MHS News

MHS Council of Overseers

In June 2009, the MHS Board of Trustees voted to establish a new Council of Overseers to provide the expertise, thoughtful guidance, and support to advise on the future of the MHS during this unprecedented era of change for the humanities. Elected by the Board of Trustees for four-year terms, the first class of Overseers consists of 21 individuals, although the number will eventually grow to 40. The new group met for the first time on 6 April 2010. The meeting was a great success, consisting of introductions, an orientation and tour, a discussion of the challenges that the Society faces, a presentation by longtime MHS Trustee and eminent historian Bernard Bailyn on the significance of the Society and its collections, and a dinner with the MHS officers and managers. They will convene again in October to meet the challenges ahead.

Benjamin C. Adams
Ben Adams is a healthcare investment banker who has worked with a wide range of transactions for both profit and nonprofit healthcare service providers. He is active in historical preservation and currently serves as chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Adams Memorial Foundation in Washington, DC, president of the Adams Memorial Society, and as a member of the Board of Supervisors of the Adams Temple and School Fund.

Frederick D. Ballou
Fred Ballou is a private trustee at Loring, Wolcott and Coolidge.  While he will maintain an office at the firm he is actively stepping down from his trusteeships. Mr. Ballou is a governor of the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University, a trustee of the Gaston Lachaise Foundation, and a member of the board of both the New England Quarterly and the Paul Revere Memorial Association.  A voracious reader, he has a great interest in American history—the colonial period in particular.

Robert Baron
Robert Baron has been a member of the Massachusetts Historical Society since 1984 and was the organizer of the conference on the libraries of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson held in Boston and Charlottesville in June 2009. He is the author or editor of 25 books, including Pioneers and Plodders: The American Entrepreneurial Spirit, Hudson: The Story of a River, 20th Century America: 100 Influential People, Heaven and Nature Sing: Land, Wilderness and Writers, What Was It Like Orville: Observations on the Early Space Program, and Digital Logic and Computer Operations. Mr. Baron was program manager for the Mariner II (Venus) and the Mariner IV (Mars) onboard space computers, the founder of Prime Computer—which became one of the Fortune 500 largest American companies—the founder of Fulcrum Publishing, and the founder of 3rd, an educational program for older Americans.

Anne Brooke
Anne Brooke is a former participant in the fields of decorative arts and historic preservation in New England, where she worked on the restoration of the Lyman Estate in Waltham, Massachusetts.  She was the chairman of the Board of the Concord Museum and raised the money necessary to modernize the museum with a sizeable new building addition.  Ms. Brooke is an honorary overseer of the Museum of Fine Arts, a visitor to the Harvard Art Museums, and an overseer of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  She is the former vice president of the Mass Audubon Society and trustee of the Friends of the Public Gardens.

Levin H. Campbell, Jr.
Lee Campbell, a fellow of the MHS, is a middle-school history and English teacher who has also split time with school administration.  Earlier in his career he worked in museum education at the USS Constitution Museum and Mystic Seaport.  For many years Mr. Campbell worked at Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center in Boston as the assistant head of a school program for middle-school-age inner city youth. He is a trustee of the Sea Education Association in Woods Hole, as well as treasurer of the Freelance Players and Urban Improv, a violence prevention program based in Boston.

Edward Cooke
Edward Cooke, Jr., the Charles F. Montgomery Professor of American Decorative Arts in the Department of the History of Art at Yale University, has published extensively on both historical and contemporary material culture.  Among his books are Making Furniture in Pre-industrial America: The Social Economy of Newtown and Woodbury Connecticut and Upholstery in America and Europe from the Seventeenth Century to World War I.  He has also historicized and explicated more recent forms of modern craft as a co-curator and author of several different exhibitions including Inspiring Reform: Boston’s Arts and Crafts MovementWood Turning in North America since 1930, The Maker’s Hand: American Studio Furniture, 1940-1990, and Inspired by China: Contemporary Furniture Makers Explore Chinese Traditions.

Francis Coolidge
Francis Coolidge is a partner at the law firm Ropes & Gray LLP. He currently serves on boards at Charity of Edward Hopkins, Coloy Memorial, Ellison Foundation, Harvard School of Public Health, Hermes Foundation, International Cancer Foundation, Partners Healthcare Systems, and the Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society. He was a former board member of the American Cancer Society and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Deborah Gates
Deborah Gates was a commercial banker in the international division of Bank of Boston before leaving as an assistant vice president to raise a family. She joined the Board of Governors of Gore Place, a federal house museum in Waltham, in 1998, and has been president of the board since 2003.

Peter J. Gomes
The Reverend Peter John Gomes, Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church, Harvard University, has served in the Memorial Church since 1970.  A member of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and of the Faculty of Divinity of Harvard University, he is widely regarded as one of America’s most distinguished preachers and fulfills preaching and lecturing engagements throughout America and the United Kingdom. Dr. Gomes holds many honors including Harvard University’s Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Award and the Phillips Brooks House Association Outstanding Supporter Award as well as the Roosevelt Institute Freedom of Religion Award.  He is an honorary fellow of Emmanuel College, The University of Cambridge, England, where the Gomes Lectureship is established in his name.

Bayard Henry
Bayard Henry, a self-employed venture capitalist, has served on the boards of a number of local institutions, including the Boston Athenaeum, Trinity Church Foundation, and New England Forestry Foundation.

Amalie M. Kass
Amalie Kass became familiar with the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society while doing research for her biography of Dr. Walter Channing, Midwifery and Medicine in Boston, and joined as a member in 1991. In 1995 she was elected a Fellow. She began her service on the Board of Trustees as a member-at-large in 1996, was vice chair in 2000-2001, and chair from 2002 to 2009.  She remains on the Board and is presently a member of the Governance and Development Committees, as well as chair of the Council of Overseers. She presently holds an appointment as Lecturer on the History of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.  In addition to the Channing book, she has published another biography, Perfecting the World: Dr. Thomas Hodgkin, 1798-1866 (coauthored with her late husband, Dr. Edward H. Kass), as well as numerous essays and journal articles.

Catherine Lastavica
Catherine C. Lastavica is a retired physician who specialized in infectious disease and public health.  She was a member of the Department of Tropical Public Health at Harvard. In recent years, Ms. Lastavica has been interested in land conservation and has served as a trustee with the Trustees of Reservations.

Emily Lewis
Emily Lewis, a Fellow at the MHS, has served on the organization’s Collections Committee. Ms. Lewis inherited three weekly newspapers on the coast of Maine from her late husband, Richard Saltonstall, Jr. She ran the award-winning papers for a decade before selling them in 1991. Since then, Ms. Lewis has taken classes in landscape design and photography through the Radcliffe Seminars as well as the Maine Media Workshops.

George Lewis
George Lewis, a partner at Saltonstall & Company, was previously a partner of both Thorndike, Doran, Paine & Lewis and Wellington Management Company. He serves on the board of the Peabody Museum and Wentworth Institute and is a trustee of Middlesex School. Mr. Lewis is a member of The Boston Security Analysts Society, Inc., and is on the Board of Governors of the Bay Club.

Nathaniel Philbrick
Nat Philbrick, author of In the Heart of the Sea, Sea of Glory, and Mayflower, has used the collections at the MHS for his research.  His most recent book, The Last Stand, is an account of the Battle of Little Bighorn. He has begun work on a book about the early years of the American Revolution in Boston, climaxing with the Battle of Bunker Hill. He is the founding director of the Egan Maritime Institute on Nantucket.

George Putnam
George Putnam is a retired investment company executive and trustee, and until the year 2000 he was chairman of both Putnam Investments and the Putnam Mutual Funds. Mr. Putnam is a trustee or honorary trustee of a number of institutions including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, WGBH Educational Foundation, the Peabody Essex Museum, and the Massachusetts General Hospital. He has served on the boards of several colleges—including Wellesley and Harvard—and was a professional corporate director, serving on the boards of General Mills, Houghton Mifflin, Freeport McMoran, and Mallinckrodt among others.

Byron Rushing
Byron Rushing serves the Ninth Suffolk district in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Elected in 1982, he serves as the Second Assistant Majority Leader. His priorities are human and civil rights and liberties; local human, economic, and housing development; environmental justice; and health care. Mr. Rushing is an elected deputy to the General Convention of The Episcopal Church. He is a founding member of the Episcopal Urban Caucus, and he serves on the boards of the Episcopal Women's Caucus and the Episcopal Network for Economic Justice.

Polly Saltonstall
Polly Saltonstall has 20 years of experience writing, editing and managing newspapers. A freelance writer, she has been published in the New York Times, the Bangor Daily News, and Cooking Light magazine, among other publications. She received honorable mention for coverage of substance abuse issues from the Nancy Dickerson Whitehead Awards as well as several New England Press Association awards. Ms. Saltonstall is president of the board of the Penobscot Marine Museum.

Stephen Swensrud
In a finance career with an emphasis on venture capital and investment management, Steve Swensrud has been a director or trustee of numerous operating companies and investment funds. He is currently a principal of Fernwood Advisors, Inc. Mr. Swensrud has been active as a trustee and/or officer of many academic and medical institutions including the Park School, the Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and the Dana-Farber Cancer Research Institute.

John Thorndike
John Thorndike, a retired vice president and trust officer at Fiduciary Trust Company, was employed in the investment management field for over 40 years. He served as a trustee of Provident Institution for Savings, was both a member and president of The Massachusetts Health and Educational Facilities Authority, and was the director of numerous Eaton Vance Mutual Funds. Mr. Thorndike has served on the boards of many nonprofits including Mass Audubon Society, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, New England Historical Genealogical Society, and Robert Breck Brigham Hospital. He has also been a very active participant on many Town of Dover committees and has served as the town moderator.

W. Nicholas Thorndike
W. Nicholas Thorndike was a founder of Thorndike, Doran, Paine, & Lewis, which later merged with Wellington Management Co. He was chairman and managing partner of Wellington Management from 1966 to1988.  He has been active as a corporate director and trustee since 1988 and has served as chairman of the board of Massachusetts General Hospital.

John Winthrop
John Winthrop is a trustee, asset manager, and tree farmer in South Carolina.  On Wall Street he was an employee and director of Wood, Struthers & Winthrop, and also the acquiring firm Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. Mr. Winthrop has served on the Visiting Committee of History at Harvard and writes occasional articles on history and other subjects for various publications.  He has also served as a director of several for-profit and numerous not-for-profit organizations.  He is currently chairman of Ivanhoe Plantation, Inc. in Allendale, South Carolina and founder and president of John Winthrop & Co.

Image: ©2010 Laura Wulf


Published: Wednesday, 12 May, 2010, 12:41 PM