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October 2014

Fifth Annual Cocktails with Clio Featuring David Hackett Fischer

Cocktails with Clio 2014Join us on Friday, 7 November, at the fifth annual Cocktails with Clio for a festive evening and fascinating conversation with MHS Fellow, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and historian David Hackett Fischer. With a flair for writing and a range of subject matter, Fischer is known for his meticulous reconstruction of famous events and his ability to bring history to life. The University Professor and Warren Professor of History at Brandeis University, Prof. Fischer is the recipient of many prizes and awards for his teaching and writing. His books include Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America, Liberty and Freedom: A Visual History of America's Founding Ideas, Paul Revere's Ride, and Washington's Crossing, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in history. Spanning time, place, and culture, Prof. Fischer's books dispel much of the popular myth and legend associated with well-known historical events. Tickets are $250 per person and can be purchased online at

Recently Launched! Nine Fully Digitized Civil War Collections

Peirce letterReading handwritten letters and documents by men who experienced Civil War battles and military life can be riveting. The Society recently completed a project to digitize and make available nine collections of Civil War manuscripts. Visitors can examine digital facsimiles of over 9,000 pages including letters from Charles Briggs, a surgeon serving in the 54th Regiment; letters from Edward Peirce, a16-year-old drummer who later served as a private, describing routine life within a military unit; and warm and informative letters from Capt. Richard Cary in the 2nd Regiment to his wife. Read more about these Civil War collections..

Join Us on 13 October for Opening Our Doors

Opening Our Doors 2014The MHS is honored to celebrate the 13th annual Opening Our Doors festival on Monday, 13 October. While the library will be closed for the Columbus Day holiday, the gallery spaces will be open from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM. On this day, the institutions that make up the Fenway Alliance along with community partner organizations welcome neighbors near and far to enjoy an unparalleled array of free activities for everyone, including performances, tours, exhibitions, and films. Visitors to the MHS will be able to enjoy the Society's fall exhibition Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country: Massachusetts Women in the First World War. Visit to learn more about the events of the day..

MHS to Host the First Boston Summer Seminar

Boston Summer SeminarFrom 1 to 18 June 2015, the MHS will host the first Boston Summer Seminar developed for the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) by Natalie Dykstra (Hope College), Anna Clutterbuck-Cook (MHS), and Hanna Clutterbuck-Cook (Harvard University). Faculty-student research teams from GLCA colleges will spend three weeks in Boston conducting intensive primary-source research at MHS, the Schlesinger Library (Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University), the Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Harvard University), and Northeastern University's Archives & Special Collections. Proposals from GLCA faculty are invited by 16 January 2016. For more information please visit

American Revolution Conference Registration Now Open

American Revolution Conference 2015Infusing new energy into the study of the American Revolution will be at the top of the agenda next April when the Society hosts a major scholarly conference on the subject. "'So Sudden an Alteration': The Causes, Course, and Consequences of the American Revolution" will take place at the MHS 9 to 11 April. The program will pay special attention to new ways to understand the political roots and consequences of the crisis.

The conference will feature a keynote address by Abigail Adams author Woody Holton, "'Not Yet': The Originality Crisis in American Revolution Studies." It will also include nine sessions, a proposal by Brendan McConville of Boston University offering a new approach to thinking about the conflict, and a wrap-up discussion. The program will provide an introduction to Annotated Newspapers of Harbottle Dorr, Jr. and offer a visit to the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library.

Presenters will not read their papers at the conference; instead, sessions will focus on the discussion of academic essays circulated in advance of the event. Support for the conference includes grants from the David Library of the American Revolution, Boston University, and Williams College, as well as a gift from an anonymous donor. To register, please visit

MHS Fellows and Members—Free Admission to the Ellis Boston Antique Show

23 to 26 OctoberEllis Boston Antique Show
The Ellis Boston Antique show, featuring exhibitors of the highest quality from the United States and Europe offering antiques, 20th-century and modern design, jewelry, fine art, silver, antiquities, tribal arts, decorative arts, rare maps and prints and more, will take place 23 to 26 October at the Cyclorama, located at the Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont Street, Boston, Mass. MHS Pres. Dennis Fiori serves on the show's Preservation Committee. Due to the Society's relationship with the show, we are pleased to offer complimentary weekend admission to all MHS Fellows and Members. Print and complete the admission form. Present the form at the box office the weekend of the show to be admitted free of charge. For details, including weekend hours, call 617-363-0405, or visit

Sign Up to Attend MHS Seminars

MHS Seminar RoomThe MHS seminars are now in full swing. If you haven't already registered for your favorite series, we invite you to do so today. Subscribe to the Boston Area Early American History Seminar, the Boston Immigration and Urban History Seminar, or the Boston Environmental History Seminar and receive access to the essays for all three series—21 sessions in all! Subscribe to the Boston Seminar on the History of Women and Gender to attend four sessions that alternate between the Society and the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe, and receive advance access to the papers that will be discussed. Or support the New England Biography Seminar, three sessions of lively conversation followed by a wine and cheese reception. Visit for more information.

Tour the World of Flemish and Dutch Art and Architecture with Dennis Fiori and Peter Lauritzen

18 to 30 March 2015Cover of brochure
Join us for an 11-day tour that has been crafted to emphasize the great treasures of Flemish and Dutch art and architecture. The tour begins in Bruges, one of the most picturesque medieval cities surviving in northern Europe and the most important center of devotional 15th-century oil painting on panel. Travel from Bruges to Ghent, Brussels, Antwerp, and Amsterdam while exploring the extraordinary and unexpected riches of paintings, architecture, and the decorative arts. Special visits to townhouse museums, royal residences, and museums, including the newly redecorated and re-opened Rembrandt House, will enable travelers to see furnishings and tapestries and to explore "Old Master" paintings. We will also visit the newly opened Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh in Amsterdam to see the largest collection of the great Dutch painter's work on view anywhere in the world. For more information, including program and pricing details, please call 617-646-0572.

Looking at the Civil War: Massachusetts Finds Her Voice

October 1864: "Men cannot be soldiers without being free . . ."

Letter from Fanny HooperLetter from Fanny Hooper to Lilian Clark, 12 October 1814

"Men cannot be soldiers without being free, and to ask a black man to fight to sustain slavery was out of the question," opines Fanny Chapin Hooper, a native of Boston, Mass., in this 12 October 1864 letter to Lilian Freeman Clarke. Fanny formulated her views after reading a series of Richmond Enquirer articles, reprinted in the New York Times, endorsing the arming of the slaves for the Confederate Army. Read more about Fanny Hooper.

On View

Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country: Massachusetts Women in the First World War

Margaret Hall photoTo commemorate the centennial of the outbreak of World War I, the MHS has organized this exhibition focusing on two of the hundreds of women from the Commonwealth who went to France as members of the U.S. armed forces, the Red Cross, and other war relief organizations. From the Society's extraordinary collection of women's remembrances, the exhibition features photographs, letters, diaries, and memorabilia related to Margaret Hall and Eleanor (Nora) Saltonstall, Red Cross volunteers in France. The exhibition highlights Hall's large-format photographs of the battlefront on loan from the Cohasset Historical Society. Both women were keen observers of the climactic months of the war and depicted what they witnessed in vivid detail. Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country is open at the MHS through 24 January 2015.

Visit, a companion website featuring 246 of Hall's photographs and 29 other illustrative items from the Society's typescript of her memoir.

The new edition of Hall's previously unpublished memoir of her World War I experiences is available for purchase:

The exhibition is open to the public, Monday through Saturday, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

MHS Events Calendar

Monday, 13 October 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM

MHS Open House

Tuesday, 14 October 5:15 PM

Boston Environmental History Seminar
Finding Meaning & Debating Value in a Historical Landscape
David Benac, Western Michigan University
Registration required

Wednesday, 15 October 12:00 PM

The Role of the Military within Imperial Security Policy, 1685-1689
Rachael Abbiss, University of Chester

Wednesday, 15 October 6:00 PM

Rebels in Vermont! The St. Albans Raid
J. Kevin Graffagnino, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
Pre-talk reception at 5:30
There is a $10 fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members)
Registration required

Friday, 17 October, to Saturday, 18 October 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Teacher Workshop
Massachusetts Women & the First World War
There is a $75 fee
Registration required

Saturday, 18 October 10:00 AM

MHS Tour
The History & Collections of the MHS

Tuesday, 21 October 12:00 PM

Author Talk
Civil War Boston
Barbara Berenson

Tuesday, 21 October 5:15 PM

Boston Area Early American History Seminar
Popular U.S. Enthusiasm for Latin American Independence, 1810-1825
Caitlin A. Fitz, Northwestern University
Registration required

Saturday, 25 October 10:00 AM

MHS Tour
The History & Collections of the MHS

Tuesday, 28 October 5:15 PM

Boston Immigration and Urban History Seminar
At the Crossroads: Charros, Cowboys, & Capitalists in San Antonio, Texas
Laura Barraclough, Yale University
Registration required

Wednesday, 29 October 12:00 PM

The Power of Women's Words in Puritan New England: Gossip, Rumor, & Reputation in a Culture of Surveillance
Melissa Johnson, University of Michigan

Wednesday, 29 October 5:30 PM

Special Event
Honoring Pauline Maier (1938–2013)
Gordon S. Wood, Alva O. Way University Professor and Professor of History Emeritus, Brown University
The evening will begin with a reception at 5:30, followed by the talk at 6:00
Registration required

Saturday, 1 November 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Teacher Workshop
Sources & Stories of the American Revolution
There is a $100 fee
Registration required

Saturday, 1 November 10:00 AM

MHS Tour
The History & Collections of the MHS

Wednesday, 5 November 12:00 PM

Choosing Challenges
Gavin Kleespies, Massachusetts Historical Society

Wednesday, 5 November 6:00 PM

Author Talk
The Rising at Roxbury Crossing: Boston 1919
James Redfearn
Pre-talk reception at 5:30
There is a $10 fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members)
Registration required

Thursday, 6 November 5:30 PM

New England Biography Seminar
Understanding the Presidency: Personality, Politics, & Policy
Evan Thomas, Kathleen Dalton, and David Michaelis
Moderator: Ted Widmer
Registration required

Friday, 7 November 6:00 PM

Special Event
Cocktails with Clio featuring David Hackett Fischer
Tickets are $250 per person
Registration required

All events are free and open to the public and held at the MHS unless otherwise noted. Reservations are requested for most events. There is a charge to receive seminar papers in advance.

For complete event and RSVP information, visit the MHS online calendar:

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