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April 2017

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            • Environmental History SeminarPanel: Fishing the Commons
              Environmental History SeminarPanel: Fishing the Commons
              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 More
            • Brown BagRadical Enlightenment in the Struggle over Slavery
              Brown BagRadical Enlightenment in the Struggle over Slavery
              12:00PM - 1:00PM Matthew Stewart, author of Nature's God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic More
            • Public Program, The Irish AtlanticThe Rise and Fall of the American Party
              Public Program, The Irish AtlanticThe Rise and Fall of the American Party
              6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Peter Drummey, Stephen T. Riley Librarian, Massachusetts Historical Society More
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                          • Modern American Society and Culture SeminarInterreligious Responses to the Settlement House Movement, 1880-192...
                            Modern American Society and Culture SeminarInterreligious Responses to the Settlement House Movement, 1880-1924
                            5:15PM - 7:30PM Anne M. Blankenship, North Dakota State University Comment: Kristen Petersen, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences More
                          • Public Program, Cooking BostonCooking Boston: Eating Other People's Food
                            Public Program, Cooking BostonCooking Boston: Eating Other People's Food
                            6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Alex Prud'homme, Laura Shapiro, Stephen Chen and Moderator Megan Sniffin-Marinoff More
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                              Exhibition The Irish Atlantic 10 March 2017 to 22 September 2017 Open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM

                              Watch the recording of this event, embedded below:

                              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.

                              See the exhibit’s companion website for an overview, timeline, and more videos about the Irish in Boston.

                              Watch this video for an overview of the exhibit by guest curator William M. Fowler, Distinguished Professor of History at Northeastern University.

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                              MHS Tour CANCELLED: 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 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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                              Library Closed Due to inclement weather the MHS library and galleries will be closed 1 April 2017.Saturday, all day

                              Due to weather conditions on Friday night and predictions for Saturday, the library is CLOSED on Saturday, 4/1. 

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                              Early American History Seminar Promotional Literature and Identity in Colonial Massachusetts 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 a story related to Irish immigration: the famine relief mission from Boston to Ireland led by Robert Bennet Forbes aboard the Jamestown.  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 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 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 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 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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                              Library Closed Library Closed 26 April 2017.Wednesday, all day

                              The library is closed all day for a staff development event.

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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 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 27 April 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Alex Prud'homme, Laura Shapiro, 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 six program series 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.

                              The series will run from March through June of 2017. See the other programs in the series

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                              Teacher Workshop Civil Rights in America 29 April 2017.Saturday, 9:00AM - 2:15PM This program is SOLD OUT.

                              The Civil Rights Movement in America has endured a difficult and tumultuous path. The Emancipation Proclamation ended the institution of slavery. The Fourteenth Amendment should have guaranteed freedoms, equality and civil rights for all men, however it would take many generations of hardships and court cases for that reality to be achieved. This seminar addresses the complicated road endured by African Americans. Dr. Peter Myers, Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, will serve as discussion leader.

                              This event is sponsored by the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University, and is made possible thanks to a grant from the Lincoln and Theresa Filene Foundation.

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                                Key to event colors:
                              • MHS Tours
                              • Seminars
                              • Public Programs
                              • Brown Bags
                              • Special Events