December

Public Program, Author Talk A Revolution in Color: The World of John Singleton Copley 5 December 2016.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Jane Kamensky, Harvard     This bold new history recovers an unknown American Revolution as seen through the ...

 

 

This bold new history recovers an unknown American Revolution as seen through the eyes of Boston-born painter John Singleton Copley. Jane Kamensky masterfully untangles the web of principles and interests that shaped the age of America’s revolution. Copley’s prodigious talent earned him the patronage of Boston’s patriot leaders, including Samuel Adams and Paul Revere. But the artist did not share their politics, and painting portraits failed to satisfy his lofty artistic goals. An ambitious British subject who lamented America’s provincialism, Copley looked longingly across the Atlantic. When resistance escalated into all-out war, Copley was in London. The magisterial canvases he created there made him one of the towering figures of the British art scene: a painter of America’s revolution as Britain’s American War.

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Public Program Slavery and Freedom in the Cradle of Liberty: An Exhibit of Objects and Documents from the Massachusetts Historical Society 6 December 2016.Tuesday, 10:15AM - 12:00PM Please RSVP   Andrew Robichaud & Students of HI 190, Boston University In this virtual exhibit, Boston University students in HI 190 (The History of Boston) will present ...

Broadside advertising adn 1854 anti-slavery rally in FraminghamIn this virtual exhibit, Boston University students in HI 190 (The History of Boston) will present more than twenty rare artifacts and documents from the archives of the Massachusetts Historical Society. From first editions of Phillis Wheatley’s poems and William Lloyd Garrison’s Liberator, to John Brown’s pistol—to documents and objects related to Boston’s famous fugitive slave cases—students will explore the contentious and powerful history of nineteenth-century Boston as its residents grappled with questions of slavery, freedom, and Civil War.

This event is open to the public.

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Early American History Seminar Panel: Loyalism 6 December 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Liam Riordan, University of Maine at Orono, and Christina Carrick, Boston University Comment: Steve Bullock, Worcester Polytechnic Institute Riordan’s essay, “Revisiting Thomas Hutchinson: The Strengths and Weaknesses of Loyalist ...

Riordan’s essay, “Revisiting Thomas Hutchinson: The Strengths and Weaknesses of Loyalist Biography” argues that loyalism’s deep colonial roots, wartime travails, and British Atlantic diaspora are its most important qualities. Hutchinson’s place at the center of our understanding of the subject causes us to lose critical aspects of the loyalist experience. Carrick’s essay, “‘The earlier we form good Connections the better’: David Greene's Loyalist Merchant Network in the Revolutionary Atlantic,” explores how some Loyalist refugees, like Greene, found ways to develop new prospects and connections while in exile. After returning to Boston in 1785 Greene used his social and commercial connections to the wartime enemy to make himself appealing in the new Republic.

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Brown Bag The Abolitionist Origins of Radical Reconstruction: Charles Sumner, Thaddeus Stevens and Black Citizenship 7 December 2016.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Manisha Sinha, University of Connecticut This talk will examine how Radical Republicans such as Charles Sumner and Thaddeus Stevens helped ...

This talk will examine how Radical Republicans such as Charles Sumner and Thaddeus Stevens helped convert a radical social movement into a program for political change. It will illustrate how state formation and progressive constitutionalism during Radical Reconstruction were inspired by the abolitionist vision of an interracial democracy.

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Winter trees Member Event, Special Event MHS Fellows and Members Holiday Party 7 December 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM This event is open only to MHS Fellows and Members MHS Fellows and Members are invited to celebrate the season at the Society’s annual holiday ...

MHS Fellows and Members are invited to celebrate the season at the Society’s annual holiday party. Enjoy an evening of holiday cheer along with the annual tradition of reading the anti-Christmas laws. 

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History of Women and Gender Seminar Panel: The History of Black Feminisms 8 December 2016.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Françoise Hamlin, Brown University, Tanisha C. Ford, University of Delaware, and Treva Lindsey, Ohio State University and the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research Moderator: Kali Nicole Gross, Wesleyan University A conversation about black feminisms that will encompass issues of identity, class, and culture and ...

A conversation about black feminisms that will encompass issues of identity, class, and culture and pay tribute to the scholarship of Leslie Brown of Williams College. Ford is the author of Liberated Threads: Black Women, Style, and the Global Politics of Soul. Hamlin is the author of Crossroads at Clarksdale: The Black Freedom Struggle in the Mississippi Delta After World War II, while Lindsey’s forthcoming book is Colored No More: New Negro Womanhood in the Nation’s Capital.

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Notice Library Closing @ 3:30PM 12 December 2016.Monday, all day The library closes at 3:30PM for a staff event. 

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

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Public Program, Author Talk Building Old Cambridge: Architecture and Development 12 December 2016.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Susan Maycock and Charles Sullivan     Old Cambridge is the traditional name of the early settlement of Newtowne, which ...

 

 

Old Cambridge is the traditional name of the early settlement of Newtowne, which served briefly as the capital of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and then became the site of Harvard College. Building Old Cambridge traces the development of the neighborhood as it became a suburban community and bustling intersection of town and gown. The authors explore Old Cambridge’s architecture and development in the context of its social and economic history; the development of Harvard Square as a commercial center and regional mass transit hub; the creation of parks and open spaces; and the formation of a thriving nineteenth-century community of booksellers, authors, printers, and publishers that made Cambridge a national center of the book industry. Finally, they examine Harvard’s relationship with Cambridge and the community's often impassioned response to the expansive policies of successive Harvard administrations.

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Environmental History Seminar Panel: Recreation and Regional Planning 13 December 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Elsa Devienne, Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense and Princeton University, and Garrett Nelson, Dartmouth College Comment: Brian Donahue, Brandeis University Devienne’s essay, “Shifting Sands: A Social and Environmental History of Los ...

Devienne’s essay, “Shifting Sands: A Social and Environmental History of Los Angeles’s Beaches, 1920s-1970s” examines the beaches as urban spaces whose modernization had profound consequences for the working-class. The beach clean-up and enlargement turned a popular shoreline into a semi-privatized playground for the white middle class. Nelson’s essay, “Assembling the Metropolis, Arresting the Metropolis: Competing Unit Geographies of Boston and Its Region, 1890-1930,” approaches parks as landscapes that express attitudes toward community, polity, and territory. By examining Sylvester Baxter’s metropolitan parks and Benton MacKaye’s Bay Circuit, it explores the intellectual tensions between Progressivism and the radical cultural regionalism that followed.

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Public Program, Author Talk Nathaniel Bowditch and the Power of Numbers 14 December 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Tamara Thornton, SUNY Buffalo     Tamara Plakins Thornton delves into the life and work of Nathaniel Bowditch (1773 ...

 

 

Tamara Plakins Thornton delves into the life and work of Nathaniel Bowditch (1773-1838), a man Thomas Jefferson once called a “meteor in the hemisphere.” Bowditch was a mathematician, astronomer, navigator, seafarer, and business executive whose Enlightenment-inspired perspectives shaped nineteenth-century capitalism while transforming American life more broadly. Fleshing out the multiple careers of Nathaniel Bowditch, this book is at once a lively biography, a window into the birth of bureaucracy, and a portrait of patrician life, giving us a broader, more-nuanced understanding of how powerful capitalists operated during this era and how the emerging quantitative sciences shaped the modern experience.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 17 December 2016.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: Turning Points in American History.

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Notice Library Closing @ 3:30PM 19 December 2016.Monday, all day The library closes at 3:30PM for a staff event. 

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

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Building Closed MHS Closed 23 December 2016.Friday, all day The library and exhibition galleries will be closed all day.  

The library and exhibition galleries will be closed all day.  

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Building Closed Christmas Eve -- MHS Closed 24 December 2016.Saturday, all day The library and exhibition galleries will be closed all day.  

The library and exhibition galleries will be closed all day.  

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Building Closed Christmas Observed -- MHS Closed 26 December 2016.Monday, all day The library and exhibition galleries will be closed all day.  

The library and exhibition galleries will be closed all day.  

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Holiday Hours Galleries Open 27 December 2016.Tuesday, all day The exhibition galleries will be open 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

The exhibition galleries will be open 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

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Library Closed Library Closed 27 December 2016.Tuesday, all day The MHS library is closed.

The MHS library is closed.

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Holiday Hours Galleries Open 28 December 2016.Wednesday, all day More
Library Closed Library Closed 28 December 2016.Wednesday, all day The MHS library is closed.

The MHS library is closed.

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Holiday Hours Galleries Open 29 December 2016.Thursday, all day The exhibition galleries will be open 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

The exhibition galleries will be open 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

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Library Closed Library Closed 29 December 2016.Thursday, all day The MHS library is closed.

The MHS library is closed.

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Holiday Hours Galleries Open 30 December 2016.Friday, all day The exhibition galleries will be open 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

The exhibition galleries will be open 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

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Library Closed Library Closed 30 December 2016.Friday, all day The MHS library is closed.

The MHS library is closed.

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Building Closed New Years Eve -- MHS Closed 31 December 2016.Saturday, all day The library and exhibition galleries will be closed all day.  

The library and exhibition galleries will be closed all day.  

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January
Building Closed New Years Observed -- MHS Closed 2 January 2017.Monday, all day The library and exhibition galleries will be closed all day.  

The library and exhibition galleries will be closed all day.  

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Brown Bag "A Great and Rising Nation": Naval Exploration and Empire in the Early American Republic, 1815-1860 4 January 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Michael Verney, University of New Hampshire This project examines the global exploring expeditions of the United States Navy in the antebellum ...

This project examines the global exploring expeditions of the United States Navy in the antebellum era.  While not every mission was successful, each voyage helped the nation pursue Great Power status and global empire before the Civil War.

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Environmental History Seminar Sex in the Reeds: Disciplining Nature and Cultivating Virtue in the Back Bay Fens 10 January 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Zachary Nowak, Harvard University Comment: Phyllis Andersen, Independent Scholar With the introduction of discourse about “invasive exotic species” in the 1980s, the ...

With the introduction of discourse about “invasive exotic species” in the 1980s, the reason for the removal of reeds planted along the Muddy River shifted, from socio-sexual disapproval of illicit activities to “ecoxenophobia.” This essay aims to historicize “exotic” species to show that their labeling as such is a social construct, not a biological fact. Improving the Fens through planting and weeding has for more than a century really been a project to improve people.

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Brown Bag The Early American Bookseller: A Network History 11 January 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM John Garcia, Boston University Booksellers in colonial and 19th-century America were essential agents in the distribution of books ...

Booksellers in colonial and 19th-century America were essential agents in the distribution of books and reading. This talk will explain how financial records, correspondence, and writing by booksellers can help to reconstruct print networks and geographies of books and reading. It will argue that the many instances of economic failure in American bookselling reveal various attempts to connect authors, readers, and publics in the face of geographic and infrastructural obstacles. 

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Building Closed Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 16 January 2017.Monday, all day The MHS is CLOSED for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

The MHS is CLOSED for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

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Brown Bag The Fight for Women's Equality in the Anti-Slavery Movement, 1833-1840 18 January 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Louise Knight, author of Jane Addams, Spirit in Action This talk will examine how some early feminist abolitionists, led by Maria Weston Chapman of the ...

This talk will examine how some early feminist abolitionists, led by Maria Weston Chapman of the Boston Female Antislavery Society, sought, to integrate women into the American Antislavery Society beginning in 1833 and finally succeeded in 1840. It will illustrate how these women were inspired by their groundbreaking, feminist vision for a genderblind democracy. 

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Biography Seminar Publishing Lives: How It’s Done, and Who Does It 19 January 2017.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Laura Claridge, Jill Kneerim, and Deanne Urmy Moderator: Megan Marshall Deanne Urmy, Senior Executive Editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Jill Kneerim of the Kneerim ...

Deanne Urmy, Senior Executive Editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Jill Kneerim of the Kneerim & Williams literary agency, both of whom are actively engaged in publishing biography, will be joined by Laura Claridge, author of the just-published The Lady with the Borzoi: Blanche Knopf, Literary Tastemaker Extraordinaire. Their conversation will widen out from biography itself to the workings of the literary marketplace, then and now.

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Panel Discussion: Urban History on the Digital Frontier 24 January 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Vivek Bald, MIT, Jack A. Dougherty, Trinity College, and Marilynn S. Johnson, Boston College Moderator: Claire Potter, New School Bald is working on a transmedia project aimed at recovering the histories of peddlers and steamship ...

Bald is working on a transmedia project aimed at recovering the histories of peddlers and steamship workers from British colonial India who came to the U.S. in the early 20th century. It includes a digital oral history website. Dougherty and his students are writing an open-access book, On The Line: How Schooling, Housing, and Civil Rights Shaped Hartford and its Suburbs, which features interactive maps and oral history videos. Johnson’s Global Boston is a public history website combining a basic immigration history overview for the region with student research, oral history, and a curated selection of digitized primary sources, images and maps documenting the local immigrant experience.

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February
Brown Bag "Leaving their callings": Retirement in the Early Republic 1 February 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Andrea Gray, George Mason University and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation This project looks at elderly men in the early national period who voluntarily left their public ...

This project looks at elderly men in the early national period who voluntarily left their public careers—including prominent politicians as well as those in fields such as commerce, law, and medicine—and permanently returned to domestic life. By examining their motives, how they spent their retired years, and the impression they made on their fellow Americans, we gain important insights into the relationships between aging, work and public service, gender, and republican civic virtue.

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Early American History Seminar The Coromantee War in Jamaica: Charting the Course of an Atlantic Slave Revolt 7 February 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Vincent Brown, Harvard University Comment: Malick Ghachem, MIT Drawn from Brown’s current book project, this essay will discuss African diasporic warfare in ...

Drawn from Brown’s current book project, this essay will discuss African diasporic warfare in the Americas. It puts the Jamaican Revolt of 1760-61 in the context of a dramatic series of 17th- and 18th-century revolts and conspiracies that were staged by enslaved Africans from the Gold Coast, known widely as “Coromantees."

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Environmental History Seminar Harvest for War: Fruits, Nuts, Imperialism, and Gas Mask Manufacture in the United States During World War I 21 February 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Gerard Fitzgerald, George Mason University Comment: Nicoletta Gullace, University of New Hampshire Part of a larger book length study, this essay examines the use of seemingly exotic foodstuffs and ...

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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Brown Bag Constructing American Belatedness: The Archives of American Artists in Late Nineteenth-Century Paris 22 February 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Emily C. Burns, Auburn University Thousands of US artists traveled to Paris between 1865 and 1914, at various stages of their careers ...

Thousands of US artists traveled to Paris between 1865 and 1914, at various stages of their careers and for various lengths of time. This project culls archival materials to understand  how American culture collectively became defined through international mobility as belated and innocent.

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History of Women and Gender Seminar Conversation: Sexuality of History, History of Sexuality 23 February 2017.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Location: Radcliffe, Fay House, Sheerr Room, 10 Garden St. in Cambridge Sue Lanser, Brandeis University, and Jim Downs, Connecticut College Moderator: Jen Manion, Amherst College Please join us for a conversation with the authors of two important new books in the history of ...

Please join us for a conversation with the authors of two important new books in the history of sexuality.  This wide-ranging discussion will explore the relationship between lesbian and gay male histories, literary and historical methods, representation and political mobilization of people and communities. We will explore the following questions: How do such vastly different works advance the ongoing project of queer historicism and/or LGBTQ history and to what end? What scholarly fields and trends have enabled and inspired this new work? Who is the audience for LGBTQ history and queer scholarship, the LGBTQ community or the academy? How do we make theoretical insights legible and relevant to the community? How do we articulate the urgency to make the history of sexuality and LGBTQ communities central part of curricula, graduate training, and our professional organizations?"

Sue Lanser is author of The Sexuality of History: Modernity and the Sapphic, 1565-1830 (Chicago, 2014) which explores the ways in which a historically specific interest in lesbians intersected with and stimulated systemic concerns that would seem to have little to do with sexuality. Departing from the prevailing trend of queer reading whereby scholars ferret out hidden content in “closeted” texts, Lanser situates overtly erotic representations within wider spheres of interest. In so doing, she demonstrates that just as one can understand sexuality by studying the past, so too can one understand the past by studying sexuality. Jim Downs is author of Stand by Me (Basic, 2016) which rewrites the history of gay life in the 1970s, arguing that the decade was about much more than sex and marching in the streets. Drawing on a vast trove of untapped records at LGBT community centers in Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia, Downs tells moving, revelatory stories of gay people who stood together—as friends, fellow believers, and colleagues—to create a sense of community among people who felt alienated from mainstream American life.

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Turning Points Exhibitionends Turning Points in American History 25 February 2017.Saturday, 10:00AM - 4:00PM Open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM Turning Points in American History examines 15 decisive moments when everything ...

Turning Points in American History examines 15 decisive moments when everything suddenly changed or a process began that would change what followed. These are not the only, or even the most important, events in American history, but turning points described in eyewitness accounts and personal records, or commemorated by "dumb witnesses"--artifacts found in the Society's enormous collections. The exhibition begins with an account of sailing a small boat through New York Harbor on 11 September 2001 and then travels back in time to the opening of the American West in the 19th century; the abolitionist movement and the Civil War; the American Revolution and the birth of the United States; and culminates with John Winthrop's account of setting sail for New England in 1630. The exhibition opens on 10 June.

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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, Author Talk A Revolution in Color: The World of John Singleton Copley registration required 5 December 2016.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Jane Kamensky, Harvard

 

 

This bold new history recovers an unknown American Revolution as seen through the eyes of Boston-born painter John Singleton Copley. Jane Kamensky masterfully untangles the web of principles and interests that shaped the age of America’s revolution. Copley’s prodigious talent earned him the patronage of Boston’s patriot leaders, including Samuel Adams and Paul Revere. But the artist did not share their politics, and painting portraits failed to satisfy his lofty artistic goals. An ambitious British subject who lamented America’s provincialism, Copley looked longingly across the Atlantic. When resistance escalated into all-out war, Copley was in London. The magisterial canvases he created there made him one of the towering figures of the British art scene: a painter of America’s revolution as Britain’s American War.

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Public Program Slavery and Freedom in the Cradle of Liberty: An Exhibit of Objects and Documents from the Massachusetts Historical Society Please RSVP   registration required at no cost 6 December 2016.Tuesday, 10:15AM - 12:00PM Andrew Robichaud & Students of HI 190, Boston University

Broadside advertising adn 1854 anti-slavery rally in FraminghamIn this virtual exhibit, Boston University students in HI 190 (The History of Boston) will present more than twenty rare artifacts and documents from the archives of the Massachusetts Historical Society. From first editions of Phillis Wheatley’s poems and William Lloyd Garrison’s Liberator, to John Brown’s pistol—to documents and objects related to Boston’s famous fugitive slave cases—students will explore the contentious and powerful history of nineteenth-century Boston as its residents grappled with questions of slavery, freedom, and Civil War.

This event is open to the public.

close
Early American History Seminar Panel: Loyalism Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
6 December 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Liam Riordan, University of Maine at Orono, and Christina Carrick, Boston University Comment: Steve Bullock, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Riordan’s essay, “Revisiting Thomas Hutchinson: The Strengths and Weaknesses of Loyalist Biography” argues that loyalism’s deep colonial roots, wartime travails, and British Atlantic diaspora are its most important qualities. Hutchinson’s place at the center of our understanding of the subject causes us to lose critical aspects of the loyalist experience. Carrick’s essay, “‘The earlier we form good Connections the better’: David Greene's Loyalist Merchant Network in the Revolutionary Atlantic,” explores how some Loyalist refugees, like Greene, found ways to develop new prospects and connections while in exile. After returning to Boston in 1785 Greene used his social and commercial connections to the wartime enemy to make himself appealing in the new Republic.

close
Brown Bag The Abolitionist Origins of Radical Reconstruction: Charles Sumner, Thaddeus Stevens and Black Citizenship this event is free 7 December 2016.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Manisha Sinha, University of Connecticut

This talk will examine how Radical Republicans such as Charles Sumner and Thaddeus Stevens helped convert a radical social movement into a program for political change. It will illustrate how state formation and progressive constitutionalism during Radical Reconstruction were inspired by the abolitionist vision of an interracial democracy.

close
Member Event, Special Event MHS Fellows and Members Holiday Party registration required at no cost 7 December 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM This event is open only to MHS Fellows and Members Winter trees

MHS Fellows and Members are invited to celebrate the season at the Society’s annual holiday party. Enjoy an evening of holiday cheer along with the annual tradition of reading the anti-Christmas laws. 

close
History of Women and Gender Seminar Panel: The History of Black Feminisms Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
8 December 2016.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM Françoise Hamlin, Brown University, Tanisha C. Ford, University of Delaware, and Treva Lindsey, Ohio State University and the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research Moderator: Kali Nicole Gross, Wesleyan University

A conversation about black feminisms that will encompass issues of identity, class, and culture and pay tribute to the scholarship of Leslie Brown of Williams College. Ford is the author of Liberated Threads: Black Women, Style, and the Global Politics of Soul. Hamlin is the author of Crossroads at Clarksdale: The Black Freedom Struggle in the Mississippi Delta After World War II, while Lindsey’s forthcoming book is Colored No More: New Negro Womanhood in the Nation’s Capital.

close
Notice Library Closing @ 3:30PM 12 December 2016.Monday, all day

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

close
Public Program, Author Talk Building Old Cambridge: Architecture and Development registration required 12 December 2016.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Susan Maycock and Charles Sullivan

 

 

Old Cambridge is the traditional name of the early settlement of Newtowne, which served briefly as the capital of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and then became the site of Harvard College. Building Old Cambridge traces the development of the neighborhood as it became a suburban community and bustling intersection of town and gown. The authors explore Old Cambridge’s architecture and development in the context of its social and economic history; the development of Harvard Square as a commercial center and regional mass transit hub; the creation of parks and open spaces; and the formation of a thriving nineteenth-century community of booksellers, authors, printers, and publishers that made Cambridge a national center of the book industry. Finally, they examine Harvard’s relationship with Cambridge and the community's often impassioned response to the expansive policies of successive Harvard administrations.

close
Environmental History Seminar Panel: Recreation and Regional Planning Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
13 December 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Elsa Devienne, Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense and Princeton University, and Garrett Nelson, Dartmouth College Comment: Brian Donahue, Brandeis University

Devienne’s essay, “Shifting Sands: A Social and Environmental History of Los Angeles’s Beaches, 1920s-1970s” examines the beaches as urban spaces whose modernization had profound consequences for the working-class. The beach clean-up and enlargement turned a popular shoreline into a semi-privatized playground for the white middle class. Nelson’s essay, “Assembling the Metropolis, Arresting the Metropolis: Competing Unit Geographies of Boston and Its Region, 1890-1930,” approaches parks as landscapes that express attitudes toward community, polity, and territory. By examining Sylvester Baxter’s metropolitan parks and Benton MacKaye’s Bay Circuit, it explores the intellectual tensions between Progressivism and the radical cultural regionalism that followed.

close
Public Program, Author Talk Nathaniel Bowditch and the Power of Numbers registration required at no cost 14 December 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Tamara Thornton, SUNY Buffalo

 

 

Tamara Plakins Thornton delves into the life and work of Nathaniel Bowditch (1773-1838), a man Thomas Jefferson once called a “meteor in the hemisphere.” Bowditch was a mathematician, astronomer, navigator, seafarer, and business executive whose Enlightenment-inspired perspectives shaped nineteenth-century capitalism while transforming American life more broadly. Fleshing out the multiple careers of Nathaniel Bowditch, this book is at once a lively biography, a window into the birth of bureaucracy, and a portrait of patrician life, giving us a broader, more-nuanced understanding of how powerful capitalists operated during this era and how the emerging quantitative sciences shaped the modern experience.

close
MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS this event is free 17 December 2016.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: Turning Points in American History.

close
Notice Library Closing @ 3:30PM 19 December 2016.Monday, all day

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

close
Building Closed MHS Closed 23 December 2016.Friday, all day

The library and exhibition galleries will be closed all day.  

close
Building Closed Christmas Eve -- MHS Closed 24 December 2016.Saturday, all day

The library and exhibition galleries will be closed all day.  

close
Building Closed Christmas Observed -- MHS Closed 26 December 2016.Monday, all day

The library and exhibition galleries will be closed all day.  

close
Holiday Hours Galleries Open 27 December 2016.Tuesday, all day

The exhibition galleries will be open 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

close
Library Closed Library Closed 27 December 2016.Tuesday, all day

The MHS library is closed.

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Holiday Hours Galleries Open 28 December 2016.Wednesday, all day close
Library Closed Library Closed 28 December 2016.Wednesday, all day

The MHS library is closed.

close
Holiday Hours Galleries Open 29 December 2016.Thursday, all day

The exhibition galleries will be open 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

close
Library Closed Library Closed 29 December 2016.Thursday, all day

The MHS library is closed.

close
Holiday Hours Galleries Open 30 December 2016.Friday, all day

The exhibition galleries will be open 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

close
Library Closed Library Closed 30 December 2016.Friday, all day

The MHS library is closed.

close
Building Closed New Years Eve -- MHS Closed 31 December 2016.Saturday, all day

The library and exhibition galleries will be closed all day.  

close
Building Closed New Years Observed -- MHS Closed 2 January 2017.Monday, all day

The library and exhibition galleries will be closed all day.  

close
Brown Bag "A Great and Rising Nation": Naval Exploration and Empire in the Early American Republic, 1815-1860 this event is free 4 January 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Michael Verney, University of New Hampshire

This project examines the global exploring expeditions of the United States Navy in the antebellum era.  While not every mission was successful, each voyage helped the nation pursue Great Power status and global empire before the Civil War.

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Environmental History Seminar Sex in the Reeds: Disciplining Nature and Cultivating Virtue in the Back Bay Fens Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
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10 January 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Zachary Nowak, Harvard University Comment: Phyllis Andersen, Independent Scholar

With the introduction of discourse about “invasive exotic species” in the 1980s, the reason for the removal of reeds planted along the Muddy River shifted, from socio-sexual disapproval of illicit activities to “ecoxenophobia.” This essay aims to historicize “exotic” species to show that their labeling as such is a social construct, not a biological fact. Improving the Fens through planting and weeding has for more than a century really been a project to improve people.

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Brown Bag The Early American Bookseller: A Network History this event is free 11 January 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM John Garcia, Boston University

Booksellers in colonial and 19th-century America were essential agents in the distribution of books and reading. This talk will explain how financial records, correspondence, and writing by booksellers can help to reconstruct print networks and geographies of books and reading. It will argue that the many instances of economic failure in American bookselling reveal various attempts to connect authors, readers, and publics in the face of geographic and infrastructural obstacles. 

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Building Closed Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 16 January 2017.Monday, all day

The MHS is CLOSED for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

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Brown Bag The Fight for Women's Equality in the Anti-Slavery Movement, 1833-1840 this event is free 18 January 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Louise Knight, author of Jane Addams, Spirit in Action

This talk will examine how some early feminist abolitionists, led by Maria Weston Chapman of the Boston Female Antislavery Society, sought, to integrate women into the American Antislavery Society beginning in 1833 and finally succeeded in 1840. It will illustrate how these women were inspired by their groundbreaking, feminist vision for a genderblind democracy. 

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Biography Seminar Publishing Lives: How It’s Done, and Who Does It Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
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19 January 2017.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM Laura Claridge, Jill Kneerim, and Deanne Urmy Moderator: Megan Marshall

Deanne Urmy, Senior Executive Editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Jill Kneerim of the Kneerim & Williams literary agency, both of whom are actively engaged in publishing biography, will be joined by Laura Claridge, author of the just-published The Lady with the Borzoi: Blanche Knopf, Literary Tastemaker Extraordinaire. Their conversation will widen out from biography itself to the workings of the literary marketplace, then and now.

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Panel Discussion: Urban History on the Digital Frontier Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
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24 January 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Vivek Bald, MIT, Jack A. Dougherty, Trinity College, and Marilynn S. Johnson, Boston College Moderator: Claire Potter, New School

Bald is working on a transmedia project aimed at recovering the histories of peddlers and steamship workers from British colonial India who came to the U.S. in the early 20th century. It includes a digital oral history website. Dougherty and his students are writing an open-access book, On The Line: How Schooling, Housing, and Civil Rights Shaped Hartford and its Suburbs, which features interactive maps and oral history videos. Johnson’s Global Boston is a public history website combining a basic immigration history overview for the region with student research, oral history, and a curated selection of digitized primary sources, images and maps documenting the local immigrant experience.

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Brown Bag "Leaving their callings": Retirement in the Early Republic this event is free 1 February 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Andrea Gray, George Mason University and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation

This project looks at elderly men in the early national period who voluntarily left their public careers—including prominent politicians as well as those in fields such as commerce, law, and medicine—and permanently returned to domestic life. By examining their motives, how they spent their retired years, and the impression they made on their fellow Americans, we gain important insights into the relationships between aging, work and public service, gender, and republican civic virtue.

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Early American History Seminar The Coromantee War in Jamaica: Charting the Course of an Atlantic Slave Revolt Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
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7 February 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Vincent Brown, Harvard University Comment: Malick Ghachem, MIT

Drawn from Brown’s current book project, this essay will discuss African diasporic warfare in the Americas. It puts the Jamaican Revolt of 1760-61 in the context of a dramatic series of 17th- and 18th-century revolts and conspiracies that were staged by enslaved Africans from the Gold Coast, known widely as “Coromantees."

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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.
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21 February 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Gerard Fitzgerald, George Mason University Comment: Nicoletta Gullace, University of New Hampshire

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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Brown Bag Constructing American Belatedness: The Archives of American Artists in Late Nineteenth-Century Paris this event is free 22 February 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Emily C. Burns, Auburn University

Thousands of US artists traveled to Paris between 1865 and 1914, at various stages of their careers and for various lengths of time. This project culls archival materials to understand  how American culture collectively became defined through international mobility as belated and innocent.

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History of Women and Gender Seminar Conversation: Sexuality of History, History of Sexuality Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
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23 February 2017.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM Location: Radcliffe, Fay House, Sheerr Room, 10 Garden St. in Cambridge Sue Lanser, Brandeis University, and Jim Downs, Connecticut College Moderator: Jen Manion, Amherst College

Please join us for a conversation with the authors of two important new books in the history of sexuality.  This wide-ranging discussion will explore the relationship between lesbian and gay male histories, literary and historical methods, representation and political mobilization of people and communities. We will explore the following questions: How do such vastly different works advance the ongoing project of queer historicism and/or LGBTQ history and to what end? What scholarly fields and trends have enabled and inspired this new work? Who is the audience for LGBTQ history and queer scholarship, the LGBTQ community or the academy? How do we make theoretical insights legible and relevant to the community? How do we articulate the urgency to make the history of sexuality and LGBTQ communities central part of curricula, graduate training, and our professional organizations?"

Sue Lanser is author of The Sexuality of History: Modernity and the Sapphic, 1565-1830 (Chicago, 2014) which explores the ways in which a historically specific interest in lesbians intersected with and stimulated systemic concerns that would seem to have little to do with sexuality. Departing from the prevailing trend of queer reading whereby scholars ferret out hidden content in “closeted” texts, Lanser situates overtly erotic representations within wider spheres of interest. In so doing, she demonstrates that just as one can understand sexuality by studying the past, so too can one understand the past by studying sexuality. Jim Downs is author of Stand by Me (Basic, 2016) which rewrites the history of gay life in the 1970s, arguing that the decade was about much more than sex and marching in the streets. Drawing on a vast trove of untapped records at LGBT community centers in Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia, Downs tells moving, revelatory stories of gay people who stood together—as friends, fellow believers, and colleagues—to create a sense of community among people who felt alienated from mainstream American life.

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Exhibition Turning Points in American History this event is free 25 February 2017.Saturday, 10:00AM - 4:00PM Open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM Turning Points

Turning Points in American History examines 15 decisive moments when everything suddenly changed or a process began that would change what followed. These are not the only, or even the most important, events in American history, but turning points described in eyewitness accounts and personal records, or commemorated by "dumb witnesses"--artifacts found in the Society's enormous collections. The exhibition begins with an account of sailing a small boat through New York Harbor on 11 September 2001 and then travels back in time to the opening of the American West in the 19th century; the abolitionist movement and the Civil War; the American Revolution and the birth of the United States; and culminates with John Winthrop's account of setting sail for New England in 1630. The exhibition opens on 10 June.

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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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