The MHS offers an engaging roster of programming to foster historical knowledge and we welcome everyone to attend, question, and contribute. We provide a forum for debate; host a variety of programs that delve into the complexities of history; and encourage people to share their observations, interpretations, and ideas. MHS programs include author talks, conversations, panel discussions, gallery tours, brown-bag lunches, seminars, conferences, and exclusive events for Members and donors. If you missed a program or would like to revisit the material presented, our videos page has many past programs.

June 2021
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Spring_2021/41yMZ6WN-5L__SX329_BO1_204_203_200_.jpg Public Program, Online Event, Conversation The Education Trap: Schools and the Remaking of Inequality in Boston 14 June 2021.Monday, 5:30PM - 6:30PM This is an online program Christina Groeger, Lake Forest College in conversation with Michael Glass, Boston College For generations, Americans have looked to education as the solution to economic disadvantage. Yet, ...

For generations, Americans have looked to education as the solution to economic disadvantage. Yet, although more people are earning degrees, the gap between rich and poor is widening. The Education Trap delves into the history of this seeming contradiction, using the city of Boston as a test case. Even as Boston spent heavily on public schools the first decades of the twentieth century,  the shift to more educated labor had negative consequences—both intended and unintended—for many workers. Employers supported training in schools in order to undermine the influence of craft unions, shifting workplace power toward management. Advanced educational credentials became a means of controlling access to high-paying professional and business jobs, concentrating power and wealth. Formal education thus became a central force in maintaining inequality.

 

 

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Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Spring_2021/VD.jpg Public Program, Online Event, Conversation The Virginia Dynasty: Four Presidents and the Creation of the American Nation 15 June 2021.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 6:30PM This is an online program Lynne Cheney in conversation with Catherine Allgor, MHS From a small expanse of land on the North American continent came four of the nation's first five ...

From a small expanse of land on the North American continent came four of the nation's first five presidents—a geographic dynasty whose members led a revolution, created a nation, and ultimately changed the world. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe were friends and rivals, they led in securing independence, hammering out the United States Constitution, and building a working republic. But even as Virginians advanced Enlightenment values like  liberty, equality, and human possibility, they held people in slavery and were slaveholders when they died. Taking full measure of strengths and failures in the personal as well as the political lives of the men of the Virginia Dynasty, Cheney offers a concise and original exploration of how the United States came to be.

 

 

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Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/MHS067-evening.jpg MHS 2021 Annual Meeting 17 June 2021.Thursday, 3:30PM - 4:30PM This is an online meeting of MHS Fellows, open to the public. Registrants will be emailed a join link. For more information, contact Katie Finn at kfinn@masshist.org The MHS Annual Meeting will be held via Zoom webinar, at 3:30 pm on Thursday, June 17, 2021. This ...

The MHS Annual Meeting will be held via Zoom webinar, at 3:30 pm on Thursday, June 17, 2021. This annual meeting’s purpose is to hold elections for the Board of Trustees, Advisory Council, and Society of Fellows; to update the Fellows on the business of the MHS; and to honor our retiring Overseers, Trustees, Board Officers, and Staff. 

Following the business meeting, we'll be treated to a presentation on National History Day in Massachusetts from MHS Education Director Elyssa Tardif!

 

 

 
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Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Spring_2021/9781324003243.jpg Online Event, Author Talk, Public Program Mercury Rising: John Glenn, John Kennedy and the New Battleground of the Cold War 30 June 2021.Wednesday, 5:30PM - 6:30PM This is an online program Jeff Shesol in conversation with E.J. Dionne If the United States couldn’t catch up to the Soviets in space, how could it compete with them ...

If the United States couldn’t catch up to the Soviets in space, how could it compete with them on Earth? That was the question facing John F. Kennedy at the height of the Cold War. On February 20, 1962, when John Glenn blasted into orbit aboard Friendship 7, his mission was not only to circle the planet; it was to calm the fears of the free world and renew America’s sense of self-belief. Mercury Rising re-creates the tension and excitement of a flight that shifted the momentum of the space race and put the United States on the path to the moon. Drawing on new archival sources, personal interviews, and previously unpublished notes by Glenn himself, Mercury Rising reveals how the astronaut’s heroics lifted the nation’s hopes

 

 

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July 2021
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Spring_2021/Capture.jpg Public Program, Online Event Beyond the Boundaries of Childhood: African American Children in the Antebellum North 8 July 2021.Thursday, 5:30PM - 6:30PM This is an online program Crystal Lynn Webster, University of Texas at San Antonio in conversation with Kanisorn Wongsrichanalai, MHS For all that is known about the depth and breadth of African American history, we still understand ...

For all that is known about the depth and breadth of African American history, we still understand surprisingly little about the lives of African American children. But hidden in institutional records, school primers and penmanship books, biographical sketches, and unpublished documents is a rich archive that reveals the social and affective worlds of northern Black children. Crystal Webster argues that young African Americans were frequently left outside the nineteenth century's emerging constructions of both race and childhood. They were marginalized in the development of schooling, ignored in debates over child labor, and presumed to lack the inherent innocence ascribed to white children. But Webster shows that Black children nevertheless carved out physical and social space for play, for learning, and for their own aspirations.

 

 

More
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Spring_2021/Untitled.jpg Public Program Force and Freedom: Black Abolitionists and the Politics of Violence 13 July 2021.Tuesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM This program co-sponsored by the MHS and hosted by the Boston Athenaeum Kelle Carter Jackson, Wellesley College This program is free for MHS Members/Fellows Please register through the Boston Athenaeum  Register Here In Force and Freedom ...

Please register through the Boston Athenaeum

 Register Here

In Force and Freedom, Kellie Carter Jackson provides the first historical analysis exclusively focused on the tactical use of violence among antebellum black activists. Through rousing public speeches, the burgeoning black press, and the formation of milita groups, black abolitionist leaders mobilized their communities, compelled national action, and drew international attention. Drawing on the precedent and pathos of the American and Haitian Revolutions, African American abolitionists used violence as a political language and a means of provoking social change. Through tactical violence, black abolitionist leaders accomplished what white nonviolent abolitionists could not: creating the conditions that necessitated the Civil War. Force and Freedom takes readers beyond the honorable politics of moral suasion and the romanticism of the Underground Railroad and into an exploration of the agonizing decisions, strategies, and actions of the black abolitionists who, though lacking an official political voice, were nevertheless responsible for instigating monumental social and political change.

More
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Spring_2021/IMG_9714.jpg Public Program, Online Event Borderland: The Life and Times of Blanche Ames Ames 15 July 2021.Thursday, 5:30PM - 6:30PM This program is a virtual film screening followed by discussion Barbara F. Berenson ​Blanche Ames Ames (1878-1969) was an artist, an activist, a builder, an inventor, a birth control ...

​Blanche Ames Ames (1878-1969) was an artist, an activist, a builder, an inventor, a birth control maverick, and a leader of the woman suffrage movement in Massachusetts. She was a woman of privilege who was not afraid to shock polite society. Her name doesn't appear in most American history books. This, too, is part of her story. Borderland: The Life & Times of Blanche Ames Ames is a 55-minute documentary that chronicles the life of a woman who was born in the 19th century, worked to change the 20th century, and whose wisdom still resonates in the 21st century. A screening of the film will be followed by audience discussion with consulting historian Barbara F. Berenson.

 

 

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Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Spring_2021/81zNpMh3svL.jpg Public Program, Online Event, Conversation Nine Days: The Race to Save Martin Luther King Jr.’s Life and Win the 1960 Election 20 July 2021.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 6:30PM This is an online program Stephen Kendrick in conversation with Larry Tye Less than three weeks before the 1960 presidential election, thirty-one-year-old Martin Luther King, ...

Less than three weeks before the 1960 presidential election, thirty-one-year-old Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested at a sit-in in Atlanta. While King’s imprisonment was decried as a moral scandal in some quarters and celebrated in others, for the two presidential candidates―John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon―it was the ultimate October surprise: an emerging civil rights leader was languishing behind bars, and the two campaigns raced to decide whether, and how, to respond. Nine Days is the first full recounting of an event that changed the course of one of the closest elections in American history. At once a story of electoral machinations, moral courage, and, ultimately, the triumph of a future president’s better angels, Nine Days is a gripping tale with important lessons for our own time.

 

 

 

 

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Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Spring_2021/91ld4qBbAnL.jpg Public Program, Author Talk, Online Event Age of Acrimony: How Americans Fought to Fix Their Democracy, 1865-1915 29 July 2021.Thursday, 5:30PM - 6:30PM This is an online program Jon Grinspan, National Museum of American History Democracy was broken. Or that was what many Americans believed in the decades after the Civil War. ...

Democracy was broken. Or that was what many Americans believed in the decades after the Civil War. Shaken by economic and technological disruption, they sought safety in aggressive, tribal partisanship. The results were the loudest, closest, most violent elections in U.S. history, driven by vibrant campaigns that drew our highest-ever voter turnouts. At the century's end, reformers finally restrained this wild system, trading away participation for civility in the process. They built a calmer, cleaner democracy, but also a more distant one. Americans' voting rates crashed and never fully recovered. In telling the tale of what it cost to cool our republic, historian Jon Grinspan reveals our divisive political system's enduring capacity to reinvent itself.

 

 

 

 

More
Public Program, Online Event, Conversation The Education Trap: Schools and the Remaking of Inequality in Boston 14 June 2021.Monday, 5:30PM - 6:30PM This is an online program Christina Groeger, Lake Forest College in conversation with Michael Glass, Boston College Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Spring_2021/41yMZ6WN-5L__SX329_BO1_204_203_200_.jpg

For generations, Americans have looked to education as the solution to economic disadvantage. Yet, although more people are earning degrees, the gap between rich and poor is widening. The Education Trap delves into the history of this seeming contradiction, using the city of Boston as a test case. Even as Boston spent heavily on public schools the first decades of the twentieth century,  the shift to more educated labor had negative consequences—both intended and unintended—for many workers. Employers supported training in schools in order to undermine the influence of craft unions, shifting workplace power toward management. Advanced educational credentials became a means of controlling access to high-paying professional and business jobs, concentrating power and wealth. Formal education thus became a central force in maintaining inequality.

 

 

close

Public Program, Online Event, Conversation The Virginia Dynasty: Four Presidents and the Creation of the American Nation Register registration required at no cost 15 June 2021.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 6:30PM This is an online program Lynne Cheney in conversation with Catherine Allgor, MHS Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Spring_2021/VD.jpg

From a small expanse of land on the North American continent came four of the nation's first five presidents—a geographic dynasty whose members led a revolution, created a nation, and ultimately changed the world. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe were friends and rivals, they led in securing independence, hammering out the United States Constitution, and building a working republic. But even as Virginians advanced Enlightenment values like  liberty, equality, and human possibility, they held people in slavery and were slaveholders when they died. Taking full measure of strengths and failures in the personal as well as the political lives of the men of the Virginia Dynasty, Cheney offers a concise and original exploration of how the United States came to be.

 

 

close

MHS 2021 Annual Meeting Register registration required at no cost 17 June 2021.Thursday, 3:30PM - 4:30PM This is an online meeting of MHS Fellows, open to the public. Registrants will be emailed a join link. For more information, contact Katie Finn at kfinn@masshist.org Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/MHS067-evening.jpg

The MHS Annual Meeting will be held via Zoom webinar, at 3:30 pm on Thursday, June 17, 2021. This annual meeting’s purpose is to hold elections for the Board of Trustees, Advisory Council, and Society of Fellows; to update the Fellows on the business of the MHS; and to honor our retiring Overseers, Trustees, Board Officers, and Staff. 

Following the business meeting, we'll be treated to a presentation on National History Day in Massachusetts from MHS Education Director Elyssa Tardif!

 

 

 
close

Online Event, Author Talk, Public Program Mercury Rising: John Glenn, John Kennedy and the New Battleground of the Cold War Register registration required at no cost 30 June 2021.Wednesday, 5:30PM - 6:30PM This is an online program Jeff Shesol in conversation with E.J. Dionne Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Spring_2021/9781324003243.jpg

If the United States couldn’t catch up to the Soviets in space, how could it compete with them on Earth? That was the question facing John F. Kennedy at the height of the Cold War. On February 20, 1962, when John Glenn blasted into orbit aboard Friendship 7, his mission was not only to circle the planet; it was to calm the fears of the free world and renew America’s sense of self-belief. Mercury Rising re-creates the tension and excitement of a flight that shifted the momentum of the space race and put the United States on the path to the moon. Drawing on new archival sources, personal interviews, and previously unpublished notes by Glenn himself, Mercury Rising reveals how the astronaut’s heroics lifted the nation’s hopes

 

 

close

Public Program, Online Event Beyond the Boundaries of Childhood: African American Children in the Antebellum North Register registration required at no cost 8 July 2021.Thursday, 5:30PM - 6:30PM This is an online program Crystal Lynn Webster, University of Texas at San Antonio in conversation with Kanisorn Wongsrichanalai, MHS Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Spring_2021/Capture.jpg

For all that is known about the depth and breadth of African American history, we still understand surprisingly little about the lives of African American children. But hidden in institutional records, school primers and penmanship books, biographical sketches, and unpublished documents is a rich archive that reveals the social and affective worlds of northern Black children. Crystal Webster argues that young African Americans were frequently left outside the nineteenth century's emerging constructions of both race and childhood. They were marginalized in the development of schooling, ignored in debates over child labor, and presumed to lack the inherent innocence ascribed to white children. But Webster shows that Black children nevertheless carved out physical and social space for play, for learning, and for their own aspirations.

 

 

close

Public Program Force and Freedom: Black Abolitionists and the Politics of Violence registration required 13 July 2021.Tuesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM This program co-sponsored by the MHS and hosted by the Boston Athenaeum Kelle Carter Jackson, Wellesley College This program is free for MHS Members/Fellows Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Spring_2021/Untitled.jpg

Please register through the Boston Athenaeum

 Register Here

In Force and Freedom, Kellie Carter Jackson provides the first historical analysis exclusively focused on the tactical use of violence among antebellum black activists. Through rousing public speeches, the burgeoning black press, and the formation of milita groups, black abolitionist leaders mobilized their communities, compelled national action, and drew international attention. Drawing on the precedent and pathos of the American and Haitian Revolutions, African American abolitionists used violence as a political language and a means of provoking social change. Through tactical violence, black abolitionist leaders accomplished what white nonviolent abolitionists could not: creating the conditions that necessitated the Civil War. Force and Freedom takes readers beyond the honorable politics of moral suasion and the romanticism of the Underground Railroad and into an exploration of the agonizing decisions, strategies, and actions of the black abolitionists who, though lacking an official political voice, were nevertheless responsible for instigating monumental social and political change.

close

Public Program, Online Event Borderland: The Life and Times of Blanche Ames Ames Register registration required at no cost 15 July 2021.Thursday, 5:30PM - 6:30PM This program is a virtual film screening followed by discussion Barbara F. Berenson Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Spring_2021/IMG_9714.jpg

​Blanche Ames Ames (1878-1969) was an artist, an activist, a builder, an inventor, a birth control maverick, and a leader of the woman suffrage movement in Massachusetts. She was a woman of privilege who was not afraid to shock polite society. Her name doesn't appear in most American history books. This, too, is part of her story. Borderland: The Life & Times of Blanche Ames Ames is a 55-minute documentary that chronicles the life of a woman who was born in the 19th century, worked to change the 20th century, and whose wisdom still resonates in the 21st century. A screening of the film will be followed by audience discussion with consulting historian Barbara F. Berenson.

 

 

close

Public Program, Online Event, Conversation Nine Days: The Race to Save Martin Luther King Jr.’s Life and Win the 1960 Election Register registration required at no cost 20 July 2021.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 6:30PM This is an online program Stephen Kendrick in conversation with Larry Tye Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Spring_2021/81zNpMh3svL.jpg

Less than three weeks before the 1960 presidential election, thirty-one-year-old Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested at a sit-in in Atlanta. While King’s imprisonment was decried as a moral scandal in some quarters and celebrated in others, for the two presidential candidates―John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon―it was the ultimate October surprise: an emerging civil rights leader was languishing behind bars, and the two campaigns raced to decide whether, and how, to respond. Nine Days is the first full recounting of an event that changed the course of one of the closest elections in American history. At once a story of electoral machinations, moral courage, and, ultimately, the triumph of a future president’s better angels, Nine Days is a gripping tale with important lessons for our own time.

 

 

 

 

close

Public Program, Author Talk, Online Event Age of Acrimony: How Americans Fought to Fix Their Democracy, 1865-1915 Register registration required at no cost 29 July 2021.Thursday, 5:30PM - 6:30PM This is an online program Jon Grinspan, National Museum of American History Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Spring_2021/91ld4qBbAnL.jpg

Democracy was broken. Or that was what many Americans believed in the decades after the Civil War. Shaken by economic and technological disruption, they sought safety in aggressive, tribal partisanship. The results were the loudest, closest, most violent elections in U.S. history, driven by vibrant campaigns that drew our highest-ever voter turnouts. At the century's end, reformers finally restrained this wild system, trading away participation for civility in the process. They built a calmer, cleaner democracy, but also a more distant one. Americans' voting rates crashed and never fully recovered. In telling the tale of what it cost to cool our republic, historian Jon Grinspan reveals our divisive political system's enduring capacity to reinvent itself.

 

 

 

 

close