August

MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 27 August 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 90-minute docent-led ...

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 90-minute docent-led walk through our public rooms. The tour is free, open to the public, with no need for reservations. If you would like to bring a larger party (8 or more), please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

While you're here you will also have the opportunity to view our current exhibition: Turning Points in American History.

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September
Library Closed, Galleries Open Labor Day 3 September 2016.Saturday, all day The MHS library is closed; the exhibition galleries are open, 10:00AM-4:00PM.

The MHS library is closed; the exhibition galleries are open, 10:00AM-4:00PM.

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Building Closed Labor Day 5 September 2016.Monday, all day The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed.

The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed.

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Brown Bag To Serve and Grow: Catholic and Protestant Youth Volunteering in America, 1934-1973 7 September 2016.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Chris Staysniak, Boston College This project explores the development of youth volunteering in the United States in the twentieth ...

This project explores the development of youth volunteering in the United States in the twentieth century. Although this phenomenon is most closely associated with the Peace Corps, it was pioneered much earlier by a constellation of Catholic and Protestant organizations starting in the 1930s. In addition to charting the growth of youth volunteer programs, this project shows how the development of the volunteer was always as important as the actual service work he or she provided.

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Notice Library Closing at 4:15PM 8 September 2016.Thursday, all day The reading room closes at 4:00PM and the library closes at 4:15PM in preparation for an evening ...

The reading room closes at 4:00PM and the library closes at 4:15PM in preparation for an evening event. 

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Public Program The Past Has a Future 8 September 2016.Thursday, 5:00PM - 6:30PM Jonathan F. Fanton, President, American Academy of Arts and Sciences Evidence of waning public interest in history appears widespread--in declining visits to historic ...

Evidence of waning public interest in history appears widespread--in declining visits to historic sites, falling numbers of college majors, and a general decline in reading for pleasure. But does that tell the whole story of American engagement with the past? Jonathan Fanton takes up the recurring challenges in the relationship between historians and the public, and looks toward a better future for the discipline from the perspective of a leading learned society that bridges the humanities, the sciences, and the public good.

A reception will precede this presentation at 4:30 PM.

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Library Closed Library Closed 9 September 2016.Friday, all day The MHS library is closed for the day; the galleries remain open, 10:00AM-4:00PM.

The MHS library is closed for the day; the galleries remain open, 10:00AM-4:00PM.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 10 September 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 90-minute docent-led ...

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 90-minute docent-led walk through our public rooms. The tour is free, open to the public, with no need for reservations. If you would like to bring a larger party (8 or more), please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

While you're here you will also have the opportunity to view our current exhibition: Turning Points in American History.

More
Public Program, Author Talk, Presidents and Politics Series Confounding Father: Thomas Jefferson's Image in His Own Time 14 September 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Robert McDonald, United States Military Academy       Of all the founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson stood out as the most ...

 

 

 

Of all the founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson stood out as the most controversial and confounding. Loved and hated, revered and reviled, during his lifetime he served as a lightning rod for dispute. Jefferson anxiously monitored the development of his image. As president he even clipped expressions of praise and scorn from newspapers, pasting them in his personal scrapbooks. Historian Robert M. S. McDonald explores how Jefferson emerged as such a divisive figure. Bridging the gap between high politics and popular opinion, Confounding Father exposes how Jefferson’s bifurcated image took shape both as a product of his own creation and in response to factors beyond his control.

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More Turning Points Member Event, Special Event More Turning Points: Documents & Artifacts That Didn't Make the Cut 15 September 2016.Thursday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM This event is open only to MHS Fellows and Members Peter Drummey, Stephen T. Riley Librarian As part of the Society’s 225th anniversary celebration, the Board of Trustees and the ...

As part of the Society’s 225th anniversary celebration, the Board of Trustees and the President of the Massachusetts Historical Society cordially invite MHS Fellows and Members to a special program, reception, and chance to view Turning Points in American History.

6:00 PM
More Turning Points: Documents & Artifacts That Didn’t Make the Cut
Stephen T. Riley Librarian Peter Drummey
In his remarks, Peter Drummey will highlight some of the turning points that did not make it into the exhibition. Following the talk, head upstairs to view Turning Points in American History, socialize with friends, and enjoy a reception.

Seating is limited; RSVP by 9 September.

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Public Program, Author Talk, Presidents and Politics Series The Virgin Vote 21 September 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Jon Grinspan, Smithsonian         There was a time when young people were the most passionate ...

 

 

 

 

There was a time when young people were the most passionate participants in American democracy. In the second half of the nineteenth century--as voter turnout reached unprecedented peaks--young people led the way, hollering, fighting, and flirting at massive midnight rallies. Parents trained their children to be "violent little partisans," while politicians lobbied twenty-one-year-olds for their "virgin votes"—the first ballot cast upon reaching adulthood. In schoolhouses, saloons, and squares, young men and women proved that democracy is social and politics is personal, earning their adulthood by participating in public life. In a vivid evocation of this formative but forgotten world, Jon Grinspan recalls a time when struggling young citizens found identity and maturity in democracy.

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Special Event Graduate Student Reception 22 September 2016.Thursday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM Please RSVP   Calling all graduate students and faculty! Please join us on for our seventh annual Graduate Student ...

Calling all graduate students and faculty! Please join us on for our seventh annual Graduate Student Reception for students in history, American Studies, and related fields. Enjoy drinks and hors d’oeuvres as you meet colleagues from other universities working in your field. Take a behind-the scenes tour and learn about the resources the MHS offers to support your scholarship, from research fellowships to our seminar series.

RSVP to seminars@masshist.org

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 24 September 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 90-minute docent-led ...

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 90-minute docent-led walk through our public rooms. The tour is free, open to the public, with no need for reservations. If you would like to bring a larger party (8 or more), please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

While you're here you will also have the opportunity to view our current exhibition: Turning Points in American History.

More
Public Program The History and Future of Mass Innovation 27 September 2016.Tuesday, 8:00AM - 9:30AM Please RSVP   This program will be held in the Stratton Student Center at MIT - 84 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139 Tim Rowe, Cambridge Innovation Center; Janice Bourque, Hercules Capital; Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School; Travis McCready, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center; and Robert Krim, Framingham State University     The first use of anesthesia. The first phone call. The first venture capital firm. ...

 

 

The first use of anesthesia. The first phone call. The first venture capital firm. The first same sex marriage. Massachusetts is home to more world changing innovations than almost anywhere else on the planet. Why has Boston been the key center of social and technological innovations? Can it maintain this momentum? What can community and business leaders and local governments do to nurture the factors that promote innovation? Local innovators, investors and influencers share their insights and perspectives on the history and future of innovation in this region.

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Historicizing the War on Black Youth: Lessons from Los Angeles to Ferguson 27 September 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Donna Murch, Rutgers University Comment: Andrew Darien, Salem State University Drawing on the recent history of urban rebellions and punishment campaigns stemming from the late ...

Drawing on the recent history of urban rebellions and punishment campaigns stemming from the late 1960s, this presentation will place our current movement for black lives in historical context.  Of particular interest is the role played by female activists and the development of a queer feminist lens. Equally important is disaggregating the different tendencies from the local and regional protest in Ferguson and Baltimore to social network and non-profit mobilization. Particular attention will be paid to the overlapping wars on gangs and drugs as background.

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History of Women and Gender Seminar Developing Women: Global Poverty, U.S. Foreign Aid, and the Politics of Productivity in the 1970s 29 September 2016.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Location: Schlesinger Library Joanne Meyerowitz, Yale University Comment: Priya Lal, Boston College “Developing Women” is a chapter of a book-in-progress on U.S. involvement in campaigns ...

“Developing Women” is a chapter of a book-in-progress on U.S. involvement in campaigns to end global poverty in the 1970s and 1980s. This chapter focuses on the  “women in development” movement of the 1970s. It shows how indigent women came to be seen as potential “income generators” who were central to anti-poverty programs.

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October
Public Program, Conversation Begin at the Beginning: Sweet Talk - The Passion of Puritans in Letters, Diaries and Sermons 1 October 2016.Saturday, 1:00PM - 3:00PM Please RSVP   Lori Stokes and Sarah Stewart, Partnership of Historic Bostons When we think of love and passion, New England Puritans rarely come to mind. But that’s not ...

When we think of love and passion, New England Puritans rarely come to mind. But that’s not what their writings reveal – on the contrary. “Love was their banqueting house, love was their wine,” John Winthrop wrote to his wife Margaret. Join us in a discussion of Puritan writings to discover just how fervently they loved in marriage and in faith. 

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Public Program, Author Talk, Presidents and Politics Series John Quincy Adams: Militant Spirit 3 October 2016.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. James Traub, The New York Times Magazine     John Quincy Adams was the last of his kind—a Puritan from the age of the ...

 

 

John Quincy Adams was the last of his kind—a Puritan from the age of the Founders who despised party and compromise, yet dedicated himself to politics and government. He was a brilliant ambassador and secretary of state, a frustrated president at a historic turning point in American politics, and a dedicated congressman who literally died in office—at the age of 80, in the House of Representatives, in the midst of an impassioned political debate. Adams’ numerous achievements—and equally numerous failures—stand as testaments to his unwavering moral convictions. John Quincy Adams tells the story of this brilliant, flinty, and unyielding man whose life exemplified political courage.

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Early American History Seminar Reconsidering Slavery and Slave Law in Early Massachusetts 4 October 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Holly Brewer, University of Maryland Comment: Annettte Gordon-Reed, Harvard Law School The consensus among historians has largely been that Massachusetts was unexceptional in its ...

The consensus among historians has largely been that Massachusetts was unexceptional in its attitudes towards slavery; recent scholarship contends that the colony laid a foundation for enslavement and perpetuated its practices elsewhere. However, this paper emphasizes that there was considerable resistance to ideas of forced labor embedded within Puritan ideology as it offers a nuanced reading of the Massachusetts policy debates of the 1640s during the critical first period of slavery in the colonies.

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Brown Bag Reading Textiles as Text: An Examination of Pre-1750s Survivals at MHS 5 October 2016.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Kimberly Alexander, University of New Hampshire This project sets the experiences of fashion, consumerism, and consumption within a cosmopolitan ...

This project sets the experiences of fashion, consumerism, and consumption within a cosmopolitan Atlantic world that carried the elegant fancies of fashionable London to the gentility of provincial British America. The garments and textiles housed at the MHS offer insights into the ongoing debate over the process of Anglicization in pre-Revolutionary America. Particular attention will be paid to the textiles associated with the Byles and Hancock families in Boston.

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Brown Bag A Muss Among the Flunkies: Unruly Choristers and Instrumentalists in the Antebellum Opera 7 October 2016.Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Rachel Miller, University of Michigan In the decades before the Civil War, opera in the United States became a major financial and ...

In the decades before the Civil War, opera in the United States became a major financial and infrastructural undertaking that generated enormous attention from fans and investors alike. As a result, opera generated intense conflict about the manner in which this entirely new scale of entertainment would be produced. This presentation traces how “a muss among the flunkies”--the haphazard strikes of anonymous choristers and instrumentalists--grew into the nation's first performers' unions and protective associations, which in turn continue to shape our contemporary ideas and practices of creative work.

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Public Program Turning Point: The U.S. Constitution 7 October 2016.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Kyle Jenks, Reenactor   Kyle Jenks, a James Madison reenactor, will discuss Elbridge Gerry’s criticism of the ...

 

Kyle Jenks, a James Madison reenactor, will discuss Elbridge Gerry’s criticism of the Constitution.

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Library Closed, Galleries Open Columbus Day 10 October 2016.Monday, all day The MHS library is closed; the exhibition galleries are open, 10:00AM-4:00PM.

The MHS library is closed; the exhibition galleries are open, 10:00AM-4:00PM.

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Environmental History Seminar Uniting the United States with Lightning: Capitalism, Environments, and the Transcontinental Telegraph System in the United States, 1844-1861 11 October 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Edmund Russell, Boston University Comment: Merritt Roe Smith, MIT In 1861, the transcontinental telegraph was completed, allowing signals to be transmitted through ...

In 1861, the transcontinental telegraph was completed, allowing signals to be transmitted through wires from the Atlantic to the Pacific. This system, often overshadowed by the transcontinental railroad, advanced three great projects of American history: expanding capitalism, building the state, and conquering nature with technology. This essay focuses on the models of capital accumulation employed in building the telegraph and on the financial models and environments that made regional telegraph networks with different features.

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Brown Bag Henry Cabot Lodge and the Decline of the Eastern Establishment 12 October 2016.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Luke A. Nichter, Texas A&M University Senator, statesman, presidential advisor, and presidential candidate by popular demand, Henry Cabot ...

Senator, statesman, presidential advisor, and presidential candidate by popular demand, Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. and his national political career that stretched from the 1930s to the 1970s have up to now escaped biographical treatment. During the height of the Cold War, Lodge was consistently at the epicenter of power, whether in the Senate, Saigon, or his bipartisan roles serving four successive presidents from Kennedy to Nixon.

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Public Program Getting the MBTA Back-on-Track 12 October 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Brian Shortsleeve, MBTA Chief Administrator; James Rooney, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce; Chris Osgood, Chief of Streets, Transportation & Sanitation    Boston has been ambitious and innovative in thinking about transportation, we were the ...

  

Boston has been ambitious and innovative in thinking about transportation, we were the first American city to build a subway and the Big Dig was the largest urban infrastructure project in American history. Today, the metro area boasts one of the highest percentages of commuters that use public transit in the nation and the population is growing. However, despite this groundbreaking history and widespread use, public transportation in Boston is facing serious challenges. Brian Shortsleeve, the Chief Administrator for the MBTA, will discuss the steps the T is taking to control expenses while providing improved service. He will be joined by James Rooney and Chris Osgood for a discussion of the history of the MBTA, how the current situation came to be, and what we can expect in the future.

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Public Program Turning Point: Ether as an Anesthetic 14 October 2016.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Peter Drummey, Stephen T. Riley Librarian       The use of ether as an anesthetic may have been the greatest innovation ...

 

 

 

The use of ether as an anesthetic may have been the greatest innovation American has given the world, its first use in surgery and the revolution it produced will be explained by Peter Drummey.

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Special Event, Member Event Democracy in Crisis: Four Elections 19 October 2016.Wednesday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM This event is open only to MHS Fellows and Members. There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30 pm. As we approach an election that promises far reaching ramifications, we will look back at previous ...

As we approach an election that promises far reaching ramifications, we will look back at previous periods of tumult in American democracy. We find ourselves in a volatile moment in which globalization and the rise of the information economy have created great wealth but have also swept out the financial underpinnings of working class communities. A portion of the population feels unmoored and this coupled with a rise of nativist sentiment, violence between police and the public, and inflammatory political rhetoric has been testing our democracy. We will host a panel discussion of historians led by Ted Widmer. They will explore what can be learned from four previous presidential elections that took place during moments of crisis: the 1860 election which took place as the country approached disunion; the 1920 election on the heels of the first Red Scare; the 1952 election in the midst of McCarthyism, and the 1968 election which was marred by assassinations, protests, and war. The historians will tackle the legacies of these crises and the question of what this history suggests for our country’s current trajectory.

There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30 pm. The panel discussion will begin at 6:00 pm.

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Wooden lily pads carved at the Eliot School in 1910 Public Program Art, Craft and Reform: The Eliot School, Manual Arts Training and the Arts and Crafts Movement 20 October 2016.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP   There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Nonie Gadsden, Carolyn and Peter Lynch Curator of American Decorative Arts and Sculpture, Museum of Fine Arts The rapid rise of industrialization and immigration during the 19th century greatly affected ...

The rapid rise of industrialization and immigration during the 19th century greatly affected American society, especially in major cities such as Boston. Faced with the prospect of an unskilled or semi-skilled work force, many reform leaders sought out ways to provide the craft training that could benefit the well-being of the individual and society at large. In the 1870s, after 200 years of academic instruction, the Trustees of the Eliot School decided to explore more experimental modes of education to meet the new needs of its community. The School provided manual arts training for students of many backgrounds—from young boys and girls, to upper and middle class hobbyists, to immigrants seeking vocational education. Gadsden will place the efforts of the Eliot School in a larger context, exploring how the School related to rise of manual arts training and the advent of the Arts and Crafts Movement.

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Public Program Helen F. Stuart and the Birth of Spirit Photography in Boston 21 October 2016.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Felicity Tsering Chödron Hamer   Borne by the same ideas that founded Spiritualism in the nineteenth century, spirit ...

 

Borne by the same ideas that founded Spiritualism in the nineteenth century, spirit photographs are joint-portraits achieved posthumously, without use of a corpse, wherein the bereaved are visually united with the deceased. These enchanted mementos are said to have been ‘invented’ in 1861, in Boston, Massachusetts, by William H. Mumler. Spirit photographers typically worked with individuals who claimed mediumistic qualities in order to enable the appearance of the magical ‘extras’ of the deceased. The majority of mediums were women and the contributions of women to the production of spirit photography have been often limited to such enabling activities. Felicity Hamer argues for a more foundational placement of women within the narrative of personal mourning rituals.

 

Photo: Mrs. Helen F. Stuart, Woman at Table with Male Spirit, c. 1865. William L.Clements Library, University of Michigan 

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar “A Shiftless, Undesirable Class”: The Sexual Policing of Miami’s Bahamian Community in the Early Twentieth Century 25 October 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Julio Capó, University of Massachusetts—Amherst Comment: Michael Bronski, Harvard University This chapter is drawn from Professor Capó’s forthcoming book, Welcome to Fairyland, ...

This chapter is drawn from Professor Capó’s forthcoming book, Welcome to Fairyland, which chronicles the transnational forces that helped shape Miami's queer world from 1890 to 1940. In this chapter, Capó traces how urban authorities policed the perceived "suspect" sexualities of Miami's temporary and permanent settlers from the Bahamas and how their increased migration similarly informed gender and sexual norms on the archipelago.

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Ravishing Affection 26 October 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM This program will be held at the Old South Meeting House Frank Bremer, Millersville University of Pennsylvania More
Public Program, Presidents and Politics Series First Ladies 27 October 2016.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Jacqueline Berger     America’s First Ladies are iconic examples of such indispensable leadership ...

 

 

America’s First Ladies are iconic examples of such indispensable leadership qualities as resilience, courage, focus and agility. Author, historian, and nation speaker Jacqueline Berger, “The First Ladies Lady,” goes behind the scenes with pictures and stories that brings history to life and uncovers this remarkable “sorority of women.” Discover the real lives of ordinary women; wives, mothers, and daughters, who lived extraordinary lives both before and inside the White House.

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November
Early American History Seminar Rape, Recourse, and the Law of Seduction in the Early Republic 1 November 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required John Wood Sweet, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Comment: Richard D. Brown, University of Connecticut In New York City in 1793 Henry Bedlow was tried for, but not convicted of, the rape of Lanah Sawyer. ...

In New York City in 1793 Henry Bedlow was tried for, but not convicted of, the rape of Lanah Sawyer. This paper questions the success of the civil lawsuit for seduction that Sawyer’s step-father, John Callanan, brought one year later. The case offers a window into the use of civil law in sexual assault cases and prompts readers to consider how women struggling for recourse can become pawns in battles between men over money and masculine honor.

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Brown Bag The Long Life of Yazoo: Land Speculation, Finance, and Dispossession in the Southeastern Borderlands, 1789-1840 2 November 2016.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Franklin Sammons, University of California, Berkeley How did northern investors, financial markets, land speculation, and the law shape the dynamics of ...

How did northern investors, financial markets, land speculation, and the law shape the dynamics of Indian dispossession, territorial expansion, and slavery in the Deep South during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries? This research uses the Yazoo land sales to explore these questions. By providing a deep history of the Yazoo sales that focuses on the motives, strategies, and networks of speculators in Yazoo lands, as well as the particular political and economic context from which the sales emerged and in which their legal afterlife unfolded, this project offers new insights into the transformation of the Southeastern borderlands and emergence of the Cotton Kingdom.

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Presidents and Politics Series, Public Program Why Do We Still Have the Electoral College? 3 November 2016.Thursday, 6:30PM - 7:30PM There will be a reception from 5:30 to 6:30 before the program Alexander Keyssar, Harvard Kennedy School of Government   Every four years, millions of Americans find themselves asking why they choose their ...

 

Every four years, millions of Americans find themselves asking why they choose their presidents through the peculiar mechanism called the Electoral College―an arcane institution that narrows election campaigns to swing states and can permit the loser of the popular vote to become president. The Electoral College has had critics since the early nineteenth century, and over the years Congress has considered hundreds of constitutional amendments aimed at transforming the electoral system. Alex Keyssar traces the origins of the Electoral College as a much wrangled-over compromise among delegates to the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention who had no previous experience with electing a chief executive.

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Public Program, Conversation Begin at the Beginning: Lord of Misrule: Thomas Morton’s Battle with Puritan New England 5 November 2016.Saturday, 1:00PM - 3:00PM Please RSVP   E.J. Barnes, writer/illustrator of historical comics Maypoles and mayhem marked the unruly reign of Thomas Morton, the obstreperous neighbor of the ...

Maypoles and mayhem marked the unruly reign of Thomas Morton, the obstreperous neighbor of the Puritan New England colonies.  Led by E.J. Barnes, this discussion will explore her comic story of Morton’s conflict with Massachusetts and Plimoth in Colonial Comics: New England, 1620-1750.  We will also read and discuss Morton’s own witty and perceptive account of life in early New England, New English Canaan.

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Biography Seminar Conversation with Fredrik Logevall 10 November 2016.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Fredrik Logevall, Harvard University Moderator: Carol Bundy Carol Bundy (The Nature of Sacrifice: A Biography of Charles Russell Lowell, Jr., 1835-64) ...

Carol Bundy (The Nature of Sacrifice: A Biography of Charles Russell Lowell, Jr., 1835-64) will moderate this discussion with Fredrik Logevall, the Laurence D. Belfer Professor of International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Professor of History at Harvard University. His book Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam received the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for History. Logevall will discuss his current book project, a biography of John F. Kennedy.

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Building Closed Veteran's Day 11 November 2016.Friday, all day The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed. 

The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed. 

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Public Program, Author Talk New England Bound: Slavery and Colonization in Early America 14 November 2016.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Wendy Warren, Princeton University     Wendy Warren’s New England Bound reclaims the lives of long-forgotten enslaved ...

 

 

Wendy Warren’s New England Bound reclaims the lives of long-forgotten enslaved Africans and Native Americans in the seventeenth century. Based on new evidence, Warren links the growth of the northern colonies to the Atlantic slave trade, demonstrating how New England’s economy derived its vitality from the profusion of slave-trading ships coursing through its ports. Warren documents how Indians were systematically sold into slavery in the West Indies and reveals how colonial families like the Winthrop’s were motivated not only by religious freedom but also by their slave-trading investments.

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Environmental History Seminar Panel: Native Peoples, Livestock, and the Environment 15 November 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Katrina Lacher, University of Central Oklahoma, and Strother Roberts, Bowdoin College Comment: Nancy Shoemaker, University of Connecticut at Storrs In 1808, John Palmer Parker inaugurated rapid changes to Hawaii’s economy by building a beef ...

In 1808, John Palmer Parker inaugurated rapid changes to Hawaii’s economy by building a beef and hide industry that would facilitate the U.S. annexation of the archipelago. Lacher’s essay, “The Paniolos of Parker Ranch: Cattle Ranching on the Slopes of Mauna Kea,”  examines this site of environmental transformation and cultural exchange. Roberts’s paper, “A Dog’s History of Early New England: Indigenous Dogs in the Societies and Ecology of the Northeast,” argues that dogs should be considered as Native American livestock that were raised to fulfill a wide variety of tasks including serving as hunting partners and sources of meat. The essay further considers the mutal influences of European contact, the dog population, other wildlife, and human disease.

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Public Program, Author Talk John Adams's Republic: The One, the Few, and the Many 16 November 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Richard Alan Ryerson   Of all the founding fathers, Ryerson argues, John Adams may have worried the most about the ...

 

Of all the founding fathers, Ryerson argues, John Adams may have worried the most about the problem of social jealousy and political conflict in the new republic. Ryerson explains how these concerns, coupled with Adams’s concept of executive authority and his fear of aristocracy, deeply influenced his political mindset. How, Adams asked, could a self-governing country counter the natural power and influence of wealthy elites and their friends in government? Ryerson argues that he came to believe a strong executive could hold at bay the aristocratic forces that posed the most serious dangers to a republican society.

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Library Closed Library Closed 17 November 2016.Thursday, all day The MHS library is closed for the day.

The MHS library is closed for the day.

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Revolutionary Portraits - John Hancock Special Event Revolutionary Portraits from the Collections of the MHS 17 November 2016.Thursday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM SAVE THE DATE Join us for a fun and festive fundraising event that will feature portraits of founding fathers and ...

Join us for a fun and festive fundraising event that will feature portraits of founding fathers and other luminaries who shaped American’s Revolutionary period from the collections of the MHS. Enjoy a reception, peruse fabulous works of art, and learn about the artists and the people they portrayed. 

Tickets are $125 per person.

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Public Program Turning Point: The Newburg Address 18 November 2016.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM William Fowler Jr., Northeastern University     The Newburg Address as a turning point in American history is discussed, ensuring ...

 

 

The Newburg Address as a turning point in American history is discussed, ensuring civilian control of the government.

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Public Program, Conversation A Most Peculiar Institution: Slavery, Jim Crow, and the American University Today 21 November 2016.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Jonathan Holloway, Yale and Adriane Lentz-Smith, Duke       Most American universities that were founded before the Civil War profited ...

 

 

 

Most American universities that were founded before the Civil War profited from slavery. Some schools endowments were started with the help of family fortunes made from the slave economy while other colleges owned and sold people to bolster their financial position. Both before and after the Civil War, defenders of slavery and advocates of the inferiority of non-white peoples made their intellectual homes in American universities, even as they used these same sites to develop important arguments about the blessings of democracy. These complicated legacies are being critically reviewed and debated at institutions of higher education across the country. As Brown University's Committee on Slavery and Justice put it, "How do we reconcile those elements of our past that are gracious and honorable with those that provoke grief and horror?" And, critically, what role can a deeper understanding of history play in informing these conversations? Our program will explore these questions with two people actively engaged in the dialog.

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Building Closed Thanksgiving 24 November 2016.Thursday, all day The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed.

The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed.

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Library Closed, Galleries Open Thanksgiving 25 November 2016.Friday, all day More
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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS this event is free 27 August 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 90-minute docent-led walk through our public rooms. The tour is free, open to the public, with no need for reservations. If you would like to bring a larger party (8 or more), please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

While you're here you will also have the opportunity to view our current exhibition: Turning Points in American History.

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Library Closed, Galleries Open Labor Day 3 September 2016.Saturday, all day

The MHS library is closed; the exhibition galleries are open, 10:00AM-4:00PM.

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Building Closed Labor Day 5 September 2016.Monday, all day

The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed.

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Brown Bag To Serve and Grow: Catholic and Protestant Youth Volunteering in America, 1934-1973 this event is free 7 September 2016.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Chris Staysniak, Boston College

This project explores the development of youth volunteering in the United States in the twentieth century. Although this phenomenon is most closely associated with the Peace Corps, it was pioneered much earlier by a constellation of Catholic and Protestant organizations starting in the 1930s. In addition to charting the growth of youth volunteer programs, this project shows how the development of the volunteer was always as important as the actual service work he or she provided.

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Notice Library Closing at 4:15PM 8 September 2016.Thursday, all day

The reading room closes at 4:00PM and the library closes at 4:15PM in preparation for an evening event. 

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Public Program The Past Has a Future registration required at no cost 8 September 2016.Thursday, 5:00PM - 6:30PM Jonathan F. Fanton, President, American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Evidence of waning public interest in history appears widespread--in declining visits to historic sites, falling numbers of college majors, and a general decline in reading for pleasure. But does that tell the whole story of American engagement with the past? Jonathan Fanton takes up the recurring challenges in the relationship between historians and the public, and looks toward a better future for the discipline from the perspective of a leading learned society that bridges the humanities, the sciences, and the public good.

A reception will precede this presentation at 4:30 PM.

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Library Closed Library Closed 9 September 2016.Friday, all day

The MHS library is closed for the day; the galleries remain open, 10:00AM-4:00PM.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS this event is free 10 September 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 90-minute docent-led walk through our public rooms. The tour is free, open to the public, with no need for reservations. If you would like to bring a larger party (8 or more), please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

While you're here you will also have the opportunity to view our current exhibition: Turning Points in American History.

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Public Program, Author Talk, Presidents and Politics Series Confounding Father: Thomas Jefferson's Image in His Own Time registration required 14 September 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Robert McDonald, United States Military Academy

 

 

 

Of all the founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson stood out as the most controversial and confounding. Loved and hated, revered and reviled, during his lifetime he served as a lightning rod for dispute. Jefferson anxiously monitored the development of his image. As president he even clipped expressions of praise and scorn from newspapers, pasting them in his personal scrapbooks. Historian Robert M. S. McDonald explores how Jefferson emerged as such a divisive figure. Bridging the gap between high politics and popular opinion, Confounding Father exposes how Jefferson’s bifurcated image took shape both as a product of his own creation and in response to factors beyond his control.

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Member Event, Special Event More Turning Points: Documents & Artifacts That Didn't Make the Cut registration required at no cost 15 September 2016.Thursday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM This event is open only to MHS Fellows and Members Peter Drummey, Stephen T. Riley Librarian More Turning Points

As part of the Society’s 225th anniversary celebration, the Board of Trustees and the President of the Massachusetts Historical Society cordially invite MHS Fellows and Members to a special program, reception, and chance to view Turning Points in American History.

6:00 PM
More Turning Points: Documents & Artifacts That Didn’t Make the Cut
Stephen T. Riley Librarian Peter Drummey
In his remarks, Peter Drummey will highlight some of the turning points that did not make it into the exhibition. Following the talk, head upstairs to view Turning Points in American History, socialize with friends, and enjoy a reception.

Seating is limited; RSVP by 9 September.

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Public Program, Author Talk, Presidents and Politics Series The Virgin Vote registration required 21 September 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Jon Grinspan, Smithsonian

 

 

 

 

There was a time when young people were the most passionate participants in American democracy. In the second half of the nineteenth century--as voter turnout reached unprecedented peaks--young people led the way, hollering, fighting, and flirting at massive midnight rallies. Parents trained their children to be "violent little partisans," while politicians lobbied twenty-one-year-olds for their "virgin votes"—the first ballot cast upon reaching adulthood. In schoolhouses, saloons, and squares, young men and women proved that democracy is social and politics is personal, earning their adulthood by participating in public life. In a vivid evocation of this formative but forgotten world, Jon Grinspan recalls a time when struggling young citizens found identity and maturity in democracy.

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Special Event Graduate Student Reception Please RSVP   registration required at no cost 22 September 2016.Thursday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM

Calling all graduate students and faculty! Please join us on for our seventh annual Graduate Student Reception for students in history, American Studies, and related fields. Enjoy drinks and hors d’oeuvres as you meet colleagues from other universities working in your field. Take a behind-the scenes tour and learn about the resources the MHS offers to support your scholarship, from research fellowships to our seminar series.

RSVP to seminars@masshist.org

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS this event is free 24 September 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 90-minute docent-led walk through our public rooms. The tour is free, open to the public, with no need for reservations. If you would like to bring a larger party (8 or more), please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

While you're here you will also have the opportunity to view our current exhibition: Turning Points in American History.

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Public Program The History and Future of Mass Innovation Please RSVP   registration required at no cost 27 September 2016.Tuesday, 8:00AM - 9:30AM This program will be held in the Stratton Student Center at MIT - 84 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139 Tim Rowe, Cambridge Innovation Center; Janice Bourque, Hercules Capital; Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School; Travis McCready, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center; and Robert Krim, Framingham State University

 

 

The first use of anesthesia. The first phone call. The first venture capital firm. The first same sex marriage. Massachusetts is home to more world changing innovations than almost anywhere else on the planet. Why has Boston been the key center of social and technological innovations? Can it maintain this momentum? What can community and business leaders and local governments do to nurture the factors that promote innovation? Local innovators, investors and influencers share their insights and perspectives on the history and future of innovation in this region.

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Historicizing the War on Black Youth: Lessons from Los Angeles to Ferguson Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
27 September 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Donna Murch, Rutgers University Comment: Andrew Darien, Salem State University

Drawing on the recent history of urban rebellions and punishment campaigns stemming from the late 1960s, this presentation will place our current movement for black lives in historical context.  Of particular interest is the role played by female activists and the development of a queer feminist lens. Equally important is disaggregating the different tendencies from the local and regional protest in Ferguson and Baltimore to social network and non-profit mobilization. Particular attention will be paid to the overlapping wars on gangs and drugs as background.

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History of Women and Gender Seminar Developing Women: Global Poverty, U.S. Foreign Aid, and the Politics of Productivity in the 1970s Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
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29 September 2016.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM Location: Schlesinger Library Joanne Meyerowitz, Yale University Comment: Priya Lal, Boston College

“Developing Women” is a chapter of a book-in-progress on U.S. involvement in campaigns to end global poverty in the 1970s and 1980s. This chapter focuses on the  “women in development” movement of the 1970s. It shows how indigent women came to be seen as potential “income generators” who were central to anti-poverty programs.

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Public Program, Conversation Begin at the Beginning: Sweet Talk - The Passion of Puritans in Letters, Diaries and Sermons Please RSVP   registration required at no cost 1 October 2016.Saturday, 1:00PM - 3:00PM Lori Stokes and Sarah Stewart, Partnership of Historic Bostons

When we think of love and passion, New England Puritans rarely come to mind. But that’s not what their writings reveal – on the contrary. “Love was their banqueting house, love was their wine,” John Winthrop wrote to his wife Margaret. Join us in a discussion of Puritan writings to discover just how fervently they loved in marriage and in faith. 

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Public Program, Author Talk, Presidents and Politics Series John Quincy Adams: Militant Spirit registration required 3 October 2016.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. James Traub, The New York Times Magazine

 

 

John Quincy Adams was the last of his kind—a Puritan from the age of the Founders who despised party and compromise, yet dedicated himself to politics and government. He was a brilliant ambassador and secretary of state, a frustrated president at a historic turning point in American politics, and a dedicated congressman who literally died in office—at the age of 80, in the House of Representatives, in the midst of an impassioned political debate. Adams’ numerous achievements—and equally numerous failures—stand as testaments to his unwavering moral convictions. John Quincy Adams tells the story of this brilliant, flinty, and unyielding man whose life exemplified political courage.

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Early American History Seminar Reconsidering Slavery and Slave Law in Early Massachusetts Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
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4 October 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Holly Brewer, University of Maryland Comment: Annettte Gordon-Reed, Harvard Law School

The consensus among historians has largely been that Massachusetts was unexceptional in its attitudes towards slavery; recent scholarship contends that the colony laid a foundation for enslavement and perpetuated its practices elsewhere. However, this paper emphasizes that there was considerable resistance to ideas of forced labor embedded within Puritan ideology as it offers a nuanced reading of the Massachusetts policy debates of the 1640s during the critical first period of slavery in the colonies.

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Brown Bag Reading Textiles as Text: An Examination of Pre-1750s Survivals at MHS this event is free 5 October 2016.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Kimberly Alexander, University of New Hampshire

This project sets the experiences of fashion, consumerism, and consumption within a cosmopolitan Atlantic world that carried the elegant fancies of fashionable London to the gentility of provincial British America. The garments and textiles housed at the MHS offer insights into the ongoing debate over the process of Anglicization in pre-Revolutionary America. Particular attention will be paid to the textiles associated with the Byles and Hancock families in Boston.

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Brown Bag A Muss Among the Flunkies: Unruly Choristers and Instrumentalists in the Antebellum Opera this event is free 7 October 2016.Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Rachel Miller, University of Michigan

In the decades before the Civil War, opera in the United States became a major financial and infrastructural undertaking that generated enormous attention from fans and investors alike. As a result, opera generated intense conflict about the manner in which this entirely new scale of entertainment would be produced. This presentation traces how “a muss among the flunkies”--the haphazard strikes of anonymous choristers and instrumentalists--grew into the nation's first performers' unions and protective associations, which in turn continue to shape our contemporary ideas and practices of creative work.

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Public Program Turning Point: The U.S. Constitution this event is free 7 October 2016.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Kyle Jenks, Reenactor

 

Kyle Jenks, a James Madison reenactor, will discuss Elbridge Gerry’s criticism of the Constitution.

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Library Closed, Galleries Open Columbus Day 10 October 2016.Monday, all day

The MHS library is closed; the exhibition galleries are open, 10:00AM-4:00PM.

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Environmental History Seminar Uniting the United States with Lightning: Capitalism, Environments, and the Transcontinental Telegraph System in the United States, 1844-1861 Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
11 October 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Edmund Russell, Boston University Comment: Merritt Roe Smith, MIT

In 1861, the transcontinental telegraph was completed, allowing signals to be transmitted through wires from the Atlantic to the Pacific. This system, often overshadowed by the transcontinental railroad, advanced three great projects of American history: expanding capitalism, building the state, and conquering nature with technology. This essay focuses on the models of capital accumulation employed in building the telegraph and on the financial models and environments that made regional telegraph networks with different features.

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Brown Bag Henry Cabot Lodge and the Decline of the Eastern Establishment this event is free 12 October 2016.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Luke A. Nichter, Texas A&M University

Senator, statesman, presidential advisor, and presidential candidate by popular demand, Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. and his national political career that stretched from the 1930s to the 1970s have up to now escaped biographical treatment. During the height of the Cold War, Lodge was consistently at the epicenter of power, whether in the Senate, Saigon, or his bipartisan roles serving four successive presidents from Kennedy to Nixon.

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Public Program Getting the MBTA Back-on-Track registration required 12 October 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Brian Shortsleeve, MBTA Chief Administrator; James Rooney, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce; Chris Osgood, Chief of Streets, Transportation & Sanitation

  

Boston has been ambitious and innovative in thinking about transportation, we were the first American city to build a subway and the Big Dig was the largest urban infrastructure project in American history. Today, the metro area boasts one of the highest percentages of commuters that use public transit in the nation and the population is growing. However, despite this groundbreaking history and widespread use, public transportation in Boston is facing serious challenges. Brian Shortsleeve, the Chief Administrator for the MBTA, will discuss the steps the T is taking to control expenses while providing improved service. He will be joined by James Rooney and Chris Osgood for a discussion of the history of the MBTA, how the current situation came to be, and what we can expect in the future.

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Public Program Turning Point: Ether as an Anesthetic this event is free 14 October 2016.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Peter Drummey, Stephen T. Riley Librarian

 

 

 

The use of ether as an anesthetic may have been the greatest innovation American has given the world, its first use in surgery and the revolution it produced will be explained by Peter Drummey.

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Special Event, Member Event Democracy in Crisis: Four Elections registration required at no cost 19 October 2016.Wednesday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM This event is open only to MHS Fellows and Members. There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30 pm.

As we approach an election that promises far reaching ramifications, we will look back at previous periods of tumult in American democracy. We find ourselves in a volatile moment in which globalization and the rise of the information economy have created great wealth but have also swept out the financial underpinnings of working class communities. A portion of the population feels unmoored and this coupled with a rise of nativist sentiment, violence between police and the public, and inflammatory political rhetoric has been testing our democracy. We will host a panel discussion of historians led by Ted Widmer. They will explore what can be learned from four previous presidential elections that took place during moments of crisis: the 1860 election which took place as the country approached disunion; the 1920 election on the heels of the first Red Scare; the 1952 election in the midst of McCarthyism, and the 1968 election which was marred by assassinations, protests, and war. The historians will tackle the legacies of these crises and the question of what this history suggests for our country’s current trajectory.

There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30 pm. The panel discussion will begin at 6:00 pm.

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Public Program Art, Craft and Reform: The Eliot School, Manual Arts Training and the Arts and Crafts Movement Please RSVP   registration required at no cost 20 October 2016.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Nonie Gadsden, Carolyn and Peter Lynch Curator of American Decorative Arts and Sculpture, Museum of Fine Arts Wooden lily pads carved at the Eliot School in 1910

The rapid rise of industrialization and immigration during the 19th century greatly affected American society, especially in major cities such as Boston. Faced with the prospect of an unskilled or semi-skilled work force, many reform leaders sought out ways to provide the craft training that could benefit the well-being of the individual and society at large. In the 1870s, after 200 years of academic instruction, the Trustees of the Eliot School decided to explore more experimental modes of education to meet the new needs of its community. The School provided manual arts training for students of many backgrounds—from young boys and girls, to upper and middle class hobbyists, to immigrants seeking vocational education. Gadsden will place the efforts of the Eliot School in a larger context, exploring how the School related to rise of manual arts training and the advent of the Arts and Crafts Movement.

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Public Program Helen F. Stuart and the Birth of Spirit Photography in Boston this event is free 21 October 2016.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Felicity Tsering Chödron Hamer

 

Borne by the same ideas that founded Spiritualism in the nineteenth century, spirit photographs are joint-portraits achieved posthumously, without use of a corpse, wherein the bereaved are visually united with the deceased. These enchanted mementos are said to have been ‘invented’ in 1861, in Boston, Massachusetts, by William H. Mumler. Spirit photographers typically worked with individuals who claimed mediumistic qualities in order to enable the appearance of the magical ‘extras’ of the deceased. The majority of mediums were women and the contributions of women to the production of spirit photography have been often limited to such enabling activities. Felicity Hamer argues for a more foundational placement of women within the narrative of personal mourning rituals.

 

Photo: Mrs. Helen F. Stuart, Woman at Table with Male Spirit, c. 1865. William L.Clements Library, University of Michigan 

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar “A Shiftless, Undesirable Class”: The Sexual Policing of Miami’s Bahamian Community in the Early Twentieth Century Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
25 October 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Julio Capó, University of Massachusetts—Amherst Comment: Michael Bronski, Harvard University

This chapter is drawn from Professor Capó’s forthcoming book, Welcome to Fairyland, which chronicles the transnational forces that helped shape Miami's queer world from 1890 to 1940. In this chapter, Capó traces how urban authorities policed the perceived "suspect" sexualities of Miami's temporary and permanent settlers from the Bahamas and how their increased migration similarly informed gender and sexual norms on the archipelago.

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Ravishing Affection this event is free 26 October 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM This program will be held at the Old South Meeting House Frank Bremer, Millersville University of Pennsylvania close
Public Program, Presidents and Politics Series First Ladies registration required 27 October 2016.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Jacqueline Berger

 

 

America’s First Ladies are iconic examples of such indispensable leadership qualities as resilience, courage, focus and agility. Author, historian, and nation speaker Jacqueline Berger, “The First Ladies Lady,” goes behind the scenes with pictures and stories that brings history to life and uncovers this remarkable “sorority of women.” Discover the real lives of ordinary women; wives, mothers, and daughters, who lived extraordinary lives both before and inside the White House.

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Early American History Seminar Rape, Recourse, and the Law of Seduction in the Early Republic Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
1 November 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM John Wood Sweet, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Comment: Richard D. Brown, University of Connecticut

In New York City in 1793 Henry Bedlow was tried for, but not convicted of, the rape of Lanah Sawyer. This paper questions the success of the civil lawsuit for seduction that Sawyer’s step-father, John Callanan, brought one year later. The case offers a window into the use of civil law in sexual assault cases and prompts readers to consider how women struggling for recourse can become pawns in battles between men over money and masculine honor.

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Brown Bag The Long Life of Yazoo: Land Speculation, Finance, and Dispossession in the Southeastern Borderlands, 1789-1840 this event is free 2 November 2016.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Franklin Sammons, University of California, Berkeley

How did northern investors, financial markets, land speculation, and the law shape the dynamics of Indian dispossession, territorial expansion, and slavery in the Deep South during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries? This research uses the Yazoo land sales to explore these questions. By providing a deep history of the Yazoo sales that focuses on the motives, strategies, and networks of speculators in Yazoo lands, as well as the particular political and economic context from which the sales emerged and in which their legal afterlife unfolded, this project offers new insights into the transformation of the Southeastern borderlands and emergence of the Cotton Kingdom.

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Presidents and Politics Series, Public Program Why Do We Still Have the Electoral College? registration required 3 November 2016.Thursday, 6:30PM - 7:30PM There will be a reception from 5:30 to 6:30 before the program Alexander Keyssar, Harvard Kennedy School of Government

 

Every four years, millions of Americans find themselves asking why they choose their presidents through the peculiar mechanism called the Electoral College―an arcane institution that narrows election campaigns to swing states and can permit the loser of the popular vote to become president. The Electoral College has had critics since the early nineteenth century, and over the years Congress has considered hundreds of constitutional amendments aimed at transforming the electoral system. Alex Keyssar traces the origins of the Electoral College as a much wrangled-over compromise among delegates to the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention who had no previous experience with electing a chief executive.

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Public Program, Conversation Begin at the Beginning: Lord of Misrule: Thomas Morton’s Battle with Puritan New England Please RSVP   registration required at no cost 5 November 2016.Saturday, 1:00PM - 3:00PM E.J. Barnes, writer/illustrator of historical comics

Maypoles and mayhem marked the unruly reign of Thomas Morton, the obstreperous neighbor of the Puritan New England colonies.  Led by E.J. Barnes, this discussion will explore her comic story of Morton’s conflict with Massachusetts and Plimoth in Colonial Comics: New England, 1620-1750.  We will also read and discuss Morton’s own witty and perceptive account of life in early New England, New English Canaan.

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Biography Seminar Conversation with Fredrik Logevall Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
10 November 2016.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM Fredrik Logevall, Harvard University Moderator: Carol Bundy

Carol Bundy (The Nature of Sacrifice: A Biography of Charles Russell Lowell, Jr., 1835-64) will moderate this discussion with Fredrik Logevall, the Laurence D. Belfer Professor of International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Professor of History at Harvard University. His book Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam received the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for History. Logevall will discuss his current book project, a biography of John F. Kennedy.

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Building Closed Veteran's Day 11 November 2016.Friday, all day

The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed. 

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Public Program, Author Talk New England Bound: Slavery and Colonization in Early America registration required 14 November 2016.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Wendy Warren, Princeton University

 

 

Wendy Warren’s New England Bound reclaims the lives of long-forgotten enslaved Africans and Native Americans in the seventeenth century. Based on new evidence, Warren links the growth of the northern colonies to the Atlantic slave trade, demonstrating how New England’s economy derived its vitality from the profusion of slave-trading ships coursing through its ports. Warren documents how Indians were systematically sold into slavery in the West Indies and reveals how colonial families like the Winthrop’s were motivated not only by religious freedom but also by their slave-trading investments.

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Environmental History Seminar Panel: Native Peoples, Livestock, and the Environment Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
15 November 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Katrina Lacher, University of Central Oklahoma, and Strother Roberts, Bowdoin College Comment: Nancy Shoemaker, University of Connecticut at Storrs

In 1808, John Palmer Parker inaugurated rapid changes to Hawaii’s economy by building a beef and hide industry that would facilitate the U.S. annexation of the archipelago. Lacher’s essay, “The Paniolos of Parker Ranch: Cattle Ranching on the Slopes of Mauna Kea,”  examines this site of environmental transformation and cultural exchange. Roberts’s paper, “A Dog’s History of Early New England: Indigenous Dogs in the Societies and Ecology of the Northeast,” argues that dogs should be considered as Native American livestock that were raised to fulfill a wide variety of tasks including serving as hunting partners and sources of meat. The essay further considers the mutal influences of European contact, the dog population, other wildlife, and human disease.

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Public Program, Author Talk John Adams's Republic: The One, the Few, and the Many registration required 16 November 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Richard Alan Ryerson

 

Of all the founding fathers, Ryerson argues, John Adams may have worried the most about the problem of social jealousy and political conflict in the new republic. Ryerson explains how these concerns, coupled with Adams’s concept of executive authority and his fear of aristocracy, deeply influenced his political mindset. How, Adams asked, could a self-governing country counter the natural power and influence of wealthy elites and their friends in government? Ryerson argues that he came to believe a strong executive could hold at bay the aristocratic forces that posed the most serious dangers to a republican society.

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Library Closed Library Closed 17 November 2016.Thursday, all day

The MHS library is closed for the day.

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Special Event Revolutionary Portraits from the Collections of the MHS registration required 17 November 2016.Thursday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM SAVE THE DATE Revolutionary Portraits - John Hancock

Join us for a fun and festive fundraising event that will feature portraits of founding fathers and other luminaries who shaped American’s Revolutionary period from the collections of the MHS. Enjoy a reception, peruse fabulous works of art, and learn about the artists and the people they portrayed. 

Tickets are $125 per person.

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Public Program Turning Point: The Newburg Address this event is free 18 November 2016.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM William Fowler Jr., Northeastern University

 

 

The Newburg Address as a turning point in American history is discussed, ensuring civilian control of the government.

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Public Program, Conversation A Most Peculiar Institution: Slavery, Jim Crow, and the American University Today registration required 21 November 2016.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Jonathan Holloway, Yale and Adriane Lentz-Smith, Duke

 

 

 

Most American universities that were founded before the Civil War profited from slavery. Some schools endowments were started with the help of family fortunes made from the slave economy while other colleges owned and sold people to bolster their financial position. Both before and after the Civil War, defenders of slavery and advocates of the inferiority of non-white peoples made their intellectual homes in American universities, even as they used these same sites to develop important arguments about the blessings of democracy. These complicated legacies are being critically reviewed and debated at institutions of higher education across the country. As Brown University's Committee on Slavery and Justice put it, "How do we reconcile those elements of our past that are gracious and honorable with those that provoke grief and horror?" And, critically, what role can a deeper understanding of history play in informing these conversations? Our program will explore these questions with two people actively engaged in the dialog.

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Building Closed Thanksgiving 24 November 2016.Thursday, all day

The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed.

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Library Closed, Galleries Open Thanksgiving 25 November 2016.Friday, all day close