December

Teacher Workshop The Political Lives of Historical Monuments and Memorials 2 December 2017.Saturday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM Registration fee: $25 per person This workshop is now full. Please join us on March 17, 2018 for another workshop on this topic: ...

This workshop is now full. Please join us on March 17, 2018 for another workshop on this topic: Monuments and Historical Memory.

Who decides what should be remembered in public spaces? Is removing a monument the equivalent of erasing history, or should monuments change along with their communities? Join MHS in exploring how monuments and memorials can help students understand history, historical memory, and how national symbols play a critical role in articulating culture and identity. We will discuss examples of monuments and memorials ranging from early American history to the Holocaust, and will engage with the current controversy over the role of Confederate monuments and memorials in communities across the US.

This program is open to all K-12 educators. Teachers can earn 22.5 PDPs or one graduate credit (for an additional fee).

Image: Dedication of the Memorial to Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, Boston, 31 May 1897, albumen print.

Highlights:

  • Explore WWII and Holocaust commemoration across the globe.
  • Learn about the history of Confederate monuments in America: When were they erected? Who built them? What do they signify? 
  • Discuss ways to engage students in conversation on current national debates over Confederate symbols in public spaces.
  • Meet Kevin Levin, educator, historian, and author of the blog, Civil War Memory
  • View and analyze documents and artifacts from the Society's collections.


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Public Program Reforming Boston: Remaking the 19th-Century City 4 December 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM In this presentation and virtual exhibit, Professor Andrew Robichaud and students from Boston ...

In this presentation and virtual exhibit, Professor Andrew Robichaud and students from Boston University will present more than twenty rare artifacts and documents from the archives of the Massachusetts Historical Society. From prison and asylum reform, to education and temperance, to women’s rights and abolitionism, this presentation will explore many dimensions of reform in Boston. How did Boston reformers understand their changing world, and how did they understand social change and improvement?

Light refreshments will be served after the presentations.

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Early American History Seminar Petitions and the Cry of Sedition 5 December 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Adrian C. Weimer, Providence College Comment: Walter Woodward, University of Connecticut In the political upheavals of the early Restoration a remarkable number of Massachusetts men and ...

In the political upheavals of the early Restoration a remarkable number of Massachusetts men and women expressed keen dissatisfaction with the monarchy or General Court, leading to trials over seditious speech. The rich theological language in the petitions and feisty curses in the trial records offer an unrivaled glimpse into the significance of religion for the mobilization of local political communities in this tumultuous era.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Brown Bag Constructing the Ocean’s Edge: Toward an Environmental History of the Atlantic World 6 December 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Chris Pastore, State University of New York at Albany This presentation examines the environmental history and cultural geography of the North Atlantic ...

This presentation examines the environmental history and cultural geography of the North Atlantic shore during the Age of Exploration. How, it asks, did early modern coastal imaginaries shape the contours of cultural contact and exchange among Native Americans and Europeans? And how did those imaginaries shape the ways both groups interacted with coastal spaces in more material ways? A closer look at the ways coasts blurred the bounds of natural knowledge, conventions of conduct, and even the distinction between good and evil, may help us write uncertainty into an otherwise linear narrative of human progress, and, by extension, global expansion.

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Winter Scene, Newbury Street Member Event, Special Event MHS Fellows and Members Holiday Party 6 December 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM This event is open only to MHS Fellows and Members MHS Fellows and Members are invited to the Society’s annual holiday party. Enjoy an evening of ...

MHS Fellows and Members are invited to the Society’s annual holiday party. Enjoy an evening of holiday cheer, celebrate the season, and wish a happy retirement to MHS President Emeritus Dennis Fiori. Holiday cocktail attire requested. RSVP by 1 December.

Not a Member? Join today!

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Notice Library Opens @ 12:00PM 7 December 2017.Thursday, all day Due to a staff development event, the library will open late at 12:00PM. 

Due to a staff development event, the library will open late at 12:00PM. 

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 9 December 2017.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: Yankees in the West.

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Environmental History Seminar Lived Botany: Settler Colonialism, Household Knowledge Production, and Natural History in Eighteenth-Century Pennsylvania 12 December 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Hannah Anderson, University of Pennsylvania Comment: Thomas Wickman, Trinity College When Pennsylvania settlers used plants to treat illnesses, they used a type of knowledge that ...

When Pennsylvania settlers used plants to treat illnesses, they used a type of knowledge that Anderson calls “lived botany.” This term reveals that colonists developed ways of interpreting their landscapes that simultaneously partook of and deviated from the norms of eighteenth-century natural history. Domestic spaces became sites where colonists created information about the natural world, allowing them to feel secure in the new environments where they claimed dominion.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Public Program, Author Talk The Slave's Cause 13 December 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Manisha Sinha, University of Connecticut Abolitionists are often portrayed as bourgeois, mostly white reformers burdened by racial ...

Abolitionists are often portrayed as bourgeois, mostly white reformers burdened by racial paternalism and economic conservatism. This book broadens the chronology of abolition beyond the antebellum period as well as recasts it as a radical social movement in which men and women, black and white, free and enslaved found common ground in causes ranging from feminism to anti-imperialism. This new history sets the abolition movement in a transnational context and illustrates how the abolitionist vision ultimately linked the slave’s cause to the struggle to redefine democracy and human rights across the globe.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 16 December 2017.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: Yankees in the West.

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Building Closed Building Closing at 4:00PM 18 December 2017.Monday, all day More
Library Closed Library Closing at 3:30PM 18 December 2017.Monday, all day The library closes early at 3:30PM for a staff event. 

The library closes early at 3:30PM for a staff event. 

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History of Women and Gender Seminar Miss America’s Politics: Beauty and the Development of the New Right since 1968 19 December 2017.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM Location: Massachusetts Historical Society Micki McElya, University of Connecticut Comment: Genevieve A. Clutario, Harvard University Drawn from McElya’s larger book project, this essay examines the centrality of the Miss ...

Drawn from McElya’s larger book project, this essay examines the centrality of the Miss America pageant, its local networks, and individual contestants to the rise of activist conservative women and the New Right in the 1960s and 1970s. It analyzes the celebration, power, and political effects of normative beauty, steeped in heterosexual gender norms and white supremacy, and argues for the transformative effect of putting diverse women’s voices at the center of political history and inquiry.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Building Closed Building Closed 23 December 2017.Saturday, all day The Society is CLOSED. 

The Society is CLOSED. 

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Building Closed Christmas Day 25 December 2017.Monday, all day The MHS is CLOSED for Christmas.

The MHS is CLOSED for Christmas.

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Holiday Hours Galleries Open 26 December 2017.Tuesday, all day The exhibition galleries are OPEN, 10:00AM-4:00PM.

The exhibition galleries are OPEN, 10:00AM-4:00PM.

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Library Closed Library Closed 26 December 2017.Tuesday, all day The MHS library is CLOSED.

The MHS library is CLOSED.

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Holiday Hours Galleries Open 27 December 2017.Wednesday, all day The exhibition galleris are OPEN, 10:00AM-4:00PM.

The exhibition galleris are OPEN, 10:00AM-4:00PM.

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Library Closed Library Closed 27 December 2017.Wednesday, all day The MHS library is CLOSED.

The MHS library is CLOSED.

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Holiday Hours Galleries Open 28 December 2017.Thursday, all day The exhibition galleries are OPEN, 10:00AM-4:00PM. 

The exhibition galleries are OPEN, 10:00AM-4:00PM. 

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Library Closed Library Closed 28 December 2017.Thursday, all day The MHS library is CLOSED.

The MHS library is CLOSED.

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Holiday Hours Galleries Open 29 December 2017.Friday, all day The exhibition galleries are OPEN, 10:00AM-4:00PM. 

The exhibition galleries are OPEN, 10:00AM-4:00PM. 

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Library Closed Library Closed 29 December 2017.Friday, all day The MHS library is CLOSED.

The MHS library is CLOSED.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 30 December 2017.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: Yankees in the West.

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Holiday Hours Galleries Open 30 December 2017.Saturday, all day The exhibition galleries are OPEN, 10:00AM-4:00PM. 

The exhibition galleries are OPEN, 10:00AM-4:00PM. 

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Library Closed Library Closed 30 December 2017.Saturday, all day The MHS Library is CLOSED.

The MHS Library is CLOSED.

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January
Building Closed New Year's Day 1 January 2018.Monday, all day The MHS is CLOSED for New Year's Day.

The MHS is CLOSED for New Year's Day.

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Brown Bag Excavating the Western Indian Mound and Building the American Archive 3 January 2018.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Derek O'Leary, University of California, Berkeley Settlers and travelers moving westward in the early republic encountered the myriad Indian mounds ...

Settlers and travelers moving westward in the early republic encountered the myriad Indian mounds scattered along the American frontier. These sundry earthworks furnished ample grist for various projects: frontier infrastructure, literary nationalism, the national historical narrative, and—as this talk explores—the emergence of American archives.

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Building Closed MHS Closed 4 January 2018.Thursday, all day Due to the severe weather forecast, the MHS is CLOSED on Thursday, 22 March.

Due to the severe weather forecast, the MHS is CLOSED on Thursday, 22 March.

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Building Closed MHS Closed 5 January 2018.Friday, all day Due to inclement weather the MHS will be closed on Friday, January 5.

Due to inclement weather the MHS will be closed on Friday, January 5.

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MHS Tour CANCELLED!: The History and Collections of the MHS 6 January 2018.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM Today's scheduled tour has been cancelled. The exhibition galleries will be open, so you can still ...

Today's scheduled tour has been cancelled. The exhibition galleries will be open, so you can still enjoy the opportunity to view our current exhibition: Yankees in the West.

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Notice Regularly Scheduled Hours Resume 6 January 2018.Saturday, all day The MHS will return to regular operating hours on Saturday, January 6.  The library will be open 9 ...

The MHS will return to regular operating hours on Saturday, January 6.  The library will be open 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.  The galleries will be open 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.  

The docent-led building tour (History and Collections of the MHS) has been cancelled.  Visitors are welcome to visit the galleries on their own.  

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Notice Galleries Closed 8 January 2018.Monday, all day The exhibition galleries are CLOSED on Monday, 8 January, and Tuesday, 9 January. Normal hours ...

The exhibition galleries are CLOSED on Monday, 8 January, and Tuesday, 9 January. Normal hours resume on Wednesday, 10 January. 

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Notice Galleries Closed 9 January 2018.Tuesday, all day The exhibition galleries are CLOSED on Monday, 8 January, and Tuesday, 9 January. Normal hours ...

The exhibition galleries are CLOSED on Monday, 8 January, and Tuesday, 9 January. Normal hours resume on Wednesday, 10 January. 

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 13 January 2018.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: Yankees in the West.

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Building Closed Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 15 January 2018.Monday, all day The MHS is CLOSED in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

The MHS is CLOSED in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

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Environmental History Seminar The Fight before the Flood: Rural Protest and the Debate over Boston’s Quabbin Reservoir, 1919-1927 16 January 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Jeffrey Egan, University of Connecticut Comment: Karl Haglund, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation In 1919, state engineers proposed solving Boston’s water supply crisis by damming the Swift ...

In 1919, state engineers proposed solving Boston’s water supply crisis by damming the Swift River, flooding a western Massachusetts valley and evicting 2,500 people. The contentious six-year debate that followed does not fit the standard story of urban conservationists versus rural peoples, as many valley residents defined themselves as rural and conservationist, and thus offers scholars a chance to see fresh nuances in early twentieth-century land management, rural life, and urban development.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Brown Bag Skulls, Selves, and Showmanship: Itinerant Phrenologists in 19th-Century America 17 January 2018.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Kathrinne Duffy, Brown University "Come, then, one and all, and learn to know yourselves." With these words, a traveling phrenologist ...

"Come, then, one and all, and learn to know yourselves." With these words, a traveling phrenologist advertised his lecture to the public. Proponents of phrenology — a controversial, influential science — believed that the shape of one’s cranium revealed one’s character. This talk explores the world of phrenological lecture-demonstrations and the circulation of materialist ideas about the self.

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Public Program, Author Talk Pauline Maier Memorial Lecture - Madison’s Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention 17 January 2018.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Mary Sarah Bilder, Boston College Law School $10 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows) James Madison’s Notes on the 1787 Constitutional Convention have acquired nearly unquestioned ...

James Madison’s Notes on the 1787 Constitutional Convention have acquired nearly unquestioned authority as the description of the U.S. Constitution’s creation. No document provides a more complete record of the deliberations in Philadelphia. But how reliable is this account? In an unprecedented investigation Mary Sarah Bilder reveals that Madison revised the Notes to a far greater extent than previously recognized. Madison’s Hand offers a biography of a document that, over two centuries, developed a life and character all its own.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 20 January 2018.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: Yankees in the West.

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History of Women and Gender Seminar The "Woman Inventor" as a Political Tool of Female Suffragists: Patents, Invention, and Civil Rights in the 19th-Century United States 23 January 2018.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM Location: Massachusetts Historical Society Kara Swanson, Northeastern University School of Law Comment: Rebecca Herzig, Bates College After the Patent Act of 1790, patents played an important social and political role in the ...

After the Patent Act of 1790, patents played an important social and political role in the formation of American nationhood and citizenship. Part of a larger book project, this paper demonstrates how nineteenth-century American women mobilized patents granted to women as justification for civil rights claims. It identifies the creation of the “woman inventor” as a cultural trope and political weapon of resistance.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Public Program, Conversation Peter J. Gomes Memorial Book Prize Award & Reception 25 January 2018.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Tamara Plakins Thornton, University at Buffalo, and Catherine Allgor, MHS Please join us for a special evening in which Tamara Plakins Thornton will receive the 2017 Gomes ...

Please join us for a special evening in which Tamara Plakins Thornton will receive the 2017 Gomes Prize for Nathaniel Bowditch and the Power of Numbers: How a 19th-Century Man of Business, Science, and the Sea Changed American Life. Thornton will join MHS President and Dolley Madison biographer Catherine Allgor in a conversation about why historians become biographers. How do they pull off that transformation? Thornton and Allgor will explore what drew them to the life of a single individual after they had published “standard” historical monographs. They will address the sorts of novel challenges they faced as both scholars and writers— and the new intellectual pleasures they encountered.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 27 January 2018.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: Yankees in the West.

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Public Program, Conversation Aesthetics of the Everyday in New England Film 29 January 2018.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Martha McNamara, Wellesley College, and Karan Sheldon, Northeast Historic Film $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders). The term “amateur film” conjures visions of shaky, out-of-focus images depicting family ...

The term “amateur film” conjures visions of shaky, out-of-focus images depicting family vacations and kids’ birthday parties, but early twentieth-century amateur filmmaking produced irreplaceable records of people’s lives and beloved places. This volume of essays, interprets a wide variety of visually expressive amateur films made in New England. Martha McNamara and Karan Sheldon will highlight three examples: the comedies of landscape architect Sidney N. Shurcliff, depictions of pastoral family life by Elizabeth Woodman Wright, and the chronicles of Anna B. Harris, an African American resident of Manchester, Vermont.

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar “Momentum Toward Evil Is Strong”: Poor Women, Moral Panics, and the Rise of Crime-Fighting Policing in Depression-Era America 30 January 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Anne Gray Fischer, Brown University Comment: Michael Willrich, Brandeis University Between Prohibition and World War II, American law enforcement went from being seen as a brutal and ...

Between Prohibition and World War II, American law enforcement went from being seen as a brutal and incompetent political liability to a professional crime-fighting regime. This essay explores the dramatic shift in public perception by studying the changing practices of Depression-era morality policing in Boston and Los Angeles—specifically, the police enforcement of morals misdemeanors, including vagrancy, disorderly conduct, lewdness, and prostitution, which disproportionately targeted poor women on city streets.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Brown Bag Indian Doctresses: Race, Labor, and Medicine in the 19th-century United States 31 January 2018.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Angela Hudson, Texas A&M University This project focuses on women who worked as Indian doctresses and the clients who sought their care ...

This project focuses on women who worked as Indian doctresses and the clients who sought their care. The study strives to more fully integrate indigeneity into fields of study from which it is often absent, most notably labor history and the history of medicine.

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February
MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 3 February 2018.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: Yankees in the West.

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Early American History Seminar “We all agree to exclude...those of unsound mind”: Disability, Doctors, and the Law in the Early Republic 6 February 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Laurel Daen, MHS-NEH Fellow Comment: Cornelia Dayton, University of Connecticut Between 1790 and 1840, Americans deemed to be cognitively disabled lost the right to vote, marry, ...

Between 1790 and 1840, Americans deemed to be cognitively disabled lost the right to vote, marry, immigrate, obtain residency, and live independently. This paper charts these legal developments in Massachusetts as well as how disabled people used the courts to negotiate these constraints. Despite some successes, contesting incapacity became increasingly difficult towards the mid-nineteenth century when physicians became regular and trusted expert witnesses in court.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Brown Bag John Winthrop, Benjamin Martin, & Worlds of Scientific Work 7 February 2018.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Pierce Williams, Carnegie Mellon University Benjamin Martin was regarded by natural philosophers of his age as a showman and peddler of pseudo ...

Benjamin Martin was regarded by natural philosophers of his age as a showman and peddler of pseudo-scientific trinkets. At the same time, John Winthrop was working to elevate the North American colonies in the topography of learned culture. This project attempts to understand Winthrop's puzzling choice of Martin to refurbish Harvard's scientific instrument collection after the college laboratory burned to the ground in 1764.

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Public Program, Author Talk Reconsidering King Philip’s War 7 February 2018.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Lisa Brooks, Amherst College, and Christine DeLucia, Mount Holyoke College THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT. Two historians reexamine the narrative of one of colonial ...

THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT.

Two historians reexamine the narrative of one of colonial America’s most devastating conflicts. Lisa Brooks recovers a complex picture of war, captivity, and Native resistance during the “First Indian War” by relaying the stories of Weetamoo, a female Wampanoag leader, and James Printer, a Nipmuc scholar, whose stories converge in the captivity of Mary Rowlandson. Christine DeLucia offers a major reconsideration of the war, providing an alternative to Pilgrim-centric narratives that have dominated the histories of colonial New England, grounding her study in five specific places that were directly affected by the crisis, spanning the Northeast as well as the Atlantic world. These two works offer new perspectives. The program will include short presentations by both scholars followed by a conversation.

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Public Program, Author Talk Thunder at the Gates: The Black Civil War Regiments that Redeemed America 8 February 2018.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Douglas Egerton, Le Moyne College $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders). One of the most treasured objects belonging to the Society’s collection is the battle sword of ...

One of the most treasured objects belonging to the Society’s collection is the battle sword of Robert Gould Shaw, the leader of the courageous 54th Massachusetts infantry, the first black regiment in the North. The prominent Shaw family of Boston and New York had long been involved in reform, including antislavery and feminism, and their son, Robert, took up the mantle of his family’s progressive stances, though perhaps more reluctantly. In this lecture, historian Douglas R. Egerton focuses on the entire Shaw family during the war years and how following generationshave dealt with their legacy.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 10 February 2018.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: Yankees in the West.

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Environmental History Seminar Governor Francis W. Sargent: Fisheries Manager 13 February 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Benjamin Kochan, Boston University Comment: Brian Payne, Bridgewater State University Francis Sargent was a Cape Cod fisherman. Fishing brought him into the government as Director of ...

Francis Sargent was a Cape Cod fisherman. Fishing brought him into the government as Director of Fisheries, then head of Public Works, and, eventually, governor of Massachusetts. In his positions, Sargent bridged the gap between working-class fishers and government. This paper examines Sargent’s ability to speak directly to fishermen, arguing that his post-1974 disengagement from public life robbed fishermen of an ally who might have soothed tensions created by late-1970s federal regulations.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Public Program, Author Talk Brahmin Capitalism: Frontiers of American Wealth & Populism in America’s First Gilded Age 15 February 2018.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30 Noam Maggor, Queen Mary University of London $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders). Brahmin Capitalism explores how the moneyed elite of Boston mobilized to reinvent the American ...

Brahmin Capitalism explores how the moneyed elite of Boston mobilized to reinvent the American economy in the aftermath of the Civil War. With the decline of cotton-based textile manufacturing and the abolition of slavery, Maggor shows these gentleman bankers traveled far and wide in search of new business opportunities and found them in the mines, railroads, and industries of the Great West. They leveraged their wealth to forge transcontinental networks of commodities, labor, and transportation leading the way to the nationally integrated corporate capitalism of the 20th century.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 17 February 2018.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: Yankees in the West.

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Building Closed Presidents Day 19 February 2018.Monday, all day The MHS is CLOSED in observance of Presidents Day. 

The MHS is CLOSED in observance of Presidents Day. 

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Public Program, Author Talk Growing Up with the Country 20 February 2018.Tuesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30 Kendra Field, Tufts University There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders). Following the lead of her own ancestors, Kendra Field’s epic family history chronicles the ...

Following the lead of her own ancestors, Kendra Field’s epic family history chronicles the westward migration of freedom’s first generation in the 50 years after emancipation. She traces their journey out of the South to Indian Territory, where they participated in the development of black towns and settlements. When statehood, oil speculation, and segregation imperiled their lives, some launched a back-to-Africa movement while others moved to Canada and Mexico. Interweaving black, white, and Indian histories, Field’s narrative explores how ideas about race and color powerfully shaped the pursuit of freedom.

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Teacher Workshop Yankees in the West 21 February 2018.Wednesday, all day Registration fee: $25 per person Explore the American West through the eyes of 19th-century New Englanders. Participants will read ...

Explore the American West through the eyes of 19th-century New Englanders. Participants will read the diaries and letters of Gold Rush hopefuls, intrepid train travelers, and tourists in search of “authentic” Native Americans. Using the Society’s current exhibition as our guide, we will investigate how writers, artists, and photographers sensationalized the frontier experience for eastern audiences and conceptualized the West for Americans who increasingly embraced the nation’s manifest destiny.

This program is open to all K-12 educators. Teachers can earn 22.5 PDPs or one graduate credit (for an additional fee).

Image: Front and back cover of a fold-out map of Yellowstone National Park, produced by the Northern Pacific Railroad, 1893. MHS Collections. 

 

Highlights:

  • View and analyze documents and artifacts from the Society's collections.
  • Follow New Englanders to the Gold Rush through their letters and diaires. 
  • Investigate the lives of women in the trans-Mississippi West. 
  • Explore portrayals of Native Americans captured by New England writers, painters, and photographers. 
  • Learn more about the Adams family's connection to the West. 


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Brown Bag Billets & Barracks: The Quartering Act & the Coming of the American Revolution 21 February 2018.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM John McCurdy, Eastern Michigan University The arrival of British soldiers in the 1750s forced Americans to ask “where do soldiers ...

The arrival of British soldiers in the 1750s forced Americans to ask “where do soldiers belong?” This project investigates how they answered this question, arguing that it prompted them to rethink the meaning of places like the home and the city, as well as to reevaluate British military power.

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Public Program For the Union Dead: Bostonians Travel East in Search of Answers in the Post-Civil War Era 22 February 2018.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Mark Rennella After the Civil War, artists and writers from Boston faced a question that haunted America: ...

After the Civil War, artists and writers from Boston faced a question that haunted America: what’s next? For cultural leaders like Charles Eliot Norton and Isabella Stewart Gardner, Reconstruction left them feeling directionless and betrayed. Shunning the Whig narrative of history, these “Boston Cosmopolitans” researched Europe’s long past to discover and share examples of civil society shaped by high ideals.

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Teacher Workshop Slavery & the U.S. Supreme Court 24 February 2018.Saturday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM Registration fee: $25 per person How did the personal and political philosophies of Justices John Marshall, Roger B. Taney, and ...

How did the personal and political philosophies of Justices John Marshall, Roger B. Taney, and Joseph Story influence their proslavery positions? Paul Finkelman, President of Gratz College, will discuss why these three influential justices upheld the institution of slavery and continued to deny black Americans their freedom. Participants will connect these federal rulings to local court cases, as well as antislavery and abolitionist efforts to undermine these unpopular decrees.

This program is open to all K-12 educators. Teachers can earn 22.5 PDPs or one graduate credit (for an 

Highlights:

  • Meet Professor Paul Finkelman and discuss his new book, Supreme Injustice: Slavery in the Nation's Highest Court. (Hardvard University Press, 2018)
  • Investigate the history of slavery and antislavery in Massachusetts. 
  • View and analyze documents and artifacts from the Society's collections


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Public Program, Author Talk Supreme Injustice: Slavery in the Nation’s Highest Court 26 February 2018.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Paul Finkelman, Gratz College There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders). The three most important Supreme Court Justices before the Civil War Chief Justices John Marshall ...

The three most important Supreme Court Justices before the Civil War Chief Justices John Marshall and Roger B. Taney and Associate Justice Joseph Story upheld the institution of slavery in ruling after ruling. These opinions cast a shadow over the Court and the legacies of these men, but historians have rarely delved deeply into the personal and political ideas and motivations they held. In Supreme Injustice Paul Finkelman establishes an authoritative account of each justice’s proslavery position, the reasoning behind his opposition to black freedom, and the incentives created by his private life.

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Panel Discussion: Capitalism and Culture 27 February 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Jonathan Cohen, University of Virginia, and Davor Mondom, Syracuse University Comment: Sven Beckert, Harvard University This panel examines the reaction against welfare state capitalism in the mid-20th century U.S., ...

This panel examines the reaction against welfare state capitalism in the mid-20th century U.S., looking at two companies that promoted themselves as bastions of free enterprise or as a solution to high state taxes. Mondom’s paper is “Capitalism with a Human Face: Amway, Direct Sales, and the Redemption of Free Enterprise.” Cohen’s essay is titled “Rivers of Gold: Scientific Games and the Spread of State Lotteries, 1980-1984.”

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Teacher Workshop The Political Lives of Historical Monuments and Memorials 2 December 2017.Saturday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM Registration fee: $25 per person

This workshop is now full. Please join us on March 17, 2018 for another workshop on this topic: Monuments and Historical Memory.

Who decides what should be remembered in public spaces? Is removing a monument the equivalent of erasing history, or should monuments change along with their communities? Join MHS in exploring how monuments and memorials can help students understand history, historical memory, and how national symbols play a critical role in articulating culture and identity. We will discuss examples of monuments and memorials ranging from early American history to the Holocaust, and will engage with the current controversy over the role of Confederate monuments and memorials in communities across the US.

This program is open to all K-12 educators. Teachers can earn 22.5 PDPs or one graduate credit (for an additional fee).

Image: Dedication of the Memorial to Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, Boston, 31 May 1897, albumen print.

Highlights:

  • Explore WWII and Holocaust commemoration across the globe.
  • Learn about the history of Confederate monuments in America: When were they erected? Who built them? What do they signify? 
  • Discuss ways to engage students in conversation on current national debates over Confederate symbols in public spaces.
  • Meet Kevin Levin, educator, historian, and author of the blog, Civil War Memory
  • View and analyze documents and artifacts from the Society's collections.


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Public Program Reforming Boston: Remaking the 19th-Century City 4 December 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM

In this presentation and virtual exhibit, Professor Andrew Robichaud and students from Boston University will present more than twenty rare artifacts and documents from the archives of the Massachusetts Historical Society. From prison and asylum reform, to education and temperance, to women’s rights and abolitionism, this presentation will explore many dimensions of reform in Boston. How did Boston reformers understand their changing world, and how did they understand social change and improvement?

Light refreshments will be served after the presentations.

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Early American History Seminar Petitions and the Cry of Sedition 5 December 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Adrian C. Weimer, Providence College Comment: Walter Woodward, University of Connecticut

In the political upheavals of the early Restoration a remarkable number of Massachusetts men and women expressed keen dissatisfaction with the monarchy or General Court, leading to trials over seditious speech. The rich theological language in the petitions and feisty curses in the trial records offer an unrivaled glimpse into the significance of religion for the mobilization of local political communities in this tumultuous era.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Brown Bag Constructing the Ocean’s Edge: Toward an Environmental History of the Atlantic World 6 December 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Chris Pastore, State University of New York at Albany

This presentation examines the environmental history and cultural geography of the North Atlantic shore during the Age of Exploration. How, it asks, did early modern coastal imaginaries shape the contours of cultural contact and exchange among Native Americans and Europeans? And how did those imaginaries shape the ways both groups interacted with coastal spaces in more material ways? A closer look at the ways coasts blurred the bounds of natural knowledge, conventions of conduct, and even the distinction between good and evil, may help us write uncertainty into an otherwise linear narrative of human progress, and, by extension, global expansion.

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Member Event, Special Event MHS Fellows and Members Holiday Party 6 December 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM This event is open only to MHS Fellows and Members Winter Scene, Newbury Street

MHS Fellows and Members are invited to the Society’s annual holiday party. Enjoy an evening of holiday cheer, celebrate the season, and wish a happy retirement to MHS President Emeritus Dennis Fiori. Holiday cocktail attire requested. RSVP by 1 December.

Not a Member? Join today!

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Notice Library Opens @ 12:00PM 7 December 2017.Thursday, all day

Due to a staff development event, the library will open late at 12:00PM. 

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 9 December 2017.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: Yankees in the West.

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Environmental History Seminar Lived Botany: Settler Colonialism, Household Knowledge Production, and Natural History in Eighteenth-Century Pennsylvania 12 December 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Hannah Anderson, University of Pennsylvania Comment: Thomas Wickman, Trinity College

When Pennsylvania settlers used plants to treat illnesses, they used a type of knowledge that Anderson calls “lived botany.” This term reveals that colonists developed ways of interpreting their landscapes that simultaneously partook of and deviated from the norms of eighteenth-century natural history. Domestic spaces became sites where colonists created information about the natural world, allowing them to feel secure in the new environments where they claimed dominion.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Public Program, Author Talk The Slave's Cause 13 December 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Manisha Sinha, University of Connecticut

Abolitionists are often portrayed as bourgeois, mostly white reformers burdened by racial paternalism and economic conservatism. This book broadens the chronology of abolition beyond the antebellum period as well as recasts it as a radical social movement in which men and women, black and white, free and enslaved found common ground in causes ranging from feminism to anti-imperialism. This new history sets the abolition movement in a transnational context and illustrates how the abolitionist vision ultimately linked the slave’s cause to the struggle to redefine democracy and human rights across the globe.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 16 December 2017.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: Yankees in the West.

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Building Closed Building Closing at 4:00PM 18 December 2017.Monday, all day close
Library Closed Library Closing at 3:30PM 18 December 2017.Monday, all day

The library closes early at 3:30PM for a staff event. 

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History of Women and Gender Seminar Miss America’s Politics: Beauty and the Development of the New Right since 1968 19 December 2017.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM Location: Massachusetts Historical Society Micki McElya, University of Connecticut Comment: Genevieve A. Clutario, Harvard University

Drawn from McElya’s larger book project, this essay examines the centrality of the Miss America pageant, its local networks, and individual contestants to the rise of activist conservative women and the New Right in the 1960s and 1970s. It analyzes the celebration, power, and political effects of normative beauty, steeped in heterosexual gender norms and white supremacy, and argues for the transformative effect of putting diverse women’s voices at the center of political history and inquiry.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Building Closed Building Closed 23 December 2017.Saturday, all day

The Society is CLOSED. 

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Building Closed Christmas Day 25 December 2017.Monday, all day

The MHS is CLOSED for Christmas.

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Holiday Hours Galleries Open 26 December 2017.Tuesday, all day

The exhibition galleries are OPEN, 10:00AM-4:00PM.

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Library Closed Library Closed 26 December 2017.Tuesday, all day

The MHS library is CLOSED.

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Holiday Hours Galleries Open 27 December 2017.Wednesday, all day

The exhibition galleris are OPEN, 10:00AM-4:00PM.

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Library Closed Library Closed 27 December 2017.Wednesday, all day

The MHS library is CLOSED.

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Holiday Hours Galleries Open 28 December 2017.Thursday, all day

The exhibition galleries are OPEN, 10:00AM-4:00PM. 

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Library Closed Library Closed 28 December 2017.Thursday, all day

The MHS library is CLOSED.

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Holiday Hours Galleries Open 29 December 2017.Friday, all day

The exhibition galleries are OPEN, 10:00AM-4:00PM. 

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Library Closed Library Closed 29 December 2017.Friday, all day

The MHS library is CLOSED.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 30 December 2017.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: Yankees in the West.

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Holiday Hours Galleries Open 30 December 2017.Saturday, all day

The exhibition galleries are OPEN, 10:00AM-4:00PM. 

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Library Closed Library Closed 30 December 2017.Saturday, all day

The MHS Library is CLOSED.

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Building Closed New Year's Day 1 January 2018.Monday, all day

The MHS is CLOSED for New Year's Day.

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Brown Bag Excavating the Western Indian Mound and Building the American Archive 3 January 2018.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Derek O'Leary, University of California, Berkeley

Settlers and travelers moving westward in the early republic encountered the myriad Indian mounds scattered along the American frontier. These sundry earthworks furnished ample grist for various projects: frontier infrastructure, literary nationalism, the national historical narrative, and—as this talk explores—the emergence of American archives.

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Building Closed MHS Closed 4 January 2018.Thursday, all day

Due to the severe weather forecast, the MHS is CLOSED on Thursday, 22 March.

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Building Closed MHS Closed 5 January 2018.Friday, all day

Due to inclement weather the MHS will be closed on Friday, January 5.

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MHS Tour CANCELLED!: The History and Collections of the MHS 6 January 2018.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM

Today's scheduled tour has been cancelled. The exhibition galleries will be open, so you can still enjoy the opportunity to view our current exhibition: Yankees in the West.

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Notice Regularly Scheduled Hours Resume 6 January 2018.Saturday, all day

The MHS will return to regular operating hours on Saturday, January 6.  The library will be open 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.  The galleries will be open 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.  

The docent-led building tour (History and Collections of the MHS) has been cancelled.  Visitors are welcome to visit the galleries on their own.  

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Notice Galleries Closed 8 January 2018.Monday, all day

The exhibition galleries are CLOSED on Monday, 8 January, and Tuesday, 9 January. Normal hours resume on Wednesday, 10 January. 

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Notice Galleries Closed 9 January 2018.Tuesday, all day

The exhibition galleries are CLOSED on Monday, 8 January, and Tuesday, 9 January. Normal hours resume on Wednesday, 10 January. 

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 13 January 2018.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: Yankees in the West.

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Building Closed Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 15 January 2018.Monday, all day

The MHS is CLOSED in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

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Environmental History Seminar The Fight before the Flood: Rural Protest and the Debate over Boston’s Quabbin Reservoir, 1919-1927 16 January 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Jeffrey Egan, University of Connecticut Comment: Karl Haglund, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation

In 1919, state engineers proposed solving Boston’s water supply crisis by damming the Swift River, flooding a western Massachusetts valley and evicting 2,500 people. The contentious six-year debate that followed does not fit the standard story of urban conservationists versus rural peoples, as many valley residents defined themselves as rural and conservationist, and thus offers scholars a chance to see fresh nuances in early twentieth-century land management, rural life, and urban development.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Brown Bag Skulls, Selves, and Showmanship: Itinerant Phrenologists in 19th-Century America 17 January 2018.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Kathrinne Duffy, Brown University

"Come, then, one and all, and learn to know yourselves." With these words, a traveling phrenologist advertised his lecture to the public. Proponents of phrenology — a controversial, influential science — believed that the shape of one’s cranium revealed one’s character. This talk explores the world of phrenological lecture-demonstrations and the circulation of materialist ideas about the self.

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Public Program, Author Talk Pauline Maier Memorial Lecture - Madison’s Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention 17 January 2018.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Mary Sarah Bilder, Boston College Law School $10 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows)

James Madison’s Notes on the 1787 Constitutional Convention have acquired nearly unquestioned authority as the description of the U.S. Constitution’s creation. No document provides a more complete record of the deliberations in Philadelphia. But how reliable is this account? In an unprecedented investigation Mary Sarah Bilder reveals that Madison revised the Notes to a far greater extent than previously recognized. Madison’s Hand offers a biography of a document that, over two centuries, developed a life and character all its own.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 20 January 2018.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: Yankees in the West.

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History of Women and Gender Seminar The "Woman Inventor" as a Political Tool of Female Suffragists: Patents, Invention, and Civil Rights in the 19th-Century United States 23 January 2018.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM Location: Massachusetts Historical Society Kara Swanson, Northeastern University School of Law Comment: Rebecca Herzig, Bates College

After the Patent Act of 1790, patents played an important social and political role in the formation of American nationhood and citizenship. Part of a larger book project, this paper demonstrates how nineteenth-century American women mobilized patents granted to women as justification for civil rights claims. It identifies the creation of the “woman inventor” as a cultural trope and political weapon of resistance.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Public Program, Conversation Peter J. Gomes Memorial Book Prize Award & Reception 25 January 2018.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Tamara Plakins Thornton, University at Buffalo, and Catherine Allgor, MHS

Watch the recording of this event, embedded below:

Please join us for a special evening in which Tamara Plakins Thornton will receive the 2017 Gomes Prize for Nathaniel Bowditch and the Power of Numbers: How a 19th-Century Man of Business, Science, and the Sea Changed American Life. Thornton will join MHS President and Dolley Madison biographer Catherine Allgor in a conversation about why historians become biographers. How do they pull off that transformation? Thornton and Allgor will explore what drew them to the life of a single individual after they had published “standard” historical monographs. They will address the sorts of novel challenges they faced as both scholars and writers— and the new intellectual pleasures they encountered.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 27 January 2018.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: Yankees in the West.

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Public Program, Conversation Aesthetics of the Everyday in New England Film 29 January 2018.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Martha McNamara, Wellesley College, and Karan Sheldon, Northeast Historic Film $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders).

The term “amateur film” conjures visions of shaky, out-of-focus images depicting family vacations and kids’ birthday parties, but early twentieth-century amateur filmmaking produced irreplaceable records of people’s lives and beloved places. This volume of essays, interprets a wide variety of visually expressive amateur films made in New England. Martha McNamara and Karan Sheldon will highlight three examples: the comedies of landscape architect Sidney N. Shurcliff, depictions of pastoral family life by Elizabeth Woodman Wright, and the chronicles of Anna B. Harris, an African American resident of Manchester, Vermont.

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar “Momentum Toward Evil Is Strong”: Poor Women, Moral Panics, and the Rise of Crime-Fighting Policing in Depression-Era America 30 January 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Anne Gray Fischer, Brown University Comment: Michael Willrich, Brandeis University

Between Prohibition and World War II, American law enforcement went from being seen as a brutal and incompetent political liability to a professional crime-fighting regime. This essay explores the dramatic shift in public perception by studying the changing practices of Depression-era morality policing in Boston and Los Angeles—specifically, the police enforcement of morals misdemeanors, including vagrancy, disorderly conduct, lewdness, and prostitution, which disproportionately targeted poor women on city streets.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Brown Bag Indian Doctresses: Race, Labor, and Medicine in the 19th-century United States 31 January 2018.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Angela Hudson, Texas A&M University

This project focuses on women who worked as Indian doctresses and the clients who sought their care. The study strives to more fully integrate indigeneity into fields of study from which it is often absent, most notably labor history and the history of medicine.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 3 February 2018.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: Yankees in the West.

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Early American History Seminar “We all agree to exclude...those of unsound mind”: Disability, Doctors, and the Law in the Early Republic 6 February 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Laurel Daen, MHS-NEH Fellow Comment: Cornelia Dayton, University of Connecticut

Between 1790 and 1840, Americans deemed to be cognitively disabled lost the right to vote, marry, immigrate, obtain residency, and live independently. This paper charts these legal developments in Massachusetts as well as how disabled people used the courts to negotiate these constraints. Despite some successes, contesting incapacity became increasingly difficult towards the mid-nineteenth century when physicians became regular and trusted expert witnesses in court.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Brown Bag John Winthrop, Benjamin Martin, & Worlds of Scientific Work 7 February 2018.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Pierce Williams, Carnegie Mellon University

Benjamin Martin was regarded by natural philosophers of his age as a showman and peddler of pseudo-scientific trinkets. At the same time, John Winthrop was working to elevate the North American colonies in the topography of learned culture. This project attempts to understand Winthrop's puzzling choice of Martin to refurbish Harvard's scientific instrument collection after the college laboratory burned to the ground in 1764.

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Public Program, Author Talk Reconsidering King Philip’s War 7 February 2018.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Lisa Brooks, Amherst College, and Christine DeLucia, Mount Holyoke College THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT

THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT.

Two historians reexamine the narrative of one of colonial America’s most devastating conflicts. Lisa Brooks recovers a complex picture of war, captivity, and Native resistance during the “First Indian War” by relaying the stories of Weetamoo, a female Wampanoag leader, and James Printer, a Nipmuc scholar, whose stories converge in the captivity of Mary Rowlandson. Christine DeLucia offers a major reconsideration of the war, providing an alternative to Pilgrim-centric narratives that have dominated the histories of colonial New England, grounding her study in five specific places that were directly affected by the crisis, spanning the Northeast as well as the Atlantic world. These two works offer new perspectives. The program will include short presentations by both scholars followed by a conversation.

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Public Program, Author Talk Thunder at the Gates: The Black Civil War Regiments that Redeemed America 8 February 2018.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Douglas Egerton, Le Moyne College $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders).

One of the most treasured objects belonging to the Society’s collection is the battle sword of Robert Gould Shaw, the leader of the courageous 54th Massachusetts infantry, the first black regiment in the North. The prominent Shaw family of Boston and New York had long been involved in reform, including antislavery and feminism, and their son, Robert, took up the mantle of his family’s progressive stances, though perhaps more reluctantly. In this lecture, historian Douglas R. Egerton focuses on the entire Shaw family during the war years and how following generationshave dealt with their legacy.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 10 February 2018.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: Yankees in the West.

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Environmental History Seminar Governor Francis W. Sargent: Fisheries Manager 13 February 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Benjamin Kochan, Boston University Comment: Brian Payne, Bridgewater State University

Francis Sargent was a Cape Cod fisherman. Fishing brought him into the government as Director of Fisheries, then head of Public Works, and, eventually, governor of Massachusetts. In his positions, Sargent bridged the gap between working-class fishers and government. This paper examines Sargent’s ability to speak directly to fishermen, arguing that his post-1974 disengagement from public life robbed fishermen of an ally who might have soothed tensions created by late-1970s federal regulations.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Public Program, Author Talk Brahmin Capitalism: Frontiers of American Wealth & Populism in America’s First Gilded Age 15 February 2018.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30 Noam Maggor, Queen Mary University of London $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders).

Brahmin Capitalism explores how the moneyed elite of Boston mobilized to reinvent the American economy in the aftermath of the Civil War. With the decline of cotton-based textile manufacturing and the abolition of slavery, Maggor shows these gentleman bankers traveled far and wide in search of new business opportunities and found them in the mines, railroads, and industries of the Great West. They leveraged their wealth to forge transcontinental networks of commodities, labor, and transportation leading the way to the nationally integrated corporate capitalism of the 20th century.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 17 February 2018.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: Yankees in the West.

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Building Closed Presidents Day 19 February 2018.Monday, all day

The MHS is CLOSED in observance of Presidents Day. 

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Public Program, Author Talk Growing Up with the Country 20 February 2018.Tuesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30 Kendra Field, Tufts University There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders).

Following the lead of her own ancestors, Kendra Field’s epic family history chronicles the westward migration of freedom’s first generation in the 50 years after emancipation. She traces their journey out of the South to Indian Territory, where they participated in the development of black towns and settlements. When statehood, oil speculation, and segregation imperiled their lives, some launched a back-to-Africa movement while others moved to Canada and Mexico. Interweaving black, white, and Indian histories, Field’s narrative explores how ideas about race and color powerfully shaped the pursuit of freedom.

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Teacher Workshop Yankees in the West 21 February 2018.Wednesday, all day Registration fee: $25 per person

Explore the American West through the eyes of 19th-century New Englanders. Participants will read the diaries and letters of Gold Rush hopefuls, intrepid train travelers, and tourists in search of “authentic” Native Americans. Using the Society’s current exhibition as our guide, we will investigate how writers, artists, and photographers sensationalized the frontier experience for eastern audiences and conceptualized the West for Americans who increasingly embraced the nation’s manifest destiny.

This program is open to all K-12 educators. Teachers can earn 22.5 PDPs or one graduate credit (for an additional fee).

Image: Front and back cover of a fold-out map of Yellowstone National Park, produced by the Northern Pacific Railroad, 1893. MHS Collections. 

 

Highlights:

  • View and analyze documents and artifacts from the Society's collections.
  • Follow New Englanders to the Gold Rush through their letters and diaires. 
  • Investigate the lives of women in the trans-Mississippi West. 
  • Explore portrayals of Native Americans captured by New England writers, painters, and photographers. 
  • Learn more about the Adams family's connection to the West. 


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Brown Bag Billets & Barracks: The Quartering Act & the Coming of the American Revolution 21 February 2018.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM John McCurdy, Eastern Michigan University

The arrival of British soldiers in the 1750s forced Americans to ask “where do soldiers belong?” This project investigates how they answered this question, arguing that it prompted them to rethink the meaning of places like the home and the city, as well as to reevaluate British military power.

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Public Program For the Union Dead: Bostonians Travel East in Search of Answers in the Post-Civil War Era 22 February 2018.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Mark Rennella

After the Civil War, artists and writers from Boston faced a question that haunted America: what’s next? For cultural leaders like Charles Eliot Norton and Isabella Stewart Gardner, Reconstruction left them feeling directionless and betrayed. Shunning the Whig narrative of history, these “Boston Cosmopolitans” researched Europe’s long past to discover and share examples of civil society shaped by high ideals.

close
Teacher Workshop Slavery & the U.S. Supreme Court 24 February 2018.Saturday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM Registration fee: $25 per person

How did the personal and political philosophies of Justices John Marshall, Roger B. Taney, and Joseph Story influence their proslavery positions? Paul Finkelman, President of Gratz College, will discuss why these three influential justices upheld the institution of slavery and continued to deny black Americans their freedom. Participants will connect these federal rulings to local court cases, as well as antislavery and abolitionist efforts to undermine these unpopular decrees.

This program is open to all K-12 educators. Teachers can earn 22.5 PDPs or one graduate credit (for an 

Highlights:

  • Meet Professor Paul Finkelman and discuss his new book, Supreme Injustice: Slavery in the Nation's Highest Court. (Hardvard University Press, 2018)
  • Investigate the history of slavery and antislavery in Massachusetts. 
  • View and analyze documents and artifacts from the Society's collections


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Public Program, Author Talk Supreme Injustice: Slavery in the Nation’s Highest Court 26 February 2018.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Paul Finkelman, Gratz College There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders).

The three most important Supreme Court Justices before the Civil War Chief Justices John Marshall and Roger B. Taney and Associate Justice Joseph Story upheld the institution of slavery in ruling after ruling. These opinions cast a shadow over the Court and the legacies of these men, but historians have rarely delved deeply into the personal and political ideas and motivations they held. In Supreme Injustice Paul Finkelman establishes an authoritative account of each justice’s proslavery position, the reasoning behind his opposition to black freedom, and the incentives created by his private life.

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Panel Discussion: Capitalism and Culture 27 February 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Jonathan Cohen, University of Virginia, and Davor Mondom, Syracuse University Comment: Sven Beckert, Harvard University

This panel examines the reaction against welfare state capitalism in the mid-20th century U.S., looking at two companies that promoted themselves as bastions of free enterprise or as a solution to high state taxes. Mondom’s paper is “Capitalism with a Human Face: Amway, Direct Sales, and the Redemption of Free Enterprise.” Cohen’s essay is titled “Rivers of Gold: Scientific Games and the Spread of State Lotteries, 1980-1984.”

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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