Virtually forgotten for 200 years, Isaac Vose and his brilliant furniture are revealed in a new exhibition and accompanying volume. Beginning with a modest pair of collection boxes he made for his localBoston church in 1788, Vose went on to build a substantial business empire and to make furniture for the most prominent Boston families. The exhibition and catalog restore Vose from relative obscurity to his rightful position as one of Boston’s most important craftsmen. Opening at the MHS on May 11, the exhibition will be on view through September 14.
The complementary book, Rather Elegant Than Showy (May 2018), by Robert Mussey and Clark Pearce, will be available for sale at the MHS.
The Society is CLOSED on Saturday, 1 September, for Labor Day.close
The Society is CLOSED in observance of Labor Day. Normal hours resume on Tuesday, 4 September.close
This talk explores the place of Rhode Island, a center of William Lloyd Garrison’s “radical” abolitionism, in the larger antislavery network. As historians of abolitionism increasingly focus on continuities within the movement, Rhode Island offers an opportunity to reassess the place of the Garrisonians and to reconsider their contributions.close
Henry Adams offers an account of his life and commentary on political and cultural events during the mid and late 19th century in the Pulitzer Prize–winning autobiography The Education of Henry Adams. Join us to mark the centenary of both Adams’s death and the Education’s publication with a critical conversation on Adams and his best known work.
Silver coin was the primary commodity shipped to China from the United States in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, some of which was reworked into silverwares by Chinese craftsmen for British and American buyers. This talk explores the different silver conduits of the American trade relationship with China. Far from a neutral medium, how were understandings of its materiality mobilized in cross-cultural transactions?close
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 email@example.com.
While you're here you will also have the opportunity to view our current exhibition: Entrepreneurship & Classical Design in Boston’s South End: The Furniture of Isaac Vose & Thomas Seymour, 1815 to 1825.close
In the decades after the Civil War, its veterans built communal summer cottages in waterfront locations to merge memory and leisure among their comrades and families. Through interdisciplinary lenses, this talk considers the ways veterans used architecture and landscape to heal their wartime trauma and preserve their scripted legacy.close
On the night of March 5, 1770, British soldiers fired into a crowd gathered in front of Boston’s Custom House, killing five people. Denounced as an act of unprovoked violence and villainy, the Boston Massacre became one of the most familiar incidents in American history, yet one of the least understood. Eric Hinderaker revisits this dramatic episode, examining in forensic detail the facts of that fateful night, the competing narratives that molded public perceptions at the time, and the long campaign to transform the tragedy into a touchstone of American identity.close
The talk will describe evidence in letters and public records suggesting that best-selling author Susanna Rowson may have based her last novel, Lucy Temple, at least in part on a scandal in which she was innocently but indirectly involved in Medford, Mass., in 1799.close
Bringing to light previously unpublished manuscript letters, essays, speeches, and photographs from Frederick Douglass and his sons, Charles Remond, Frederick Jr., and Lewis Henry Douglass, If I Survive casts Douglass in the role of dedicated family man and inspirational figure to his five children. This family biography as accompanied by these personal documents comprises the first extensive study of Frederick Douglass and his family’s fight for the cause of liberty during the Civil War and in the post-emancipation era.
Calling all graduate students and faculty in history, American Studies, or any related field! Please join us for our ninth annual Graduate Student Reception.
Starting at six pm, you can enjoy free drinks and hors d’oeuvres as you meet students and professors from other universities working in your fields. At 6:30 or a little later, set down your glass and take a behind-the-scenes tour to learn more about the Society's collections as well as the resources available to support your scholarship, from research fellowships to our six different seminar series.
Faculty, bring your graduate students! Graduate students, bring your cohort! This reception is free, but we ask that you RSVP by September 19, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (617) 646-0579.close
Watch the recording of this event, embedded below:
The musical Hamilton has catapulted a founding father to the heights of popular culture.Three historians will explore this creative approach to discussing the stories of America’s founding, the conversations that have been created by this phenomenon, and how the excitement can be used to inspire the public to look at American history in greater depth.
In 1867 forty Irish-American freedom fighters, outfitted with guns and ammunition, sailed to Ireland to join the effort to end British rule. Yet they never got a chance to fight. British authorities arrested them for treason as soon as they landed, sparking an international conflict that dragged the United States and Britain to the brink of war. Under the Starry Flag recounts this gripping legal saga, a prelude to today’s immigration battles.
This paper examines how radical pacifists refined nonviolent direct action to challenge racial segregation and inequality in the United States. These activists adopted the methods of earlier utopian communities by living communally and practicing a prefigurative politics that called for immediate change.
To RSVP: email email@example.com or call (617) 646-0579.close
The Library is CLOSED for a staff development event.close
In late 19th-century Boston, battles over black party loyalty were fights over the place of African Americans in the post–Civil War nation. Party politics became the terrain upon which black Bostonians tested the promise of equality in America’s democracy. Most African Americans remained loyal Republicans, but a determined cadre argued that the GOP took black votes for granted and offered little meaningful reward for black support. These activists branded themselves “independents,” forging new alliances and advocating support of whichever candidate would support black freedom regardless of party.