February

Public Program, Author Talk Self-Evident Truths: Contesting Equal Rights from the Revolution to the Civil War 27 February 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Richard Brown, University of Connecticut Despite our country’s founding statement that “all men are created equal,” the ...

Despite our country’s founding statement that “all men are created equal,” the early Republic struggled with social inequality. While people paid homage to the ideal of equal rights, this ideal came up against entrenched social and political practices. Brown will discuss how the ideal was tested in struggles over race and ethnicity, religious freedom, gender and social class, voting rights and citizenship. He shows how high principles fared in criminal trials and divorce cases when minorities, women, and people from different social classes faced judgment. This book offers a much-needed exploration of the ways revolutionary political ideas penetrated popular thinking and everyday practice.

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Vietnamese Political Prisoners and the Politics of Family, 1975-1996 28 February 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Amanda C. Demmer, University of New Hampshire Comment: Arissa Oh, Boston College This project dispels the myths that American involvement in Vietnam ended abruptly after the fall of ...

This project dispels the myths that American involvement in Vietnam ended abruptly after the fall of Saigon and that U.S. servicemen listed as prisoner of war/missing in action were the only exception to American disengagement. It explores the American response to Hanoi's incarceration of Vietnamese political prisoners in so-called “reeducation” camps, whose last prisoner was not released until 1992. More specifically, it argues that Vietnamese Americans successfully made the prisoners' release and resettlement a major objective of U.S. foreign policy.

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March
Brown Bag Ask Carol Lane!: Imaginaries of Safe Travel in the 1950s 1 March 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Renée Blackburn, MIT As post-war traffic fatalities rose, so did the concern to create safe communities and roads. Some ...

As post-war traffic fatalities rose, so did the concern to create safe communities and roads. Some of the work done by organizations involved creating imaginary personas, mostly of women, to perpetuate the rules of safe travel and normalize traffic and travel safety during a period of increased vehicle use, recreational travel, and fatality risk on the roads. This talk examines these personas and their place in the larger safety context of the 1950s.

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Public Program A Children's Photo Album 2 March 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Ken Liss, Boston University Libraries In 2014, the Brookline Historical Society was given a tiny photo album with postage stamp-sized ...

In 2014, the Brookline Historical Society was given a tiny photo album with postage stamp-sized photos of 48 Brookline and Boston children. Written inside the front cover were the name Mamie Williams and the date March 16, 1882. Who was Mamie Williams? Who were the children pictured in her album? What became of them as adults? Months of research by Liss led to answers to these questions and to some fascinating stories about the offspring of Edward Atkinson, H.H. Richardson, Moorefield Storey, as well as stories of Brookline and Boston society. In this presentation, Liss tells the tale of this album and the people inside it.

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Early American History Seminar A History of Violence: The Harpe Murders and the Legacies of the American Revolution 7 March 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Kate Grandjean, Wellesley College Comment: Eliga Gould, University of New Hampshire This paper looks at a series of murders in Appalachia in the 1790s, committed by former loyalists. ...

This paper looks at a series of murders in Appalachia in the 1790s, committed by former loyalists. By following the lives of the Harpe brothers, who left a trail of blood through early Tennessee and Kentucky, it explores the violent legacies of the American Revolution—especially in the southern borderlands. 

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Brown Bag Inventing Citizens: Patents, Inventors, and Civil Rights 8 March 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Kara Swanson, Northeastern University Beginning with the Constitutional Convention, Americans created the world's most accessible patent ...

Beginning with the Constitutional Convention, Americans created the world's most accessible patent system. As the system and the republic grew together, Americans came to consider issued patents both a measurement of their national progress and proof of the desirable qualities possessed by the wide swath of Americans who obtained patents. This project examines this foundational relationship by demonstrating how the patent system became a resource for marginalized groups making claims to full civil rights, particularly women and African Americans.  

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The Irish Atlantic Member Event, Special Event The Irish Atlantic Fellows & Members Preview Reception 9 March 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM This event is open only to MHS Fellows and Members William M. Fowler, Northeastern University MHS Fellows and Members are invited to a special program, reception, and chance to preview ...

MHS Fellows and Members are invited to a special program, reception, and chance to preview The Irish Atlantic. The exhibition explores 175 years of the Irish in Boston. Guest curator William Fowler will give an overview, beginning with a look at the Irish community in Massachusetts stretching back into the 18th century, through famine relief efforts led by Capt. Robert Bennet Forbes at the helm of the Jamestown, to a mass migration movement, decades of community and institutional building, and a rise in political power.  

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The Irish Atlantic Exhibitionbegins The Irish Atlantic 10 March 2017.Friday, 10:00AM - 4:00PM Open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM Explore 175 years of the Irish in Boston from the founding of the Charitable Irish Society in 1737, ...

Explore 175 years of the Irish in Boston from the founding of the Charitable Irish Society in 1737, through famine relief efforts led by Capt. Robert Bennet Forbes at the helm of the Jamestown, to a mass migration movement, decades of community and institutional building, and a rise in political power. The exhibition is co-sponsored by the MHS and the Forbes House Museum.

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Brown Bag A Constitutional Lost Cause: The Fifteenth Amendment in American Memory and Political Culture, 1870-1920 10 March 2017.Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Stephen A. West, The Catholic University of America Initially hailed by supporters as the fulfillment of America’s democratic promise, the ...

Initially hailed by supporters as the fulfillment of America’s democratic promise, the Fifteenth Amendment would, within a few decades, be nullified in the southern states and regarded by many white Americans as a constitutional mistake. This talk examines how Americans—across lines of race, region, and party—placed the voting rights amendment at the center of their memories of Reconstruction, and how those memories shaped their debates about citizenship and the very nature of the Constitution.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 11 March 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: The Irish Atlantic: A Story of Famine Migration and Opportunity.

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Environmental History Seminar The Winter Workscape: Weather and the Meaning of Industrial Capitalism in the Northern Forest, 1850-1950 14 March 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Jason L. Newton, Syracuse University Comment: Richard W. Judd, University of Maine Industrial logging operators used the winter weather, wood, simple machines, and muscle power alone ...

Industrial logging operators used the winter weather, wood, simple machines, and muscle power alone to increase the production and transportation of saw logs to reach industrial scale and efficiency. Drawing on methods from environmental and labor history and the history of slavery and capitalism, this essay characterizes industrial capitalism as a force that will sustain seemingly anachronistic modes of production as long as they remain profitable. It shows that increased efficiency and scale need not always lead to massive carbon emissions.

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Boston Codfish Balls ad - Cooking Boston series Public Program, Conversation, Cooking Boston Cooking Boston: Refined to Rustic 15 March 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Keith Stavely, Kelly Erby and moderator Barbara Wheaton Program 1: Refined to RusticKeith Stavely will explore the role Boston has played ...

Program 1: Refined to Rustic
Keith Stavely will explore the role Boston has played from being the home of early European refinement to the rise of the Colonial Revival rustic dishes. Kelly Erby will explore the role of restaurants and the rise of commercial dinning in the increasingly urban landscape of nineteenth century Boston. Barbara Wheaton will lead a discussion on how the Hub has shaped American culinary culture through cookbooks and changing perceptions of the city.


Cooking Boston: How the Hub Shaped the American Diet 

This series of programs will explore the culinary history of Boston and the impact the city has had on the American diet. In the first half of the 19th century, Boston had a reputation as the center for European taste and refinement. By the end of the 19th century, the Colonial Revival movement nationally popularized foods like Boston baked beans and Yankee pot-roast shifting Boston’s image from refined to rustic. In the 20th century, Boston clung to two identities: that of thrifty Puritans and of cosmopolitanism through education. This created some remarkably bland food but also made the city fertile ground for a culinary revolution. In the 1960s, chefs like Julia Child and Joyce Chen brought the flavors of the world to America through Boston.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 18 March 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: The Irish Atlantic: A Story of Famine Migration and Opportunity.

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Politics of Taste series - Mary Otis Gray Public Program, Author Talk, Politics of Taste Politics of Taste: Republic of Taste 20 March 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Catherine E. Kelly, University of Oklahoma Program 1: Republic of TasteWhether Americans believed that taste was innate ...

Program 1: Republic of Taste
Republic of TasteWhether Americans believed that taste was innate or acquired, it was widely believed that shared aesthetic sensibilities connected like-minded individuals and that shared affinities advanced the public good and held great promise for the American republic. Catherine E. Kelly demonstrates how American thinkers acknowledged the similarities between aesthetics and politics in order to wrestle with questions about power and authority. In the years following independence, ordinary women and men reassured themselves that taste revealed larger truths about an individual's character and potential for republican citizenship.

 

 


Politics of Taste

 Join us for a series to explore how the development of manners and taste in colonial America and the early republic were not just a statement of aesthetics but were also ways to define political identity and create shared affinities. A journey through the study of material culture will demonstrate how the politics of politeness helped define American thought.  

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Brown Bag Love in the Time of Mutual Assured Destruction: Rethinking Cold War Rationality 22 March 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Marie Burks, MIT The nuclear strategy of mutual assured destruction has come to symbolize the prevailing rationality ...

The nuclear strategy of mutual assured destruction has come to symbolize the prevailing rationality of the atomic age. This talk will highlight the work of intellectuals who deployed alternative rationalities to challenge the assumptions underlying not only nuclear strategy but also U.S. Cold War policy more broadly. These thinkers argued that, alongside familiar tools of Cold War rationality such as game theory, love and empathy were just as critical to a full understanding of social conflict.

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Public Program, Author Talk, Politics of Taste Portrait of a Woman in Silk: Hidden Histories of the British Atlantic World 23 March 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Zara Anishanslin, University of Delaware Program 2: Portrait of a Woman in Silk Through the story of a portrait of a woman ...

Program 2: Portrait of a Woman in Silk

Through the story of a portrait of a woman in a silk dress, historian Zara Anishanslin embarks on a journey, exploring and refining debates about the cultural history of the eighteenth-century British Atlantic world. She examines the worlds of four people who produced, wore, and represented this object: a London weaver, one of early modern Britain’s few women silk designers, a Philadelphia merchant’s wife, and a New England painter. Anishanslin shows how making, buying, and using goods in the British Atlantic created an object-based community that tied its inhabitants together, while also allowing for different views of the Empire.

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Public Program, The Irish Atlantic The Mission of the Jamestown 27 March 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. William Fowler, Jr., Northeastern University The Irish Atlantic Series   As news of the Irish Famine made its ...

The Irish Atlantic Series

 

As news of the Irish Famine made its way across the Atlantic, the citizens of Boston rallied to help. In 1847, a relief mission was organized and authorized by Congress, allowing the Secretary of the Navy to place two Naval ships—the Jamestown from Boston and the Macedonian from NYC—under civilian command to bring relief to Ireland. Capt. Robert Bennet Forbes, the head of Russell and Co, the largest American trading house in China, led the mission from Boston. He mobilized the city's citizens and merchants and amassed tons of food relief. William Fowler, guest curator for The Irish Atlantic, will discuss the relief efforts of the Jamestown on the eve of the 170th anniversary of its voyage.

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar, The Irish Atlantic Moving News, Affecting Relief: The Irish Famine’s Trans-Atlantic Circulations 28 March 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Anelise H. Shrout, California State University, Fullerton Comment: Kevin Kenny, Boston College The ships that carried Irish famine victims across the Atlantic also carried tragic accounts of ...

The ships that carried Irish famine victims across the Atlantic also carried tragic accounts of those left behind; in response, North Americans sent millions of dollars to relieve rural suffering. This paper argues that exploring the interactions between these various circulations reveals a tension between aiding strangers overseas and welcoming them in American cities. Further, it demonstrates that Americans’ decisions to send funds overseas were deeply conditioned by the political utility of those donations at home.

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Brown Bag An Actor’s Tale: Theater, Culture, and Everyday Life in Nineteenth-Century U.S. America 29 March 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Amy Hughes, Brooklyn College, CUNY Hughes will discuss her monograph-in-progress, inspired by the diary of U.S. actor Harry Watkins ...

Hughes will discuss her monograph-in-progress, inspired by the diary of U.S. actor Harry Watkins (1825-1894). In “An Actor’s Tale,” she deploys Watkins’s diary in order to offer an “alternative theater history” focusing on workaday laborers in the antebellum entertainment industry. She draws on the voluminous details in the manuscript to expose heretofore neglected or misunderstood aspects of U.S. theater culture during the 1800s while also shedding light on the trials and tribulations of everyday life during the tumultuous years leading up to the Civil War.

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Public Program, Author Talk, Politics of Taste Tea Sets and Tyranny: The Politics of Politeness in Early America 29 March 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Steven C. Bullock, Worcester Polytechnic University Even as eighteenth-century thinkers from John Locke to Thomas Jefferson struggled to find effective ...

Even as eighteenth-century thinkers from John Locke to Thomas Jefferson struggled to find effective means to restrain power, contemporary discussions of society gave increasing attention to ideals of refinement, moderation, and polished self-presentation. These two sets of ideas have long seemed separate, one dignified as political theory, the other primarily concerned with manners and material culture. Tea Sets and Tyranny challenges that division. In its original context, Steven C. Bullock suggests, politeness also raised important issues of power, leadership, and human relationships. This politics of politeness helped make opposition to overbearing power central to early American thought and practice.

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April
MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 1 April 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: The Irish Atlantic: A Story of Famine Migration and Opportunity.

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Early American History Seminar Promotional Literature and Identity in Colonial Massachusetts 4 April 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Agnès Delahaye, Université Lumière Lyon II Comment: Conrad E. Wright, Massachusetts Historical Society This essay will examine the institutional and cultural factors behind promotional literature, the ...

This essay will examine the institutional and cultural factors behind promotional literature, the body of colonial sources written for metropolitan audiences. All share the common intent of promoting, or defending, the political or economic choices made by the colonists as their communities were taking shape. The essay will detail the tropes and expressions of the commonality of purpose that Delahaye sees in most New England historiography. It will also explore the relationship between colonial historiography and exceptionalism in the New England tradition.

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Brown Bag A Fear of Foreigners and of Freedom: Ideological Exclusion and Deportation in America 5 April 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Julia Rose Kraut, Historical Society of the New York Courts This talk will examine the history of the exclusion and deportation of foreigners from the United ...

This talk will examine the history of the exclusion and deportation of foreigners from the United States based on their beliefs, associations, and/or expressions, from the Alien Act of 1798 to the War on Terror.  It will illustrate that this history reflects a perennial fear of subversion in America, and that during moments of national insecurity, the United States has consistently and continuously depicted foreigners as the source of subversion and has used ideological exclusion and deportation as tools to suppress the free expression of radicalism and dissent.     

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 8 April 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: The Irish Atlantic: A Story of Famine Migration and Opportunity.

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Public Program, Author Talk Creating Acadia National Park: The Biography of George Bucknam Dorr 10 April 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Ronald Epp Although he is known as the “Father of Acadia,” George Bucknam Dorr’s seminal ...

Although he is known as the “Father of Acadia,” George Bucknam Dorr’s seminal contributions to the American environmental movement have gone largely unacknowledged. This biography is the story of Dorr’s pioneering role. Raised in Boston, Dorr adopted Maine’s Mount Desert Island as his home and the setting to apply the practical lessons of “Boston Brahmin” philanthropy. Through his finest work—the creation and management of Acadia National Park—and through his collaborations with park co-founders Charles W. Eliot, John D. Rockefeller Jr., and others—Dorr transformed an elitist social inheritance into an all-consuming commitment to conservation.

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Environmental History Seminar Panel: Fishing the Commons 11 April 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Erik Reardon, University of Maine at Orono, and Stacy Roberts, University of California, Davis Comment: Matthew McKenzie, University of Connecticut at Avery Point Reardon’s paper, “New England’s Pre-Industrial River Commons: Culture and Economy ...

Reardon’s paper, “New England’s Pre-Industrial River Commons: Culture and Economy,” argues for the persistence of a river commons long after population growth and market pressures undermined the prospects for shared lands. Roberts’s essay, “The Private Commons: Oyster Planting in 19th-century Connecticut,” explain why Connecticut developed a dual system of public and private oyster production over the course of the 19th century by weaving together a history of the environment, law, and capitalism.

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Brown Bag Radical Enlightenment in the Struggle over Slavery 12 April 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Matthew Stewart, author of Nature's God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic Frederick Douglass owed a substantial intellectual debt to the controversial German philosopher ...

Frederick Douglass owed a substantial intellectual debt to the controversial German philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach. The militant abolitionist Theodore Parker relied on a wide range of philosophers hailing from the radical edges of the European Enlightenment. Abraham Lincoln’s political thought reflects in part the influence of Parker, Douglass, and their philosophical sources. This talk will draw material from a work in progress to lead a discussion about the role of Enlightenment ideas in shaping abolitionism, anti-slavery politics, and the Civil War.

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Public Program, The Irish Atlantic The Rise and Fall of the American Party 12 April 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Peter Drummey, Stephen T. Riley Librarian, Massachusetts Historical Society The Irish Atlantic Series Secretive nativist societies began to form in ...

The Irish Atlantic Series

Secretive nativist societies began to form in the 1840s in response to large-scale immigration of Irish and German Catholics. By the 1850s, these organizations coalesced into the American Party—commonly referred to as the “Know Nothings” because members would not reveal any information about their movement. The American Party advocated for severe restrictions on immigration and citizenship and in 1854 swept the Massachusetts election, winning all state offices and all but four seats in the legislature. In seven years the state had gone from launching an Irish relief mission with the sailing of the Jamestown to strident nativist sentiment. Peter Drummey will look at the meteoric rise of the American Party as well as its rapid decline with the approach of the Civil War.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 15 April 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: The Irish Atlantic: A Story of Famine Migration and Opportunity.

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Building Closed Patriots' Day 17 April 2017.Monday, all day The MHS is CLOSED for Patriots' Day. 

The MHS is CLOSED for Patriots' Day. 

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The Irish Atlantic, Public Program Make Your Own Comic: The Jamestown Relief Mission to Ireland & the Life of John Boyle O’Reilly 18 April 2017.Tuesday, 2:00PM - 3:30PM Please RSVP   Come to MHS during the school vacation week for a hands-on history program. Historians will tell ...

Come to MHS during the school vacation week for a hands-on history program. Historians will tell participants two stories related to Irish immigration. The first will explore the famine relief mission from Boston to Ireland led by Robert Bennet Forbes aboard the Jamestown. The second will explore the life of John Boyle O’Reilly, a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, or Fenians. For his part in the Fenian conspiracy, he was convicted and sent to Australia. He escaped from prison, made his way to America, and settled in Boston, finding work with the Catholic newspaper the Pilot, eventually becoming a celebrated writer and poet, as well as the paper’s editor and co-owner. After the talk, local comic book artists will help the young historians make their own historical comic depicting stories of Irish immigration.

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Teacher Workshop, The Irish Atlantic Boston to the Rescue: Robert B. Forbes & Irish Famine Relief 20 April 2017.Thursday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM Please RSVP   Registration fee: $25 (free for students) On April 12, 1847, Boston merchant Robert Bennet Forbes arrived in Ireland aboard the USS Jamestown. ...

On April 12, 1847, Boston merchant Robert Bennet Forbes arrived in Ireland aboard the USS Jamestown. The ship carried more than 8,000 barrels of food and provisions to the island’s inhabitants at the height of the Great Famine. We will explore the history of early Irish immigration to Boston and the tensions that divided Catholic immigrants and Protestant New Englanders in the 1830s and 1840s. Despite their differences, private citizens and local organizations rallied to provide indispensable humanitarian aid to a nation in need.

This program is open to K-12 educators. Teachers can earn 22.5 PDPs and 1 graduate credit (for an additional fee).

Please email education@masshist.org or call 617-646-0557 for more information or to register.

Image: The USS Jamestown, by George M. Atkinson, Forbes House Museum.

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History of Women and Gender Seminar Sadie Alexander, Black Women’s Work, and Economic Citizenship during the New Deal Era 20 April 2017.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Lauren Meyer, Yale University Comment: Martin Summers, Boston College This essay argues that Sadie Alexander, the first black woman to earn a Ph.D. in economics and a ...

This essay argues that Sadie Alexander, the first black woman to earn a Ph.D. in economics and a successful practicing lawyer, offered an alternative, black feminist definition of economic citizenship that shifted discourses on the relationship between race, gender, labor, and the meaning of citizenship. Alexander positioned black women’s paid labor as a potential source of strength: for black women themselves, for national economic wellbeing, and for the movement for black first-class citizenship.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 22 April 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: The Irish Atlantic: A Story of Famine Migration and Opportunity.

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Interreligious Responses to the Settlement House Movement, 1880-1924 25 April 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Anne M. Blankenship, North Dakota State University Comment: Kristen Petersen, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences By 1913, over 400 settlement houses catered to immigrants and laborers across the United States. ...

By 1913, over 400 settlement houses catered to immigrants and laborers across the United States. This paper analyzes how Catholic and Jewish immigrant communities in New York City responded to the Protestant origins and agenda of their benefactors prior to the 1920s, when many houses secularized activities in order to receive money from the Community Chest. Parties concerned about evangelism generally responded in one of two ways: public denouncement of specific houses and/or the development of alternative community centers to promote non-Protestant traditions.

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Public Program, Author Talk John Quincy Adams and the Politics of Slavery: Selections from the Diary 26 April 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. David Waldstreicher and Matthew Mason In the final years of his political career, President John Quincy Adams was known for his objections ...

In the final years of his political career, President John Quincy Adams was known for his objections to slavery. As a young statesman, however, he supported slavery. What changed? Entries from Adams's personal diary reveal a highly dynamic and accomplished politician in engagement with one of his generation's most challenging national dilemmas. David Waldstreicher and Matthew Mason offer an unusual perspective on the dramatic and shifting politics of slavery in the early republic. By juxtaposing Adams's personal reflections on slavery with what he said-and did not say-publicly on the issue, the editors offer a nuanced portrait of how he interacted with prevailing ideologies during his consequential career and life.

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Public Program, Cooking Boston Cooking Boston: Eating Other People's Food 27 April 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Alex Prud'homme, Laura Shapiro, Ana Sortun, Stephen Chen and Moderator Megan Sniffin-Marinoff Program 2: Eating Other People's FoodIn the second half of the 20th century, ...

Program 2: Eating Other People's Food
In the second half of the 20th century, Americans were re-introduced to the food of the world. Most famously, Julia Child in Cambridge and James Beard in New York brought fine cooking into American living rooms. They were not alone in pushing the culinary envelope. In Cambridge, Design Research was making cookware fashionable and Joyce Chen was convincing Americans they could cook Mandarin cuisine. The expansion of the American palate that began with television chefs continued with restaurants across greater Boston and helped reshape the idea of dinner.


Cooking Boston: How the Hub Shaped the American Diet 

This series of programs explores the culinary history of Boston and the impact the city has had on the American diet. In the first half of the 19th century, Boston had a reputation as the center for European taste and refinement. By the end of the 19th century, the Colonial Revival movement nationally popularized foods like Boston baked beans and Yankee pot-roast shifting Boston’s image from refined to rustic. In the 20th century, Boston clung to two identities: that of thrifty Puritans and of cosmopolitanism through education. This created some remarkably bland food but also made the city fertile ground for a culinary revolution. In the 1960s, chefs like Julia Child and Joyce Chen brought the flavors of the world to America through Boston.

More
MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 29 April 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: The Irish Atlantic: A Story of Famine Migration and Opportunity.

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May
Early American History Seminar Panel: Nathaniel Hawthorne and Friends 2 May 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Philip Gould, Brown University, and Thomas Balcerski, Eastern Connecticut State University Comment: Maurice Lee, Boston University Gould’s essay, “Hawthorne and the State of War,” reads the under-studied travel ...

Gould’s essay, “Hawthorne and the State of War,” reads the under-studied travel memoir Our Old Home (1863) as a meditation on the important—and, as he saw it, troubling—transformation of state power during the US Civil War. Balcerski’s essay, “‘A Work of Friendship’: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Franklin Pierce, and the Politics of Literary History,” traces the evolution of their conjoined personal and political friendship from 1852 to 1864 and argues for its significance during this final phase of their public lives.

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Cooking Boston, Public Program Cooking Boston: Where to Go 3 May 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. James O'Connell, Corky White, Erwin Ramos and Moderator Peter Drummey Cooking Boston: How the Hub Shaped the American Diet  This series of programs explores the ...

Cooking Boston: How the Hub Shaped the American Diet 

This series of programs explores the culinary history of Boston and the impact the city has had on the American diet. In the first half of the 19th century, Boston had a reputation as the center for European taste and refinement. By the end of the 19th century, the Colonial Revival movement nationally popularized foods like Boston baked beans and Yankee pot-roast shifting Boston’s image from refined to rustic. In the 20th century, Boston clung to two identities: that of thrifty Puritans and of cosmopolitanism through education. This created some remarkably bland food but also made the city fertile ground for a culinary revolution. In the 1960s, chefs like Julia Child and Joyce Chen brought the flavors of the world to America through Boston.

More
Environmental History Seminar Harvest for War: Fruits, Nuts, Imperialism, and Gas Mask Manufacture in the United States During World War I 9 May 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Gerald Fitzgerald, George Mason University Nicoletta Gullace, University of New Hampshire This session was previously scheduled for Tuesday, February 21, 2017. Part of a ...

This session was previously scheduled for Tuesday, February 21, 2017.

Part of a larger book length study, this essay examines the use of seemingly exotic foodstuffs and industrial waste in the form of fruit pits for the manufacture of a high-density carbon filter critical for defense against chemical weapons. It involves not only environmental and military history but also the history of science and biology. The essay includes analysis of transportation networks within the context of 19th-century US imperialism, especially from a resource allocation perspective.

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Cooking Boston, Public Program Cooking Boston: Sweet Boston 18 May 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Joyce Chaplin, Michael Krondl and Carla Martin Cooking Boston: How the Hub Shaped the American Diet  This series of programs explores the ...

Cooking Boston: How the Hub Shaped the American Diet 

This series of programs explores the culinary history of Boston and the impact the city has had on the American diet. In the first half of the 19th century, Boston had a reputation as the center for European taste and refinement. By the end of the 19th century, the Colonial Revival movement nationally popularized foods like Boston baked beans and Yankee pot-roast shifting Boston’s image from refined to rustic. In the 20th century, Boston clung to two identities: that of thrifty Puritans and of cosmopolitanism through education. This created some remarkably bland food but also made the city fertile ground for a culinary revolution. In the 1960s, chefs like Julia Child and Joyce Chen brought the flavors of the world to America through Boston.


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Public Program, Author Talk Self-Evident Truths: Contesting Equal Rights from the Revolution to the Civil War Please RSVP   registration required 27 February 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Richard Brown, University of Connecticut

Despite our country’s founding statement that “all men are created equal,” the early Republic struggled with social inequality. While people paid homage to the ideal of equal rights, this ideal came up against entrenched social and political practices. Brown will discuss how the ideal was tested in struggles over race and ethnicity, religious freedom, gender and social class, voting rights and citizenship. He shows how high principles fared in criminal trials and divorce cases when minorities, women, and people from different social classes faced judgment. This book offers a much-needed exploration of the ways revolutionary political ideas penetrated popular thinking and everyday practice.

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Vietnamese Political Prisoners and the Politics of Family, 1975-1996 Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
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28 February 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Amanda C. Demmer, University of New Hampshire Comment: Arissa Oh, Boston College

This project dispels the myths that American involvement in Vietnam ended abruptly after the fall of Saigon and that U.S. servicemen listed as prisoner of war/missing in action were the only exception to American disengagement. It explores the American response to Hanoi's incarceration of Vietnamese political prisoners in so-called “reeducation” camps, whose last prisoner was not released until 1992. More specifically, it argues that Vietnamese Americans successfully made the prisoners' release and resettlement a major objective of U.S. foreign policy.

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Brown Bag Ask Carol Lane!: Imaginaries of Safe Travel in the 1950s this event is free 1 March 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Renée Blackburn, MIT

As post-war traffic fatalities rose, so did the concern to create safe communities and roads. Some of the work done by organizations involved creating imaginary personas, mostly of women, to perpetuate the rules of safe travel and normalize traffic and travel safety during a period of increased vehicle use, recreational travel, and fatality risk on the roads. This talk examines these personas and their place in the larger safety context of the 1950s.

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Public Program A Children's Photo Album Please RSVP   registration required 2 March 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Ken Liss, Boston University Libraries

In 2014, the Brookline Historical Society was given a tiny photo album with postage stamp-sized photos of 48 Brookline and Boston children. Written inside the front cover were the name Mamie Williams and the date March 16, 1882. Who was Mamie Williams? Who were the children pictured in her album? What became of them as adults? Months of research by Liss led to answers to these questions and to some fascinating stories about the offspring of Edward Atkinson, H.H. Richardson, Moorefield Storey, as well as stories of Brookline and Boston society. In this presentation, Liss tells the tale of this album and the people inside it.

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Early American History Seminar A History of Violence: The Harpe Murders and the Legacies of the American Revolution Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
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7 March 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Kate Grandjean, Wellesley College Comment: Eliga Gould, University of New Hampshire

This paper looks at a series of murders in Appalachia in the 1790s, committed by former loyalists. By following the lives of the Harpe brothers, who left a trail of blood through early Tennessee and Kentucky, it explores the violent legacies of the American Revolution—especially in the southern borderlands. 

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Brown Bag Inventing Citizens: Patents, Inventors, and Civil Rights this event is free 8 March 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Kara Swanson, Northeastern University

Beginning with the Constitutional Convention, Americans created the world's most accessible patent system. As the system and the republic grew together, Americans came to consider issued patents both a measurement of their national progress and proof of the desirable qualities possessed by the wide swath of Americans who obtained patents. This project examines this foundational relationship by demonstrating how the patent system became a resource for marginalized groups making claims to full civil rights, particularly women and African Americans.  

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Member Event, Special Event The Irish Atlantic Fellows & Members Preview Reception registration required at no cost 9 March 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM This event is open only to MHS Fellows and Members William M. Fowler, Northeastern University The Irish Atlantic

MHS Fellows and Members are invited to a special program, reception, and chance to preview The Irish Atlantic. The exhibition explores 175 years of the Irish in Boston. Guest curator William Fowler will give an overview, beginning with a look at the Irish community in Massachusetts stretching back into the 18th century, through famine relief efforts led by Capt. Robert Bennet Forbes at the helm of the Jamestown, to a mass migration movement, decades of community and institutional building, and a rise in political power.  

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Exhibition The Irish Atlantic this event is free 10 March 2017 to 22 September 2017 Open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM The Irish Atlantic

Explore 175 years of the Irish in Boston from the founding of the Charitable Irish Society in 1737, through famine relief efforts led by Capt. Robert Bennet Forbes at the helm of the Jamestown, to a mass migration movement, decades of community and institutional building, and a rise in political power. The exhibition is co-sponsored by the MHS and the Forbes House Museum.

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Brown Bag A Constitutional Lost Cause: The Fifteenth Amendment in American Memory and Political Culture, 1870-1920 this event is free 10 March 2017.Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Stephen A. West, The Catholic University of America

Initially hailed by supporters as the fulfillment of America’s democratic promise, the Fifteenth Amendment would, within a few decades, be nullified in the southern states and regarded by many white Americans as a constitutional mistake. This talk examines how Americans—across lines of race, region, and party—placed the voting rights amendment at the center of their memories of Reconstruction, and how those memories shaped their debates about citizenship and the very nature of the Constitution.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS this event is free 11 March 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: The Irish Atlantic: A Story of Famine Migration and Opportunity.

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Environmental History Seminar The Winter Workscape: Weather and the Meaning of Industrial Capitalism in the Northern Forest, 1850-1950 Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
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14 March 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Jason L. Newton, Syracuse University Comment: Richard W. Judd, University of Maine

Industrial logging operators used the winter weather, wood, simple machines, and muscle power alone to increase the production and transportation of saw logs to reach industrial scale and efficiency. Drawing on methods from environmental and labor history and the history of slavery and capitalism, this essay characterizes industrial capitalism as a force that will sustain seemingly anachronistic modes of production as long as they remain profitable. It shows that increased efficiency and scale need not always lead to massive carbon emissions.

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Public Program, Conversation, Cooking Boston Cooking Boston: Refined to Rustic Please RSVP   registration required 15 March 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Keith Stavely, Kelly Erby and moderator Barbara Wheaton Boston Codfish Balls ad - Cooking Boston series

Program 1: Refined to Rustic
Keith Stavely will explore the role Boston has played from being the home of early European refinement to the rise of the Colonial Revival rustic dishes. Kelly Erby will explore the role of restaurants and the rise of commercial dinning in the increasingly urban landscape of nineteenth century Boston. Barbara Wheaton will lead a discussion on how the Hub has shaped American culinary culture through cookbooks and changing perceptions of the city.


Cooking Boston: How the Hub Shaped the American Diet 

This series of programs will explore the culinary history of Boston and the impact the city has had on the American diet. In the first half of the 19th century, Boston had a reputation as the center for European taste and refinement. By the end of the 19th century, the Colonial Revival movement nationally popularized foods like Boston baked beans and Yankee pot-roast shifting Boston’s image from refined to rustic. In the 20th century, Boston clung to two identities: that of thrifty Puritans and of cosmopolitanism through education. This created some remarkably bland food but also made the city fertile ground for a culinary revolution. In the 1960s, chefs like Julia Child and Joyce Chen brought the flavors of the world to America through Boston.

close
MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS this event is free 18 March 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: The Irish Atlantic: A Story of Famine Migration and Opportunity.

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Public Program, Author Talk, Politics of Taste Politics of Taste: Republic of Taste Please RSVP   registration required 20 March 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Catherine E. Kelly, University of Oklahoma Politics of Taste series - Mary Otis Gray

Program 1: Republic of Taste
Republic of TasteWhether Americans believed that taste was innate or acquired, it was widely believed that shared aesthetic sensibilities connected like-minded individuals and that shared affinities advanced the public good and held great promise for the American republic. Catherine E. Kelly demonstrates how American thinkers acknowledged the similarities between aesthetics and politics in order to wrestle with questions about power and authority. In the years following independence, ordinary women and men reassured themselves that taste revealed larger truths about an individual's character and potential for republican citizenship.

 

 


Politics of Taste

 Join us for a series to explore how the development of manners and taste in colonial America and the early republic were not just a statement of aesthetics but were also ways to define political identity and create shared affinities. A journey through the study of material culture will demonstrate how the politics of politeness helped define American thought.  

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Brown Bag Love in the Time of Mutual Assured Destruction: Rethinking Cold War Rationality this event is free 22 March 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Marie Burks, MIT

The nuclear strategy of mutual assured destruction has come to symbolize the prevailing rationality of the atomic age. This talk will highlight the work of intellectuals who deployed alternative rationalities to challenge the assumptions underlying not only nuclear strategy but also U.S. Cold War policy more broadly. These thinkers argued that, alongside familiar tools of Cold War rationality such as game theory, love and empathy were just as critical to a full understanding of social conflict.

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Public Program, Author Talk, Politics of Taste Portrait of a Woman in Silk: Hidden Histories of the British Atlantic World Please RSVP   registration required 23 March 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Zara Anishanslin, University of Delaware

Program 2: Portrait of a Woman in Silk

Through the story of a portrait of a woman in a silk dress, historian Zara Anishanslin embarks on a journey, exploring and refining debates about the cultural history of the eighteenth-century British Atlantic world. She examines the worlds of four people who produced, wore, and represented this object: a London weaver, one of early modern Britain’s few women silk designers, a Philadelphia merchant’s wife, and a New England painter. Anishanslin shows how making, buying, and using goods in the British Atlantic created an object-based community that tied its inhabitants together, while also allowing for different views of the Empire.

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Public Program, The Irish Atlantic The Mission of the Jamestown Please RSVP   registration required at no cost 27 March 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. William Fowler, Jr., Northeastern University

The Irish Atlantic Series

 

As news of the Irish Famine made its way across the Atlantic, the citizens of Boston rallied to help. In 1847, a relief mission was organized and authorized by Congress, allowing the Secretary of the Navy to place two Naval ships—the Jamestown from Boston and the Macedonian from NYC—under civilian command to bring relief to Ireland. Capt. Robert Bennet Forbes, the head of Russell and Co, the largest American trading house in China, led the mission from Boston. He mobilized the city's citizens and merchants and amassed tons of food relief. William Fowler, guest curator for The Irish Atlantic, will discuss the relief efforts of the Jamestown on the eve of the 170th anniversary of its voyage.

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar, The Irish Atlantic Moving News, Affecting Relief: The Irish Famine’s Trans-Atlantic Circulations Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
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28 March 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Anelise H. Shrout, California State University, Fullerton Comment: Kevin Kenny, Boston College

The ships that carried Irish famine victims across the Atlantic also carried tragic accounts of those left behind; in response, North Americans sent millions of dollars to relieve rural suffering. This paper argues that exploring the interactions between these various circulations reveals a tension between aiding strangers overseas and welcoming them in American cities. Further, it demonstrates that Americans’ decisions to send funds overseas were deeply conditioned by the political utility of those donations at home.

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Brown Bag An Actor’s Tale: Theater, Culture, and Everyday Life in Nineteenth-Century U.S. America this event is free 29 March 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Amy Hughes, Brooklyn College, CUNY

Hughes will discuss her monograph-in-progress, inspired by the diary of U.S. actor Harry Watkins (1825-1894). In “An Actor’s Tale,” she deploys Watkins’s diary in order to offer an “alternative theater history” focusing on workaday laborers in the antebellum entertainment industry. She draws on the voluminous details in the manuscript to expose heretofore neglected or misunderstood aspects of U.S. theater culture during the 1800s while also shedding light on the trials and tribulations of everyday life during the tumultuous years leading up to the Civil War.

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Public Program, Author Talk, Politics of Taste Tea Sets and Tyranny: The Politics of Politeness in Early America Please RSVP   registration required 29 March 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Steven C. Bullock, Worcester Polytechnic University

Even as eighteenth-century thinkers from John Locke to Thomas Jefferson struggled to find effective means to restrain power, contemporary discussions of society gave increasing attention to ideals of refinement, moderation, and polished self-presentation. These two sets of ideas have long seemed separate, one dignified as political theory, the other primarily concerned with manners and material culture. Tea Sets and Tyranny challenges that division. In its original context, Steven C. Bullock suggests, politeness also raised important issues of power, leadership, and human relationships. This politics of politeness helped make opposition to overbearing power central to early American thought and practice.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS this event is free 1 April 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: The Irish Atlantic: A Story of Famine Migration and Opportunity.

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Early American History Seminar Promotional Literature and Identity in Colonial Massachusetts Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
4 April 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Agnès Delahaye, Université Lumière Lyon II Comment: Conrad E. Wright, Massachusetts Historical Society

This essay will examine the institutional and cultural factors behind promotional literature, the body of colonial sources written for metropolitan audiences. All share the common intent of promoting, or defending, the political or economic choices made by the colonists as their communities were taking shape. The essay will detail the tropes and expressions of the commonality of purpose that Delahaye sees in most New England historiography. It will also explore the relationship between colonial historiography and exceptionalism in the New England tradition.

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Brown Bag A Fear of Foreigners and of Freedom: Ideological Exclusion and Deportation in America this event is free 5 April 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Julia Rose Kraut, Historical Society of the New York Courts

This talk will examine the history of the exclusion and deportation of foreigners from the United States based on their beliefs, associations, and/or expressions, from the Alien Act of 1798 to the War on Terror.  It will illustrate that this history reflects a perennial fear of subversion in America, and that during moments of national insecurity, the United States has consistently and continuously depicted foreigners as the source of subversion and has used ideological exclusion and deportation as tools to suppress the free expression of radicalism and dissent.     

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS this event is free 8 April 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: The Irish Atlantic: A Story of Famine Migration and Opportunity.

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Public Program, Author Talk Creating Acadia National Park: The Biography of George Bucknam Dorr registration required 10 April 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Ronald Epp

Although he is known as the “Father of Acadia,” George Bucknam Dorr’s seminal contributions to the American environmental movement have gone largely unacknowledged. This biography is the story of Dorr’s pioneering role. Raised in Boston, Dorr adopted Maine’s Mount Desert Island as his home and the setting to apply the practical lessons of “Boston Brahmin” philanthropy. Through his finest work—the creation and management of Acadia National Park—and through his collaborations with park co-founders Charles W. Eliot, John D. Rockefeller Jr., and others—Dorr transformed an elitist social inheritance into an all-consuming commitment to conservation.

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Environmental History Seminar Panel: Fishing the Commons Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
11 April 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Erik Reardon, University of Maine at Orono, and Stacy Roberts, University of California, Davis Comment: Matthew McKenzie, University of Connecticut at Avery Point

Reardon’s paper, “New England’s Pre-Industrial River Commons: Culture and Economy,” argues for the persistence of a river commons long after population growth and market pressures undermined the prospects for shared lands. Roberts’s essay, “The Private Commons: Oyster Planting in 19th-century Connecticut,” explain why Connecticut developed a dual system of public and private oyster production over the course of the 19th century by weaving together a history of the environment, law, and capitalism.

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Brown Bag Radical Enlightenment in the Struggle over Slavery this event is free 12 April 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Matthew Stewart, author of Nature's God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic

Frederick Douglass owed a substantial intellectual debt to the controversial German philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach. The militant abolitionist Theodore Parker relied on a wide range of philosophers hailing from the radical edges of the European Enlightenment. Abraham Lincoln’s political thought reflects in part the influence of Parker, Douglass, and their philosophical sources. This talk will draw material from a work in progress to lead a discussion about the role of Enlightenment ideas in shaping abolitionism, anti-slavery politics, and the Civil War.

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Public Program, The Irish Atlantic The Rise and Fall of the American Party Please RSVP   registration required at no cost 12 April 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Peter Drummey, Stephen T. Riley Librarian, Massachusetts Historical Society

The Irish Atlantic Series

Secretive nativist societies began to form in the 1840s in response to large-scale immigration of Irish and German Catholics. By the 1850s, these organizations coalesced into the American Party—commonly referred to as the “Know Nothings” because members would not reveal any information about their movement. The American Party advocated for severe restrictions on immigration and citizenship and in 1854 swept the Massachusetts election, winning all state offices and all but four seats in the legislature. In seven years the state had gone from launching an Irish relief mission with the sailing of the Jamestown to strident nativist sentiment. Peter Drummey will look at the meteoric rise of the American Party as well as its rapid decline with the approach of the Civil War.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS this event is free 15 April 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: The Irish Atlantic: A Story of Famine Migration and Opportunity.

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Building Closed Patriots' Day 17 April 2017.Monday, all day

The MHS is CLOSED for Patriots' Day. 

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The Irish Atlantic, Public Program Make Your Own Comic: The Jamestown Relief Mission to Ireland & the Life of John Boyle O’Reilly Please RSVP   registration required at no cost 18 April 2017.Tuesday, 2:00PM - 3:30PM

Come to MHS during the school vacation week for a hands-on history program. Historians will tell participants two stories related to Irish immigration. The first will explore the famine relief mission from Boston to Ireland led by Robert Bennet Forbes aboard the Jamestown. The second will explore the life of John Boyle O’Reilly, a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, or Fenians. For his part in the Fenian conspiracy, he was convicted and sent to Australia. He escaped from prison, made his way to America, and settled in Boston, finding work with the Catholic newspaper the Pilot, eventually becoming a celebrated writer and poet, as well as the paper’s editor and co-owner. After the talk, local comic book artists will help the young historians make their own historical comic depicting stories of Irish immigration.

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Teacher Workshop, The Irish Atlantic Boston to the Rescue: Robert B. Forbes & Irish Famine Relief Please RSVP   registration required 20 April 2017.Thursday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM Registration fee: $25 (free for students)

On April 12, 1847, Boston merchant Robert Bennet Forbes arrived in Ireland aboard the USS Jamestown. The ship carried more than 8,000 barrels of food and provisions to the island’s inhabitants at the height of the Great Famine. We will explore the history of early Irish immigration to Boston and the tensions that divided Catholic immigrants and Protestant New Englanders in the 1830s and 1840s. Despite their differences, private citizens and local organizations rallied to provide indispensable humanitarian aid to a nation in need.

This program is open to K-12 educators. Teachers can earn 22.5 PDPs and 1 graduate credit (for an additional fee).

Please email education@masshist.org or call 617-646-0557 for more information or to register.

Image: The USS Jamestown, by George M. Atkinson, Forbes House Museum.

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History of Women and Gender Seminar Sadie Alexander, Black Women’s Work, and Economic Citizenship during the New Deal Era Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
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20 April 2017.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM Lauren Meyer, Yale University Comment: Martin Summers, Boston College

This essay argues that Sadie Alexander, the first black woman to earn a Ph.D. in economics and a successful practicing lawyer, offered an alternative, black feminist definition of economic citizenship that shifted discourses on the relationship between race, gender, labor, and the meaning of citizenship. Alexander positioned black women’s paid labor as a potential source of strength: for black women themselves, for national economic wellbeing, and for the movement for black first-class citizenship.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS this event is free 22 April 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: The Irish Atlantic: A Story of Famine Migration and Opportunity.

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Interreligious Responses to the Settlement House Movement, 1880-1924 Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
25 April 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Anne M. Blankenship, North Dakota State University Comment: Kristen Petersen, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

By 1913, over 400 settlement houses catered to immigrants and laborers across the United States. This paper analyzes how Catholic and Jewish immigrant communities in New York City responded to the Protestant origins and agenda of their benefactors prior to the 1920s, when many houses secularized activities in order to receive money from the Community Chest. Parties concerned about evangelism generally responded in one of two ways: public denouncement of specific houses and/or the development of alternative community centers to promote non-Protestant traditions.

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Public Program, Author Talk John Quincy Adams and the Politics of Slavery: Selections from the Diary Please RSVP   registration required 26 April 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. David Waldstreicher and Matthew Mason

In the final years of his political career, President John Quincy Adams was known for his objections to slavery. As a young statesman, however, he supported slavery. What changed? Entries from Adams's personal diary reveal a highly dynamic and accomplished politician in engagement with one of his generation's most challenging national dilemmas. David Waldstreicher and Matthew Mason offer an unusual perspective on the dramatic and shifting politics of slavery in the early republic. By juxtaposing Adams's personal reflections on slavery with what he said-and did not say-publicly on the issue, the editors offer a nuanced portrait of how he interacted with prevailing ideologies during his consequential career and life.

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Public Program, Cooking Boston Cooking Boston: Eating Other People's Food Please RSVP   registration required 27 April 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Alex Prud'homme, Laura Shapiro, Ana Sortun, Stephen Chen and Moderator Megan Sniffin-Marinoff

Program 2: Eating Other People's Food
In the second half of the 20th century, Americans were re-introduced to the food of the world. Most famously, Julia Child in Cambridge and James Beard in New York brought fine cooking into American living rooms. They were not alone in pushing the culinary envelope. In Cambridge, Design Research was making cookware fashionable and Joyce Chen was convincing Americans they could cook Mandarin cuisine. The expansion of the American palate that began with television chefs continued with restaurants across greater Boston and helped reshape the idea of dinner.


Cooking Boston: How the Hub Shaped the American Diet 

This series of programs explores the culinary history of Boston and the impact the city has had on the American diet. In the first half of the 19th century, Boston had a reputation as the center for European taste and refinement. By the end of the 19th century, the Colonial Revival movement nationally popularized foods like Boston baked beans and Yankee pot-roast shifting Boston’s image from refined to rustic. In the 20th century, Boston clung to two identities: that of thrifty Puritans and of cosmopolitanism through education. This created some remarkably bland food but also made the city fertile ground for a culinary revolution. In the 1960s, chefs like Julia Child and Joyce Chen brought the flavors of the world to America through Boston.

close
MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS this event is free 29 April 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: The Irish Atlantic: A Story of Famine Migration and Opportunity.

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Early American History Seminar Panel: Nathaniel Hawthorne and Friends Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
2 May 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Philip Gould, Brown University, and Thomas Balcerski, Eastern Connecticut State University Comment: Maurice Lee, Boston University

Gould’s essay, “Hawthorne and the State of War,” reads the under-studied travel memoir Our Old Home (1863) as a meditation on the important—and, as he saw it, troubling—transformation of state power during the US Civil War. Balcerski’s essay, “‘A Work of Friendship’: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Franklin Pierce, and the Politics of Literary History,” traces the evolution of their conjoined personal and political friendship from 1852 to 1864 and argues for its significance during this final phase of their public lives.

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Cooking Boston, Public Program Cooking Boston: Where to Go registration required 3 May 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. James O'Connell, Corky White, Erwin Ramos and Moderator Peter Drummey

Cooking Boston: How the Hub Shaped the American Diet 

This series of programs explores the culinary history of Boston and the impact the city has had on the American diet. In the first half of the 19th century, Boston had a reputation as the center for European taste and refinement. By the end of the 19th century, the Colonial Revival movement nationally popularized foods like Boston baked beans and Yankee pot-roast shifting Boston’s image from refined to rustic. In the 20th century, Boston clung to two identities: that of thrifty Puritans and of cosmopolitanism through education. This created some remarkably bland food but also made the city fertile ground for a culinary revolution. In the 1960s, chefs like Julia Child and Joyce Chen brought the flavors of the world to America through Boston.

close
Environmental History Seminar Harvest for War: Fruits, Nuts, Imperialism, and Gas Mask Manufacture in the United States During World War I Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
9 May 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Gerald Fitzgerald, George Mason University Nicoletta Gullace, University of New Hampshire

This session was previously scheduled for Tuesday, February 21, 2017.

Part of a larger book length study, this essay examines the use of seemingly exotic foodstuffs and industrial waste in the form of fruit pits for the manufacture of a high-density carbon filter critical for defense against chemical weapons. It involves not only environmental and military history but also the history of science and biology. The essay includes analysis of transportation networks within the context of 19th-century US imperialism, especially from a resource allocation perspective.

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Cooking Boston, Public Program Cooking Boston: Sweet Boston registration required 18 May 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Joyce Chaplin, Michael Krondl and Carla Martin

Cooking Boston: How the Hub Shaped the American Diet 

This series of programs explores the culinary history of Boston and the impact the city has had on the American diet. In the first half of the 19th century, Boston had a reputation as the center for European taste and refinement. By the end of the 19th century, the Colonial Revival movement nationally popularized foods like Boston baked beans and Yankee pot-roast shifting Boston’s image from refined to rustic. In the 20th century, Boston clung to two identities: that of thrifty Puritans and of cosmopolitanism through education. This created some remarkably bland food but also made the city fertile ground for a culinary revolution. In the 1960s, chefs like Julia Child and Joyce Chen brought the flavors of the world to America through Boston.


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