Life on the French Front during WWI: Margaret Hall’s Memoir

By Emilie Haertsch, Publications

In the forthcoming MHS publication Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country, 1918-1919, Red Cross volunteer Margaret Hall recounts through letters, diary entries, and photographs her time working close to the front lines in France during World War I. She worked at a canteen at Châlons-sur-Marne, a village with a critical railroad juncture that made it a target to the Axis and also provided a steady stream of soldiers and wounded passing through. Her sincere, plucky voice depicts both the hopeful moments and the tragedies of a ravaged country towards the end of the war.

Hall often stayed in makeshift, unsanitary quarters and had to remain ever vigilant for air raids. This September 29, 1918, diary entry reveals the struggle for basic necessities like rest and hygiene.

Great bombardment all night. People couldn’t sleep. My sleep disturbed, for when that is going on you feel that something is wrong and you can’t rest calmly. It is certainly a nervous life. I don’t take off my clothes at night now. Am eaten alive with fleas and suffer untold agony. Scarcely have time to wash my hands or do my hair; am a perfect pig to behold, but there is so much doing that I couldn’t shut myself up for long enough to do anything.

Despite her difficult living circumstances, however, and the long hours she spent working in the canteen feeding soldiers and refugees, Hall maintained a sense of curiosity about what was going on around her. Later in the same entry she describes an interesting scene she encountered.

Saw the sweetest procession go over the bridge today; a little circus parade, each little cart drawn by a big sturdy horse. They were carrier pigeons going up to the front in their little houses, which were very neat and freshly painted. They had windows to look out and it was the only soothing thing I’ve seen in the long endless moving stream. . . . Saw also a hundred dogs going up to the front. They were walking round the streets here, two to one master, looking awfully sweet and young, all different kinds, but so affectionate to their masters. They had little tin boxes on their collars. I hated to think they had to catch it too.

University of Connecticut English professor and MHS fellow Margaret Higonnet is editing Margaret Hall’s memoir, which has an expected 2014 publication date. Stay tuned for future posts following Hall’s experiences in the Great War.

This Week @ MHS

By Dan Hinchen

After a sleepy week here at the MHS that was all but void of public programs, this week comes with a plethora of programs in which to partake. Up first on Monday, 29 July, the Society will host a lunch-time author talk with Erik J. Chaput: “‘The People’s Martyr’ and the Dorr Rebellion.” The People’s Martyr is a book about Thomas Wilson Dorr and a rebellion he lead in Rhode Island in 1842 which now bears his name. His attempt at constitutional reform set off a debate over the nature of people’s soverignty in Jacksonian American. Author/historican Erik Chaput pays special attention to the issues of gender and race, paricularly the profound fears of southern policiticians that Dorr’s ideology would lead to slave insurrections. Mr. Chaput received his doctorate in early American History from Syracuset University in 2011 and is on the faculty in the School of Continuing Education at Providence College. His research has appeared in numerous publications and he is the co-editor with Russell J DeSimone of a digital edition of the letters of Thomas Wilson Dorr, available on the Dorr Rebellion project site hosted by Providence College.This event begins at 12:00pm and is free and open to the public.

On Tuesday, 30 July, is the first of a two-day workshop titled “Old Towns/New Country: The First Years of a New Nation.” This workshop will take place in Lancaster & Leominster, Massachusetts, in partnership with the Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area. The workshop will concentrate on the period just after the Revolution and the concerns and conflicts, hopes and fears, experiences and expectations of the people living in the Boston area at a time of uncertainy, fragility, and possibility, using local resources to examine historical issues with a national focus. The program investigates such questions as: What was it like to live in a town that had been around for a long time in a country that was new? What were people in our town worried about as the nation was forming after the Revolution? How were these concerns influenced by geography, economy, culture, and social makeup of the region? What resources and pieces of evidence exist in our town that can help us find these things out? How is this evidence best presented to allow people of all ages to discover the answers to such questions and how does local focus add to our understanding of national history? The workshop is open to teachers, librarians, archivists, members of lcoal historical societies, and all intersted local history enthusiasts. The workshop faculty will include MHS staff members as well as Freedom’s Way Director of Education Maud Ayson, Historian Mary Fuhrer, and MHS Teacher Fellow Timothy Castner. Additional partners include the Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area, Leominster Public Library, and the First Church of Lancaster. The program takes place on Tuesday, 30 July and Wednesday, 31 July, 8:30am-3:30pm. To Register: Please complete this registration form and send it with your payment to: Kathleen Barker, Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02215. For Additional Information: Contact the Education Department: 617-646-0557 or education@masshist.org.

On Wednesday, 31 July, come by the MHS at lunchtime for another of our Brown Bag Lunch talks. In this episode, Eric Otremba of Macalester College presents “Empire of Learning: Natural Scientists and Caribbean Slavery in the Seventeenth-Century English Atlantic.” In this project, Mr. Otremba examines confluences between the scientific and progressive ideas associated with the early English Enlightenment and the concurrent proliferation of Caribbean slave plantations. Through a study of sugar plantations, it demonstrates how both slavery and the Enlightenment shared common roots within the expansionist discourse of natural science in the late seventeenth century. This event begins at 12:00pm and is free and open to the public.

Following on Thursday, 1 August, is another Brown Bag, this time presented by Zara Anashanslin, College of Staten Island, SUNY. In “Rebelling Subjects, Revealing Objects: The Material and Visual Culture of Making and Remembering the American Revolution,” Ms. Anishanslin considers how women, Loyalists, slaves, and Native Americans, as well as Patriots, experienced, made, and remembered the American Revolution from 1763 to 1791, with a coda about historical memory arranged around General Lafayette’s Jubilee Tour. In an effort to get past the binaries that often still characterize the historiography on the Revolution, it uses objects and images to narrate how ideology, politics, and war—and their material practices—were ambivalent and fluid in the revolutionary era. Free and open to the public, this program begins at 12:00pm.

Finally, on Saturday the Society will once again host The History and Collections of the MHS, a 90-minute docent-led tour that explores all of the public rooms in the building while touching on the art, architecture, history, and collections of the Society. The tour is free and open to the public. No reservation is required for individuals or small groups. Parties of 8 or more should contact the MHS prior to attending a tour. For more information please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

 

 

 

The Boston – Brewster Road

By Dan Hinchen, Reader Services

Each summer for the last ten years I have been fortunate enough to call Cape Cod home, specifically, the town of Brewster. As someone who travels to the Cape as a summer employee, I have occupied a position of not-quite-a-local but also not a tourist. Over the past three years, as my full-time employment on the Cape morphed to part-time labor (coincidental with my employment at the Historical Society) I have become much more familiar with the tourists’ view of things as I repeatedly travel the road from Boston to Brewster.

The roughly 90-minute drive from South Boston to Brewster that I repeat each week consists of three main phases: exiting the city on I-93, merging onto Rt. 3, and then crossing the Cape Cod Canal and cruising on Rt. 6. The elevated road out of Boston, I-93, gives drivers glimpses of Boston Harbor to the east and Dorchester and the Blue Hills to the west. After about 10 miles, drivers merge onto Route 3 which carries travelers through many towns of the South Shore between Quincy/Braintree and Plymouth. As a Boston-Cape Cod commuter I am familiar with the names of these towns as their signs pass by – Norwell, Hanover, Duxbury, Pembroke – but I rarely see the towns themselves. Instead, this section lends little to the eye except two lanes of highway and ubiquitous scrub pines for about 45 miles. Then, things change suddenly but briefly as the Cape Cod Canal appears. At the apex of the Sagamore Bridge the driver (or better, the passenger) is afforded a view west-southwest along the canal and, to the east-northeast, a view of Cape Cod Bay expanding to the horizon. However, this vista is fleeting and soon the driver returns to a road that is not that dissimilar from the many miles just traveled. Now it is a matter of time before the highway is left behind and the destination reached.

Traveling to Cape Cod was not always this way. For one thing, the modes of transportation have changed. According to an account of a trip to Cape Cod on 29 Aug 1827, Thomas Wren Ward (1786-1858) “left Boston at half past Seven in a carryall with two horses, our own (Blackfoot) and one of Mr. Groggs, (the miller,) and proceeded over the Neck through Dorchester on our way to Sandwich.” But with no highway to breeze by every town between here and there, Mr. Wren provides several comments relating to the character and people of these towns:

Hingham a very neat & beautiful village – no people seen in the streets – every one about his business. The people of Hingham close, calculating, & very economical – habits good – & a town thriving…Great place for eggs.

From Scituate you pass over part of Hanover, Pembroke, Kingston to Plymouth, about 20 miles. A good house at Pembroke 10 miles from Plymouth…Pembroke and Kingston, the latter especially, very pretty towns.

Great appearance of neatness and industry in all the towns on the So. Shore. At Plymouth, Mrs. Nicholson’s—good tavern—near the court house.

Ward’s fairly brief account gives some insight into the character of the people and places of the South Shore and through comparison we can see what has changed.

Trout in the Small brooks on the road across to Buzzard’s Bay, which is six miles from Sandwich. Oysters plenty across the neck of land; this is the place where the Canal was talked of.

And though he does not provide specific time sets for his journey, in reading the entire text it becomes clear that this trip probably took at least a couple of days:

[Mr. Elisha] Pope has a store – obliging man – very civil to us. The taverns full. Met Mr. Goodwin, who carried us to Mrs Newcombe’s who was persuaded to take us in.

Moving ahead just 20 years, Sarah Augusta Mayo (1830-1886), a Brewster native, relates a story of traveling in the opposite direction and, despite advances in travel, the reader gets some idea of what an undertaking it was to move from Brewster to Boston. In the published edition of her diary, Ms. Mayo records some details about her journey:

The stage driver called for us at four o’clock before which we had our breakfast by lamp light. This was the first time I had been to Boston by land. We went by Higgins’ stage line to Yarmouth Port where we changed at Sears’ hotel for Boyden’s coach to Sandwich. Plymouth was the nearest railroad point to Cape Cod at this time.

We stopped at Pope’s hotel in Sandwich, where we took a third stage coach for Plymouth. This was a long drive. We took our dinner at a forlorn place in the woods called Cornish’s tavern. Soon after our arrival at Plymouth we took a train at 3 P.M. for Boston and reached Chelsea at 7 in the evening…

Then, as now, the land route was not the only option for people making the trip from Boston to Brewster. As Ms. Mayo notes in her writing, “On the 15th of July 1850 I left Brewster on the steamer Naushon arriving at Boston at 3 o’clock P.M.” We do not know when she boarded the vessel but, given her arrival time, it can be fairly assumed that this route did not take as long as the overland track.

With the re-introduction of rail service from Boston to Cape Cod, travelers once again have three primary options for making the trip: boat, rail, and, personal conveyances (substituting cars for carryalls). And yet, it is not so hard to imagine that there might be a day when traveling to Brewster in highway traffic takes quite as long as Ms. Mayo’s journey via stage and rail. Which would you prefer?

 

 

On the Road to Richmond: The Letters of Civil War Sharpshooter Moses Hill, Part 4

By Susan Martin, Collection Services

Welcome back to our series on the letters of Moses Hill, part of the Frank Irving Howe, Jr. family papers here at the MHS. In my last post, I described Moses’ experiences during the Siege of Yorktown as part of McClellan’s Army of the Potomac. After the siege, Rebel forces retreated to the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, with the Union army hard on their heels. Moses’ regiment, the 1st Massachusetts Sharpshooters, had been attached to the 15th Regiment  Massachusetts Infantry, Sedgwick’s Division, since April 1862. They traveled up the York River to West Point, arriving in the midst of the fighting there, then continued west through New Kent toward Richmond.

Some of my favorite letters in the collection were written during this time. Moses was especially reflective and honest after nearly a year of hard service. On 26 May 1862, he wrote to his mother Persis (Phipps) Hill:

Some times it looks rather dark and as if the war might last for some time yet, and some times It looks as if it might close soon. I supose you have seen all my letters that I have sent Eliza so I will not write meny poticulers but I can say I have seen some hard times….I am sick of fighting and shooting our Brother man.

Dear Mother I do not see such times as I use to when I could go to the old cupboard and eat of your cooking and eat my fill of boild vitils and custard pie and every thing that was good. I cannot have that now….I hope I shal live to come home and eat one good meal with you. How I would enjoy it.

Love to all, From your never forgetful Son Moses Hill

While Moses approached Richmond, two of his sister’s sons, John and Albert Fales, were serving under Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks in the 2nd Regiment Massachusetts Infantry, Company E, and currently fighting Stonewall Jackson’s troops in the Shenandoah Valley. Moses worried about his nephews in his usual understated way:

They dont know what fighting is and I hope the[y] never will. I have seen enough of it and I hope I shal not see any more….It is not very agreeable.

Unfortunately, just days later, Moses would take part in the worst battle he had seen yet. The Battle of Seven Pines, otherwise known as the Battle of Fair Oaks, was fought from 31 May-1 June 1862 on the outskirts of Richmond. Moses described it to his wife Eliza in gruesome day-to-day detail:

The Surgents [surgeons] was cutting of[f] legs and armes, and dressing wounds all night. The grones was terible. I did not sleep that night. [31 May]

The dead and wonded lay one top of another when the Battle was through. The ded lay on all sides of us where they was kiled the day before. Along the fences they lay some with their faces up, and some with their fases down and in all shapes. It was a horable sight. [1 June]

The dead was about all buared today. Our armey did not bring meny shovels with them so it took some time….There was one on each side of where I slep that lay dead with in a few feet of me. They s[c]ented very bad. The magets was on them, but they burried them as fast as they could. [2 June]

If you see any body that complains of hardship tell them to come into this armey and they will begin to find out what it is.

Even in the darkest times, however, Moses never seemed to lose sight of the humanity of his enemy. He wrote about the Confederate soldiers captured by the Union army:

They Belonged to Georgia Alabamma North Carlonia. I went and talked with them. They said they wanted to get home. The ground was so wet that it was very uncomftible for them. I pitied them from the Bottom of my heart. The ground was most all coverd with water. One of them asked me for my pipe and I gave it to him to smoke.

McClellan failed to take the city of Richmond and was driven back by Robert E. Lee in the Seven Days Battles. Stay tuned to the Beehive for more!

 

 

**Image: “War Views. Panoramic View of Richmond, Va. From Libby Hill, looking west.” Published by E. & H. T. Anthony & Co. (New York, N.Y.). Original photographer unknown. From Adams-Thoron Photographs, MHS. 

This Week @ MHS

By Dan Hinchen

There is a bit of a lull in the action this week at the Society with only two public programs on the slate. Up first is the next episode of the MHS Brown Bag talks. On Wednesday, 24 July, bring a lunch to hear NERFC Fellow Michael Blaakman, Yale Univeristy, as he presents “Speculation Nation: Land Speculators and Land Mania in Post-Revolutionary America.” Mr. Blaakman will discuss research for a dissertation which traces the causes and consequences of large-scale land speculation between 1776 and 1812 in order to ask: Why and how had the new United States become a land of speculation? What effect did land speculation have on society, politics, and the evolving capitalist economy during the revolutionary settlement? On the formation of the American state? What about speculation was uniquely American, and what about the nascent republic was distinctly speculative? Brown Bag lunch talks are free and open to the public and begin at 12:00 PM.

And on Saturday, 27 July, the Society will host The History and Collections of the MHS, a 90-minute docent-led tour that explores all of the public rooms in the building while touching on the art, architecture, history, and collections of the Society. The tour is free and open to the public. No reservation is required for individuals or small groups. Parties of 8 or more should contact the MHS prior to attending a tour. For more information please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

John Quincy Adams: Summer Chronicles

By Jim Connolly, Publications

So, have you noticed the heat? For your refreshment, here is a little historical commiseration from the diaries of John Quincy Adams.

21 July 1820:

IV:30. Thunder Shower in the night, which made it almost a sleepless night to me. . . . The day was sultry and damp, a temperature which always affects unfavourably my Spirits.

My Spirits are affected too. This weekend, severe thunderstorms are expected break the heat wave in New England. The relief should be well worth the Sturm und Drang.

27 July 1820:

There was one of the most violent Thunder Showers that I ever witnessed. For about half an hour the clash of electric clouds was immediately over the City—the flashes of lightening, followed instantly by the thunderclap, and at intervals of scarcely a minute from each other. Fahrenheit had been in the morning at 90, but fell about 10 degrees immediately after the shower— The evening was cool, and Mrs. Adams rode out with the children.

Here JQA describes his summer evening routine.

30 July 1820:

After dinner, while day-light lasts I read the Newspapers, but from the dusk of Evening, pass an hour or two of total vacancy, sitting at the porch of the door, or the chamber window; almost gasping for breath and maintaining the war with Spiders, bugs and musquitoes.

Did you know that JQA’s diaries are reproduced in full on the Society’s website? Perfect reading for an impossibly stuffy night, don’t you think?

 

 

 

**All quotations from diary 31 of The Diaries of John Quincy Adams: A Digital Collection.

Guest Post: Using the MHS to Learn about Nuclear Weapons in WWII

By Shane Canekeratne, John Winthrop Student Fellow

History has always been an interest of mine, particularly the historical events of World War I and World War II. After I was presented with the opportunity to apply to the John Winthrop Fellowship, I immediately started to look for different articles related to the 1940s on the Massachusetts Historical Society website. This led me to the Bikini Atoll Papers. The Bikini Atoll Papers, part ofOperation Crossroads,” was a research project on the effects of nuclear bombs. Further exploration online guided me in developing my research angle: “In pursuing the Bikini Atoll Papers, I hope to discover how hard it would have been to build and use an atomic bomb. I also would like to learn what decision had to have been made by the government at the time to approve such a deadly weapon for such a horrible use.”

Through my research, I learned a lot about the procedures put in place to ensure safety during such a dangerous project. Vital Information for Operation Crossroads included: “Mail and Telegram 6 cents for air mail; Personal checks cannot be cashed aboard; No liquor available aboard; cameras are allowed except at Bikini.” My research also led me to the booklet entitled Summary Report (Pacific War). The booklet explained the plans for the United States, before and after Pearl Harbor, in considering entering war. The United States’ plan before Pearl Harbor was that the U.S. would join in the event that Germany was first eliminated. However, when the Japanese went on the offensive, and attacked Pearl Harbor, the U.S. wanted to defend the American people. As I researched further, I learned how the members of “Operation Crossroads” gave information to journalists and the public.

My visit to the Massachusetts Historical Society went very well. Mrs. Waters, Ms. Morrissey, my mother, my grandmother and I started with a tour of the facility. During the visit, we were allowed to see the construction of a new exhibit that will highlight correspondence between John Adams and his family. In addition, we saw an exhibit featuring e.e. cummings’ childhood artwork and some of his first poems. As we made our way through the building we ended up in the archives, where we were shown an old document pertaining to agriculture and Thomas Jefferson’s opinion on the best cider apple in the 13 colonies. I realized during my time spent in the reading library that I was the youngest person in the room. The room was very quiet, and I really enjoyed researching. After I was done researching, I went to another room, where I found a book about my neighborhood. Although the book contained just basic marriage, deaths, and births during the late 1700s, it was interesting to learn that Southborough, Massachusetts only had about 700 residents during the early year of its founding. I really enjoyed the visit, and would like to thank Mrs. Waters, Ms. Morrissey, and Andrea Cronin of the Massachusetts Historical Society for hosting me.

 

 

**In 2013, the MHS awarded its first two John Winthrop Fellows. This fellowship encourages high school students to make use of the nationally significant documents of the Society in a research project of their choosing. Please join us in congratulating our fellows: Shane Canekeratne and his teacher Susanna Waters,  Brooks School, and Elizabeth Pacelle and her teacher, Christopher Gauthier, Concord-Carlisle High School.

Guest Post: Using the MHS to Learn about Women in WWI

By Elizabeth Pacelle, John Winthrop Student Fellow

Working with the MHS primary source documents for the John Winthrop Fellowship was an amazing and rewarding experience for me.  Besides analyzing various pieces of the Constitution and other common writings, I had never worked so closely with first hand historical documents.  For my fellowship, I wrote a paper investigating women’s involvement in World War I overseas, and how their achievements directly linked to women’s suffrage.  The MHS documents provided such rich evidence for the themes that I was exploring in my paper.  

I was able to analyze the original letters of a young woman named Nora Saltonstall as written to her family.  Nora was a Boston socialite who yearned to contribute to the American war efforts in WWI more actively and directly than women had done previously.  She volunteered to go overseas to Europe to work on the warfront.  It was fascinating to read Nora’s intimate letters and get a glimpse into a personal experience that related to such a greater movement.  At points in the letters, Nora’s sense of humor and wittiness were evident which reminded me that she was indeed human and brought to life the events that transpired, in a way that textbooks are unable to. The collection contains digitized images of the very stationery she wrote on and her actual handwriting.  She dated and gave her location to each of her letters and conveyed the events in her own words, giving the reader such a vivid perspective into Nora’s world at that time. The MHS also had photographs of Nora and her companions, her lodgings and workplaces, and even her passport.  These primary source documents, gave me an eyewitness view to her experience, and made for a more interesting paper.

It is amazing how many letters and other primary sources from the MHS collection have been digitized, making them so easy to access.  The MHS also provides transcriptions of all the digitized documents, which make it easier to search the documents for specific evidence you might be looking for.  The online collection is well-organized and easy to navigate.  It allows you to search by subject, era (from Colonial Era to the present) or medium (photographs, maps, even streaming medium), so you can directly access information on the topic you are pursuing and view different types of sources, which provide different layers of evidence.  In my project I analyzed letters in the form of manuscripts, and backed up my claims with descriptions of photographs and other gallery images that further emphasized my points.  I would suggest looking for correlations between the photographs and writings provided as different means of evidence.

I based my project on the documents in the Massachusetts Historical Society’s online catalog, Abigail, but the MHS library is also an incredibly valuable resource. If you are looking to get a firsthand glimpse into a historical figure’s life, you should check out the MHS collection.  I suppose what I liked most was the ability to interpret the original documents on my own and draw my own conclusions around the actual evidence, rather than directly being told a conclusion by a third party.  The MHS collection is well-worth looking into when you are researching American history topics.

 

 

**In 2013, the MHS awarded its first two John Winthrop Fellows. This fellowship encourages high school students to make use of the nationally significant documents of the Society in a research project of their choosing. Please join us in congratulating our fellows: Shane Canekeratne and his teacher Susanna Waters,  Brooks School, and Elizabeth Pacelle and her teacher, Christopher Gauthier, Concord-Carlisle High School.

 

 

This Week @ MHS

By Dan Hinchen

After a week void of public events here at the MHS, this week the Society offers a slew of public events to satisfy your historical curiosities.

First, beginning on Monday, 15 July, the MHS hosts a two-day workshop titled “Old Towns/New Country: The First Years of a New Nation.” The workshop will concentrate on the period just after the Revolution and the concerns and conflicts, hopes and fears, experiences and expectations of the people living in the Boston area at a time of uncertainy, fragility, and possibility, using local resources to examine historical issues with a national focus. The program investigates such questions as: What was it like to live in a town that had been around for a long time in a country that was new? What were people in our town worried about as the nation was forming after the Revolution? How were these concerns influenced by geography, economy, culture, and social makeup of the region? What resources and pieces of evidence exist in our town that can help us find these things out? How is this evidence best presented to allow people of all ages to discover the answers to such questions and how does local focus add to our understanding of national history? The workshop is open to teachers, librarians, archivists, members of lcoal historical societies, and all intersted local history enthusiasts. The workshop faculty will include MHS staff members as well as historian Benjamin Park and MHS Teacher Fellow Betsy Lambert. The program takes place on Monday, 15 July, and Tuesday, 16 July, 8:30am-3:30pm  To Register: Please complete this registration form and send it with your payment to: Kathleen Barker, Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02215. For Additional Information: Contact the Education Department: 617-646-0557 or education@masshist.org.

Also on Monday, research fellow Anna Bonewitz, University of York, will present a Brown Bag discussion of her research titled “Fashion Across Borders and Seas: Print Culture, Women’s Networks, and the Creation of Feminine Identities in the British Atlantic World, 1750-1900.” Ms. Bonewitz’s reserach examines the diverse media through which women learned about fashion and how ideas of fashion were circulated around and between Britain and the United States, from the time of the engimatic fashion doll to the birth of modern advertising. Her project also considers how the circulation of visual and material sources for fashion information such as fashion dolls, portraits, and advertisements, was as much a process of learning as it was of sharing. The circulation of these objects enabled women to form valuable networks whereby ideas of femininity, politics, national identity and imperialism were created, solidified and challenged. Brown bag lunch talks are free and open to the public and begin at 12:00pm.

On Wednesday, 17 July, the MHS will host another Brown Bag lunch talk. This time, Denise Gigante of Stanford University will present “The Book Madness: Charles Deane and the Boston Antiquarians.” Ms. Gigante’s research looks at a hub of bibliomaniacs associated with the early years of the MHS. Among the circle of learned historians were George Livermore, Charles Deane, Alexander Young, and Edward Crowninshiled. Together, these amateur men of letters provide a unique look outlook on the culture of book collecting and the formation of private and public libraries in mid-19th-century America.

Then, on Thursday, 18 July, at 12:00pm, the MHS presents “Lest We Forget: The Massachusetts 54th,” a commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Massachusetts 54th Regiment’s attack against Fort Wagner, South Carolina, and featuring guest speaker Noah Griffin. Visit his website to learn more about his work. Learn more about the Massachusetts 54th, as well as the Society’s manuscripts and photograph collections related to the regiment at our 54th Regiment! site. This event is free and open to the public

And on Saturday, 20 July, the Society will host The History and Collections of the MHS, a 90-minute docent-led tour that explores all of the public rooms in the building while touching on the art, architecture, history, and collections of the Society. The tour is free and open to the public. No reservation is required for individuals or small groups. Parties of 8 or more should contact the MHS prior to attending a tour. For more information please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

Stephen Greenleaf Bulfinch Diary, Post 23

By Elaine Grublin

The following excerpt is from the diary of Stephen Greenleaf Bulfinch.

Friday, July 12th, 1863

4th. The great anniversary, rendered still more famous now, was very quietly spent here. At ½ past 1, I went into Boson, & at the depot bought a paper, containing the announcement by the President of the successful issue so far of the three days’ fight at Gettysburg, – which I read with thankfulness & hope.

Friday, July 19th, 1863

The great theme of conversation has been the riots in New York & Boston, occasioned by the Conscription. Blood shed in both. Law triumphant here, and I trust also there.

Meantime, thanks to God for victory at Port Hudson, – near Vicksburg, – in Arkansas, – and some success near Charleston.