The Beehive: the official blog of the Massachusetts Historical Society

This Week @ MHS

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

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

permalink | Published: Monday, 15 July, 2013, 8:00 AM