This Week @MHS

Here is a look at what is happening at the MHS this week:

On Monday, 27 January, at 6:00 PM: Animal City: The Domestication of America with Andrew A. Robichaud, Boston University. American cities were once full of animal life: cattle driven through city streets; pigs feeding on trash in public alleys and basements; cows crammed into urban feedlots; horses worked to death in the harness; dogs pulling carts and powering small machines; and wild animals peering out at human spectators from behind bars. In his new book, Andrew Robichaud reconstructs this evolving world of nineteenth-century urban animal life—from San Francisco to Boston to New York—and reveals its importance, both then and now. A pre-talk reception begins at 5:30 PM; the speaking program begins at 6:00 PM. There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members, EBT or ConnectorCare cardholders). 

On Tuesday, 28 January, at 5:15 PM: Genetown: The Urbanization of the Boston Area Biotechnology Industry with Robin Wolfe Scheffler, MIT, and comment by Lizbeth Cohen, Harvard University. Today, the Boston area hosts the densest cluster of biotechnology firms anywhere in the world. Yet in the 1980s, the rapid concentration of the industry within Boston’s urban neighborhoods was a striking contrast to the suburbanization of high technology research and development a generation before. This remarkable urbanization represented the confluence of the labor and financial challenges faced by biotechnology start-ups with decisions regarding municipal governance and redevelopment in the aftermath of deindustrialization.  This is part of the Boston Seminar on Modern American Society and Culture series. Seminars are free and open to the public.

On Thursday, 30 January, at 6:00 PM: Historical Perspectives on Today’s World: Our Nation’s Founders & Today’s Political Challenges with Stephen Fried; Liz Covart; Sara Georgini; Nathaniel Sheidley, and moderator Fred Thys. Our Founding Fathers were progressive for their time in establishing a new nation. Many of them grappled with the same issues that we face today, including political polarization, voicing new ideas, and approaches to health care. Stephen Fried, author of Rush: Revolution, Madness & the Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding Father, will explore the life and legacy of Benjamin Rush–one of the least known Founding Fathers. He will be joined by additional historians in a conversation of how many of our nation’s founders persevered during this time–and the lessons that we can learn by reflecting on our past. This program will be held at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute (210 Morrissey Blvd, Boston). Click HERE to register for this program.

On Saturday, 1 February, at 10:00 AM: The History & Collections of the MHS. This is a 90-minute docent-led walk through of our public rooms. The tour is free and open to the public. 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.

Fire! Voices from the Boston Massacre
On the evening of March 5, 1770, soldiers occupying the town of Boston shot into a crowd, killing or fatally wounding five civilians. In the aftermath of what soon became known as the Boston  Massacre, questions about the command to “Fire!” became crucial. Who yelled it? When and why? Because the answers would determine the guilt or innocence of the soldiers, defense counsel John Adams insisted that “Facts are stubborn things.” But what are the facts? The evidence, often contradictory, drew upon testimony from dozens of witnesses. Through a selection of artifacts, eyewitness accounts, and trial testimony—the voices of ordinary men and women—Fire! Voice from the Boston Massacre explores how this flashpoint changed American history. The exhibition is on display through 30 June 2020, Monday and Wednesday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and Tuesday from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM.

This Week @ MHS

While the  MHS will be closed on Monday, 20 January in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we still have a busy week of programming including  two seminars, an author talk, and a Saturday tour. Here is a look at what is planned:

On Tuesday, 21 January, at 5:15 PM: “For I’d Rather Be Dead Than Not to Dream of a Better World”: Mae Gadpaille’s Vision of the Montessori Family Centre Community with Mary McNeil, Harvard University, and comment by Ashley Farmer, University of Texas – Austin. In 1967, Mae Gadpaille, the director of a black Montessori preschool in Roxbury, faced displacement; the church that housed her school was slated to be cleared for an urban renewal project. In response, Gadpaille launched a campaign to build the Montessori Family Centre Community, a living community for approximately 150 families with a PreK-12 Montessori school in the center. This talk traces Gadpaille’s efforts to realize her vision, paying special attention to how she thought Montessori methods could help advance a black nationalist project of self-determination, while also considering the limitations of such a vision – namely, who could “belong” to this community and who might be left at the margins. This is part of the Boston Seminar on the History of Women, Gender, & Sexuality series. Seminars are free and open to the public. 

On Wednesday, 22 January, at 6:00 PM: The Puritans: A Transatlantic History with David Hall, Harvard University. David Hall presents a sweeping transatlantic history of Puritanism from its emergence out of the religious tumult of Elizabethan England to its founding role in the story of America. Shedding new light on the diverse forms of Puritan belief and practice in England, Scotland, and New England, Hall provides a multifaceted account of a cultural movement that judged the Protestant reforms of Elizabeth’s reign to be unfinished. Hall describes the movement’s deeply ambiguous triumph under Oliver Cromwell, its political demise with the Restoration of the English monarchy in 1660, and its perilous migration across the Atlantic to establish a “perfect reformation” in the New World. A pre-talk reception begins at 5:30 PM; the speaking program begins at 6:00 PM. There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders).

On Thursday, 23 January, at 5:15 PM: The Art of Family History: Visual Imagery, Family Narrative, & Native American Modernism with Phil Deloria in conversation with Julie Dobrow. Decades ago, historian Philip Deloria (Harvard University) found some drawings in the basement. These distinctive prints turned out to be the iconic work of his great aunt. Deloria will speak about his new book, Becoming Mary Sully: Toward an American Indian Aesthetic with Julie Dobrow (Tufts University), author of After Emily: Two Remarkable Women and the Legacy of America’s Greatest Poet. The event will focus on how an intensely personal story interweaves Sully’s life and works with the “richness of their historical situation” in Native studies and art history.  This is part of the New England Biography Seminar series. Seminars are free and open to the public.

On Saturday, 25 January, at 10:00 AM: The History & Collections of the MHS. This is a 90-minute docent-led walk through of our public rooms. The tour is free and open to the public. 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.

Fire! Voices from the Boston Massacre
On the evening of March 5, 1770, soldiers occupying the town of Boston shot into a crowd, killing or fatally wounding five civilians. In the aftermath of what soon became known as the Boston  Massacre, questions about the command to “Fire!” became crucial. Who yelled it? When and why? Because the answers would determine the guilt or innocence of the soldiers, defense counsel John Adams insisted that “Facts are stubborn things.” But what are the facts? The evidence, often contradictory, drew upon testimony from dozens of witnesses. Through a selection of artifacts, eyewitness accounts, and trial testimony—the voices of ordinary men and women—Fire! Voice from the Boston Massacre explores how this flashpoint changed American history. The exhibition is on display at the MHS through 30 June 2020, Monday and Wednesday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and Tuesday from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM.

This Week @MHS

Our winter programming is in full swing this week with three evening programs, a brown-bag lunch, and a Saturday tour. Here is a look at what is planned:

On Tuesday, 14 January, at 5:15 PM: “Wealth and Beauty in Trees”: State Forestry & the Rehabilitation of Massachusetts’s Economy, Landscape, & Culture, 1898-1919 with Aaron Ahlstrom, Boston University, and comment by Brian Donahue, Brandeis University. Massachusetts currently stewards 311,000 acres of state forests and parks. This public land system originated in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century efforts to strengthen the Commonwealth’s economy, rehabilitate its unproductive landscapes, and revitalize its rural communities through scientific forestry. This paper offers new perspectives on Progressive Era conservation by analyzing how state foresters sought to improve rural landscapes’ profitability and aesthetics by educating private woodlot owners, suppressing forest fires and pests, and reforesting newly-acquired public lands. This is part of the Boston Seminar on Environmental History series. Seminars are free and open to the public.

On Wednesday, 15 January, at 12:00 PM: Career Activists: Women’s Organization & Social Reform in New England, 1830-1890 with Kathryn Angelica, University of Connecticut. This talk looks at the evolution of women’s organizations throughout the nineteenth century in New England, focusing on “career activists.” These women negotiated between public and private spheres while leading lives defined by their activism. The project examines the political implications of social reform and questions both the narrative of the two-dimensional benevolent woman and that of sporadic, passion-fueled benevolence. This is part of the Brown-bag lunch programBrown-bags are free and open to the public.

On Wednesday, 15 January, at 6:00 PM: Deborah Sampson: A Revolution of Her Own! with Judith Kalaora, founder of History at Play. Deborah Sampson was the first woman to fight in and be honorably discharged from the American Military. An indentured servant by age five, Sampson grew up in a man’s world, where women were naught but second-class citizens. As a self-educated master-less woman, she felt a higher calling, and in the final years of the American Revolution, Sampson bound her chest, tied back her hair, and enlisted in the 4th Massachusetts Regiment of the Continental Army, as “Robert Shurtlieff.” Judith Kalaora reimagines Sampson’s remarkable story through living history performance. A pre-talk reception begins at 5:30 PM; the speaking program begins at 6:00 PM. There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members, EBT or ConnectorCare cardholders and Boston Public School students).

On Thursday, 16 January, at 5:15 PM: “Increasing her Stock”: Two Harriets and the Louisiana Borderlands with Rashauna Johnson, Dartmouth College, and comment by Jen Manion, Amherst College. This paper uses the sexual biographies of two enslaved women, both named Harriet, in Louisiana’s Florida Parishes to explore the workings of intimacy and empire in the plantation South during its transition from borderlands to hub of King Cotton. This is part of the Boston Seminar on African American History series. Seminars are free and open to the public. 

On Saturday, 18 January, at 10:00 AM: The History & Collections of the MHS. This is a 90-minute docent-led walk through of our public rooms. The tour is free and open to the public. 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.

Abigail Adams: Life & Legacy Pop-Up Display
Abigail Adams urged her husband to “Remember the Ladies” and made herself impossible to forget. But Abigail is memorable for more than her famous 1776 admonition. This final Remember Abigail display uses documents and artifacts through the ages to consider the way Abigail viewed her own legacy and to explore how and why we continue to Remember Abigail.

Fire! Voices from the Boston Massacre
On the evening of March 5, 1770, soldiers occupying the town of Boston shot into a crowd, killing or fatally wounding five civilians. In the aftermath of what soon became known as the Boston  Massacre, questions about the command to “Fire!” became crucial. Who yelled it? When and why? Because the answers would determine the guilt or innocence of the soldiers, defense counsel John Adams insisted that “Facts are stubborn things.” But what are the facts? The evidence, often contradictory, drew upon testimony from dozens of witnesses. Through a selection of artifacts, eyewitness accounts, and trial testimony—the voices of ordinary men and women—Fire! Voice from the Boston Massacre explores how this flashpoint changed American history. The exhibition is on display at the MHS through 30 June 2020, Monday and Wednesday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and Tuesday from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM.

This Week @MHS

Happy 2020! Here is a look at what is happening at the MHS this week:

On Tuesday, January, at 5:15 PM: Supplying Slavery: Jamaica & British Imperial Trade, 1752-1769 with Peter Pellizzari, Harvard University and comment by Richard Dunn, American Philosophical Society. Historians have long understood the economic importance of Jamaica to the eighteenth-century British empire, but the vast profits that the island’s sugar-slave complexes produced could only have existed with the supplies and provisions provided by mainland colonists in North America. Newly collected data from nearly 10,000 British naval office shipping lists for Kingston, Jamaica provide a re-assessment of the size, nature, and value of this trade. The shipping lists reveal not only how deeply committed the mainland was to supplying Jamaican slavery, but also suggests that we reconsider the island as a powerful regional hub within the larger British Atlantic economy, one in which North America figured as an important hinterland. This is part of the Pauline Maier Early American History Seminar series. Seminars are free and open to the public.

On Wednesday, 8 January, at 12:00 PM: “Thus Much for Politicks”: American Women, Diplomacy, & the Aftermath of the American Revolution with Miriam Liebman, City University of New York. This talk looks at the ways women used non-republican methods of politicking on behalf of the United States while abroad in Europe, focusing on Abigail Adams’s time abroad in London and Paris. Situating Adams in an international and diplomatic context highlights the ways she influenced American foreign and domestic policy while abroad. Using five different themes— letters, politics and political intrigue, money and economic diplomacy, social networks, and republicanism and aristocracy abroad— this work analyzes her politicking in Europe. This is part of the Brown-bag lunch programBrown-bags are free and open to the public.

On Friday, 10 January, at 2:00 PM: FIRE! Voices of the Boston Massacre gallery talk with Peter Drummey, MHS. Walk through the exhibition with Peter Drummey. He will highlight some of the archival material found in the MHS collection.

On Saturday, 11 January, at 10:00 AM: The History & Collections of the MHS. This is a 90-minute docent-led walk through of our public rooms. The tour is free and open to the public. 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.

Abigail Adams: Life & Legacy Pop-Up Display
Abigail Adams urged her husband to “Remember the Ladies” and made herself impossible to forget. But Abigail is memorable for more than her famous 1776 admonition. This final Remember Abigail display uses documents and artifacts through the ages to consider the way Abigail viewed her own legacy and to explore how and why we continue to Remember Abigail.

Fire! Voices from the Boston Massacre
On the evening of March 5, 1770, soldiers occupying the town of Boston shot into a crowd, killing or fatally wounding five civilians. In the aftermath of what soon became known as the Boston  Massacre, questions about the command to “Fire!” became crucial. Who yelled it? When and why? Because the answers would determine the guilt or innocence of the soldiers, defense counsel John Adams insisted that “Facts are stubborn things.” But what are the facts? The evidence, often contradictory, drew upon testimony from dozens of witnesses. Through a selection of artifacts, eyewitness accounts, and trial testimony—the voices of ordinary men and women—Fire! Voice from the Boston Massacre explores how this flashpoint changed American history. The exhibition is on display at the MHS through 30 June 2020, Monday and Wednesday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and Tuesday from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM.

This Week @MHS

This week marks the end of our fall programming at the MHS with an author talk, a seminar, and a tour. Take a look at what is planned.

On Monday, 16 December, at 6:00 PM: Revolutionary Networks: The Business & Politics of Printing the News, 1763–1789 with Joseph Adelman, Framingham State University. During the American Revolution, printed material played a crucial role as a forum for public debate. Joseph Adelman argues that printers—artisans who mingled with the elite but labored in a manual trade—used their commercial and political connections to directly shape Revolutionary political ideology and mass mobilization. Moving through the era of the American Revolution to the war’s aftermath, this history details the development of the networks of printers and explains how they contributed to the process of creating first a revolution and then the new nation. A pre-talk reception begins at 5:30 PM; the speaking program begins at 6:00 PM. There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders).

On Tuesday, 17 December, at 5:15 PM: Dr. Ana Livia Cordero, Social Medicine, & the Puerto Rican Liberation Struggle with Sandy Placido, Queens College, CUNY, and comment by Susan Reverby, Wellesley College. Born in San Juan in 1931, Ana Livia Cordero was a trailblazing physician and activist-intellectual whose life illuminates the crucial role Puerto Ricans played in Cold War-era freedom struggles. Cordero worked as a physician, public health advocate, and radical organizer in New York, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Ghana, Egypt, and Nicaragua for over four decades. Using a new framework of feminist social medicine, this essay examines Cordero’s contributions to the field of social medicine, particularly maternal and children’s health. This is part of the Boston Seminar on the History of Women, Gender, & Sexuality series. Seminars are free and open to the public. 

On Saturday, 21 December, at 10:00 AM: The History & Collections of the MHS. This is a 90-minute docent-led walk through of our public rooms. The tour is free and open to the public. 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.

Abigail Adams: Life & Legacy Pop-Up Display
Abigail Adams urged her husband to “Remember the Ladies” and made herself impossible to forget. But Abigail is memorable for more than her famous 1776 admonition. This final Remember Abigail display uses documents and artifacts through the ages to consider the way Abigail viewed her own legacy and to explore how and why we continue to Remember Abigail.

Fire! Voices from the Boston Massacre
On the evening of March 5, 1770, soldiers occupying the town of Boston shot into a crowd, killing or fatally wounding five civilians. In the aftermath of what soon became known as the Boston  Massacre, questions about the command to “Fire!” became crucial. Who yelled it? When and why? Because the answers would determine the guilt or innocence of the soldiers, defense counsel John Adams insisted that “Facts are stubborn things.” But what are the facts? The evidence, often contradictory, drew upon testimony from dozens of witnesses. Through a selection of artifacts, eyewitness accounts, and trial testimony—the voices of ordinary men and women—Fire! Voice from the Boston Massacre explores how this flashpoint changed American history. The exhibition is on display at the MHS through 30 June 2020, Monday and Wednesday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and Tuesday from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM.

Please note that the library and gallery spaces will be closed Monday, 23 December 2019 through Wednesday, 1 January 2020.

This Week @MHS

There is a lot going on at the MHS this week. Take a look at the programs we have planned:

On Monday, December, at 6:00 PM: Destination: Boston–Immigration & Migration, 1820-1920 with Andrew Robichaud, Boston University. From 1820 to 1920, Boston grew by leaps and bounds through an intensive (and often contentious) process of immigration and migration that ultimately created the modern metropolis. In this presentation and virtual exhibit, Prof. Andrew Robichaud and students from Boston University will present more than 20 rare artifacts and documents from the archives of the MHS. Through letters, diaries, drawings, photographs, reform tracts, and memoirs, presenters will unearth the complex and nuanced dimensions of immigration and migration to Boston. Light refreshments will be served following the presentation.

On Tuesday, 10 December, at 5:15 PM: Who Was “One-Eyed” Sarah? Searching for an Indigenous Nurse in Local Government with Gabriel J. Loiacono, University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh, and comment by Cornelia Dayton, University of Connecticut. This essay considers the life of an indigenous woman, known as “One-Eyed” Sarah, who provided full-time nursing care to poor communities in early nineteenth-century Providence, RI. The only historical sources that describe Sarah’s work never provide her last name or details beyond the description “Indian.” So who was she, and how do we tell her story? Using sometimes patchy sources of non-elite people, the author hopes to gain new insights into social welfare history and explore how ordinary women made the poor law function. This is part of the Pauline Maier Early American History Seminar series. Seminars are free and open to the public.

On Wednesday, 11 December at 6:00 PM: At Home: A Look at Historic Houses Through the Archives with Beth Luey. Archival collections held in local institutions can help historians uncover the untold stories of historic houses in Massachusetts. The library of the New Bedford Whaling Museum documents the homes of the great whaling families, while Harvard documents the Ward House and the American Antiquarian Society welcomes us into the Salisbury Mansion in Worcester. The Mary Baker Eddy library documents the many houses where she lived, and, of course, the Massachusetts Historical Society brings the Adams family and their houses to life. A pre-talk reception begins at 5:30 PM; the speaking program begins at 6:00 PM. There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders).

On Saturday, 14 December, at 10:00 AM: The History & Collections of the MHS. This is a 90-minute docent-led walk through of our public rooms. The tour is free and open to the public. 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.

On Saturday, 14 December, at 4:00 PM: Legacies of 1619: Citizenship & Belonging with Manisha Sinha, University of Connecticut; Elizabeth Herbin-Triant, University of Massachusetts—Lowell; Hasan Kwame Jeffries, Ohio State University; and moderator Marita Rivero, Museum of African American History, Boston. For 400 years, Africans and African Americans carved out a distinctive culture for themselves even as they sought equal rights in American society. This program will consider how African Americans struggled to gain equal access to political and social rights, all the while making the American experience their own. This is the final program in a four-part series co-sponsored by the Museum of African American History and the Roxbury Community College. There will be a pre-talk reception at 3:30 PM; the speaking program begins at 4:00 PM.

Abigail Adams: Life & Legacy Pop-Up Display
Abigail Adams urged her husband to “Remember the Ladies” and made herself impossible to forget. But Abigail is memorable for more than her famous 1776 admonition. This final Remember Abigail display uses documents and artifacts through the ages to consider the way Abigail viewed her own legacy and to explore how and why we continue to Remember Abigail.

Fire! Voices from the Boston Massacre
On the evening of March 5, 1770, soldiers occupying the town of Boston shot into a crowd, killing or fatally wounding five civilians. In the aftermath of what soon became known as the Boston  Massacre, questions about the command to “Fire!” became crucial. Who yelled it? When and why? Because the answers would determine the guilt or innocence of the soldiers, defense counsel John Adams insisted that “Facts are stubborn things.” But what are the facts? The evidence, often contradictory, drew upon testimony from dozens of witnesses. Through a selection of artifacts, eyewitness accounts, and trial testimony—the voices of ordinary men and women—Fire! Voice from the Boston Massacre explores how this flashpoint changed American history. The exhibition is on display at the MHS through 30 June 2020, Monday and Wednesday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and Tuesday from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM.

Please note that the library and gallery spaces will close at 3:30 PM on Thursday, 12 December and the library will close at 3:00 PM on Saturday, 14 December.

This Week @MHS

Join us for a program this week. Here is a look at what is planned:

On Monday, December, at 6:00 PM: Revolutionary Networks: The Business & Politics of Printing the News, 1763–1789 with Joseph Adelman, Framingham State University. During the American Revolution, printed material played a crucial role as a forum for public debate. Joseph Adelman argues that printers—artisans who mingled with the elite but labored in a manual trade—used their commercial and political connections to directly shape Revolutionary political ideology and mass mobilization. Moving through the era of the American Revolution to the war’s aftermath, this history details the development of the networks of printers and explains how they contributed to the process of creating first a revolution and then the new nation. A pre-talk reception begins at 5:30 PM; the speaking program begins at 6:00 PM. There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders).

On Tuesday, December, at 5:15 PM: Climate in Words & Numbers: How Early Americans Recorded Weather in Almanacs with Joyce Chaplin, Harvard University. With support from the Guggenheim Foundation, Joyce Chaplin is compiling a database of manuscript notes about weather in early American almanacs, 1647-1820. Her talk focuses on how people recorded weather in numbers (including degrees Fahrenheit) and in words, ranging from “dull” to “elegant!” These notations are significant as records of a period of climate change, the Little Ice Age, also as records of how people made sense of and coped with that climatic disruption. This is part of the Boston Seminar on Environmental History series. Seminars are free and open to the public.

On Wednesday, 4 December, at 6:00 PM: Members & Fellows Holiday Party. MHS Fellows and Members are invited to the Society’s annual holiday party. Celebrate the season with an evening of holiday cheer and jovial camaraderie. This event is open to Members and Fellows of the MHS. Registration is required and space is limited.

On Saturday, 7 December, at 10:00 AM: The History & Collections of the MHS. This is a 90-minute docent-led walk through of our public rooms. The tour is free and open to the public. 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.

Abigail Adams: Life & Legacy Pop-Up Display
Abigail Adams urged her husband to “Remember the Ladies” and made herself impossible to forget. But Abigail is memorable for more than her famous 1776 admonition. This final Remember Abigail display uses documents and artifacts through the ages to consider the way Abigail viewed her own legacy and to explore how and why we continue to Remember Abigail.

Fire! Voices from the Boston Massacre
On the evening of March 5, 1770, soldiers occupying the town of Boston shot into a crowd, killing or fatally wounding five civilians. In the aftermath of what soon became known as the Boston  Massacre, questions about the command to “Fire!” became crucial. Who yelled it? When and why? Because the answers would determine the guilt or innocence of the soldiers, defense counsel John Adams insisted that “Facts are stubborn things.” But what are the facts? The evidence, often contradictory, drew upon testimony from dozens of witnesses. Through a selection of artifacts, eyewitness accounts, and trial testimony—the voices of ordinary men and women—Fire! Voice from the Boston Massacre explores how this flashpoint changed American history. The exhibition is on display through 30 June 2020, Monday and Wednesday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and Tuesday from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM.

Please note that on Wednesday, 4 December, the library will close at 3:45 PM.

This Week @MHS

Join us for a program this week. We have a talk on Monday evening and a seminar on Tuesday. Please note that the library and exhibition galleries will close at 2:00 PM on Tuesday, 26 November and the building will be closed Thursday, 27 November, Friday, 28 November, and Saturday, 29 November for the Thanksgiving holiday.

On Monday, 25 November at 6:00 PM: Black Radical: The Life & Times of William Monroe Trotter with Kerri Greenidge, Tufts University. William Monroe Trotter was an unlikely American hero. With the stylistic verve of a newspaperman and the unwavering fearlessness of an emancipator, he galvanized black working- class citizens to wield their political power despite the violent racism of post- Reconstruction America. For more than 30 years, the Harvard-educated Trotter edited and published the Guardian, a weekly Boston newspaper that was read across the nation. Defining himself against the gradualist politics of Booker T. Washington and the elitism of W. E. B. Du Bois, Trotter advocated for a radical vision of black liberation that prefigured leaders such as Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther king, Jr.  A pre-talk reception begins at 5:30 PM; the speaking program begins at 6:00 PM. There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders).

On Tuesday, 26 November at 5:15 PM: Navigating Colonial, Racial, & Indigenous Histories on the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail with Laura Barraclough, Yale University, and comment by Maria John, University of Massachusetts–Boston. Launched by Congress in 1978, the National Historic Trail (NHT) system recognizes historic travel routes that contributed to the making of the United States. This paper examines the collision of colonial, racial, and indigenous histories on the Juan Bautista de Anza NHT, which commemorates the 1775-76 expedition of Mexican settlers from Sonora to San Francisco. While the Anza NHT has been empowering to contemporary Mexican Americans, it struggles to fairly represent the layered impacts of Spanish, Mexican, and U.S. colonization on the region’s Native peoples. This is part of the Boston Seminar on Modern American Society and Culture series. Seminars are free and open to the public.

Abigail Adams: Life & Legacy Pop-Up Display
Abigail Adams urged her husband to “Remember the Ladies” and made herself impossible to forget. But Abigail is memorable for more than her famous 1776 admonition. This final Remember Abigail display uses documents and artifacts through the ages to consider the way Abigail viewed her own legacy and to explore how and why we continue to Remember Abigail.

Fire! Voices from the Boston Massacre
On the evening of March 5, 1770, soldiers occupying the town of Boston shot into a crowd, killing or fatally wounding five civilians. In the aftermath of what soon became known as the Boston  Massacre, questions about the command to “Fire!” became crucial. Who yelled it? When and why? Because the answers would determine the guilt or innocence of the soldiers, defense counsel John Adams insisted that “Facts are stubborn things.” But what are the facts? The evidence, often contradictory, drew upon testimony from dozens of witnesses. Through a selection of artifacts, eyewitness accounts, and trial testimony—the voices of ordinary men and women—Fire! Voice from the Boston Massacre explores how this flashpoint changed American history. The exhibition is on display through 30 June 2020, Monday and Wednesday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and Tuesday from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM.

This Week @MHS

It’s a busy week at the MHS. Here is a look at what is planned:

On Monday, 18 November, at 6:00 PM: This Land Is Their Land The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, & the Troubled History of Thanksgiving with David J. Silverman, George Washington University. David Silverman explores the history of the Wampanoag people to reveal the distortions of the Thanksgiving Myth, a persisting story that promotes the idea that Native people willingly ceded their country to the English to give rise to a white, Christian, democratic nation. Silverman traces how the Wampanoags have lived—and told—a different history over the past four centuries. A pre-talk reception begins at 5:30. There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders).  

On Tuesday, 19 November, at  5:15 PM: Murder at the Manhattan Well: The Personal & the Political in the Election of 1800 with Paul Gilje, University of Oklahoma and comment by Kate Grandjean, Wellesley College. In 1800, journeyman carpenter, Levi Weeks, was accused of murdering Guliema Sands, a young woman living in the same boarding house. Using the trial transcript, this paper places the lives of Weeks and Sands in a larger context: Weeks as an artisan in a dynamic economy and Sands as a poor unattached woman amidst changing ideas about sexuality. The author also relates the trial to the New York election that occurred a month later.

On Wednesday, 20 November, at 6:00 PM: New Directions for Boston’s Subsidized Housing: Learning from the Past with Kate Bennett, Boston Housing Authority; Soni Gupta, The Boston Foundation; Lawrence Vale, MIT; Sandra Henriquez, Detroit Housing Commission; and moderator David Luberoff, Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. As neighborhoods across Boston face enormous development pressure, there is a risk that low-income residents will be forced out of the city. Social disruption due to gentrification, shifting government policies and programs, and the challenges of climate change make the future of affordable housing in Boston precarious. In the past, Boston modeled creative and successful solutions to dire housing problems, and there is hope that the city can continue to deploy innovative policies that will brighten the future for all city residents. Our final panel in this series will look at the future of affordable housing in Boston, taking stock of past lessons learned. Note: We had originally scheduled William McGonagle to be a part of this discussion. We were shocked and heartbroken to learn of his passing. Kate Bennett, the Acting Administrator of the Boston Housing Authority, has agreed to participate in his place. We apologize if there is any confusion due to the names listed in printed material being different from the names listed online. This is part three of a series of four programs that is made possible by the generosity of Mass Humanities and the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.  REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED.

On Thursday, 21 November, at 5:15 PM: Mary Church Terrell’s Intersectional Black Feminism with Alison M. Parker, University of Delaware, and Kerri Greenidge, Tufts University. Civil rights activist Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954) highlighted the intersections of race and sex in black women’s lives. This paper focuses on Terrell’s critiques of the suffrage movement, the social purity movement, and the postbellum white nostalgia for “Black Mammies.” Terrell asserted black women’s right to be full citizens, to vote, and to be treated without violence and with respect. This is part of the Boston Seminar on African American History series.This session is co-sponsored by the New England Biography Series. Seminars are free and open to the public. 

On Friday, 22 November, at 2:00 PM: Abigail Adams: Life & Legacy Gallery TalkJoin an Adams Papers editor to explore how Abigail Adams has come to hold a unique place within the fabric of American life.

On Saturday, 23 November, at 10:00 AM: The History & Collections of the MHS. This is a 90-minute docent-led walk through of our public rooms. The tour is free and open to the public. 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.

Abigail Adams: Life & Legacy Pop-Up Display
Abigail Adams urged her husband to “Remember the Ladies” and made herself impossible to forget. But Abigail is memorable for more than her famous 1776 admonition. This final Remember Abigail display uses documents and artifacts through the ages to consider the way Abigail viewed her own legacy and to explore how and why we continue to Remember Abigail. Join us for a gallery talk on 22 November at 2:00 PM.

Fire! Voices from the Boston Massacre now open!
On the evening of March 5, 1770, soldiers occupying the town of Boston shot into a crowd, killing or fatally wounding five civilians. In the aftermath of what soon became known as the Boston  Massacre, questions about the command to “Fire!” became crucial. Who yelled it? When and why? Because the answers would determine the guilt or innocence of the soldiers, defense counsel John Adams insisted that “Facts are stubborn things.” But what are the facts? The evidence, often contradictory, drew upon testimony from dozens of witnesses. Through a selection of artifacts, eyewitness accounts, and trial testimony—the voices of ordinary men and women—Fire! Voice from the Boston Massacre explores how this flashpoint changed American history. The exhibition is on display at the MHS October 31, 2019 through June 30, 2020, Monday and Wednesday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and Tuesday from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM.

This Week @MHS

While the MHS is closed on Monday, 11 November, there is still a lot planned for the week. Here is a look:

On Tuesday, 12 November, at 5:15 PM: Engineering, Politics, & Dams: John R. Freeman & San Francisco’s Hetch Hetchy Water Supply with Donald C. Jackson, Lafayette College, and comment by Conevery Bolton Valencius, Boston College.San Francisco’s Hetch Hetchy Dam sparked one of America’s first great environmental controversies. This paper explores John R. Freeman’s work as a consulting engineer and his essential role in championing the city’s Sierra Nevada water supply. Freeman was among the most influential engineers of the Progressive Era and his technocratic vision underlay hydraulic projects throughout North America. For good or ill, Freeman’s vision has had a long and enduring legacy, not just for San Francisco but for dams and watersheds nationwide. This is part of the Boston Seminar on Environmental History series. Seminars are free and open to the public.

On Wednesday, November 13, at 12:00 PM: Staged Readings: Parlor Play & Contesting Class in 19th-Century America with Michael D’Alessandro, Duke University. This talk focuses on the curious practice of nineteenth-century parlor theatricals in the United States. In the postbellum years, the country’s evolving middle classes created elaborate sets, donned fancy costumes, and even attempted amateur special effects as a means of entertainment. While they staged these shows in order to create class definition and solidarity, the performances often revealed unforeseen social anxieties and prejudices. This is part of the Brown-bag lunch programBrown-bags are free and open to the public.

On Wednesday, 13 November, at 6:00 PM: Housing as History: the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative & Orchard Gardens with Karilyn Crockett, MIT; Tony Hernandez, Dudley Neighbors, Inc.; and Valerie Shelley, Orchard Gardens Resident Association. By the 1980s the Dudley Square neighborhood of Roxbury was facing significant challenges. Absentee landlords had allowed property to deteriorate, left units vacant, or had used arson to raze buildings and make insurance claims. Facing what many considered insurmountable obstacles, the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative was formed to create a comprehensive plan for “development without displacement.” The first non-governmental organization in America to be granted eminent domain authority, they began purchasing vacant land, protecting affordable housing and creating a community land trust. Meanwhile, the nearby housing project Orchard Park became notorious for crime and drugs. The Orchard Park Tenants Association lobbied for years for improvements and by the mid-1990s began to see a path forward partnering with the police and using community organizing to reduce crime and linking the redevelopment to the new federal HOPE VI program which was meant to revitalize the worst housing projects in America. HOPE VI was in part modeled on the redevelopment of Columbia Point and encouraged partnerships with private developers and a mixture of incomes among the residents. Through community action and smart development, Orchard Park was redeveloped as Orchard Gardens and became a safe, stable neighborhood. This is part three of a series of four programs that is made possible by the generosity of Mass Humanities and the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. It will be held at the Dewitt Center, 122 Dewitt Drive, Boston. A pre-talk reception begins at 5:30 PM; the speaking program begins at 6:00 PM.

On Thursday, 14 November, at 6:00 PM: Atlas of Boston History with Nancy Seasholes, Robert Allison, Richard Garver, and Jim Vrabel. Few American cities possess a history as long, rich, and fascinating as Boston’s. The Atlas of Boston History traces the history of Boston from late prehistoric times to the present using thematic maps that are drawn from the latest scholarship and supplemented with historical images, maps, illustrations, and graphs as well as explanatory text. The subjects of the maps and atlas plates were determined by a board of noted scholars. The editor will present the project and then discuss the process of determining the contents of the atlas with three of the consulting scholars.  A pre-talk reception begins at 5:30. There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders). Please note that registration for this program is now closed.

On Saturday, 16 November, at 4:00 PM: Legacies of 1619: Black Radicalism / Black Power with John Stauffer, Harvard University; Jeffrey O.G. Ogbar, University of Connecticut; Adrienne Lentz-Smith, Duke University; and moderator Valerie Roberson, Roxbury Community College. Facing the hegemonic force of slavery, discrimination, and disenfranchisement, communities of color have resisted and presented radical models of empowerment. Along with countless and often unknown stories of personal courage, large scale resistance, such as Nat Turner’s Rebellion, go back to the very beginnings of the United States. This program will explore the different forms African Americans have taken to assert their agency and autonomy. This program is part three of a series of four programs co-sponsored by the Museum of African American History and the Roxbury Community College. It will be held at Roxbury Community College, Student Commons, 1234 Columbus Avenue. There will be a pre-talk reception at 3:30 PM; the speaking program begins at 4:00 PM.

Abigail Adams: Life & Legacy Pop-Up Display
Abigail Adams urged her husband to “Remember the Ladies” and made herself impossible to forget. But Abigail is memorable for more than her famous 1776 admonition. This final Remember Abigail display uses documents and artifacts through the ages to consider the way Abigail viewed her own legacy and to explore how and why we continue to Remember Abigail. Join us for a gallery talk on 22 November at 2:00 PM.

Fire! Voices from the Boston Massacre now open!
On the evening of March 5, 1770, soldiers occupying the town of Boston shot into a crowd, killing or fatally wounding five civilians. In the aftermath of what soon became known as the Boston  Massacre, questions about the command to “Fire!” became crucial. Who yelled it? When and why? Because the answers would determine the guilt or innocence of the soldiers, defense counsel John Adams insisted that “Facts are stubborn things.” But what are the facts? The evidence, often contradictory, drew upon testimony from dozens of witnesses. Through a selection of artifacts, eyewitness accounts, and trial testimony—the voices of ordinary men and women—Fire! Voice from the Boston Massacre explores how this flashpoint changed American history. The exhibition is on display at the MHS October 31, 2019 through June 30, 2020, Monday and Wednesday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and Tuesday from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM.