The Beehive: the official blog of the Massachusetts Historical Society

Beehive series: Today @MHS

This Week @ MHS

The MHS is closed on Monday, 17 February, in observance of President's Day. Normal hours resume on Tuesday, 18 February

On Wednesday, 19 February, come by at noon for a Brown Bag lunch talk.This week, independent scholar Mary Fuhrer discusses her research project "Consumed by Poverty: The Experience of Tuberculosis in the Boston Almshouse, 1800-1850." Tuberculosis caused up to a third of all deaths in antebellum New England. Attempting to make sense of this devastation, sufferers—and society—created "illness narratives" to interpret their experience and provide meaning, consolation, or blame. This study examines poor consumptives in the Boston Almshouse, seeking to "open out" their lives and better understand how they—and others—made sense of their affliction. This talk is free and open to the public.

Please be aware that on Thursday, 20 February, the library of the MHS will close at 3:00PM as we prepare for that evenings special event. Tell It With Pride Preview Reception is a special event specifically for MHS Fellows and Members. The preview is a sneak-peek at our upcoming exhibit Tell It With Pride: The 54th Massachusetts Regiment and Augustus Saint-Gaudens' Shaw Memorial. This exhibit, organized by the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., brings together photographs of members of the regiment and of the men and women who recruited, nursed, taught, and guided them. Reception begins at 6:00PM. Registration is required at no cost for MHS Fellows and Members, click here to RSVP.  Please note that the 5:30PM pre-reception talk is sold out.

The Tell It With Pride exhibition opens to the public on Friday, 21 February. Throughout the run of the exhibition special programs are planned in cooperation with the Museum of African American History, the Boston African American National Historic Site, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment Company A, and the Friends of the Public Garden. Please check our events calendar for full listings. This exhibition is available Monday-Saturday, 10:00AM - 4:00PM and will remain open until 23 May 2014.

And on Saturday, 22 February, we resume our weekly tours of the MHS. The History and Collections of the MHS is a 90-minute tour of the Society's public rooms, led by a docent or MHS staff member and touching on the history of the Society, and the art and architecture of building at 1154 Boylston Street. 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

Finally, please also be aware that the MHS will sponsor an author talk taking place on Sunday, 23 February, at the Lawrence Library in Pepperell, Mass., and presented in collaboration with Freedom's Way National Heritage Area. This talk is given by Gary Shattuck, a retired federal prosecutor who enjoys researching and writing about new-found discoveries lying deep within little-used legal documents. Crossed Swords: Job Shattuck's Blood at the Courthouse Door examines the many changes forced on Massachusetts society by the Revolution, including the relationships and expectations of those living in the countryside. Shocking new evidence found in court records allows us to reassess the role and reputation of Capt. Job Shattuck. Capt. Shattuck was an early leader of protestors who began taking over courthouses in the summer of 1786 when officials failed to address the petitions for relief from taxes and judgements rendered against farmers by debt-enforcing courts, and he paid dearly for his effort. This event is free and open to the public, though registration is required at no cost. To register, please call the MHS reservations line at 617-646-0560 or click here to register online. The talk begins at 2:00PM




comments: 0 | permalink | Published: Sunday, 16 February, 2014, 12:00 PM

This Week @ MHS

On Tuesday, 11 February, join us at 5:15PM for an Environmental History seminar as Brian McCammack of Williams College presents "'A tacit proclamation of achievement by the Race': Landscapes Built With African American Civilian Conservation Corps Labor in the Rural Midwest." This paper seeks to show not only how the young men of the Civilian Conservation Corps changed rural landscapes, but how those landscapes often changed them as well. McCammack explores the understudied implications of tens of thousands of young African American men in unexpected places during the Depression years: the forests and fields of the rural North. Neil Maher, NJIT --Rutgers University Newark Federated History Department, provides the comment. Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.

The next day, Wednesday, 12 February, come by at 5:30PM for Created Equal: The Loving Story, a special film screening and discussion. Mildred and Richard Loving knew it was technically illegal for them to live as a married couple in Virginia because she was of African American and Native American descent and he was white. The Loving Story, nominated for an Emmy in 2013, brings to life the Lovings’ marriage and the legal battle that followed. Discussion will be facilitated by Joanne Pope Melish, University of Kentucky. Registration is required at no cost for this event. To Reserve: Click here to register online or call  the MHS reservations line at 617-646-0560.

And on Thursday, 13 February, is the next installment of the History of Women and Gender seminar series. Gloria Whiting of Harvard University and commenter Barbara Krauthamer of UMass-Amherst present "'How can the wife submit?' African Families Negotiate Gender and Slavery in New England." This paper discusses various ways in which the everyday realities of slavery shaped gender relations in Afro-New England families. While the structure of slave families in the region was unusually matriarchal, these families nonetheless exhibited a number of patriarchal tendencies. Enslaved African families in New England therefore complicate the assumption of much scholarship that the structure of slave families defined their normative values. This seminar is free and open to the public; RSVP required. Talk begins at 5:30PM. Please note that this seminar is held at the Schlesinger Library, Harvard University.

Please note that the Society is closed on Monday, 17 February, in observance of President's Day. Normal hours resume on Tuesday, 18 February.

comments: 0 | permalink | Published: Sunday, 9 February, 2014, 12:00 PM

This Week @ MHS

With a new month comes a long period with a lot of public programming here at the Society. Keep your eyes on our events calendar this week and in the weeks to come to see what we have on tap. Kicking things off this week on Tuesday, 4 February, is the next installment of our Early American History Seminar series. "Law and the American Revolution" is a panel discussion that considers the state of the field of scholarship on the American Revolution as it relates to legal history. This scholarship is poised to accelerate and move in innovative directions as the 250th anniversary of the Stamp Act approaches. Alan Rogers of Boston College moderates the discussion among Sarah Bilder, Boston College Law School; T.H. Breen, University of Vermont and Huntington Library; Bruce Mann of Harvard Law School; and Kent Newmeyer, University of Connecticut. Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required. Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers. Discussion begins at 5:15PM

On Wednesday, 5 February, stop by at 12:00PM for "'Dam all pumpkin states': King Williams War in the North and Colonial Legitimacy." In this Brown Bag talk, Kate Moore of Boston University shares information about her project to find out how Puritan divines and a German militia captain used war with the French to legitimate their authority to colonists, colonial leaders, and Native American allies. The project also seeks to explain how they justified strategy, finance, and diplomacy during this late-17th century colonial conflict. Brown Bag talks are free and open to the public.

Finally, on Thursday, 6 February, join us again at noon for "Boston's Mayor James Michael Curley: The Quintessential Politician & Public Works Patron." In honor of the 100th anniversary of the first election as Mayor of Boston of perhaps the most prolific politician in Massachusetts history, this talk will highlight the building of public works in Boston during Curley's time in office. This talk is presented by Lawrence Overlan who has been researching, teaching, speaking, and writing about James Michael Curley for over a decade. This public program is free and open to the public.

comments: 0 | permalink | Published: Sunday, 2 February, 2014, 4:04 PM

This Week @ MHS

Welcome back to the Beehive for this week's events update. We have one more quiet week here at the Society in January before the onslaught of activity in February. Join us on Tuesday, 28 January, for "Making a Workforce, Unmaking a Working class: The Development of 'Human Capital' in Houston, 1900-1980." In this Immigration and Urban History Seminar, Bryant Etheridge of Harvard University discusses the emergence of access to quality, job-relevant education and training as a central economic issue among 1960s civil rights activists in Houston. Etheridge's paper takes issue with a central aspect of the Long Civil Rights Movement historiography, which typically labels education desegregation and reform issues of social equality. In fact, African Americans and Mexican Americans fought for them because they believed them to be vital and urgent economic issues. John R. Harris, Boston University, provides comment for the seminar which begins at 5:15PM. Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required. Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.

comments: 0 | permalink | Published: Sunday, 26 January, 2014, 12:00 PM

This Week @ MHS

After a busy week here at the Society we are slowing things down a bit with a shortened week. The MHS is closed on Monday, 20 January, in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day and will re-open at the normal time on Tuesday, 21 January. Our only scheduled event takes place on Wednesday, 22 January, as the Society welcomes James O'Connell of the National Parks Service for a public author talk. Drawing on his recent book, The Hub's Metropolis: Greater Boston's Development from Railroad Suburbs to Smart Growth, urban historian O'Connell will present an illustrated talk about how metropolitan Boston has been shaped by distinct eras of suburbanization, with each one producing a land use development pattern that is still apparent on the regional landscape. This program is open to the public, reservations requested. Click here to register online or call the MHS reservations line at 617-646-0560. A pre-talk reception begins at 5:30PM and the talk begins at 6:00PM.

"The Cabinetmaker & the Carver: Four centuries of Massachusetts Furniture" is now closed. The next exhibit will feature material from the MHS collections and other institutions. "Tell It With Pride: The 54th Massachusetts Regiment and Augustus Saint-Gaudens' Shaw Memorial" is scheduled to open to the public on Friday, 21 February, so be sure to mark your calendar!




comments: 0 | permalink | Published: Sunday, 19 January, 2014, 12:00 PM

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