The Beehive: the official blog of the Massachusetts Historical Society

This Week @MHS

Join us for a program at the MHS this week!

- Tuesday, 11 December, 12:00 PM: Robert Treat Paine’s Life & Influence on Law with Maura Healey, Massachusetts Attorney General; Alan Rogers, Boston College; Christina Carrick, Assistant Editor, The Papers of Robert Treat Paine, and moderator Catherine Allgor, MHS President. Join us for a special event with the current Attorney General looking at the first Massachusetts Attorney General’s life and influence on law and order during the Revolutionary era. This event celebrates the completion of the five-volume series The Papers of Robert Treat Paine. A pre-talk reception begins at 11:30 AM; the speaking program begins at 12:00 PM. This program is free and open to the public.

- Tuesday, 11 December, 5:15 PM: A Nice History of Bird Migration: Ethology, Expertise, & Conservation in 20th Century North America with Kristoffer Whitney, Rochester Institute of Technology, and comment by Marilyn Ogilvie, University of Oklahoma.This paper focuses on the historical relationships between migratory birds, scientists, and amateur experts in 20th-century North America, especially Margaret Morse Nice. Nice, simultaneously a trained ornithologist and an enthusiastic amateur across disciplines, almost single-handedly introduced the American ornithological community to European ethology. Her bird-banding work exemplified the tensions in natural history around expertise, gender, and conservation.This is part of the Boston Seminar on Environmental History series. Seminars are free and open to the public.

- Wednesday, 12 December, 12:00 PM: Ecology of Utopia: Environmental Discourse and Practice in Antebellum Communal Settlements with Molly Reed, Cornell University. During the 1840s, members of short-lived intentional communities debated strategies for “getting back to nature” and explored emerging meanings of “natural” through radical hygiene, diet, and agricultural practices. This talk examines how Transcendentalist and Fourierist communitarians articulated human-environment relationships in terms that reflected and informed their visions for social change.This is part of the brown-bag lunch program.

- Wednesday, 12 December, 6:00 PM:  No More, America with Peter Galison, Harvard University; Henry Louis Gates Jr., Harvard University. In 1773, two graduating Harvard seniors, Theodore Parsons and Eliphalet Pearson, were summoned before a public audience to debate whether slavery was compatible with “natural law.” Peter Galison’s short film, “No More, America” co-directed with Henry Louis Gates, reimagines this original debate to include the powerful voice of Phillis Wheatley, an acclaimed poet, then-enslaved, who lived just across the Charles River from the two Harvard students. Join us for a film screening followed by a discussion between Peter Galison and Henry Louis Gates. A pre-program 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). 

- Saturday, 15 December, 10:00 AM: The History & Collections of the MHS. Join is for a 90-minute docent-led walk through of the public rooms of the MHS. The tour is free, open to the public, with no need for reservations. If you would like to bring a larger party (8 or more), please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or

Fashioning the New England Family is open Monday through Saturday,, from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The exhibition explores the ways in which the multiple meanings of fashion and fashionable goods are reflected in patterns of consumption and refashioning, recycling, and retaining favorite family pieces. Many of the items that will be featured have been out of sight, having never been exhibited for the public or seen in living memory. The exhibition is organized as part of Mass Fashion, a consortium of cultural institutions set up to explore and celebrate the many facets of the culture of fashion in Massachusetts. 

Please note that the library will open at 2:00 PM on Tuesday, 11 December and will close at 3:30 PM on Thursday, 13 DecemberTake a look at our calendar page for information about upcoming programs.

permalink | Published: Monday, 10 December, 2018, 1:00 AM