On May 16, 2012, the MHS honored Gordon S. Wood as the 11th recipient of the John F. Kennedy Medal. Awarded to persons who have rendered distinguished service to the cause of history, it is the highest award given by the Society. Wood, a Corresponding Fellow of the MHS since 2002 and the Alva O. Way University Professor at Brown University, was presented the medal as part of the Society’s Annual Meeting. In remarks to MHS Fellows and Members he spoke about the way in which history writing has divided between the academics who write for one another and the growing numbers of popular non-academic historians who write for the general reading public.
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At the turn of the 20th-century, Edmund March Wheelwright was the Boston City Architect, a board member of the American Institute of Architects, and designer of several notable buildings in Boston including the Massachusetts Historical Society's home on Boylston Street. He also designed the Harvard Lampoon Castle. Along with an overview of Wheelwright's life and accomplishments, Wheelwright and Lampoon enthusiasts discuss the design and inspiration for the Castle.
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The New England Puritans’ fascination with the legacy of the Jewish religion has been well documented, but their interactions with actual Jews have escaped sustained historical attention. Michael Hoberman's New Israel/New England tells the story of the Sephardic merchants who traded and sojourned in Boston and Newport between the mid-seventeenth century and the era of the American Revolution. It also explores the complex and often contradictory meanings that the Puritans attached to Judaism and the fraught attitudes that they bore toward the Jews as a people. Hoberman conducted research for his book while on an MHS-NEH Long-term Fellowship in 2008-2009.
With Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (1773), Phillis Wheatley (1753?-1784) became the first English-speaking person of African descent to publish a book and only the second woman--of any race or background--to do so in America. Written in Boston while she was just a teenager, and when she was still a slave, Wheatley's work was an international sensation. In Phillis Wheatley, Vincent Carretta offers the first full-length biography of a figure whose origins and later life have remained shadowy despite her iconic status.
In the early twentieth century, the Boston Red Sox rode major league baseball like a colossus, capturing four World Series titles in seven seasons. Blessed with legendary players like Babe Ruth, Tris Speaker, Harry Hooper, and Smokey Joe Wood, and a brand new, thoroughly modern stadium, the Red Sox reigned as kings of the Deadball Era. Just in time for the centenary of baseball's hallowed Fenway Park and the dawn of the Red Sox dynasty, Tom Whalen gracefully recounts the rise and fall of one of baseball's greatest teams.
Rebecca Eaton, executive producer of PBS Masterpiece and Stephen Marini, Elisabeth Luce Moore professor of religion at Wellesley College
Part of the Massachusetts Historical Society’s Creating the Past Conversation Series, Rebecca Eaton, executive producer of PBS Masterpiece, and Stephen Marini, Elisabeth Luce Moore professor of religion at Wellesley College, discuss how historical dramas have shaped popular perceptions of past eras. Creating the Past: History Through the Popular Arts is the 2009-2010 series theme and features professionals who bring history to popular audiences through music, literature, drama, and the visual arts.
Pauline Maier, William Rand Kenan, Jr. Professor of American History at MIT
MHS Trustee Pauline Maier of MIT discusses her book, Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788, which tells the dramatic story of the two-year debate over the ratification of the Constitution, filled with chicanery and statesmanship, drawing on the speeches and letters of founding fathers on both sides of the debate--the first new account of this seminal moment in American history in decades.
Governor and Mrs. Deval Patrick, the Kennedys, and the Dukakises celebrate the publication of a new book of the letters of President John and First Lady Abigail Adams. This is the first collection of their letters selected from the entire 40 years span of their correspondence and includes several letters never before published.
Hubie Jones assistant to chancellor, Urban Affairs, UMass Boston
For more than 40 years, Hubie Jones has played a key role in the formation, rebuilding, and leadership of at least 30 organizations within the black community and across Boston. While at UMass Boston, Jones has worked to build the City to City Program, an initiative in which Boston's corporate, government, and nonprofit leaders visit cities in the U.S. and abroad to learn how their urban leaders solve problems. He is dean emeritus of the Boston University School of Social Work, where he served as professor and dean from 1977 to 1993. He was BU's first African-American dean. For eight months in 1992, he was acting president of Roxbury Community College. Jones has served on numerous nonprofit boards in the Greater Boston area. He is the founder of the Massachusetts Advocacy Center, where he served as board president for ten years. He is a trustee of the Foley, Hoag and Eliot Foundation, and has served on the boards of City Year and the Conservation Law Foundation.