This Week @MHS

The MHS will be closed on Monday, 27 May and Friday, 31 May but we still have a number of programs planned for the week including a brown-bag lunch, an evening talk about Oliver Wendell Holmes, a tour, and a daytime program about the sale of Babe Ruth to the Yankees. Here’s a look at what is planned:

On Wednesday, 29 May, at 12:00 PM: The Right to Hail an Officer at Night: Contests of Authority in Occupied Boston with Nicole Breault, University of Connecticut. Who had authority in occupied Boston? The arrival of British regulars and the encounters that followed raised such questions for Boston’s night watch. Using official reports and complaints filed by the night watchmen in November of 1768, this talk explores the logistical and emotional dimensions of occupation at street level.This is part of our brown-bag lunch programBrown-bags are free and open to the public.

On Wednesday, 29 May, at 6:00 PM: Oliver Wendell Holmes: A Life in War, Law, & Ideas with Stephen Budiansky. Oliver Wendell Holmes twice escaped death as a young Union officer in the Civil War when musket balls missed his heart and spinal cord by a fraction of an inch at the Battles of Ball’s Bluff and Antietam. He lived ever after with unwavering moral courage, unremitting scorn for dogma, and an insatiable intellectual curiosity. Named to the Supreme Court by Theodore Roosevelt at age sixty-one, he served for nearly three decades, writing a series of famous, eloquent, and often dissenting opinions that would prove prophetic in securing freedom of speech, protecting the rights of criminal defendants, and ending the Court’s reactionary resistance to social and economic reforms. A pre-talk reception begins at 5:30 PM; the speaking program begins at 6:00 PM. There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders).

On Saturday, 1 June at 10:00 AMThe History & Collections of the MHS. This is a 90-minute docent-led walk through of our public rooms. The tour is free and open to the public. If you would like to bring a larger party (8 or more), please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or

On Saturday, 1 June at 3:00 PM: Sale of the Century: How the Red Sox Peddled Babe Ruth to the Yankees with Gordon Edes, Boston Red Sox historian; Jane Leavy; Leigh Montville; and John Thorn, official historian of Major League Baseball. At 24, Babe Ruth was already regarded as one of the best left-handed pitchers in baseball, having helped deliver three World Series titles to the Red Sox in just four seasons. In 1919, he was coming off a season in which he successfully transitioned to outfielder and shattered the Major League record for home runs in a season. Then, on December 26, 1919, Red Sox owner Harry Frazee agreed to sell Ruth to the Yankees for an astronomical sum. In pinstripes, Ruth became the most famous player in baseball history setting a course in which the Yankees won 40 American League pennants and 27 World Series titles. The Red Sox, however, went 86 years without winning a World Series. This drought became known as “The Curse of the Bambino.” Join us as our panel discusses the deal that altered the face of baseball history. A display of Ruth related artifacts will be part of the reception. A pre-talk reception and chance to view the display will begin at 2:00; the speaking program begins at 3:00. There is a $25 per person fee ($10 for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders).

“Can She Do It?”: Massachusetts Debates a Woman’s Right to Vote is open Monday and Wednesday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and Tuesday from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM. Featuring dynamic imagery from the collection of the MHS, the exhibition illustrates the passion on each side of the suffrage question. For over a century, Americans debated whether women should vote. The materials on display demonstrate the arguments made by suffragists and their opponents. While women at the polls may seem unremarkable today, these contentious campaigns formed the foundations for modern debates about gender and politics.

Take a look at our calendar page for information about upcoming programs.