January

Building Closed New Year's Day 1 January 2016.Friday, all day The MHS Library and Galleries will be closed all day.

The MHS Library and Galleries will be closed all day.

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Holiday Hours Galleries Open 2 January 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 4:00PM More
Library Closed Library Closed 2 January 2016.Saturday, all day The MHS Library will be closed all day.  Galleries will be open from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

The MHS Library will be closed all day.  Galleries will be open from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

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Brown Bag Factory Fleets and Fewer Fish: Fisheries Management in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean, 1945-1996 6 January 2016.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Benjamin Kochan, Boston University In the 1960s, large fleets of technologically sophisticated factory trawlers from Europe began ...

In the 1960s, large fleets of technologically sophisticated factory trawlers from Europe began competing with American and Canadian fishers in the Northwest Atlantic. When catches began to decline, both the US and Canada responded by extending federal jurisdiction over fisheries, first from three to twelve nautical miles and eventually to two-hundred miles. Massachusetts Senator Leverett Saltonstall was deeply involved in this process until he left office in 1967, and this project uses his collection to explore the evolution of US fishery policy in the mid-twentieth century.

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Always Your Friend Exhibitionends "Always Your Friend": Letters from Theodore Roosevelt to Henry Cabot Lodge, 1884-1918 9 January 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 4:00PM Open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM One of the Society's most interesting collections of presidential papers consists of the extensive ...

One of the Society's most interesting collections of presidential papers consists of the extensive personal correspondence of Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge. From 1884 until just before Roosevelt's death in 1919, the two friends and their spouses exchanged hundreds of letters, notes, telegrams, annotated copies of speeches, newspaper articles, and photographs. "Always Your Friend" highlights selections from this remarkable collection.

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Terra Firma Exhibitionends Terra Firma: The Beginnings of the MHS Map Collection 9 January 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 4:00PM Open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM As the MHS approaches its 225th year, Terra Firma celebrates the beginnings of one of its ...

As the MHS approaches its 225th year, Terra Firma celebrates the beginnings of one of its most diverse and interesting collections. Among the maps on display are landmarks of map publishing that include the first published map of New England, the first map of Massachusetts published in America, and a unique copy of the earliest separate map of Vermont, as well as maps of important battles and maps and atlases from the United States and beyond.

Learn more about four of the mapmakers at www.masshist.org/terrafirma.

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Exhibitionends The Unitarian Conscience: Letters & Publications from the George E. Nitzsche Unitariana Collection 9 January 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 4:00PM Open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM In 2008, the MHS acquired the George E. Nitzsche Unitariana Collection from the Unitarian Society of ...

In 2008, the MHS acquired the George E. Nitzsche Unitariana Collection from the Unitarian Society of Germantown in Philadelphia. To celebrate the sesquicentennial of the founding of the Germantown Society in 1865, the Society will display letters and publications from the collection that illustrate the engagement of eminent Unitarians and liberal religious thinkers in a wide range of 19th-century reform movements.

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Teacher Workshop Transforming Boston: From Basket Case to Innovation Hub 9 January 2016.Saturday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM Sixty years ago, the residents of Boston were facing a bleak economic future. Today the city is a ...

Sixty years ago, the residents of Boston were facing a bleak economic future. Today the city is a thriving hub for entrepreneurs and intellectuals. How did the city transform and reinvigorate its depressed post-WWII economy? This workshop will connect the history of Boston to the major economic and social trends of the late 20th century, and provide educators with classroom-ready materials that reveal how Boston became the innovation hub of America.

This program is open to educators and history enthusiasts. Educators can earn 22.5 PDPs or one graduate credit (for an additional fee).

Workshop Fee: $25 per person (to cover materials and lunch)

To Register / For more information: complete this registration form, or contact the education department at education@masshist.org or 617-646-0557.

Program Highlights

  • Hear Richard Garver, former Deputy Director of the Boston Redevelopment Authority, discuss the history of Boston's redevelopment in the last half of the twentieth century.
  • View items from the Society's collections documenting Boston's changing landscape.
  • Visit the West End Museum and learn more about the destruction of this formerly Italian and Jewish neighborhood 1950s.
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Environmental History Seminar Airplanes and Postwar America: An Environmental History of the Jet Age 12 January 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Thomas Robertson, Worcester Polytechnic Institute Comment: Sonja Duempelmann, Harvard University This seminar will assess the environmental consequences of aviation, studying the entire twentieth ...

This seminar will assess the environmental consequences of aviation, studying the entire twentieth century with an emphasis on the transition to jets in the 1950s and 1960s. It will examine the ways airplanes have shaped resource use, the spatial arrangement of people and things, surveying and international development, knowledge about the world, and environmental activism.

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Brown Bag "Chargeable Ground" and "Shaking Meadows": New Models of Land Cultivation in Eighteenth-Century New England 13 January 2016.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Jennifer Chuong, Harvard University This talk examines Connecticut minister Jared Eliot's An Essay Upon Field-Husbandry in New ...

This talk examines Connecticut minister Jared Eliot's An Essay Upon Field-Husbandry in New England as It Is or May Be Ordered (1748), with a particular focus on Eliot's identification of different landscapes (forested, boggy, meadowed) as entailing different proportions of effort, investment, and delay in their cultivation. I compare Eliot's discussion to contemporary engravings of New England landscapes in order to suggest that textual and pictorial descriptions of land in the colonies exhibit a complementary, vexed understanding of the relationship between labor and development. This research is taken from my dissertation, "The Chargeable Surface: Investment, Interval, and Yield in Early America (1760-1820)," which investigates artistic experiments with surfaces as sites of transformation in four areas of visual and material culture: the decorative arts, print, painting, and the book arts.

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Building Closed Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 18 January 2016.Monday, all day The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed.

The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed.

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Early American History Seminar The Providence of John and Abigail Adams 19 January 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Sara Georgini, Adams Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society Comment: Chris Beneke, Bentley University Asked for a religious affiliation, many Americans now begin their reply with, “Well, I was ...

Asked for a religious affiliation, many Americans now begin their reply with, “Well, I was raised…” but family stories of religious life in American history are curiously rare. Providentialist Christianity led the Adamses out of England in 1638, through the Revolution, and, fitfully, into the early republic. Colonists-turned-citizens such as John and Abigail Adams sampled a range of religions, developing a cosmopolitan Christianity. What did it mean for the Adamses of Massachusetts to be “raised” Christian in America?

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Biography Seminar Biography, Inc.: Two Writers Talk about the Trade 21 January 2016.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM Christopher Benfey, Mount Holyoke College, and Megan Marshall, Emerson College Moderator: Susan Ware, American National Biography Join Christopher Benfey and Megan Marshall in a wide-ranging conversation moderated by Susan Ware ...

Join Christopher Benfey and Megan Marshall in a wide-ranging conversation moderated by Susan Ware about teaching, reviewing, and writing biography.  Christopher Benfey, Mt. Holyoke College, is the author of A Summer of Hummingbirds: Love, Art, and Scandal in the Intersecting Worlds of Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Martin Johnson Heade as well as The Double Life of Stephen Crane and Degas In New Orleans.  His current work is on  Rudyard Kipling.  Megan Marshall, Emerson College, is the author of The Peabody Sisters and Margaret Fuller: A New American Life.  She is at work on a biography of Elizabeth Bishop, with whom she studied “verse writing” at Harvard College.

New England Biography Seminar series information

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Immigration and Urban History Seminar Laborers, Servants, and Schools: Aspirations of Mobility and the Reproduction of Inequality in Boston, 1880-1940 26 January 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Cristina Groeger, Harvard University Comment: John McClymer, Assumption College Groeger's project traces the shift in the central site of preparation for work from informal on-the ...

Groeger's project traces the shift in the central site of preparation for work from informal on-the-job training in the late 19th century to formal schooling by the 1930s, using the city of Boston to illustrate this transformation. This essay concerns the changing world of the laboring population at the bottom of the economic hierarchy. Most low-wage manual labor and service jobs were occupied by Irish immigrants in 1880; in the next decades Italian, Polish, Lithuanian, and African American workers entered this labor market. Both indirectly and directly, the growth of formal schools as a site of job training transformed the world of work even for those at the bottom. However, recent immigrants and African-Americans remained in a weak position to exert organized political power, and this transformation did not improve the position of this sector.

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Brown Bag "Prepared to do Business with Many”: Elite Women’s Investment in Early National New York City 27 January 2016.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Alisa Wade, The Graduate Center, CUNY This project traces women’s participation in New York’s transition to market capitalism ...

This project traces women’s participation in New York’s transition to market capitalism in the early republic, placing the growth of the city’s marketplace into dialogue with shifting legal and cultural inheritance patterns. It addresses the methods by which female members of the upper class invested their wealth—in real estate, stocks and bonds, and material objects—to safeguard financial security amid increasing restrictions on women’s ownership and property administration. This research is a portion of a larger project entitled “An Alliance of Ladies: Power, Public Affairs, and Gendered Constructions of the Upper Class in Early National New York City.”

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Member Event, Special Event The Private Jefferson Preview Reception 28 January 2016.Thursday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT This event is sold out. If you would like to be placed on the waiting list, please call 617 ...

Jefferson silhouette with MonticelloThis event is sold out. If you would like to be placed on the waiting list, please call 617-646-0518 or click on the RSVP link above to submit your name online.

MHS Fellows and Members are invited to a preview and reception for The Private Jefferson. The exhibition seeks to pull back the veil on one of the most famous yet enigmatic and intensely private Americans, Thomas Jefferson. Visitors will be able to explore Jefferson’s complex personality and political views through his writings and select correspondence between family and friends; gain insight into Jefferson’s personal story of writing the Declaration of Independence and see how the text celebrated today evolved from his original draft; discover how Jefferson used architecture to work out practical and technical design issues as well as larger philosophical issues; and understand how Jefferson’s role as plantation owner, experimental gardener, and meticulous record-keeper shaped his beliefs in how the nation would achieve economic and political independence. 

6:00 PM: Remarks by Peter S. Onuf
6:30 PM: Reception and preview of the exhibition

Become a Member today!

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Special Event, Member Event The Private Jefferson Breakfast Preview 29 January 2016.Friday, 9:00AM - 10:00AM This event is open only to MHS Fellows and Members MHS Fellows and Members are invited to a special breakfast preview. For those who are unable to ...

MHS Fellows and Members are invited to a special breakfast preview. For those who are unable to attend the preview the night before, we will open the galleries at 9:00 AM. Stroll through the galleries and talk to MHS Stephen T. Riley Librarian Peter Drummey before the doors open to the public. Coffee and pastries will be available. 

The Private JeffersonThe Private Jefferson: From the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society seeks to pull back the veil on one of the most famous yet enigmatic and intensely private Americans, Thomas Jefferson. Visitors will be able to explore Jefferson’s complex personality and political views through his writings and select correspondence between family and friends; gain insight into Jefferson’s personal story of writing the Declaration of Independence and see how the text celebrated today evolved from his original draft; discover how Jefferson used architecture to work out practical and technical design issues as well as larger philosophical issues; and understand how Jefferson’s role as plantation owner, experimental gardener, and meticulous record-keeper shaped his beliefs in how the nation would achieve economic and political independence. 

This 28 January preview and reception for The Private Jefferson is sold out. If you would like to be placed on the waiting list, please call 617-646-0518 or submit your name online.

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The Private Jefferson Exhibitionbegins The Private Jefferson 29 January 2016.Friday, 10:00AM - 4:00PM Open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM Thomas Jefferson has been described as an "American Sphinx." As the drafter of the Declaration of ...

Thomas Jefferson has been described as an "American Sphinx." As the drafter of the Declaration of Independence and the third president of the United States, he is one of the most famous Americans. Nevertheless, he is an enigmatic figure: an intensely private man who spent more than thirty years in public service; the spokesman for popular democracy who, at the same time, held hundreds of men, women and children as his personal property; an urbane, widely-travelled, and widely-read exemplar of the Enlightenment, who appeared happiest in a meticulously-planned environment that he had created for himself in the back country. The exhibition aims to pull back the veil and uncover the private Jefferson. Kicking off a year-long 225th anniversary celebration, The Private Jefferson: From the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society is open at the MHS through 20 May, Monday through Saturday, from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

One of the Society’s greatest treasures is the Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson manuscripts. The collection is comprised of letters, journals, record books, accounts, and 400 architectural drawings and sketches—almost 9,500 documents in all—collected by Jefferson’s descendants who lived in Massachusetts and donated them to the Society. 

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February
Early American History Seminar Sound Believers: Rhyme and Right Belief 2 February 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Wendy Roberts, University at Albany, SUNY Comment: Stephen A. Marini, Wellesley College This essay examines the connection between poetry and evangelicalism in the eighteenth and early ...

This essay examines the connection between poetry and evangelicalism in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. It argues that the far-reaching social transformations precipitated by evangelical awakenings depended upon the development of revival poetry. Studying both the first and second “Great Awakenings,” the work explores how both ministers and lay people helped to create a distinct style of Christian poetry.

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Brown Bag Making Another Massachusetts of South Carolina: Reconstruction in the Sea Islands 3 February 2016.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Robert G. Mann, Independent Scholar After Union forces captured the Sea Islands of South Carolina at the end of 1862, well-educated ...

After Union forces captured the Sea Islands of South Carolina at the end of 1862, well-educated Northerners from wealthy families journeyed to South Carolina, charged by the federal government with the task of educating liberated slaves and employing them as free laborers as part of the so-called Port Royal Experiment.  Many viewed their task as, in the words of one newspaper editor, “to make another Massachusetts of South Carolina.” This work evaluates the achievements and disappointments of a unique, integrated community centered around Beaufort, South Carolina, in the years 1863-1880 through the intertwined stories of three Massachusetts men and one former slave.

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Mass Modern Series, Public Program, Conversation Modernism Series: Program One - Brutalism to Heroic 3 February 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Mark Pasnik AIA, Over,Under; Chris Grimley AIA, Over,Under; and Michael Kubo, Collective–LOK Often problematically labeled as “Brutalist” architecture, the concrete buildings that ...

Often problematically labeled as “Brutalist” architecture, the concrete buildings that transformed Boston during 1960s and 1970s were conceived with progressive-minded intentions by some of the world’s most influential designers, including Marcel Breuer, Le Corbusier, I. M. Pei, Henry Cobb, Paul Rudolph, Josep Lluís Sert, and The Architects Collaborative. As a worldwide phenomenon, building with concrete represents one of the major architectural movements of the postwar years, but in Boston it was deployed in more numerous and diverse civic, cultural, and academic projects than in any other major U.S. city. Boston was an urban laboratory for the exploration of concrete’s structural and sculptural qualities. Heroic surveys the intentions and aspirations of this period and considers anew its legacies—both troubled and inspired.

This program is part of a four part series on Modernism. MHS is pleased to be working with our nonprofit partners, the Concord Museum and DoCoMoMo-New England, on this series. 

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Notice Library Closing at 3:00 PM 5 February 2016.Friday, all day More
MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 6 February 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a docent-led walk ...

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 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.

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Building Closed Library and Exhibitions Closed 8 February 2016.Monday, all day Due to inclement weather the MHS library and exhibition galleries will be closed on Monday, 8 ...

Due to inclement weather the MHS library and exhibition galleries will be closed on Monday, 8 February 2016.  

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Environmental History Seminar The History of Ecological Restoration: From Bombs to Bac-O-Bits 9 February 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Laura J. Martin, Harvard University Comment: Brian Payne, Bridgewater State University Environmental organizations spend billions of dollars per year on environmental restoration—a ...

Environmental organizations spend billions of dollars per year on environmental restoration—a set of practices that encompass invasive species removal, dam removal, prescribed burning, and captive breeding. Should restoration be considered its own movement? This paper explores the intellectual and cultural history of ecological restoration from 1945 to 1965, emphasizing the connections between ecological restoration and the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.

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History of Women and Gender Seminar All Politics Are Reproductive Politics: Welfare, Immigration, Gay Marriage, Foreclosure 11 February 2016.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM Location: Schlesinger Library Laura Briggs, University of Massachusetts—Amherst Comment: Suzanna Danuta Walters , Northeastern University The collision of  two forces—increasing unpaid care burdens, and ever more need for wage ...

The collision of  two forces—increasing unpaid care burdens, and ever more need for wage labor—have conspired over the past forty years to radically reconfigure both families and political common sense in particularly racialized ways. In this project, Briggs argues that this issue has driven nearly every other significant policy debate in the United States since the 1970s: not just abortion and daycare, but feminism in general, welfare, immigration, gay marriage, and IVF. Welfare reform was a “who cares for the children” fight; gay marriage cases have been decided in terms of “the children”; the majority of immigrants to the U.S. are women, disproportionately doing care work; and IVF is about the necessity of delaying childbearing into one’s 30s in the U.S., when fertility begins to be reduced. Furthermore, this is by no means a white middle-class or U.S. problem. While being out of the labor force may seem like a privilege particularly of white U.S. suburbanites in the 1950s, both the care crunch and the need to work longer and longer days for shrinking wages have disproportionately affected working-class people, people of color, and a growing segments of the Third World. The ways individuals, households, and communities grind up against these issues accounts for a great deal, including why race, gender, and reproduction have been such central issues in the U.S. and beyond since at least the 1970s.

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Mass Modern Series, Public Program, Conversation Modernism Series: Program Two - Culture of Modernism 11 February 2016.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Alexandra Lange, Author; Jane Thompson, Thompson Design Group; and Michael Kubo, Collective–LOK This program will be held at the Concord Museum While the Boston region was home to a number of large modernist projects, it was also an area that ...

While the Boston region was home to a number of large modernist projects, it was also an area that brought the zeitgeist of the movement to stores and museums. Kitchen utensils, fabrics, and furniture brought modern interiors to the average consumer and exhibitions and the cultural spaces made modernism part of the cutting edge scene. 

This program is part of a four part series on Modernism. MHS is pleased to be working with our nonprofit partners, the Concord Museum and DoCoMoMo-New England, on this series. 

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Jefferson Series, Public Program Gallery Talk: Jefferson’s Journey to Massachusetts: The Origin of the Coolidge Collection at MHS 12 February 2016.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Peter Drummey, Stephen T. Riley Librarian Most people don’t associate Thomas Jefferson with Massachusetts and yet MHS has the largest ...

Most people don’t associate Thomas Jefferson with Massachusetts and yet MHS has the largest collection of Jefferson’s private papers. Peter Drummey, the Stephen T. Riley Librarian at MHS will explain the provenance of the collection. 

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 13 February 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a docent-led walk ...

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 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.

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Building Closed President's Day 15 February 2016.Monday, all day The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed.

The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed.

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Mass Modern Series, Public Program, Conversation Modernism Series: Program Three - Politics of Modernism 16 February 2016.Tuesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Liz Cohen, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University; Elihu Rubin, Associate Professor at Yale University and Chris Grimley, AIA, Over, Under The arrival of Edward Logue as the head of the Boston Redevelopment Authority ushered in a new ...

The arrival of Edward Logue as the head of the Boston Redevelopment Authority ushered in a new generation of buildings in Boston. Both the politics and the design of this period could be described as bold, often controversial, and of a scale that had not been seen before. Starting with the completion of the Prudential Tower, this era redefined the skyline, streetscape, and aspirations of the region.

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Jefferson Series, Teacher Workshop Adams, Jefferson, and Shakespeare 17 February 2016.Wednesday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM Commemorate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death by investigating his ...

Commemorate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death by investigating his influence on America’s Founding Mothers and Fathers. John and Abigail Adams sprinkled their letters to one another with quotes from the Bard, and Thomas Jefferson owned numerous volumes of Shakespeare’s work. This hands-on workshop will introduce participants to Adams and Jefferson documents in the Society’s collection, and explore Shakespeare’s themes of politics, power, and leadership through these eyes of these revolutionary men and women.

This program is open to educators and history enthusiasts. Educators can earn 22.5 PDPs or one graduate credit (for an additional fee).

Workshop Fee: $25 per person (to cover materials and lunch)

To Register / For more information: complete this registration form, or contact the education department at education@masshist.org or 617-646-0557.

Program Highlights

  • Discuss the Founders' understanding of Shakespeare and their use of his works in their own publications and correspondence with Adams Papers editors Hobson Woodward and Emily Ross.
  • View documents from the Adams Family Papers and the Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson Manuscripts.
  • Preview and brainstorm suggestions for using Adams, Jefferson, and Shakespeare materials in history and English language arts projects.
  • Take a guided tour of the Society's new exhibition, The Private Jefferson.
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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 20 February 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a docent-led walk ...

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 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.

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Conversation, Public Program Begin at the Beginning: Boston’s Founding Documents "What News?": Communication in Early New England 20 February 2016.Saturday, 1:00PM - 3:00PM Katherine Grandjean, Wellesley College "What News?": Communication in Early New England   New England was built on letters. ...

"What News?": Communication in Early New England  

New England was built on letters. Its colonists left behind thousands of these “paper pilgrims,” brittle and browning. But how were they delivered? In a time before postal service and newspapers, how did news travel?

 

Even when it was meant solely for English eyes, news did not pass solely through English hands. Native messengers carried letters along footpaths, and Dutch ships took them across waterways. Rumors flew. Who could travel where, who controlled the routes winding through the woods, who dictated what news might be sent—these questions reveal a new dimension of contest in the northeast.

 

In her new book American Passage: The Communications Frontier in Early New England, Katherine Grandjean reveals a new view of colonial New England.  It is a darker and more precarious place entirely.

 

Reading

American Passage: The Communications Frontier in Early New England  (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015), especially the introduction and chapters 1, 2, and 3.

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Immigration and Urban History Seminar “The Other Essential Job of War”: Jewish American Merchants and the European Refugee Crisis, 1933-1945 23 February 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Niki C. Lefebvre, Boston University Comment: Noam Maggor, Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History Following the rise of Adolf Hitler, political and trade conditions in the United States prevented ...

Following the rise of Adolf Hitler, political and trade conditions in the United States prevented department stores from collaborating in an effective boycott against German imports. However, individuals did undertake personal campaigns to bring Jewish refugees out of Europe. Drawing on their networks abroad and influence in Washington, a handful of Jewish American merchants in the northeast took great personal risks to pursue what Ira Hirschman called the “other essential job of war”: saving people.

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Brown Bag Free Religion as Spiritual Abolitionism 24 February 2016.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Scott Shubitz, Florida State University This project reexamines the rise of the Free Religion movement and frames it as an outgrowth of ...

This project reexamines the rise of the Free Religion movement and frames it as an outgrowth of both liberal religion and abolitionism. It argues that, rather than being a simple continuation of Transcendentalism, Free Religion represented a continuation of abolitionism during Reconstruction – a new “spiritual abolitionism.” Led by notable ministers like Octavius Brooks Frothingham, Francis Ellingwood Abbot, and William J. Potter, the Free Religion movement sought to overcome the divisions of creed and dogma and to unite people from diverse denominations and religions within one spiritual movement. This project draws on a number of MHS collections, including the papers of Henry W. Bellows and John Weiss.

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Mass Modern Series, Public Program, Conversation Modernism Series: Program Four - Preservation of Modernism 24 February 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Ann Beha, AIA, Ann Beha Architects; David Fixler, FAIA, EYP, DOCOMOMO New England; Henry Moss, AIA, Bruner/Cott & Associates, DOCOMOMO New England; and Mark Pasnik, AIA, Over, Under Today, the optimism of the movement is often forgotten and many of the buildings suffer from years ...

Today, the optimism of the movement is often forgotten and many of the buildings suffer from years of poor maintenance and are facing insensitive renovation or demolition. Architects who have renovated important modernist buildings will talk about the challenges and opportunities and explain their work locally on buildings such as Sert’s BU Law Tower and Alvar Aalto’s Baker House at MIT as well as internationally on sites such as the Gropius’s US Embassy in Greece and the UN Headquarters.

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

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 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.

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March
Early American History Seminar “Unawed by the Laws of their Country”: The Role of English Law in North Carolina’s Regulator Rebellion 1 March 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Abigail Chandler, University of Massachusetts—Lowell Comment: Hon. Hiller Zobel, Masschusetts Superior Court This project explores the use of English legal and political traditions in the three-year Regulator ...

This project explores the use of English legal and political traditions in the three-year Regulator Rebellion of North Carolina. The essay will address how these traditions impacted the motivations and justifications of both Regulators and the North Carolina government, while simultaneously incorporating a wider discussion of English identity and American colonists in the 1760s.

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Brown Bag Redeeming Verse: The Poetics of Revivalism 2 March 2016.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Wendy Roberts, University at Albany, SUNY This project offers a post-secular account of British North America poetry through the everyday ...

This project offers a post-secular account of British North America poetry through the everyday poetic practices of eighteenth-century evangelicalism.

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Jefferson Series, Public Program Gallery Talk: Fellow Laborers: The Friendship of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams 4 March 2016.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Sara Sikes, Associate Editor, Adams Papers and Sara Georgini, Assistant Editor, Adams Papers Thomas Jefferson and John Adams worked together on the Declaration of Independence, were political ...

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams worked together on the Declaration of Independence, were political allies, and were friends, but they they grew apart and became fierce opponents in the election of 1800. Although they did not speak for years, later in life they reconciled. Two leading scholars will talk about this relationship and what it meant to two founding fathers.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 5 March 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a docent-led walk ...

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 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.

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Environmental History Seminar How to Police Your Food: A Story of Controlling Homes and Bodies in the Early Age of Manufactured Foods 8 March 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Benjamin R. Cohen, Lafayette College Comment: Joyce Chaplin, Harvard University This project addresses three concerns of our day: food, knowledge, and control. These concerns are ...

This project addresses three concerns of our day: food, knowledge, and control. These concerns are anchored in debates over environmental and public health inside a world of industrial food. By examining the dawn of this manufactured food system, it argues that decisions about protecting the boundary of nation, home, and body—and defining pure food—were shaped by competing ways of understanding how to grow and know food.

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Brown Bag Practicing Politics in the Revolutionary Atlantic World: Secrecy, Publicity, and the Making of Modern Democracy 9 March 2016.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Katlyn M. Carter, Princeton University This project explores how decisions and debates about the place of secrecy in politics during the ...

This project explores how decisions and debates about the place of secrecy in politics during the Age of Revolution shaped both the conceptual evolution and practical implementation of representative democracy. In it, Carter traces how revolutionaries in the United States and France navigated the tension between and Enlightenment imperative to eradicate secrets from the state and a practical need to limit the extent of transparency. At MHS, she has focused on how political figures reported on their political activity to their correspondents and whether they wrote about the need for secrecy in government.

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Public Program, Author Talk The New Bostonians: How Immigrants Have Transformed the Metro Area since the 1960s 9 March 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Marilynn S. Johnson, Boston College The Immigration Act of 1965 opened the nation's doors to large-scale immigration from Africa, Asia, ...

The Immigration Act of 1965 opened the nation's doors to large-scale immigration from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. A half century later, the impact of the "new immigration" is evident in the transformation of the country's demographics, economy, politics, and culture, particularly in urban America. The confluence of recent immigration and urban transformation in greater Boston has been a part of the region rebounding from a dramatic decline after World War II to an astounding renaissance. From 1970 to 2010, the percentage of foreign-born residents of the city more than doubled, representing far more diversity than earlier waves of immigration. Like the older immigrant groups, these newer migrants have been crucial in re-building the population, labor force, and metropolitan landscape of the New Boston.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 12 March 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a docent-led walk ...

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 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.

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Author Talk, Public Program Republic of Spin: An Inside History of the American Presidency 16 March 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30 David Greenberg of Rutgers University interviewed by Robin Young Co-host of Here & Now on WBUR and NPR   Republic of Spin covers more than one hundred years of politics and the rise of the White ...

 

Republic of Spin covers more than one hundred years of politics and the rise of the White House spin machine, from Teddy Roosevelt to Barack Obama. The story takes us behind the scenes to see how the tools and techniques of image making and message craft work. We meet Woodrow Wilson convening the first White House press conference, Franklin Roosevelt huddling with his private pollsters, Ronald Reagan’s aides crafting his nightly news sound bites, and George W. Bush staging his “Mission Accomplished” photo-op. We meet, too, the backstage visionaries who pioneered new ways of gauging public opinion and mastering the media―figures like George Cortelyou, TR’s brilliantly efficient Press Manager; 1920s ad whiz Bruce Barton; Robert Montgomery, Dwight Eisenhower’s canny TV Coach; and of course the key spinmeisters of our own times, from Roger Ailes to David Axelrod.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 19 March 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a docent-led walk ...

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 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.

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Building Closed MHS Closed 21 March 2016.Monday, all day The MHS is closed Monday due to inclement weather.

The MHS is closed Monday due to inclement weather.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 26 March 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a docent-led walk ...

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 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.

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Immigration and Urban History Seminar The War on Butchers: San Francisco and the Making of Animal Space, 1850-1870 29 March 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Andrew Robichaud, Boston University Comment: Harriet Ritvo, MIT For much of the nineteenth century American cities were alive with a wide variety of animal life. ...

For much of the nineteenth century American cities were alive with a wide variety of animal life. This paper examines some of the challenges of urban animal life (and death) in cities, while tracing the evolution of animal regulations in San Francisco between 1850 and 1870, a period of notable change. Through the creation of new livestock and slaughterhouse regulations, the city of San Francisco remade laws, space, and the environment, which together contributed to a broader transformation of urban life.

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Brown Bag William and Ellen Craft and the Transatlantic Battle for Civil Rights in the Nineteenth Century 30 March 2016.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Margaret Newell, Ohio State University William and Ellen Craft escaped from slavery in Georgia in dramatic fashion in 1847, but their post ...

William and Ellen Craft escaped from slavery in Georgia in dramatic fashion in 1847, but their post-escape history was even more compelling.  The Crafts became antislavery activists in Boston and expanded their public activities after relocating to London, where Ellen maintained connections between English and American antislavery societies and pursued women’s suffrage while William visited Africa to lobby against the slave trade there. They returned to America after the Civil War and and tried to apply lessons learned in England to creating opportunities for economic freedom and education for former slaves.

Newell's research at the M.H.S., which is at a preliminary stage, focuses on the Crafts’ experiences in Boston. She is interested in the social networks they formed and what these experiences tell us about antislavery, about how activism interacted with class and gender, about political organization and civil rights activism beyond antislavery (including suffrage and educational access), and about the everyday lives of the broader community of free black people. In Boston the Crafts joined a stream of escapees from slavery that included a surprising number of women, children, and family groupings. Like others they lived in housing arranged by anti-slavery advocates, sometimes in the homes of well-known figures such as Theodore Parker but more frequently in the houses of Black abolitionists such as Lewis Hayden. Despite their notoriety on the abolitionist circuit they still had to make a living as working class people in a sometimes hostile city. During their stay, Boston’s Black community challenged school segregation in the courts and organized resistance to bounty hunters, forming and extending the efforts of the League of Freemen and the Boston Vigilance Committee.

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Author Talk, Public Program The Saltwater Frontier: Indians and the Contest for the American Coast 30 March 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Andrew Lipman, Barnard College Andrew Lipman explores the previously untold story of how the ocean became a “frontier” ...

Andrew Lipman explores the previously untold story of how the ocean became a “frontier” between colonists and Indians. When the English and Dutch empires both tried to claim the same patch of coast between the Hudson River and Cape Cod, the sea itself became the arena of contact and conflict. During the violent European invasions, the region’s Algonquian-speaking Natives were navigators, boatbuilders, fishermen, pirates, and merchants who became active players in the emergence of the Atlantic World. Drawing from a wide range of English, Dutch, and archeological sources, Lipman uncovers a new geography of Native America that incorporates seawater as well as soil. Looking past Europeans’ arbitrary land boundaries, he reveals unseen links between local episodes and global events.

 

Winner of a 2016 Bancroft Prize!

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Building Closed New Year's Day 1 January 2016.Friday, all day

The MHS Library and Galleries will be closed all day.

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Holiday Hours Galleries Open 2 January 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 4:00PM close
Library Closed Library Closed 2 January 2016.Saturday, all day

The MHS Library will be closed all day.  Galleries will be open from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

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Brown Bag Factory Fleets and Fewer Fish: Fisheries Management in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean, 1945-1996 6 January 2016.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Benjamin Kochan, Boston University

In the 1960s, large fleets of technologically sophisticated factory trawlers from Europe began competing with American and Canadian fishers in the Northwest Atlantic. When catches began to decline, both the US and Canada responded by extending federal jurisdiction over fisheries, first from three to twelve nautical miles and eventually to two-hundred miles. Massachusetts Senator Leverett Saltonstall was deeply involved in this process until he left office in 1967, and this project uses his collection to explore the evolution of US fishery policy in the mid-twentieth century.

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Exhibition "Always Your Friend": Letters from Theodore Roosevelt to Henry Cabot Lodge, 1884-1918 9 January 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 4:00PM Open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM Always Your Friend

One of the Society's most interesting collections of presidential papers consists of the extensive personal correspondence of Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge. From 1884 until just before Roosevelt's death in 1919, the two friends and their spouses exchanged hundreds of letters, notes, telegrams, annotated copies of speeches, newspaper articles, and photographs. "Always Your Friend" highlights selections from this remarkable collection.

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Exhibition Terra Firma: The Beginnings of the MHS Map Collection 9 January 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 4:00PM Open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM Terra Firma

As the MHS approaches its 225th year, Terra Firma celebrates the beginnings of one of its most diverse and interesting collections. Among the maps on display are landmarks of map publishing that include the first published map of New England, the first map of Massachusetts published in America, and a unique copy of the earliest separate map of Vermont, as well as maps of important battles and maps and atlases from the United States and beyond.

Learn more about four of the mapmakers at www.masshist.org/terrafirma.

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Exhibition The Unitarian Conscience: Letters & Publications from the George E. Nitzsche Unitariana Collection 9 January 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 4:00PM Open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM

In 2008, the MHS acquired the George E. Nitzsche Unitariana Collection from the Unitarian Society of Germantown in Philadelphia. To celebrate the sesquicentennial of the founding of the Germantown Society in 1865, the Society will display letters and publications from the collection that illustrate the engagement of eminent Unitarians and liberal religious thinkers in a wide range of 19th-century reform movements.

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Teacher Workshop Transforming Boston: From Basket Case to Innovation Hub 9 January 2016.Saturday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Sixty years ago, the residents of Boston were facing a bleak economic future. Today the city is a thriving hub for entrepreneurs and intellectuals. How did the city transform and reinvigorate its depressed post-WWII economy? This workshop will connect the history of Boston to the major economic and social trends of the late 20th century, and provide educators with classroom-ready materials that reveal how Boston became the innovation hub of America.

This program is open to educators and history enthusiasts. Educators can earn 22.5 PDPs or one graduate credit (for an additional fee).

Workshop Fee: $25 per person (to cover materials and lunch)

To Register / For more information: complete this registration form, or contact the education department at education@masshist.org or 617-646-0557.

Program Highlights

  • Hear Richard Garver, former Deputy Director of the Boston Redevelopment Authority, discuss the history of Boston's redevelopment in the last half of the twentieth century.
  • View items from the Society's collections documenting Boston's changing landscape.
  • Visit the West End Museum and learn more about the destruction of this formerly Italian and Jewish neighborhood 1950s.
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Environmental History Seminar Airplanes and Postwar America: An Environmental History of the Jet Age 12 January 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Thomas Robertson, Worcester Polytechnic Institute Comment: Sonja Duempelmann, Harvard University

This seminar will assess the environmental consequences of aviation, studying the entire twentieth century with an emphasis on the transition to jets in the 1950s and 1960s. It will examine the ways airplanes have shaped resource use, the spatial arrangement of people and things, surveying and international development, knowledge about the world, and environmental activism.

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Brown Bag "Chargeable Ground" and "Shaking Meadows": New Models of Land Cultivation in Eighteenth-Century New England 13 January 2016.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Jennifer Chuong, Harvard University

This talk examines Connecticut minister Jared Eliot's An Essay Upon Field-Husbandry in New England as It Is or May Be Ordered (1748), with a particular focus on Eliot's identification of different landscapes (forested, boggy, meadowed) as entailing different proportions of effort, investment, and delay in their cultivation. I compare Eliot's discussion to contemporary engravings of New England landscapes in order to suggest that textual and pictorial descriptions of land in the colonies exhibit a complementary, vexed understanding of the relationship between labor and development. This research is taken from my dissertation, "The Chargeable Surface: Investment, Interval, and Yield in Early America (1760-1820)," which investigates artistic experiments with surfaces as sites of transformation in four areas of visual and material culture: the decorative arts, print, painting, and the book arts.

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Building Closed Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 18 January 2016.Monday, all day

The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed.

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Early American History Seminar The Providence of John and Abigail Adams 19 January 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Sara Georgini, Adams Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society Comment: Chris Beneke, Bentley University

Asked for a religious affiliation, many Americans now begin their reply with, “Well, I was raised…” but family stories of religious life in American history are curiously rare. Providentialist Christianity led the Adamses out of England in 1638, through the Revolution, and, fitfully, into the early republic. Colonists-turned-citizens such as John and Abigail Adams sampled a range of religions, developing a cosmopolitan Christianity. What did it mean for the Adamses of Massachusetts to be “raised” Christian in America?

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Biography Seminar Biography, Inc.: Two Writers Talk about the Trade 21 January 2016.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM Christopher Benfey, Mount Holyoke College, and Megan Marshall, Emerson College Moderator: Susan Ware, American National Biography

Join Christopher Benfey and Megan Marshall in a wide-ranging conversation moderated by Susan Ware about teaching, reviewing, and writing biography.  Christopher Benfey, Mt. Holyoke College, is the author of A Summer of Hummingbirds: Love, Art, and Scandal in the Intersecting Worlds of Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Martin Johnson Heade as well as The Double Life of Stephen Crane and Degas In New Orleans.  His current work is on  Rudyard Kipling.  Megan Marshall, Emerson College, is the author of The Peabody Sisters and Margaret Fuller: A New American Life.  She is at work on a biography of Elizabeth Bishop, with whom she studied “verse writing” at Harvard College.

New England Biography Seminar series information

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Immigration and Urban History Seminar Laborers, Servants, and Schools: Aspirations of Mobility and the Reproduction of Inequality in Boston, 1880-1940 26 January 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Cristina Groeger, Harvard University Comment: John McClymer, Assumption College

Groeger's project traces the shift in the central site of preparation for work from informal on-the-job training in the late 19th century to formal schooling by the 1930s, using the city of Boston to illustrate this transformation. This essay concerns the changing world of the laboring population at the bottom of the economic hierarchy. Most low-wage manual labor and service jobs were occupied by Irish immigrants in 1880; in the next decades Italian, Polish, Lithuanian, and African American workers entered this labor market. Both indirectly and directly, the growth of formal schools as a site of job training transformed the world of work even for those at the bottom. However, recent immigrants and African-Americans remained in a weak position to exert organized political power, and this transformation did not improve the position of this sector.

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Brown Bag "Prepared to do Business with Many”: Elite Women’s Investment in Early National New York City 27 January 2016.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Alisa Wade, The Graduate Center, CUNY

This project traces women’s participation in New York’s transition to market capitalism in the early republic, placing the growth of the city’s marketplace into dialogue with shifting legal and cultural inheritance patterns. It addresses the methods by which female members of the upper class invested their wealth—in real estate, stocks and bonds, and material objects—to safeguard financial security amid increasing restrictions on women’s ownership and property administration. This research is a portion of a larger project entitled “An Alliance of Ladies: Power, Public Affairs, and Gendered Constructions of the Upper Class in Early National New York City.”

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Member Event, Special Event The Private Jefferson Preview Reception 28 January 2016.Thursday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT

Watch the recording of this event, embedded below:

Jefferson silhouette with MonticelloThis event is sold out. If you would like to be placed on the waiting list, please call 617-646-0518 or click on the RSVP link above to submit your name online.

MHS Fellows and Members are invited to a preview and reception for The Private Jefferson. The exhibition seeks to pull back the veil on one of the most famous yet enigmatic and intensely private Americans, Thomas Jefferson. Visitors will be able to explore Jefferson’s complex personality and political views through his writings and select correspondence between family and friends; gain insight into Jefferson’s personal story of writing the Declaration of Independence and see how the text celebrated today evolved from his original draft; discover how Jefferson used architecture to work out practical and technical design issues as well as larger philosophical issues; and understand how Jefferson’s role as plantation owner, experimental gardener, and meticulous record-keeper shaped his beliefs in how the nation would achieve economic and political independence. 

6:00 PM: Remarks by Peter S. Onuf
6:30 PM: Reception and preview of the exhibition

Become a Member today!

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Special Event, Member Event The Private Jefferson Breakfast Preview 29 January 2016.Friday, 9:00AM - 10:00AM This event is open only to MHS Fellows and Members

MHS Fellows and Members are invited to a special breakfast preview. For those who are unable to attend the preview the night before, we will open the galleries at 9:00 AM. Stroll through the galleries and talk to MHS Stephen T. Riley Librarian Peter Drummey before the doors open to the public. Coffee and pastries will be available. 

The Private JeffersonThe Private Jefferson: From the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society seeks to pull back the veil on one of the most famous yet enigmatic and intensely private Americans, Thomas Jefferson. Visitors will be able to explore Jefferson’s complex personality and political views through his writings and select correspondence between family and friends; gain insight into Jefferson’s personal story of writing the Declaration of Independence and see how the text celebrated today evolved from his original draft; discover how Jefferson used architecture to work out practical and technical design issues as well as larger philosophical issues; and understand how Jefferson’s role as plantation owner, experimental gardener, and meticulous record-keeper shaped his beliefs in how the nation would achieve economic and political independence. 

This 28 January preview and reception for The Private Jefferson is sold out. If you would like to be placed on the waiting list, please call 617-646-0518 or submit your name online.

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Exhibition The Private Jefferson 29 January 2016 to 26 May 2016 Open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM The Private Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson has been described as an "American Sphinx." As the drafter of the Declaration of Independence and the third president of the United States, he is one of the most famous Americans. Nevertheless, he is an enigmatic figure: an intensely private man who spent more than thirty years in public service; the spokesman for popular democracy who, at the same time, held hundreds of men, women and children as his personal property; an urbane, widely-travelled, and widely-read exemplar of the Enlightenment, who appeared happiest in a meticulously-planned environment that he had created for himself in the back country. The exhibition aims to pull back the veil and uncover the private Jefferson. Kicking off a year-long 225th anniversary celebration, The Private Jefferson: From the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society is open at the MHS through 20 May, Monday through Saturday, from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

One of the Society’s greatest treasures is the Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson manuscripts. The collection is comprised of letters, journals, record books, accounts, and 400 architectural drawings and sketches—almost 9,500 documents in all—collected by Jefferson’s descendants who lived in Massachusetts and donated them to the Society. 

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Early American History Seminar Sound Believers: Rhyme and Right Belief 2 February 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Wendy Roberts, University at Albany, SUNY Comment: Stephen A. Marini, Wellesley College

This essay examines the connection between poetry and evangelicalism in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. It argues that the far-reaching social transformations precipitated by evangelical awakenings depended upon the development of revival poetry. Studying both the first and second “Great Awakenings,” the work explores how both ministers and lay people helped to create a distinct style of Christian poetry.

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Brown Bag Making Another Massachusetts of South Carolina: Reconstruction in the Sea Islands 3 February 2016.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Robert G. Mann, Independent Scholar

After Union forces captured the Sea Islands of South Carolina at the end of 1862, well-educated Northerners from wealthy families journeyed to South Carolina, charged by the federal government with the task of educating liberated slaves and employing them as free laborers as part of the so-called Port Royal Experiment.  Many viewed their task as, in the words of one newspaper editor, “to make another Massachusetts of South Carolina.” This work evaluates the achievements and disappointments of a unique, integrated community centered around Beaufort, South Carolina, in the years 1863-1880 through the intertwined stories of three Massachusetts men and one former slave.

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Mass Modern Series, Public Program, Conversation Modernism Series: Program One - Brutalism to Heroic 3 February 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Mark Pasnik AIA, Over,Under; Chris Grimley AIA, Over,Under; and Michael Kubo, Collective–LOK

Watch the recording of this event, embedded below:

Often problematically labeled as “Brutalist” architecture, the concrete buildings that transformed Boston during 1960s and 1970s were conceived with progressive-minded intentions by some of the world’s most influential designers, including Marcel Breuer, Le Corbusier, I. M. Pei, Henry Cobb, Paul Rudolph, Josep Lluís Sert, and The Architects Collaborative. As a worldwide phenomenon, building with concrete represents one of the major architectural movements of the postwar years, but in Boston it was deployed in more numerous and diverse civic, cultural, and academic projects than in any other major U.S. city. Boston was an urban laboratory for the exploration of concrete’s structural and sculptural qualities. Heroic surveys the intentions and aspirations of this period and considers anew its legacies—both troubled and inspired.

This program is part of a four part series on Modernism. MHS is pleased to be working with our nonprofit partners, the Concord Museum and DoCoMoMo-New England, on this series. 

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Notice Library Closing at 3:00 PM 5 February 2016.Friday, all day close
MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 6 February 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 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.

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Building Closed Library and Exhibitions Closed 8 February 2016.Monday, all day

Due to inclement weather the MHS library and exhibition galleries will be closed on Monday, 8 February 2016.  

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Environmental History Seminar The History of Ecological Restoration: From Bombs to Bac-O-Bits 9 February 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Laura J. Martin, Harvard University Comment: Brian Payne, Bridgewater State University

Environmental organizations spend billions of dollars per year on environmental restoration—a set of practices that encompass invasive species removal, dam removal, prescribed burning, and captive breeding. Should restoration be considered its own movement? This paper explores the intellectual and cultural history of ecological restoration from 1945 to 1965, emphasizing the connections between ecological restoration and the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.

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History of Women and Gender Seminar All Politics Are Reproductive Politics: Welfare, Immigration, Gay Marriage, Foreclosure 11 February 2016.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM Location: Schlesinger Library Laura Briggs, University of Massachusetts—Amherst Comment: Suzanna Danuta Walters , Northeastern University

The collision of  two forces—increasing unpaid care burdens, and ever more need for wage labor—have conspired over the past forty years to radically reconfigure both families and political common sense in particularly racialized ways. In this project, Briggs argues that this issue has driven nearly every other significant policy debate in the United States since the 1970s: not just abortion and daycare, but feminism in general, welfare, immigration, gay marriage, and IVF. Welfare reform was a “who cares for the children” fight; gay marriage cases have been decided in terms of “the children”; the majority of immigrants to the U.S. are women, disproportionately doing care work; and IVF is about the necessity of delaying childbearing into one’s 30s in the U.S., when fertility begins to be reduced. Furthermore, this is by no means a white middle-class or U.S. problem. While being out of the labor force may seem like a privilege particularly of white U.S. suburbanites in the 1950s, both the care crunch and the need to work longer and longer days for shrinking wages have disproportionately affected working-class people, people of color, and a growing segments of the Third World. The ways individuals, households, and communities grind up against these issues accounts for a great deal, including why race, gender, and reproduction have been such central issues in the U.S. and beyond since at least the 1970s.

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Mass Modern Series, Public Program, Conversation Modernism Series: Program Two - Culture of Modernism 11 February 2016.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Alexandra Lange, Author; Jane Thompson, Thompson Design Group; and Michael Kubo, Collective–LOK This program will be held at the Concord Museum

While the Boston region was home to a number of large modernist projects, it was also an area that brought the zeitgeist of the movement to stores and museums. Kitchen utensils, fabrics, and furniture brought modern interiors to the average consumer and exhibitions and the cultural spaces made modernism part of the cutting edge scene. 

This program is part of a four part series on Modernism. MHS is pleased to be working with our nonprofit partners, the Concord Museum and DoCoMoMo-New England, on this series. 

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Jefferson Series, Public Program Gallery Talk: Jefferson’s Journey to Massachusetts: The Origin of the Coolidge Collection at MHS 12 February 2016.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Peter Drummey, Stephen T. Riley Librarian

Most people don’t associate Thomas Jefferson with Massachusetts and yet MHS has the largest collection of Jefferson’s private papers. Peter Drummey, the Stephen T. Riley Librarian at MHS will explain the provenance of the collection. 

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 13 February 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 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.

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Building Closed President's Day 15 February 2016.Monday, all day

The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed.

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Mass Modern Series, Public Program, Conversation Modernism Series: Program Three - Politics of Modernism 16 February 2016.Tuesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Liz Cohen, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University; Elihu Rubin, Associate Professor at Yale University and Chris Grimley, AIA, Over, Under

The arrival of Edward Logue as the head of the Boston Redevelopment Authority ushered in a new generation of buildings in Boston. Both the politics and the design of this period could be described as bold, often controversial, and of a scale that had not been seen before. Starting with the completion of the Prudential Tower, this era redefined the skyline, streetscape, and aspirations of the region.

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Jefferson Series, Teacher Workshop Adams, Jefferson, and Shakespeare 17 February 2016.Wednesday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Commemorate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death by investigating his influence on America’s Founding Mothers and Fathers. John and Abigail Adams sprinkled their letters to one another with quotes from the Bard, and Thomas Jefferson owned numerous volumes of Shakespeare’s work. This hands-on workshop will introduce participants to Adams and Jefferson documents in the Society’s collection, and explore Shakespeare’s themes of politics, power, and leadership through these eyes of these revolutionary men and women.

This program is open to educators and history enthusiasts. Educators can earn 22.5 PDPs or one graduate credit (for an additional fee).

Workshop Fee: $25 per person (to cover materials and lunch)

To Register / For more information: complete this registration form, or contact the education department at education@masshist.org or 617-646-0557.

Program Highlights

  • Discuss the Founders' understanding of Shakespeare and their use of his works in their own publications and correspondence with Adams Papers editors Hobson Woodward and Emily Ross.
  • View documents from the Adams Family Papers and the Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson Manuscripts.
  • Preview and brainstorm suggestions for using Adams, Jefferson, and Shakespeare materials in history and English language arts projects.
  • Take a guided tour of the Society's new exhibition, The Private Jefferson.
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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 20 February 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 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.

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Conversation, Public Program Begin at the Beginning: Boston’s Founding Documents "What News?": Communication in Early New England 20 February 2016.Saturday, 1:00PM - 3:00PM Katherine Grandjean, Wellesley College

"What News?": Communication in Early New England  

New England was built on letters. Its colonists left behind thousands of these “paper pilgrims,” brittle and browning. But how were they delivered? In a time before postal service and newspapers, how did news travel?

 

Even when it was meant solely for English eyes, news did not pass solely through English hands. Native messengers carried letters along footpaths, and Dutch ships took them across waterways. Rumors flew. Who could travel where, who controlled the routes winding through the woods, who dictated what news might be sent—these questions reveal a new dimension of contest in the northeast.

 

In her new book American Passage: The Communications Frontier in Early New England, Katherine Grandjean reveals a new view of colonial New England.  It is a darker and more precarious place entirely.

 

Reading

American Passage: The Communications Frontier in Early New England  (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015), especially the introduction and chapters 1, 2, and 3.

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Immigration and Urban History Seminar “The Other Essential Job of War”: Jewish American Merchants and the European Refugee Crisis, 1933-1945 23 February 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Niki C. Lefebvre, Boston University Comment: Noam Maggor, Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History

Following the rise of Adolf Hitler, political and trade conditions in the United States prevented department stores from collaborating in an effective boycott against German imports. However, individuals did undertake personal campaigns to bring Jewish refugees out of Europe. Drawing on their networks abroad and influence in Washington, a handful of Jewish American merchants in the northeast took great personal risks to pursue what Ira Hirschman called the “other essential job of war”: saving people.

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Brown Bag Free Religion as Spiritual Abolitionism 24 February 2016.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Scott Shubitz, Florida State University

This project reexamines the rise of the Free Religion movement and frames it as an outgrowth of both liberal religion and abolitionism. It argues that, rather than being a simple continuation of Transcendentalism, Free Religion represented a continuation of abolitionism during Reconstruction – a new “spiritual abolitionism.” Led by notable ministers like Octavius Brooks Frothingham, Francis Ellingwood Abbot, and William J. Potter, the Free Religion movement sought to overcome the divisions of creed and dogma and to unite people from diverse denominations and religions within one spiritual movement. This project draws on a number of MHS collections, including the papers of Henry W. Bellows and John Weiss.

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Mass Modern Series, Public Program, Conversation Modernism Series: Program Four - Preservation of Modernism 24 February 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Ann Beha, AIA, Ann Beha Architects; David Fixler, FAIA, EYP, DOCOMOMO New England; Henry Moss, AIA, Bruner/Cott & Associates, DOCOMOMO New England; and Mark Pasnik, AIA, Over, Under

Watch the recording of this event, embedded below:

Today, the optimism of the movement is often forgotten and many of the buildings suffer from years of poor maintenance and are facing insensitive renovation or demolition. Architects who have renovated important modernist buildings will talk about the challenges and opportunities and explain their work locally on buildings such as Sert’s BU Law Tower and Alvar Aalto’s Baker House at MIT as well as internationally on sites such as the Gropius’s US Embassy in Greece and the UN Headquarters.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 27 February 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 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.

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Early American History Seminar “Unawed by the Laws of their Country”: The Role of English Law in North Carolina’s Regulator Rebellion 1 March 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Abigail Chandler, University of Massachusetts—Lowell Comment: Hon. Hiller Zobel, Masschusetts Superior Court

This project explores the use of English legal and political traditions in the three-year Regulator Rebellion of North Carolina. The essay will address how these traditions impacted the motivations and justifications of both Regulators and the North Carolina government, while simultaneously incorporating a wider discussion of English identity and American colonists in the 1760s.

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Brown Bag Redeeming Verse: The Poetics of Revivalism 2 March 2016.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Wendy Roberts, University at Albany, SUNY

This project offers a post-secular account of British North America poetry through the everyday poetic practices of eighteenth-century evangelicalism.

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Jefferson Series, Public Program Gallery Talk: Fellow Laborers: The Friendship of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams 4 March 2016.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Sara Sikes, Associate Editor, Adams Papers and Sara Georgini, Assistant Editor, Adams Papers

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams worked together on the Declaration of Independence, were political allies, and were friends, but they they grew apart and became fierce opponents in the election of 1800. Although they did not speak for years, later in life they reconciled. Two leading scholars will talk about this relationship and what it meant to two founding fathers.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 5 March 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 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.

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Environmental History Seminar How to Police Your Food: A Story of Controlling Homes and Bodies in the Early Age of Manufactured Foods 8 March 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Benjamin R. Cohen, Lafayette College Comment: Joyce Chaplin, Harvard University

This project addresses three concerns of our day: food, knowledge, and control. These concerns are anchored in debates over environmental and public health inside a world of industrial food. By examining the dawn of this manufactured food system, it argues that decisions about protecting the boundary of nation, home, and body—and defining pure food—were shaped by competing ways of understanding how to grow and know food.

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Brown Bag Practicing Politics in the Revolutionary Atlantic World: Secrecy, Publicity, and the Making of Modern Democracy 9 March 2016.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Katlyn M. Carter, Princeton University

This project explores how decisions and debates about the place of secrecy in politics during the Age of Revolution shaped both the conceptual evolution and practical implementation of representative democracy. In it, Carter traces how revolutionaries in the United States and France navigated the tension between and Enlightenment imperative to eradicate secrets from the state and a practical need to limit the extent of transparency. At MHS, she has focused on how political figures reported on their political activity to their correspondents and whether they wrote about the need for secrecy in government.

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Public Program, Author Talk The New Bostonians: How Immigrants Have Transformed the Metro Area since the 1960s 9 March 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Marilynn S. Johnson, Boston College

The Immigration Act of 1965 opened the nation's doors to large-scale immigration from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. A half century later, the impact of the "new immigration" is evident in the transformation of the country's demographics, economy, politics, and culture, particularly in urban America. The confluence of recent immigration and urban transformation in greater Boston has been a part of the region rebounding from a dramatic decline after World War II to an astounding renaissance. From 1970 to 2010, the percentage of foreign-born residents of the city more than doubled, representing far more diversity than earlier waves of immigration. Like the older immigrant groups, these newer migrants have been crucial in re-building the population, labor force, and metropolitan landscape of the New Boston.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 12 March 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 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.

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Author Talk, Public Program Republic of Spin: An Inside History of the American Presidency 16 March 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30 David Greenberg of Rutgers University interviewed by Robin Young Co-host of Here & Now on WBUR and NPR

Watch the recording of this event, embedded below:

 

Republic of Spin covers more than one hundred years of politics and the rise of the White House spin machine, from Teddy Roosevelt to Barack Obama. The story takes us behind the scenes to see how the tools and techniques of image making and message craft work. We meet Woodrow Wilson convening the first White House press conference, Franklin Roosevelt huddling with his private pollsters, Ronald Reagan’s aides crafting his nightly news sound bites, and George W. Bush staging his “Mission Accomplished” photo-op. We meet, too, the backstage visionaries who pioneered new ways of gauging public opinion and mastering the media―figures like George Cortelyou, TR’s brilliantly efficient Press Manager; 1920s ad whiz Bruce Barton; Robert Montgomery, Dwight Eisenhower’s canny TV Coach; and of course the key spinmeisters of our own times, from Roger Ailes to David Axelrod.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 19 March 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 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.

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Building Closed MHS Closed 21 March 2016.Monday, all day

The MHS is closed Monday due to inclement weather.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 26 March 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 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.

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Immigration and Urban History Seminar The War on Butchers: San Francisco and the Making of Animal Space, 1850-1870 29 March 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Andrew Robichaud, Boston University Comment: Harriet Ritvo, MIT

For much of the nineteenth century American cities were alive with a wide variety of animal life. This paper examines some of the challenges of urban animal life (and death) in cities, while tracing the evolution of animal regulations in San Francisco between 1850 and 1870, a period of notable change. Through the creation of new livestock and slaughterhouse regulations, the city of San Francisco remade laws, space, and the environment, which together contributed to a broader transformation of urban life.

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Brown Bag William and Ellen Craft and the Transatlantic Battle for Civil Rights in the Nineteenth Century 30 March 2016.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Margaret Newell, Ohio State University

William and Ellen Craft escaped from slavery in Georgia in dramatic fashion in 1847, but their post-escape history was even more compelling.  The Crafts became antislavery activists in Boston and expanded their public activities after relocating to London, where Ellen maintained connections between English and American antislavery societies and pursued women’s suffrage while William visited Africa to lobby against the slave trade there. They returned to America after the Civil War and and tried to apply lessons learned in England to creating opportunities for economic freedom and education for former slaves.

Newell's research at the M.H.S., which is at a preliminary stage, focuses on the Crafts’ experiences in Boston. She is interested in the social networks they formed and what these experiences tell us about antislavery, about how activism interacted with class and gender, about political organization and civil rights activism beyond antislavery (including suffrage and educational access), and about the everyday lives of the broader community of free black people. In Boston the Crafts joined a stream of escapees from slavery that included a surprising number of women, children, and family groupings. Like others they lived in housing arranged by anti-slavery advocates, sometimes in the homes of well-known figures such as Theodore Parker but more frequently in the houses of Black abolitionists such as Lewis Hayden. Despite their notoriety on the abolitionist circuit they still had to make a living as working class people in a sometimes hostile city. During their stay, Boston’s Black community challenged school segregation in the courts and organized resistance to bounty hunters, forming and extending the efforts of the League of Freemen and the Boston Vigilance Committee.

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Author Talk, Public Program The Saltwater Frontier: Indians and the Contest for the American Coast 30 March 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Andrew Lipman, Barnard College

Andrew Lipman explores the previously untold story of how the ocean became a “frontier” between colonists and Indians. When the English and Dutch empires both tried to claim the same patch of coast between the Hudson River and Cape Cod, the sea itself became the arena of contact and conflict. During the violent European invasions, the region’s Algonquian-speaking Natives were navigators, boatbuilders, fishermen, pirates, and merchants who became active players in the emergence of the Atlantic World. Drawing from a wide range of English, Dutch, and archeological sources, Lipman uncovers a new geography of Native America that incorporates seawater as well as soil. Looking past Europeans’ arbitrary land boundaries, he reveals unseen links between local episodes and global events.

 

Winner of a 2016 Bancroft Prize!

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