Press Releases

Peter J. Gomes Memorial Book Prize Awarded to Abram Van Engen

Abram Van Engen recognized for City on a Hill: A History of American Exceptionalism

The Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) has awarded the 2021 Peter J. Gomes Memorial Book Prize to Abram Van Engen for his book City on a Hill: A History of American Exceptionalism, published in 2020 by Yale University Press. The Peter J. Gomes Memorial Book Prize is given to the best nonfiction work on the history of Massachusetts published during the preceding year.  Read more.

Massachusetts Forms Commission to Promote the Commemoration of the American Revolution

The Commonwealth joins seventeen other states in forming a commission to promote the commemoration of the American Revolution.

An appropriations bill (H 4000), signed by Gov. Charlie Baker on 16 July  2021, creates the Massachusetts Commission on the 250th Anniversary of the American Revolution. The Massachusetts commission’s 35 members— leaders in the historical, cultural, tourism, and political sectors—will partner with other states and with the federal America 250 Commission to commemorate, celebrate, and investigate the will and determination of the people 250 years ago who risked their “lives, liberty, and property” for the cause of American Independence. This exploration aims to include as many views as possible of the people of the Commonwealth from over the last 250 years. The Commission will engage with the Commonwealth and its people in an inspection of the causes that drove the people of 18th-century Massachusetts to revolution; the ideals they upheld in the formation of new governments; and the resulting outcomes of their actions over the last 250 years. Read more.

Belmont, Mass. Educator Named National History Day Teacher of the Year

Ms. Suzanne Zmijewski Lim of Chenery Middle School in Belmont Receives National Award

The Massachusetts Historical Society is pleased to announce that Ms. Suzanne Zmijewski Lim, an eighth grade teacher at Winthrop L. Chenery Middle School in Belmont, Massachusetts, won the Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year Award for the junior division (grades 6-8) of the 2021 National History Day Contest. The award is sponsored by Patricia Behring in recognition of the pivotal role teachers play in the lives of students. As the winner of this award, Mrs. Lim will receive $10,000. Read more

2021-2022 Research Fellows Announced

Each year the MHS grants a number of research fellowships to scholars from around the country.  The fellowship program brings a wide variety of researchers working on a full range of topics. Read more.

Peter J. Gomes Memorial Book Prize Awarded to Kerri K. Greenidge

The Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) has awarded the 2020 Peter J. Gomes Memorial Book Prize to Kerri K. Greenidge for her book Black Radical: The Life and Times of William Monroe Trotter, published in 2019 by Liveright. The Peter J. Gomes Memorial Book Prize is given to the best nonfiction work on the history of Massachusetts published during the preceding year. Greenidge will receive the award at an online event on Tuesday, February 9, 2021. Read more.

Standing Up, Stepping Forward, & Speaking Out: The Political Courage to Take a Principled Stand with John Dean and William Weld on 9 September 2020

Presented by the Massachusetts Historical Society, this virtual conversation will discuss those who go against the grain to stand up against political corruption and white collar crimes.

Watergate was a sea change in American politics. But even as a presidential scandal gripped the nation, there were remarkable displays of political courage as Republicans and Democrats found ways to work together for the good of the nation. On Wednesday, September 9, 2020, at 5:30 PM, the Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) will host a conversation between John Dean and William Weld, for whom Watergate was a transformational moment. Read more.

Monuments: Snapshots of an Ever-Changing Story

Americans have begun to reexamine the monuments that make up our civic landscape. While these discussions are not new, the recent protests over this country’s longstanding racial injustice have given them a new urgency and scope. Ultimately, each decision about the fate of a local monument will be decided by the people in that community, and we believe that the current dialogue is both valuable and timely. Indeed, as the nation’s first historical society, we applaud the increased interest in and conversations about historical artifacts, people, events, and monuments. Read more.

National History Day in Massachusetts Enables Students to Engage in Black History Topics

Mayor Marty Walsh, when asked whether he would consider requiring Boston schools to teach Black history (“Ask the Mayor,” Boston Public Radio, 6/26/2020), made it clear that while educators make curriculum decisions, he believes that Massachusetts students need a “full understanding” of American history, which must include the “contributions [of] the Black community” and the “biases [they] faced.”  Unfortunately, Mayor Walsh conceded, there is only so much time in the day for teachers to spend on history and social studies. Read more.

A Message from the MHS President, 8 June 2020

The Massachusetts Historical Society has taken time to reflect on and examine the events of the past week even as we grieved and raged. We are heartbroken at the brutal killing of George Floyd and share the outrage of those who took to our streets in protest. George Floyd is the latest in a long line of persons of color who have suffered torture, rape, and death since the beginnings of the United States of America. Read more.

MHS Housing as History Program Series  Wins 2020 AASLH Award of Excellence

The MHS proudly announces that it is the recipient of an American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) Award of Excellence for the Housing as History Program Series it produced in the fall of 2019. The AASLH Leadership in History Awards, now in its 75th year, is the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history. Read more

MHS Awards 63 Fellowships for the 2020-2021 Academic Year

The Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) is pleased to announce the full list of research fellows for the 2020-2021 year. Offering more assistance than ever before to scholars who wish to use the MHS library and archival collections, the MHS received more than 200 applications and ultimately granted 63 individual grants. Since the start of the fellowship program in the 1984-1985 academic year, the MHS has awarded more than 900 fellowships. These research projects have resulted in more than 470 publications, including more than 160 books. Read more.