This Week @ MHS
- Monday, 25 June, 12:00PM : Jean Franzino of Beloit College presents this week's first Brown Bag talk, titled "Dis-Union: Disability in the U. S. Civil War." Franzino's project examines the emerging legal category of "disabled" American at the end of the nineteenth century in relation to the construction of disability in Civil War literature, broadly conceived. In texts ranging from hospital newsppaer poetry to mendicant narratives sold for veterans' financial support, representations of Civil War injury engaged shifting understandings of disability: from individual condition to evolving social class.
This talk is free and open to the public. Pack a lunch and come on in!
- Tuesday, 26 June, 6:00PM : Stephen Bush of Brown University is on-hand to discuss his new book, William James on Democratic individuality. William James advocated a philosophy of democracy and pluralism that emphasizes individual and collective responsibility for our social arrangements, our morality, and our religion. In James’s view, democracy resides first and foremost not in governmental institutions but rather in the characteristics of individuals and in qualities of mind and conduct. It is a philosophy for social change, counseling action and hope despite the manifold challenges facing democratic politics, and these issues still resonate strongly today. Stephen Bush explores how these themes connect to James’s philosophy of religion, his moral thought, his epistemology, his psychology, and his metaphysics.
This talk is open to the public, registration required with fee of $10 (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders).
- Wednesday, 27 June, 12:00PM : Judith Harford of University College Dublin leads the second Brown Bag talk of the week, and it is called "The Gendering of Diaspora: Irish American Women Teachers and the Rise of the Irish American Elites, 1880-1920." This talk examines the education, professional training and wider public activism of first-generation Irish American women teachers during the peak of Irish emigration to the United States.
This talk is free and open to the public.
- Friday, 29 June, 2:00PM : Guest curator and American furniture specialist Clark Pearce leads visitors through the current exhibition with this Gallery Talk: Entrepreneurship & Classical Design in Boston’s South End, identifying highlights while giving deeper context to the life and work of two extraordinary Massachusetts craftsmen, Isaac Vose and Thomas Seymour.
This event is free and open to the public.
- Saturday, 30 June, 10:00AM : The History and Collections of the MHS 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 email@example.com.
While you're here you will also have the opportunity to view our current exhibition: Entrepreneurship & Classical Design in Boston’s South End: The Furniture of Isaac Vose & Thomas Seymour, 1815 to 1825.
- Saturday, 30 June, 3:00PM : As a doctoral student at Boston University’s School of Theology, Martin Luther King, Jr., spent some of his formative years walking the streets of Boston and living in the South End. His life in Boston was King’s first immersive experience outside of the segregated South and while he experienced the de facto racism of the North he also enjoyed the acceptance of the BU and Boston area communities. The Martin Luther King Jr. in Boston Walking Tour will guide visitors through areas of Boston where King lived and socialized, where he met and courted Coretta Scott, and where he returned later at the height of the Civil Rights Movement to deliver powerful speeches on the struggle for racial and economic equality.
This event is open to the public, registration required with a fee of $10 (no charge for MHS Members and Fellows or EBT cardholders).
| Published: Sunday, 24 June, 2018, 12:00 AM
Massachusetts Historical Review : Its Origins and Legacy
By Katheryn Viens, Research
To most MHS members, the Massachusetts Historical Review is the annual publication that appears in their mailboxes every autumn, with a glossy, colorful cover and intriguing historical content. Few members know its rich history or visualize its exciting prospects for the future. As we typeset the forthcoming issue and develop essays for future volumes, this seems a good time to reflect on the MHR’s heritage and legacy.
In 1859, the members of the MHS decided to launch a new publication. Since 1792, the year after the Society’s founding, members had been “multiplying the copies” of items in the archives by issuing Collections volumes. Now, as the country approached a civil war, Boston was growing dramatically, from a town of fewer than 20,000 in 1790 to a city of almost 180,000. The Society’s collection, too, had ballooned with the 1857 acquisition of the more than 4,600 volumes in the library of Thomas Dowse. The men who made up the Society now represented a wider range of interests, and they decided to apply the best practices of corporate business to the conduct of the MHS.
A new publication would document the Society’s “proceedings” and include an annual report. It would contain transcripts of the lectures that members offered when they gathered for meetings. A commitment to publish these talks could have resulted in a series of dry volumes—but what a roster of historians would appear in the pages of the Proceedings! Over nearly 140 years, until 1998, the deep leather chairs, madeira, and slanting sunlight of the Society’s afternoon meetings yielded the wisdom of Henry Adams, Oscar and Lillian Handlin, Edmund Morgan, and Bernard Bailyn, to name just a handful of the illustrious historians represented in the Proceedings’ pages.
Enter the 1990s. Computers and the internet transformed the way in which the MHS related to the outside world. Alongside our expanding research programs, including fellowships, conferences, and seminars, the Proceedings came to feel constrained. The MHS made the decision to end its publication and invite the wider possibilities of an annual journal that would accept outside submissions and, in its design, serve as an ambassador of the Society’s vibrant mission. The Massachusetts Historical Review was born.
Two decades later, the MHR features scholarship on all historical periods, from across the country and overseas. This takes the form of essays, photo-essays, historical documents, and review articles authored by both eminent scholars and those new to the field. There have been themed issues and a recent special issue on the occasion of the Society’s 225th anniversary, “Massachusetts and the Origins of American Historical Thought.” The forthcoming issue will include essays on the Harlem Renaissance artist Cloyd Lee Boykin, who taught in Boston, colonial Massachusetts Governor Thomas Pownall, and the 1975 Edelin manslaughter trial. Essays demonstrate the influence of Massachusetts across the nation and around the world.
As with the Proceedings, the Research Department acquires and develops the content for the MHR, while the Publications Department handles the copyediting, design, and indexing. Throughout this process, the MHS staff maintains a commitment to scholarly excellence. They send each essay to at least two peer reviewers in a “double-blind” process, and the editors and authors work together to revise and edit the contributions.
Now available online (as are the Proceedings), the MHR has a wider reach than ever before. It takes its place comfortably among a range of professional journals in major research libraries. And it offers a pleasant read in a comfy chair on a quiet afternoon, perhaps alongside a little glass of good madeira.
| Published: Friday, 8 June, 2018, 1:15 PM
Announcing 2018-2019 Research Fellowships
By Alexis Buckley, Research
Each year the MHS grants a number of research fellowships to scholars from around the country. Our four fellowship programs bring a wide variety of researchers to the MHS. See the list of incoming 2018-2019 fellows and their project titles below. You can learn more about each fellow’s research at their MHS brown bag lunch talk—keep an eye on the calendar to find out when they’ll present!
This year we offered 23 short-term fellowships to scholars whose research brings them to the MHS, including a new fellowship for a project on American religious history, the C. Conrad and Elizabeth H. Wright Fellowship. (See page 8 of our last newsletter for details!)
We talked about our collaboration with the National Endowment for the Humanities in our last blog post. This collaboration allows us to offer long-term fellowships, where the researchers spend 4-12 months as part of the MHS community. We also partner with the Boston Athenaeum to offer a Loring fellowship for a researcher studying the Civil War, its causes and consequences. The Athenaeum’s Civil War collections are anchored by its holdings of Confederate states imprints, the largest in the nation. The Society’s manuscript holdings on the Civil War include diaries, photographs, correspondence from the battlefield and the home front, papers of political leaders, and materials on black regiments raised in Massachusetts.
The MHS is also proud to be a founding member of the New England Regional Fellowship Consortium, a collaboration of over two dozen major cultural institutions across New England. Each year, the Consortium offers fellowships to researchers whose projects bring them to NERFC member archives. This year, 11 of the 2018-2019 NERFC fellows will be researching at the MHS.
We are looking forward to welcoming all our 2018-2019 research fellows, and learning more about their work on 20th-century reform movements, 17th-century mercantilism, and all points in between!
Suzanne and Caleb Loring Fellows on the Civil War, Its Origins, and Consequences
Dis-Union: Disability Cultures and the American Civil War
MHS Short-term Fellowships
African-American Studies Fellow
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Beyond the Boundaries of Childhood: Nineteenth Century Black Children’s Cultural and Political Resistance
Andrew Oliver Fellow
Hard Money: The Making of a Specie Currency, 1828-1860
Andrew W. Mellon Fellows
University of Notre Dame
Communities of Difference in 19th Century Irish-America
The Memory of Copley: Afterlives of the American Portrait, 1774-1920
University of California, Los Angeles
Persistent Archives and the Early Americas, 1600-1830
Sensory Experiences of Daily Life at New England Hospitals for the Insane
University of Toronto
Odor and Power in the Americas
University Medical Center Göttingen
Moral Measurements: Wilbur Olin Atwater and the Making of the American Diet
The Reception of European Biblical Scholarship in Early North America
American Travelers in the Middle East, 1830s-1930s
Ecology of Utopia: Environmental Discourse and Practice in Antebellum Communal Settlements
Benjamin F. Stevens Fellow
University of Connecticut
A West Indian Jubilee in America: Mapping August First in New England
C. Conrad & Elizabeth H. Wright Fellow
Claremont Graduate University
The World Becomes Round: Early Encounters between Bombay Parsis & Yankee Merchants, 1771-1861
Louis Leonard Tucker Alumni Fellows
University of Connecticut
The Night Watch of Early Boston, 1662-1776
Images Abroad: Henry Adams and the Picturing of Modernism
Pennsylvania State University
The American Debate over the China Relief Expedition of 1900
Malcolm and Mildred Freiberg Fellow
University of California, Berkeley
Renaissance Books in Early America: John Winthrop Jr. and Italian Occultism
Marc Friedlaender Fellow
The Shade of Private Life: The Right to Privacy and the Press in American Art, 1875-1900
Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati Fellow
Roberto Flores de Apodaca
University of South Carolina
“Alas my Backsliding Hart!”: Religious Worldview and Culture of New England Continentals 1775-1783
Ruth R. & Alyson R. Miller Fellows
Russell Sage College
Boston meets Brahmin: Massachusetts Women in Gandhi’s India
Southern Methodist University
“[A]s if she were born to empire”: Isabella, the Bildungsroman, and the Establishment of a New American Society Identity in Catharine Maria Sedgwick’s The Linwoods
W. B. H. Dowse Fellows
University of California, Santa Cruz
Indigenous Land Ownership in the Praying Towns of the New England Borderlands: Indigenous Lives Lands and Legacies of Seventeenth Century Massachusetts
The End of War: Indians, Empires, and Identity in the American Northeast, 1713-1727
MHS-NEH Long-term Fellowships
Mint Conditions: The Politics and Geography of Money in Britain and Its Empire, 1650-1760
North Carolina State University
Things Set Apart: An Alternative History of the Separation of Church and State
New England Regional Fellowship Consortium Fellows
The “‘right’ to indulge in the act of sexual intercourse”: Unmarried People, Sex, and the Laws on Contraception in Massachusetts (1960- 1972)
University of Alabama
A Struggle Against Fate: The Opponents of Manifest Destiny and the Collapse of the Continental Dream, 1846-1871
Lady Governors of the British Empire
Technische Universität Darmstadt
The Study of Human Sex Problems: A History of American Sexual Science, 1895–1945
University of California, Berkeley
American Silver, Chinese Silverwares, and the Global Circulation of Value
University of Rhode Island
Passing Transcendental: Harvard, Heresy, and the Modern American Origins of Unbelief
Alexey Krichtal (MHS)
Johns Hopkins University
Liverpool, Slavery, and the Atlantic Cotton Frontier, c. 1763-1833
Katherine McIntyre (MHS)
Maroon Ecologies: Albery Allson Whitman and the Place of Poetry
Gwenn Miller (MHS)
College of the Holy Cross
“You Will Bring Opium to Canton”: John Perkins Cushing and Boston’s Early China Trade
Joshua Morrison (MHS)
University of Virginia
Cut from the Same Cloth: Salem, Zanzibar, and American-Omani Trade (1820-1870)
Peter Olsen-Harbich (MHS)
College of William and Mary
A Meaningful Subjection: Coercive Inequality and Indigenous Political Economy in the Colonial American Northeast
Camille Owens (MHS)
Blackness and the Human Child: Race, Prodigy, and the Logic of American Childhood
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Workers, Consumers, and Civil Rights
College of William and Mary
Inter-American Connections: North-South American Networks in the Age of Atlantic Revolutions
George Washington University
Separate and Unequal: The Rise of Special-Selection Programs in Boston, 1950–2000
State University of New York, Albany
Itinerant Politics: Settler Colonialism and the Evangelical Long Poem
Pictures: Charles Dana Gibson, John Sloan, and the Making of Modern Americans
C. Ian Stevenson (MHS)
“Army Tales Told While the Pot Boiled”: The Civil War Vacation in Architecture and Landscape, 1880-1910
Hannah Tucker (MHS)
University of Virginia
Masters of the Market: Mercantile Ship Captaincy in the Colonial British Atlantic, 1607-1774
Thomas Whitaker (MHS)
The Missionary Republic: The Rise of Evangelical Missions in the United States, 1789-1819
Washington University in St. Louis
Shuffling, Shouting, and Wearing Down: Rethinking the Techniques of Protest in Welfare Rights Organizations
Nathaniel Windon (MHS)
Pennsylvania State University
Gilded Old Age: Inheritance and American Literature, 1877-1918
State University of New York, Buffalo
Fourteenth: Vermont’s Struggle For and Against Democracy, 1775-1875
Colonial Society of Massachusetts Fellowship
Andrew Rutledge (MHS)
University of Michigan
“We have no need of Virginia Trade”: New England Tobacco in the Atlantic World
| Published: Friday, 27 April, 2018, 10:43 AM
Welcome to Our 2018-2019 MHS-NEH Fellows!
By Lex Buckley, Research Dept.
The Massachusetts Historical Society’s Research Department is pleased to announce our two 2018-2019 MHS-NEH Long-Term Fellows, Mara Caden and Brent Sirota. Mara Caden will be researching the mint and early economic conditions in New England, and revising her book manuscript, which comes out of her Yale University dissertation, “Mint Conditions: The Politics and Geography of Money in Britain and Its Empire, 1650-1750.” Brent Sirota is an associate professor at North Carolina State University, and will be researching and writing his second monograph, Things Set Apart: An Alternate History of the Separation of Church and State, examining how people in the 18th- and 19th-century British Atlantic maintained their religion separate from the state after 1689.
Caden and Sirota join a renowned group of current and former MHS-NEH fellows. The long-term fellowship began in 2002, and the National Endowment for the Humanities has helped to support long-term fellows every year since. NEH support has allowed the MHS to have fellows spend four to twelve months as not only researchers, but as part of the scholarly and collegial fabric of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Our 2017-2018 fellows have presented at MHS seminars and brown bag lunches, and prior fellows have presented at MHS conferences and elsewhere in the city of Boston during their tenure here, and often return to the MHS to serve on committees for seminars, conferences, and future fellowship selections. As well as taking the opportunity to share their research and historical expertise in these formal settings, our MHS-NEH fellows—many of whom are established scholars in their fields—also foster an intellectual atmosphere at the Society by taking local graduate students and short-term fellows under their wing. They attend other researchers’ presentations, invite them for coffee, and offer advice on archives to visit, collections to search, and ways to read documents, artifacts, and silences. Our long-term fellows come from History, English, Political Science, Drama, and other fields, and their innovative methods and deep understandings of their field have broadened research horizons for younger fellows and students for over a decade.
Of course, such erudite scholars also use their long-term fellowships to research and write, and have published impressive works on a wide variety of subjects. From the fellowship’s first year in 2002-2003, we had Walter Woodward, who was working on Prospero’s America: John Winthrop, Jr., Alchemy, and the Creation of New England Culture, 1606-1676. There is 2003-2004 fellow Woody Holton’s research project, “Minds Afire,” now the book, Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution; Lisa Wilson’s A History of Stepfamilies in Early America; Lisa Tetrault’s The Myth of Seneca Falls: Memory and the Women’s Suffrage Movement, 1848-1898; Vincent Carretta’s biography of Phyllis Wheatley; Martha Hodes’s Mourning Lincoln; Linford Fisher’s The Indian Great Awakening; and many, many more stellar works produced and forthcoming. (Keep an eye on our fellows’ publications page to read what comes out next!)
In sum, we couldn’t be more excited to have Caden and Sirota join an already prestigious array of long-term fellows in enriching the field with the scholarship they’ll produce here, and enriching the MHS with the expertise that they’ll share with young fellows and researchers during their stay. And we couldn’t offer any of this without the generous support and encouragement from the National Endowment for the Humanities!
(For more on the National Endowment for the Humanities, see their webpage. For more on our long-term MHS-NEH fellowships and past recipients, please visit http://www.masshist.org/2012/research/fellowships/long-term.)
| Published: Friday, 16 March, 2018, 10:36 AM