Bostonians Respond to Union Loss at 2nd Bull Run

By Jim Connolly, Publications

31 August 1862 was a remarkable day in Boston—one full of anxiety and activity. News reached town that day of the Union’s devastating defeat at the Second Battle of Bull Run. The battle, which took place in Virginia from 28 to 30 August, resulted in approximately 15,000 casualties, the vast majority suffered by Union soldiers. Bostonians responded with a diligent relief effort.

Nothing in the historical record captures the mood of such a moment like a good diarist. Caroline Healey Dall (whom I’ve blogged about before) was an excellent one, and her journal, which lives at the MHS, gives us a bracing account.

I heard Mr Clarke preach, yet hardly heard him, for I longed for the service to be over, that I might hurry home to help prepare lint & bandages.


No one who was in Boston today—will ever forget it. No one but will be proud to own it as a birth place. The car which I took from Dover St. to Court—was crowded to a crush with women & bundles. Most of them were weeping. “Give way,” said rough men to each other, “those bundles are sacred.” When we got to the Tremont House—a dense crowd had pressed between it & the Hall. All were eagerly gaping for rumors. About the Tremont Temple a semi-circular rope was stretched enclosing several hundreds of cubic feet. At Three Tables, placed in the center & at each end, men took down subscriptions for the freight fund. Within on the side walk immense boxes were being packed. In the building 1800 women sewed all day.


In the car that went to Medford every body was bitterly depressed. The women thought—that if we conquered in the end, the life of the Camp would ruin our young men, that they would come home coarse, licentious cruel. I could not stand this, and the end was, that I appealed aloud to the women, in a plea lasting—partly in a conversational way, nearly the whole time we were coming out, as to the moral end of the war. How moved the whole population were we can judge from the fact, that one could hear a pin drop in that rattling car—& there was not a smile at me on man’s or woman’s face.

If the news of the Second Battle of Bull Run and the mad rush to send relief were not cause enough for emotional turmoil, the day held yet another significant—and personal—event for Dall. That morning, her husband, the Unitarian minister Charles Dall, arrived in the ship Panther from Calcutta, where he had been engaged in missionary work since 1855 and where he would live until his death in 1886. This was the first of his four trips home over 31 years. But in the confusion of the day, their paths did not cross.

Willie came out at dusk to tell me, that his father would not get up till tomorrow. I was surprised to find that in the general distress, I had forgotten my private pain, not having thought of the Panther, after thinking of nothing else for months, since I heard she was in the bay.

To learn more about Dall and her materials at the MHS, check out the Caroline Wells Healey Dall Papers 1811-1917: Guide to the Microfilm Edition. We are pleased to work with editor Helen R. Deese to produce the four-volume Selected Journals of Caroline Healey Dall, of which Volume I (1838–1855) is available and Volume II (1855–1866) is in preparation. The excerpts above are taken from the 31 August 1862 entry in volume 25 of Dall’s journals, which covers 24 April 1860 to 23 October 1862, and the full entry will appear in Volume II of Selected Journals.

“Out of Doors”: Attend a Nature Lecture by Opal Whiteley

By Anna J. Cook, Reader Services

Last week, New Yorker essayist Michelle Dean published a piece on the diaries of mystical nature writer Opal Whiteley, “Opal Whiteley’s Riddles.” Originally appearing in the Atlantic Monthly beginning in March of 1920, Opal’s diaries were both popular and controversial as a piece of literature. Whiteley presented the diaries as a product of her childhood spent in the Oregon wilderness;  skeptics were dubious that a six-year-old child could have developed such an distinctive voice and wide-ranging, fantastical vision.

Though Whiteley was born and raised in Oregon, the story of her diary has deep Boston roots in the patronage of Atlantic Monthly editor Ellery Sedgwick, a wealthy and influential Boston Brahmin, who supported Whiteley during a laborious editing process (the diary had survived only in fragments). Because of the disputed nature of Whiteley’s work, Sedgwick gathered extensive materials related to her life and writing which eventually became part of the Ellery Sedgwick Papers here at the Massachusetts Historical Society.  In addition to the Opal Whiteley materials in the Ellery Sedgwick papers, the Massachusetts Historical Society also holds a copy of the original 1920 edition of The Story of Opal: The Journal of an Understanding Heart (which can also be read full-text online at the Internet Archive) and a poster advertising one of Opal’s nature lectures, given in 1917.

Before traveling to Boston in search of a publisher, Whiteley – as the self-described “Sunshine Fairy” – put herself through the University of Oregon by giving public lectures on the natural world. It was these lectures – developed into a book she titled The Fairyland Around Us – which Whiteley initially approached Sedgwick about publishing in September of 1919, at the encouragement of Henry Chapman from The Youth’s Companion, a popular American children’s magazine. While Sedgwick declined Fairyland, in the course of their conversation he discovered Whiteley had kept a diary during her childhood and expressed interest in seeing this original source material.

Note: Those interested in consulting Ellery Sedgwick’s research material on Opal Whiteley should consult the finding guide and contact the library in advance of their visit, as the collection is in offsite storage.

The Idiosyncratic Index Subjects of Harbottle Dorr, Jr.

By Peter K. Steinberg, Collection Services

Part of the Harbottle Dorr, Jr. Annotated Newspaper project has been to transcribe and encode for presentation and searching at our website his interesting and detailed indexes. In the process, we took special notice of those subject headings that were quirky, weird, and–to our “modern” sensibilities–humorous.

There are four volumes, as you now know. (If you do not, read more about Dorr’s newpaper collection here.) At the time of this post, three of these indexes have been completely transcribed and encoded for display on our website, and we are working feverishly on the fourth — the last and longest volume. This is the first of two posts on Dorr’s idiosyncratic index terms in volumes one and two; a second post later this year will feature some entries from the third and fourth volumes.

In the Index examples below, we have kept true to Dorr’s spellings and abbreviations, which, because he worked on the indexes while running his shop, can include “misspelt” words.  The general structure of the index is similar to that found in a book: index term(s) followed by a page number.

Volume 1
Eater a remarkable one yt had 3 Stomachs 21
Frost bitten person’s Receipe for 10
Hutchinson Govr. censured by the House, as having a Lust of Ambition and Power 581
Irish Blunders of two that fought a Dad 13
Lunatic’s sensible reply 13
North Carolina Men kill Beaver & make uneasiness 49
Printers on their bad Spelling 32
Prediction of Good News 279
Toms desire 174
Vampres (Vampyres) Account of 49
Vampres (Vampyres) Essay against 55

Volume 2
Address of the Lords To the young Ladies of Boston, desiring them to beware of bad Company. 386
Addresses, absurdity of them in general. 455
Anarchy better than Tyranny. 222. 759. 771.
Bleeding at the Nose a Remarkable Cure for it. 641
Dogs, Mad. 729. 778.
Mulberry Trees the methods of Cultivating them. &c. 194. 457. 580.
Pimps and Cooks appointed to Places in America 21.
Suns, or fixed Stars, their appearance continually encreasing, proves that there are millions of habitable Words 679. 702. 705
Toads, a Cure for Cancers. 211.

Some of these terms, no doubt, have relevance today. Some terms–if applied today in a news story–might even tender a person instant, though ultimately ephemeral, Twitter or YouTube fame.

In early 2013, MHS will present page images of all the annotated newspapers assembled by Harbottle Dorr and the index pages he created.  The images of the actual index pages that we will present in early 2013 should be clear enough to read as Dorr’s handwriting is generally neat. However, the MHS will provide a transcription of Dorr’s index pages, and in the transcription each of the page numbers will be hyperlinked, taking you directly to the page referenced.

The Death of a Soldier

By Joan Fink, Volunteer

Carte de visite photograph of Captain Richard CaryCaptain Richard Cary of the Second Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment, the subject of the March 1862 feature in the MHS’ online presentation Looking at the Civil War: Massachusetts Finds Her Voice, was shot in the leg on 9 August 1862 during the battle of Cedar Mountain in Virginia. Although Cary’s injuries were not immediately fatal, his company was unable to bring him to a field hospital as there were no ambulances available for transport. Cary died of his injuries on the battle field the following day.

In a letter dated 11 August 1862 contained in the Cary Family Papers III held by the MHS, Eugene Shelton, Richard Cary’s brother-in-law and fellow officer, wrote to his parents informing them of the circumstances surrounding Richard’s death. Eugene relates that as Richard lay dying in an area occupied by Confederate soldiers, “a rebel got a piece of old wood & placed it under Richard’s head for a pillow & gave him a mug of water.” However, he added that after his death the “rebels robbed him of everything & turned his pockets inside out.” A fellow soldier who also lay dying in the field persuaded the rebels to return his locket of his wife Helen (Eugene’s sister) as well as his seal ring and Eugene reports those items would be forwarded home “as soon as teh express will take them. Eugene notes that while it is generally believed that Richard died from a loss of blood, “his countenance is perfect and he looks very pleasant” and closes his letter “Tell Helen, Richard died without a murmur & without pain.”**

Headstone of Richard and Helen Cary, Mt. Vernon Cemetary, Cambridge MA

Coming forward to the 21st century, after reading all of Captain Cary’s correspondence and doing research for the contextual essay corresponding with the March 1862 feature, I became thoroughly enthralled with his tragically short life. My fascination with Captain Cary led me to visit his grave at the Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts where I brought him a spray of roses to thank him for allowing me the opportunity to read his charming, insightful, and thought provoking letters.




** For more insight into letters sent home to the family members of slain soldiers see Drew Gilpin Faust’s This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2008).


The Benefit of Hindsight

By Susan Martin, Collection Services

One of the things that makes working with original manuscripts so interesting is hindsight. We may have the advantage of knowing how historical events ultimately played out, but there’s nothing quite like reading the words of the people who experienced them first-hand. Sometimes their words are eerily prescient, other times wildly off-base.

The recently processed collection of Henry P. Binney family papers, on deposit at the MHS from the Mary M. B. Wakefield Charitable Trust, contains the papers of many members of the Binney family of Milton, Mass., including Florence Ethel Binney (1861-1944). In 1888, Florence, or “Flossy,” married Pietro Paolo Beccadelli di Bologna and became the Princess of Camporeale. She lived in Italy in the decades leading up to World War II, ran in elite social circles, and met many heads of state. The letters she wrote to her Boston cousin Alberta Binney have a light-hearted tone that  belies the increasingly serious conditions in pre-war Europe.

On 19 January 1923, just three months after Benito Mussolini’s coup d’état in Rome, Florence wrote from that same city:

Do you ever intend to come to, so-called, ‘Sunny Italy’? If so bring furs. We are having intensely cold weather (delicious I think) fountains frozen, and deep snow between Firenze and Bologna! I imagine that foreign newspaper[s] are exaggerating the occupation of Essen, etc. by the French, the complications in Turkey, and the possible effects on all Europe of these movements, as well as on the rest of the world. Meno male, that Italy has Mussolini to hold the reins of government with a firm hand!

 (According to a Boston Herald article from September of that year, Florence considered Mussolini the “saviour” of Italy and an “idol of the people.”)

 A decade later, Florence was still writing letters with this mix of carefree chattiness and political commentary:

This afternoon am motoring to a marvellous old castle, 2 hours distant from Rome, taking with me the Archduchess [of Austria] and my little grandson….When are you coming over again? From our papers it seems that MacDonald and Roosevelt have concluded nothing definite. Let us hope that Hitler in Germany, your Roosevelt, and our Mussolini here, will prove to be for the good of their respective nations. But I will not touch on the complicated present situation of the world, lest my letter would be endless!

Florence was later disappointed when a planned visit from Alberta’s daughter Polly was canceled. She wrote:

Too bad, for never was Rome more gay socially, or more fascinating in every way, than this spring. Evidently [Polly’s father] Harry let himself be influenced by the American newspapers greatly exaggerated reports of the European situation, and believed war imminent. May le bon Dieu spare us such a disaster, although the whole world is in a dangerously chaotic state.

 The date of this letter is 3 June 1939.

 For more information on the multi-generational papers of the Binney family, including papers related to the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Russian Revolution, the Great Depression, and World War II, see the guide to the collection.

The USS Constitution Takes to the Seas

By Elaine Grublin

If you missed seeing it in person, provides a short piece about yesterday’s historic sailing of the USS Constitution in Boston Harbor. The sailing marked the 200th anniversary of the ship’s victory over the British frigate HMS Guerriere during the War of 1812 and was the first time the ship has sailed on its own since 1997. It is estimated that thousands of spectators came out to catch a glimpse of the almost 215-year-old ship at sail.

This was by far not the first time the Constitution attracted a crowd in the Boston’s harbor. On 16 September 1797 Revolutionary War hero Henry Knox wrote to fellow veteran David Cobb stating:

As relates to Harry. He is well, and as busy as a devils needle, in preparing for the launch which is fixed for Wednesday the 20. The President of the United States, and all the eastern world will be here. From the probable crowd and indiscretion, it may be expected as many lives will be lost as in a small action. (David Cobb papers, reel 1, Massachusetts Historical Society.)

Indeed on 20 September 1797 crowds of spectators did gather to view the maiden voyage of the Constitution. Although he did not comment on it in his correspondence, newspapers reports indicate that President John Adams and his “suite” were indeed present for the launch. But that day the crowd left disappointed, as mechanical problems prevented the ship from getting out to the open sea. On a subsequent attempt, 21 October 1797, the ship completed her maiden sail. According to historian Justin Winsor, in his Memorial History of Boston (Boston: James R. Osgood & Company, 1881), the weather on the 21st was overcast and cold, keeping the large crowds at bay that day. 

The Constitution garnered much attention during the War of 1812, earning the nickname Old Ironsides. She remained in service for many years after that war. On the eve of the Civil War, the ship was again at sea. In our collections we have found at least two letters referencing the Constitution while the ship was near Annapolis in late April 1861.

Charles Bowers, a lieutenant in the 5th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Militia, wrote to his wife in Concord:

In the afternoon the young men about 170 in number were removed in the U.S. Sloop Constitution to Newport R.I. It was a sad sight. It was a great disappointment for them to leave, and almost all were in tears. They marched in a bevy to the wharf the splendid band of the Constitution offering musick. The thousands of troops lined their way, the feelings of the whole subdued in sympathy for the noble looking lads so suddenly separated from scenes and friends they loved. (Charles Bowers Letters, Massachusetts Historical Society.)

Another Massachusetts native, although a resident of New York at the time of the outbreak of the war and serving in a New York regiment,offers a slightly different perspective to his brother in Massachusetts:

So we kept up the bay, and at daylight on Monday morning, found ourselves off Annapolis with the Old Frigate Constitition alongside, and another steamboat something like ours aground in the harbor with Ben Butler again, and his men on board. … He [Butler] came to Annapolis on Saturday night, and found the Constitution lying near the Naval School Station and uable to get out, on account of her heavy guns, beside being short men. … General Butler took out of her half her guns and lightened her so much that he could tow her out beyond the reach of the shore; which he did, and afterward sent 100 of his own men (able seamen from Marblehead and thereabouts) to fill up her crew. (Charles Henry Dalton Correspondence, Massachusetts Historical Society.)

We will keep an eye out for other Constitution references in our collection, and hope that perhaps in the not too distant future, we can see her sail again.

Interview: Spotlight on Education at the MHS

By Emilie Haertsch, Publications

On Wednesday Assistant Director of Education and Public Programs Kathleen Barker wrote about the recent teacher workshops held at the MHS. The week-long workshops, titled “At the Crossroads of Revolution: Lexington and Concord in 1775,” engaged 80 teachers from across the country, who will return to their classrooms with exciting material for their students. After the successful workshops, Barker sat down to talk with me about the Society’s ongoing educational work.


  1. Tell me about the history of education efforts at the MHS.

About 12 years ago MHS fellow David McCullough, whose son is a teacher, expressed an interest in developing educational efforts for teachers at the MHS. That led to the Society offering the Swensrud Fellowships for teachers beginning in 2001. That program continues today, in addition to other efforts. We have curriculum ideas available for teachers based on the materials in our collections. We also offer seminars where teachers have the opportunity to examine primary sources from our collections and take their discoveries back to their students. And we offer workshops for students and parents.

 2. You recently completed two week-long summer workshops for teachers. What were the goals of these workshops?

The workshops were part of the Landmarks of American History and Culture project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the idea was to get teachers out into the landscapes where historical events happened. Our workshop was about Lexington and Concord during the Revolutionary War, so we took the teachers to those places. They were not in classrooms, but in barns, historic houses, and in Minute Man National Historic Park. We also spent time at the MHS and gave context to these places.

3. How have teachers been impacted by coming to educational events at the MHS?

Teachers from these recent workshops told us that they see history differently after being in the places where events took place, and they bring that to the classroom. Many teachers have told us they use our website in their classrooms, and they encourage their students to learn from documents from our online collections.

4. Why is it important that the rich materials in the Society’s collections reach young students?

The historical evidence in our collections helps students to develop critical thinking skills. Instead of taking the interpretation of their teacher or textbook at face value, they are able to examine original documents and form their own ideas. It’s also important to develop students’ interest in history, because they are the preservationists of tomorrow. If we want people to continue supporting historical work we need to foster a passion for history in today’s young people.

5. What are your plans for upcoming educational events at the MHS?

In the spring the Society will be cosponsoring National History Day. We’ll be holding workshops for both teachers and students for this event. Coming up on November 17th we have our Family Day, when the Society will be hosting a program for students and parents about the Revolutionary War. The Society also is planning the launch of a new website, so keep an eye out for updated curriculum help and program announcements in the Education section.

Glimpses of Harbottle Dorr, Jr.

By Nancy Heywood, Collection Services

The Massachusetts Historical Society has a collection of 796 newspapers dating from 1765-1776, collected, annotated, and indexed by a Boston man named Harbottle Dorr, Jr. This collection is comprised of 4 volumes containing 3,674 pages. Of that total number of pages, 3,314 are newspapers; 133 are handwritten index pages; and 227 are pamphlets and some introductory pages. Last summer when the MHS purchased volume 4, the collection was finally reunited!  Volumes 2 and 3 had been donated to MHS in 1798 and in 1915, the MHS purchased volume 1.  Please see the press release describing the exciting acquisition of volume 4 in 2011.

Harbottle Dorr, Jr. (1730-1794) was a shopkeeper, a member of the Sons of Liberty, and served as a Boston selectman for many years (but not all the years) between 1777 and 1791. Beginning in 1765, Dorr spent a dozen years purchasing newspapers, writing comments in margins (as well as inserting reference marks in articles), and assembling indexes. Bernard Bailyn, who wrote the essential essay about the annotated newspapers and their annotator, stated, “Dorr was an ordinary active participant in the Revolution. That is why what he began in 1765 and completed some twelve years later is so extraordinarily revealing.”** 

The annotated newspapers convey Dorr’s words and perspective on what he witnessed as a Boston citizen during the years leading up to the American Revolution. The MHS is currently digitizing the annotated newspapers and this project will be completed in early 2013. As we work on the digital project, we’d like to share a few glimpses of Harbottle Dorr, Jr. living and working in Boston.

On 14 August 1769, Harbottle Dorr, Jr. Detail of Sons of Liberty Dinner Listattended a dinner of the Sons of Liberty at Liberty Tree Tavern in Dorchester. A handwritten list by William Palfrey (who eventually became paymaster of the Continental Army during the Revolution), states the names of the 300 men who attended the event. Harbottle’s name appears below Ebenezer Dorr, who was probably Harbottle’s younger brother. 

Harbottle’s handwritten introduction to his third assembled volume of newspapers indicates that he worked on his annotation project at his store. Dorr acknowledges that some of his marginalia includes misspelled words “which I hope whoever peruses will excuse, especially as they were wrote at my Shop amidst my business, when I had not leisure to be exact.” 

Clipping of page 3 of 15 January 1770 issue of Boston GazetteA newspaper advertisement appearing in the 15 January 1770 issue of the Boston-Gazette, and Country Journal (on page 3) indicates that Dorr sold many kinds of nails and different types of steel in his shop located on Union Street. His inventory included jobents (nails used to fasten hinges and/or other thin iron plates to doors and window frames), deck nails (nails used to fasten planks to the decks of ships), German steel, and English steel. These details help us formulate a picture of Harbottle Dorr–at the counter of his shop, surrounded by hardware, with a newspaper open in front of him, writing in the margins in between transactions with customers.

Dorr’s funeral was held on 7 June 1794.  The Columbian Centinel from that day included the following notice (on page 3) but didn’t mention the precise date of Dorr’s death: 

In this town, Harbottle Dorr, Esq. Æt. 64. A number of years one of the Selectmen of Boston, which he served with honor and integrity.  His funeral will be from the house of Mr. Thomas Capen, in Cross-street this afternoon at 5 o’clock, which his relations and friends are requested to attend.


**Bernard Bailyn, “The Index and Commentaries of Harbottle Dorr” in Faces of Revolution: Personalities and Themes in the Struggle for American Independence (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1990), 85-103. 

Teachers at the Crossroads

By Kathleen Barker, Education Department

In the spring of 1775, the towns of Lexington and Concord became targets, scenes, and symbols of actions that would ignite a war culminating in the birth of a new country. What happened to inhabitants of towns like these that were literally and figuratively “on the road to revolution” where local concerns and larger outside forces intersected? This July and August the Society offered two week-long workshops designed to help K-12 educators answer this question. Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, our workshop, “At the Crossroads of Revolution: Lexington and Concord in 1775,” brought 80 teachers from 33 states (and the United Kingdom) to Massachusetts for an in-depth exploration of documents, artifacts, and landscapes associated with the beginning of the American Revolution.  

Group of 40 teachers in front of memorial at Lexington Green

Each week’s program began on Sunday evening at the historic Hartwell Tavern, where participants experienced Battle Road Heroes, a living history program that introduced the dramatic stories of people who lived along the crossroads of the Battle Road in April of 1775. The following day, Robert Gross, Draper Professor of Early American History at the University of Connecticut, led participants in an examination of life on the eve of the Revolution. He discussed what people were talking about; what they worried about; who the leaders were in the communities of Concord and Lexington and how they shaped public opinion; the sources of news and the places where people gathered to share it. Participants then had the opportunity to explore the Concord Museum, which holds an outstanding collection of artifacts related to life in Concord at the beginning of the American Revolution.

On Tuesdays we took to the streets of Boston with Bill Fowler, Distinguished Professor of History at Northeastern University and former director of the MHS. Building on the local concerns identified the previous day, participants considered how events in Boston were intertwined with those in Lexington and Concord. Our tour of the landscapes of revolutionary Boston included the Old State House, Boston Common, Old South Meeting House, Faneuil Hall, and Old North Church, where lanterns signaled British troop movements on the night of April 18, 1775. Our day concluded with a visit to the MHS where participants had the opportunity to meet and mingle with staff members while viewing original documents from the Society’s amazing collections.  

Mile Marker indicated 13.5 miles to Boston from ConcordBy Wednesday participants were ready to take a closer look at the first day of the revolution. We toured many different sites, including Lexington Green, Paul Revere’s capture site, and the North Bridge in Concord, as we focused on the actual events of April 19, 1775. Participants walked parts of the original Battle Road, now part of Minute Man National Historical Park, exploring eyewitness accounts recorded by minutemen British soldiers, and local inhabitants at various locales in order to uncover how the first few hours of the revolution unfolded. We also considered multiple perspectives through a visit to Munroe Tavern, part of the Lexington Historical Society. On the afternoon of April 19, 1775, the tavern served as the headquarters for Brigadier General Earl Percy and his one thousand reinforcements, as well as a field hospital for wounded British regulars, and interpreters within the tavern tell the story of the British retreat to Boston.

Activities on Thursday highlighted in the roles that ordinary people played in shaping extraordinary events, and the power that people had to effect change through the choices that they made. Historians Mary Fuhrer and Joanne Myers introduced the participants to documentary sources – local records – than can be used to research the lives of people living in Lexington in 1775. Through a series of hands-on research activities and a short writing workshop, participants chose a historical character from Lexington and examined their “choices at the crossroads.” Meanwhile, environmental historian Brian Donahue, author of The Great Meadow: Farmers and the Land in Colonial Concord, immersed the teachers in the colonial landscape guiding them through a section of the farming fields and providing them with tools for “reading” and understanding the “land of the embattled farmers”. Our examination of the mixed husbandry land use of Concord’s small farms provided a way of understanding interrelated strands of environmental, economic and social history, and offered a unique perspective on the daily concerns and choices, and the long-term plans and patterns that were a crucial part of family and community life in Lexington and Concord.

Our setting for the final day of the workshop was the grounds of the Old Manse, a National Historic Landmark overlooking the Concord River. Here, MHS Director of Education Jayne Gordon led the teachers in a discussion the ways in which nineteenth- century Concord authors used Concord’s revolutionary legacy in their own efforts to end intellectual and cultural dependence on the Old World. After an intense week, the program officially ended with a leisurely stroll through Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, where Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne and the Alcotts are buried. We completed our workshop with a quiet, casual contemplation of the different kinds of independence that each author pursued at his/her own “crossroads.”

Here at the MHS, we are grateful to our wonderful partners for making this a fantastic experience for all who participated. We are also delighted to know that participants enjoyed their time in Massachusetts. As one teacher explained in her final evaluation, this was an “absolutely fabulous workshop of great value to me and my students. In the words of my students it was: ‘freakin’ awesome!’”.


This Week @ MHS

By Elaine Grublin

Join us at noon on Wednesday, 15 August, for a brown-bag lunch “Cotton Mather’s use of Jacques Basnage’s History of the Jews in the Biblia Americana,” presented by Rick Kennedy of Point Loma Nazarene University. Kennedy will present his thoughts on Basnage’s influence on Mather as a historian and then will field questions from the audience.  

Visitors can also stop in anytime between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM, Monday through Saturday to explore our latest exhibition, Mr. Madison’s War: The Controversial War of 1812. This exhibition showcases a number of letters, broadsides, artifacts, and images from the Society’s rich collections including a midshipman’s log of the USS Constitution describing the ship’s first great victory, letters written by John Quincy Adams to his mother while serving as the American minister to Russia, and a brass cannon captured from the British at the Battle of New Orleans in 1815.

And on Saturday, 18 August, do not miss our building tour “The History and Collections of the MHS.” The 90-minute tour departs our front lobby promptly at 10:00 AM.