historian who consults, writes, and lectures on landscape matters. She has written cultural landscape history reports for the Taft Art Museum in Cincinnati, The National Park Service, the Department of Conservation and Recreation of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and other institutions and agencies. Her contributor credits include Pioneers of American Landscape Design (McGraw Hill Companies, 2000), Design with Culture: Claiming America’s Landscape Heritage (University of Virginia Press, 2005), Shaping the American Landscape (University of Virginia Press, 2009), and Drawing Toward Home (Historic New England, 2010). She has received a grant from the Gill Family Foundation to write a biography of Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., which she is currently researching.

This series has been made possible by the generous underwriting of Stephen Stimson Associates Landscape Architects and is cosponsored by the Mount Auburn Cemetery and the Nichols House Museum. 

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Public Program Lincoln and the Legacy of Conflict Series Program One: A Dialog: James McPherson and Louis Masur, facilitated by Dennis Fiori 26 March 2015.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   registration required There will be a 5:30 reception before the 6:00 pm program James McPherson, Princeton University; Louis Masur, Rutgers University, and Dennis Fiori, Massachusetts Historical Society $20 fee (no charge for Fellows and Members)

On the eve of the 150th anniversary of the assassination of President Lincoln, two eminent Civil War historians will discuss the cause of the war, the abolition of slavery, how the aftermath of the war weighed on Lincoln, and what the Civil War means to America today. Their conversation will spring, in part, from their new books, McPherson’s The War that Forged a Nation and Masur’s Lincoln’s Last Speech.

James M. McPherson is a renowned historian of the American Civil War, and is the George Henry Davis '86 Professor Emeritus of United States History at Princeton University. He is the author of many works of history, including Battle Cry of Freedom, which won the 1989 Pulitzer Prize and has sold over half a million copies.

Louis P. Masur is Distinguished Professor of American Studies and History at Rutgers University. He is the author of many books, including The Civil War: A Concise History and Lincoln's Hundred Days: The Emancipation Proclamation and the War for the Union. Masur’s essays and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, and Los Angeles Times. 

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Public Program Emancipation & Assassination: Remembering Abraham Lincoln 28 March 2015.Saturday, 9:00AM - 3:00PM Please RSVP   registration required

How did the people of Massachusetts react to Lincoln’s presidential politics? How did they mourn his death in 1865? Using documents and artifacts from the Society’s collections, participants will explore Lincoln’s legacy in his own time, and debate what his legacy is – or should be – in the twenty-first century. This program is open to all K-12 educators, as well as history enthusiasts. Teachers can earn 5 PDPs for the workshop (and additional PDPs for attending related programs).

Fee: $25 per person

For more information: contact the education department at education@masshist.org or 617-646-0557.

To register: contact the education department at education@masshist.org or 617-646-0557.

Program Highlights

  • Learn more about new digital resources available from the MHS and Ford's Theatre.
  • View Lincoln-related treasures from the Society’s collections.
  • Discover methods for teaching Lincoln's life and legacy.
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