Calendar of Events

Exhibition

Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country

Massachusetts Women in WWI. 12 June 2014 to 24 January 2015

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November

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Brown Bag Choosing Challenges 5 November 2014.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Gavin Kleespies, Massachusetts Historical Society Public programs are often the most direct contact a historical society has with its members and the ...

Public programs are often the most direct contact a historical society has with its members and the larger community. If an institution's presentations are well targeted, they can be an effective tool for forging new relationships, establishing connections among previously disparate groups, increasing support, and even redefining public perception. However, like any tool, programs are only effective if you have a clear sense of the goals you're aiming for. This presentation, by the Society’s new Director of Public Programs, will give a rough outline of goals determined through meetings with key constituents at the Massachusetts Historical Society and proposed tactics to meet these challenges. 

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Public Program, Author Talk The Rising at Roxbury Crossing: Boston 1919 5 November 2014.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP   Pre-talk reception at 5:30pm James Redfearn In this fascinating fictional tale Willie Dwyer, an Irish immigrant and Boston patrolman, struggles ...

In this fascinating fictional tale Willie Dwyer, an Irish immigrant and Boston patrolman, struggles with his conscience after being caught up in the violence of his native land’s rebellion. The Rising at Roxbury Crossing features a hard and gritty look at post-World War I Boston when she was burdened with high unemployment, radical anarchists, and labor unrest. Escaped political prisoner, Eamon de Valera campaigns for financial assistance for Ireland’s revolutionary government as the city’s police prepare to strike for fair pay and better working conditions. It is 1919, and just as Boston’s Irish patrolman strike and the city erupts into riots and chaos, Willie’s nemesis crosses the Atlantic to track him down. Willie Dwyer must decide whether to run from his past or confront his future.

Jim Redfearn was raised in Boston’s Mission Hill neighborhood and is a former Massachusetts State Trooper, an investigator for a prominent Boston law firm, and an industrial photographer. He earned a graduate degree in writing from Harvard University at the age of fifty-nine. His short fiction has been published by the University’s Charles River Review and the New England Writer’s Network. Among his many appearances, Jim has participated in several authors’ panels, including last year’s panel at Harvard University, moderated by Pulitzer Prize winner, Paul Harding. He has lectured in the Moses Greeley Parker Lecture Series, at the Irish Cultural Center of New England and the Union Club of Boston. Visit www.TheRisingAtRoxburyCrossing.com to learn more about Jim or his novel.

There is a $10 fee (no charge for Fellows and Members). Please call 617-646-0560 or click here to register.

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Biography Seminar Understanding the Presidency: Personality, Politics, and Policy 6 November 2014.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Evan Thomas, Kathleen Dalton, and David Michaelis Moderator: Ted Widmer Ted Widmer, a presidential speech writer during the Clinton administration, will moderate a panel ...

Ted Widmer, a presidential speech writer during the Clinton administration, will moderate a panel of three distinguished biographers: Evan Thomas (Ike’s Bluff: President Eisenhower’s Secret Battle to Save the World), Kathleen Dalton (Theodore Roosevelt: A Strenuous Life), and David Michaelis (author of a forthcoming biography of Eleanor Roosevelt) who will focus on the peculiar balance between policy and politics as it affects writing presidential biography.

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Library Closed Library Closed 7 November 2014.Friday, all day The MHS library will be closed to researchers on Friday, 7 November.

The MHS library will be closed to researchers on Friday, 7 November.

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Cocktails with Clio 2014 Special Event Cocktails with Clio 7 November 2014.Friday, 6:00PM - 9:00PM The fifth annual Cocktails with Clio will take place on 7 November 2014. Named for the muse of ...

The fifth annual Cocktails with Clio will take place on 7 November 2014. Named for the muse of history, this festive evening celebrates American history and the 223-year-old mission of the Society. Following an elegant cocktail buffet at the Society’s building, guests will proceed to the nearby Harvard Club for dessert and a conversation with historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Hackett FIscher.

Purchase tickets (tickets cost $250 per person). All net proceeds from the event will support the Society's outreach efforts.


Become a sponsor of Cocktails with Clio

Our sponsors are crucial to the success of the event. As a result of their generosity, the Society’s outreach efforts have expanded. The additional funding has an important impact on our programming, and this year we hope to surpass last year’s goal in order to further enhance our exhibitions, public programs, and education initiatives. 

We are proud to offer individual sponsorship opportunities at the following levels:
$5,000 - Clio’s Circle
$2,500 - Patrons of the Muse
$1,000 - Friends of the Muse   

For more information about becoming a sponsor, please contact Carol Knauff at cknauff@masshist.org or 617-646-0554.

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Teacher Workshop Painless: A Survival Guide to the Dreaded History Project 8 November 2014.Saturday, 9:00AM - 2:30PM Co-Sponsored by the National Archives at Boston This free hands-on workshop provides teachers and students with strategies for ...

This free hands-on workshop provides teachers and students with strategies for creating amazing history projects! Using the broad theme of “Leadership & Legacy” as a springboard, you’ll explore how to approach primary source research through a range of historical documents related to the antislavery movement, including letters, diaries, songs, petitions, and government records.

Activities will model research skills such as:

  • collecting evidence
  • analyzing information
  • drawing conclusions
  • assembling your findings into an historical narrative
  • designing a history project as a paper, website, exhibit, documentary, or performance

By applying National History Day methodologies, the “dreaded” history project is transformed into the creation of imaginative, engaging, and meaningful history experiences.

To Register: Contact the MHS Education Department at education@masshist.org or 617-646-0557.

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MHS Tour Canceled: The History and Collections of the MHS 8 November 2014.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, "Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country: Massachusetts Women in World War I."

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Building Closed Veterans Day 11 November 2014.Tuesday, all day The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed on Veterans Day. 

The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed on Veterans Day. 

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Brown Bag Making the Self-Made American: The Original Meanings and Purposes of America’s Public Schools 12 November 2014.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Johann Neem, Western Washington University and the University of Virginia In Making the Self-Made American, Professor Neem seeks to answer a simple question: why, in ...

In Making the Self-Made American, Professor Neem seeks to answer a simple question: why, in the age of individualism, did so many parents, taxpayers, and policymakers invest significant resources to build and to support public school systems? The answer is deceptively simple: new ideas about democracy and freedom combined with the economic imperative of “making it” in a free market economy. In other words, engaging in self-making was difficult and challenging and people had to prepare for it. Failure, both spiritual and economic, was a very real possibility. Public schools thus provided what young people needed to face the world. In short, American individualism required collective effort.

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Public Program, Author Talk Forgotten Drinks of Colonial New England 14 November 2014.Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Corin Hirsch Colonial New England was awash in ales, beers, wines, cider and spirits. Everyone from teenage ...

Colonial New England was awash in ales, beers, wines, cider and spirits. Everyone from teenage farmworkers to our founding fathers imbibed heartily and often. Tipples at breakfast, lunch, teatime and dinner were the norm, and low-alcohol hard cider was sometimes even a part of children’s lives. This burgeoning cocktail culture reflected the New World’s abundance of raw materials: apples, sugar and molasses, wild berries and hops. This plentiful drinking sustained a slew of smoky taverns and inns—watering holes that became vital meeting places and the nexuses of unrest as the Revolution brewed. New England food and drinks writer Corin Hirsch explores the origins and taste of the favorite potations of early Americans and offers some modern-day recipes to revive them today.

Corin Hirsch is an award-winning food and drinks writer at Seven Days, the alt-weekly in Burlington, Vermont. She learned to pull a pint of Schlitz (for her grandfather) at the age of six, and she used to tend bar inside a sixteenth-century English pub. She has written about craft beer for Serious Eats and also ghost-blogs and writes in the wine world. This is her first book.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 15 November 2014.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, "Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country: Massachusetts Women in World War I."

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Public Program The Better Angels with John Stauffer 16 November 2014.Sunday, 1:30PM - 3:30PM Event at Landmark Theaters Kendall Square (355 Binney Street, One Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA 02139) Commentary and discussion by John Stauffer following film Special screening of The Better Angels, a film about Abraham Lincoln's childhood followed ...

The Better AngelsSpecial screening of The Better Angels, a film about Abraham Lincoln's childhood followed by a discussion led by Professor John Stauffer of Harvard University. 

This is a story of the youth of one of America’s greatest heroes, Abraham Lincoln. Spanning nearly three years in the wilderness of Indiana, it tells of the hardships that shaped him, the tragedy that marked him forever and the two women who guided him to immortality.

Tom Lincoln leads his wife and children, Sally and Abe from Kentucky to the new state of Indiana. Abe, 10, is a quiet boy; gentle and intelligent. He knows happiness for a time until his mother is infected and dies from a mysterious illness. Abe, Sally and their cousin Dennis are left under the care of Tom, a callous disciplinarian.

When Tom leaves to find a new wife, the children are abandoned in the wilderness during a harsh winter. Abe must protect his siblings from wild animals, cold and hunger. Weeks pass before Tom’s return. He brings a new mother, Sarah. Having pledged his love solely to his late mother, Abe resists Sarah as she strives to win him over.

Recognizing Abe’s insatiable appetite for knowledge, Sarah takes up the challenge of schooling him and raising him as if he was her own. Sarah proves unyielding in her tenderness, love and devotion to Abe and his family. He learns to accept her, seeing that, in her he has regained his lost mother and a loving parent who inspires him forever. This understanding frees him to journey onward to the destiny that awaits him. He would later in life call her his “angel mother.”

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Public Program, Author Talk Decoding Roger Williams: The Lost Essay of Rhode Island's Founding Father 17 November 2014.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP   Linford D. Fisher, Brown University and J. Stanley Lemons, Rhode Island College In the margins of a curious seventeenth century book at the John Carter Brown Library is a ...

In the margins of a curious seventeenth century book at the John Carter Brown Library is a mysterious handwritten code, long suspected to be the work of Roger Williams, the seventeenth century theologian and founder of Rhode Island. In the spring of 2012, an interdisciplinary team of undergraduates, with support from faculty members, was able to crack this code, revealing a brand new essay by Roger Williams. Come peer into the mind of Roger Williams through the presentations by Linford D. Fisher (Brown University) and J. Stanley Lemons (Rhode Island College), who will discuss what this new essay tells us about Williams. Copies of their new book, Decoding Roger Williams (2014), co-authored with Lucas Mason-Brown, will also be available for purchase.

There is a $10 fee (no charge for Fellows and Members). Please call 617-646-0560 or click here to register.

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Environmental History Seminar The Ravages of Teredo: The Historical Impacts of Marine Wood-Boring Worms on American Society, Geography, and Culture, 1865-1930 18 November 2014.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Derek Lee Nelson, University of New Hampshire Comment: Robert Martello, Olin College of Engineering In an episode of history largely forgotten today, teredo, or shipworm, caused millions of ...

In an episode of history largely forgotten today, teredo, or shipworm, caused millions of dollars’ worth of damage in American ports by destroying the structural integrity of wharves and ships. Even more startling was the extent to which the wood-boring mollusk invaded the American consciousness through congressional reports, newspapers, and popular culture from the coast deep into America’s heartland. This paper contributes to the history of the “littoral,” or coastal, environment.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 22 November 2014.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, "Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country: Massachusetts Women in World War I."

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Brown Bag “Gratuitous Distribution”: Distributing African American Antislavery Texts, 1773-1850 24 November 2014.Monday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Nathan Jérémie-Brink, Loyola University Chicago This project highlights the diverse distribution strategies employed by authors, editors, and ...

This project highlights the diverse distribution strategies employed by authors, editors, and publishers of African American antislavery texts. Against slavery and pervasive racial discrimination in the early American republic, individuals and communities developed creative methods--private and public, personal and institutional, formal and informal, legal and illegal--to distribute antislavery imprints and the work of black authors and editors. Close reading and material investigations elucidate the alternative practices and activist networks that moved these texts and eventually shaped the broader abolitionist movement.

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Immigration and Urban History Seminar "Greetings from the Levee!": Labor and Leisure on the Streets and Docks of Postbellum New Orleans 25 November 2014.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Theresa McCulla, Harvard University Lynnell Thomas, University of Massachusetts - Boston This essay examines the histories of labor and leisure among the New Orleanian working poor and the ...

This essay examines the histories of labor and leisure among the New Orleanian working poor and the white tourists who came to observe them, and underscores the constructed nature of the city’s food and culture industries. The paper also excavates the origins of longstanding racial distinctions between those who produced and those who consumed in the New South.

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Building Closed Thanksgiving Day 27 November 2014.Thursday, all day The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed on Thanksgiving Day.

The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed on Thanksgiving Day.

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Notice Exhibition Galleries Open 28 November 2014.Friday, all day details
Library Closed Thanksgiving 28 November 2014.Friday, all day The MHS library is closed for Thanksgiving.  The exhibition galleries are open 10:00 AM to 4:00 ...

The MHS library is closed for Thanksgiving.  The exhibition galleries are open 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Friday, 28 November and Saturday, 29 November.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 29 November 2014.Saturday, 10:00AM - 12:00PM 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, "Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country: Massachusetts Women in World War I."

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Notice Exhibition Galleries Open 29 November 2014.Saturday, all day details
Library Closed Thanksgiving 29 November 2014.Saturday, all day The MHS library is closed for Thanksgiving.  The exhibition galleries are open 10:00 AM to 4:00 ...

The MHS library is closed for Thanksgiving.  The exhibition galleries are open 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Friday, 28 November and Saturday, 29 November.

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December
Early American History Seminar Threads that Bind: Irish Linens, Immigration, and the Consumer Atlantic World 2 December 2014.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Kristin Condotta, Tulane University Comment: Marla R. Miller, University of Massachusetts - Amherst This paper traces early Irish immigration to the Americas through the Irish linen trade. It ...

This paper traces early Irish immigration to the Americas through the Irish linen trade. It considers how the American desire to imitate Europeans and the immigrants’ wish to feel comfortable in their new homes intersected to ease Irish cultural transitions abroad. It will also consider the ways in which transatlantic consumerisms prepared travelers for movement around the Atlantic world.

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Brown Bag Denominating a People: Congregational Laity, Church Disestablishment, and the Struggles of Denominationalism in Massachusetts, 1780-1865 3 December 2014.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Seth Meehan, Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies, Boston College Local sources of church history—historical societies, libraries, town halls, and church ...

Local sources of church history—historical societies, libraries, town halls, and church basements and vaults—reveal a new half to Congregational historiography. Within the churches themselves power shifted to the pews and the laity and clergy fractured. There was no small degree of chaos, and it inhibited Congregationalists from denominating themselves from other groups and from articulating what was the unity in their diversity. Using a comparative approach focusing on Barnstable and Berkshire counties, this program will interest Congregational scholars and other historians alike.

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Cogswell snow scene Member Event, Special Event MHS Fellows and Members Holiday Party 3 December 2014.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM Please RSVP   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 ...

MHS Fellows and Members are invited to celebrate the season at the Society’s annual holiday party. Enjoy festive music, holiday cheer, and the annual tradition of reading the anti-Christmas laws.

Become a Member today!

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History of Women and Gender Seminar "One’s Own Branch of the Human Race": Frances Watkins Harper, Anna Dickinson, and Frederick Douglass 4 December 2014.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Sharon Hartman Strom, University of Rhode Island Comment: Julie Winch, University of Massachusetts - Boston Sharon Hartman Strom taught U.S. Social History and Women’s Studies courses at the University ...

Sharon Hartman Strom taught U.S. Social History and Women’s Studies courses at the University of Rhode Island from 1969 to 2011 and is the author of Political Woman: Florence Luscomb and the Legacy of Radical Reform, and Beyond the Typewriter: Gender, Class and the Origins of Modern Office Work. She is completing a manuscript entitled Fame, Fortune and Desire: Public and Private Lives of the Nineteenth Century.

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Library Closed Library Closing @ 3:45 PM 5 December 2014.Friday, all day details
MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 6 December 2014.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, "Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country: Massachusetts Women in World War I."

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Public Program Making History: King Philip's War in Documents & Artifacts 8 December 2014.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP   Facilitator: Bruce J. Schulman, Boston University Students of the Boston University course "Making History" discuss the MHS exhibit on King Philip's ...

Students of the Boston University course "Making History" discuss the MHS exhibit on King Philip's War they have researched and compiled. The semester-long project on the bloody conflict between English colonists and Native Americans includes work on letters and diaries, sermons, early printed books, and objects from the war.

Bruce J. Schulman is the William E. Huntington Professor and Chair of the History Department at Boston University. His teaching and research concentrate on the history of the modern United States, particularly on the relationships between politics and broader cultural change. Schulman is currently at work on a volume for the Oxford History of the United States covering the years 1896-1929. He lives with his family in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Image: Bowl attributed to the Wampanoag. Elm burl, 1655-1675. Massachusetts Historical Society .

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Environmental History Seminar Water Rights in the American Southwest 9 December 2014.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Steven Rudnick, University of Massachusetts - Boston Comment: Megan Kate Nelson, author of Ruin Nation: Destruction and the American Civil War This paper will primarily consider legal entanglements over water rights in the Southwest, which ...

This paper will primarily consider legal entanglements over water rights in the Southwest, which have been developing since the 1920s and continue to reshape the use and abuse of water in New Mexico. Local contests between Pueblo and Navajo rights and those claimed by the descendants of the Spanish also play a role in this narrative.

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Public Program, Author Talk Race to the Top of the World: Richard Byrd & the First Flight to the North Pole 11 December 2014.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP   Pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Sheldon Bart One hundred years ago—then as now—the eyes of the industrialized world were on the ...

Race to the Top of the World book coverOne hundred years ago—then as now—the eyes of the industrialized world were on the Arctic. It was widely held in this era that a new, uncharted continent would be found in the Arctic Ocean. Scientific treatises “proved” its existence. As aviation developed, the mythical land became endowed with commercial value and strategic importance. This was the context in which Richard Byrd (1888-1957) emerged as an explorer—an international quest for a mythic grail. His rivals included Roald Amundsen, Lincoln Ellsworth, and Hubert Wilkins.

The Arctic was considered as remote as outer space in the 1920s, and aerial exploits north of the Arctic Circle attracted a tremendous amount of attention. The New York Times called the race “the greatest story of the year.” The sensationalism, however, has never ended. Byrd’s flight to the North Pole has been bitterly disputed for the better part of a century, and almost every part of his early life and career has become controversial. Author Sheldon Bart offers compelling new evidence and new revelations to substantiate his thesis that the controversies still swirling around Admiral Byrd—including the legitimacy of his flight to the North Pole—are based on incomplete research, distortion, and superficial assessment.

Writer-explorer Sheldon Bart is a member of the Board of Governors of the American Polar Society and president and founder of Wilderness Research Foundation (WRF), a not-for-profit organization seeking to create more opportunities for scientific exploration beyond the limited regime of government funding. He organized and led the 1996 American Expedition to Baffin Island in the Canadian Eastern Arctic and was project manager of the 2010 WRF Antarctic Peninsula field program. Sheldon has lectured at the National Archives, the Explorers Club, the Virginia Historical Society, the National Museum of the U.S. Navy, the Geographical Society of Philadelphia, the Elisha Kent Kane Historical Society, Hunter College of the City University of New York, and the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University. He is a senior associate at LAPA Fundraising, a consulting firm based in New York City, and has published fiction and nonfiction. He is currently working on a novel based on his own polar adventures.

There is a $10 fee (no charge for Fellows and Members). Please call 617- 646-0560 or click here to register.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 13 December 2014.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, "Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country: Massachusetts Women in World War I."

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 20 December 2014.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, "Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country: Massachusetts Women in World War I."

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Building Closed Christmas Eve 24 December 2014.Wednesday, all day The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed on 24 & 25 December.

The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed on 24 & 25 December.

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Building Closed Christmas Day 25 December 2014.Thursday, all day The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed on Christmas Day.

The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed on Christmas Day.

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Notice Exhibition Galleries Open 26 December 2014.Friday, all day The MHS exhibition galleries are open from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

The MHS exhibition galleries are open from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

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Library Closed Library Closed 26 December 2014.Friday, all day The MHS library is closed.  The exhibition galleries are open 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

The MHS library is closed.  The exhibition galleries are open 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

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Notice Exhibition Galleries Open 27 December 2014.Saturday, all day The MHS exhibition galleries are open from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

The MHS exhibition galleries are open from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

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Library Closed Library Closed 27 December 2014.Saturday, all day The MHS library is closed.  The exhibition galleries are open 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

The MHS library is closed.  The exhibition galleries are open 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

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Notice Exhibition Galleries Open 29 December 2014.Monday, all day The MHS exhibition galleries are open from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

The MHS exhibition galleries are open from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

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Library Closed Library Closed 29 December 2014.Monday, all day The MHS library is closed.  The exhibition galleries are open 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

The MHS library is closed.  The exhibition galleries are open 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

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Notice Exhibition Galleries Open 30 December 2014.Tuesday, all day The MHS exhibition galleries are open from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

The MHS exhibition galleries are open from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

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Library Closed Library Closed 30 December 2014.Tuesday, all day The MHS library is closed.  The exhibition galleries are open 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

The MHS library is closed.  The exhibition galleries are open 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

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Building Closed New Years Eve 31 December 2014.Wednesday, all day The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed on New Years Eve.

The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed on New Years Eve.

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January
Building Closed New Years Day 1 January 2015.Thursday, all day The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed on New Years Day.

The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed on New Years Day.

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Notice Exhibition Galleries Open 2 January 2015.Friday, all day details
Library Closed Library Closed 2 January 2015.Friday, all day details
Notice Exhibition Galleries Open 3 January 2015.Saturday, all day details
Library Closed Library Closed 3 January 2015.Saturday, all day details
Public Program Over There: The Boys Who Went to Fight and the Women Who Endured 7 January 2015.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM 6:00 pm program with 5:30 reception $10 fee (no charge for Fellows and Members) Please call 617-646-0578 to register In the last weeks that the Massachusetts Historical Society is displaying the WWI exhibition &ldquo ...

“Over There:  The Boys Who Went to Fight and the Women Who Endured.”In the last weeks that the Massachusetts Historical Society is displaying the WWI exhibition “Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country,” we will host two events that explore the cultural and musical history of the time. The first program will be an approximately 70 minute program of songs telling the story of the U.S.’s involvement in WWI and its effects on the women, men and children.  Starting from before the U.S. entered the war until after the war when the “boys came home”, the program will feature some of the most popular songs of the era including “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary”, “Till We Meet Again”, “Oh How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning”, “Over There” and “How Ya Gonna Keep ‘Em Down on the Farm.”

Benjamin Sears & Bradford Conner have been called “Boston’s favorite song duo” by the Boston Globe, and “the delightful cabaret team” by the Boston Phoenix.  Recipients of IRNE (Independent Reviewers of New England) and LIP (Life in Provincetown) awards, they have performed as a duo since 1989, carrying on the great cabaret tradition of “the song, the singer, and the pianist”.  They are noted recording artists with a discography which features many previously unrecorded songs by Irving Berlin, the Gershwins, and E.Y. Harburg. 

Cynthia Mork, mezzo-soprano, is a performer of classical repertoire, American popular song and jazz, appearing around greater Boston and New England in a variety of concerts, recitals, operas, and other engagements. A vocal student of soprano Sue Ellen Kuzma for over ten years, she studied vocal performance as an undergraduate and was a student of tenor Jon Humphrey.  She currently resides with her husband and son in Bedford, MA.

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George Washington portrait by Gullager Exhibitionends The Father of His Country Returns to Boston, October 24, 1789 9 January 2015.Friday, 10:00AM - 4:00PM Open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM Two hundred twenty-five years ago, during his first year in office, President George Washington ...

Two hundred twenty-five years ago, during his first year in office, President George Washington embarked on a month-long tour of New England. Young John Quincy Adams observed the great excitement of people everywhere:

At the present moment they indulge themselves in sentiments of joy, arising/resulting . . . from the gratification of their affection in beholding personally among them, the friend, the benefactor, the father of his Country.

In Boston the president was met by a great procession that paraded beneath a triumphal arch designed by Charles Bulfinch. The MHS holds six portraits of Washington, including a life study by Christian Gullager painted during the New England tour.

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Environmental History Seminar The Rise and Fall of the Texas Longhorn 13 January 2015.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Joshua Specht, Harvard University Beth LaDow, author of The Medicine Line: Life and Death on a North American Borderland This essay will highlight the relationship between the Texas Longhorn and the evolution of the ...

This essay will highlight the relationship between the Texas Longhorn and the evolution of the cattle ranching industry, and explore the linkages between economic systems and the biology of domesticated animals. It will also investigate how popular beliefs about cattle ranching and the West solidified the centrality of beef in the American diet, and serve as a meditation on environmental and business history.

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Biography Seminar Biography, the Visual Artist, and the Story Behind Public Art 15 January 2015.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Belinda Rathbone, Jane Kamensky, and Ruth Butler Moderator: Carol Bundy Carol Bundy will moderate this session, which will include panelists Belinda Rathbone (The Boston ...

Carol Bundy will moderate this session, which will include panelists Belinda Rathbone (The Boston Raphael), Jane Kamensky (Copley: A Life in Color, forthcoming), and Ruth Butler (Rodin: The Shape of a Genius).

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Public Program Here Comes America-WWI Performance by the Boston Saxophone Quartet 21 January 2015.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please call 617-646-0578 to register Pre-talk reception at 5:30pm $10 fee (no charge for Fellows and Members) The Boston Saxophone Quartet, a unique blend of musicians combining a range of repertoire, will ...

Boston Saxophone QuartetThe Boston Saxophone Quartet, a unique blend of musicians combining a range of repertoire, will perform a selection of songs taking the audience through the musical landscape of World War One. This will include selections of music from both sides of the Atlantic before the war, songs that show the changing attitudes of Americans to the war, patriotic songs, and finally songs reflecting on the impact of the war. After all, “How Ya Gonna Keep 'em Down on the Farm After They've Seen Paree”? Members of the BSQ have performed with the Boston Pops and Boston Symphony Orchestra and leading Broadway theaters throughout New England.

  • Most of Tom Ferrante's performing career has been in the orchestras of the Colonial, Wang and Schubert Theaters of Boston. Other credits include membership in the Herb Pomeroy Jazz Orchestra, The Viola Premier Saxophone Quartet, and the Greg Hopkins Big Band.  A former Director of Bands for Waltham (MA) High School, Tom has been featured jazz clarinet soloist with the Boston Pops Orchestra for the past twenty seasons.
  • As an accomplished woodwind doubler on oboe, English horn, flute, saxophone, and clarinet,  Rod Ferland can often be heard and seen in the orchestra pit of Boston's Wang, Shubert and Colonial Theaters performing for Broadway productions.  Rod has also performed with the Boston Lyric Opera, the Boston Pops, Boston Symphony Orchestra and the North Shore Music Theater.  He was a former faculty member at Berklee College of Music.
  • Bob Bowlby is an active woodwind doubler and a Theater pit musician at Boston's Colonial, Wang, Shubert, Opera House and NSMT in Beverly.  He has been Lead alto with Buddy Rich, Frank Sinatra, Artie Shaw Orch and plays with the Boston Pops. Currently, he is a member of John Allmark Jazz Orchestra.
  • Sharing a dual performing career as an instrumentalist and conductor, Peter Cokkinias has conducted the Boston Ballet, Boston Pops, Springfield Symphony (MA), and the Atlantic Sinfonietta (NY).  He has performed with the Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Ballet, and Cincinnati, Hartford, Pittsburgh, and Boston Symphony Orchestras.  Presently, Dr. Cokkinias is Music Director/Conductor of the Metrowest Symphony Orchestra (MA) since 1979,  Professor at Berklee College of Music and is a woodwind doubler at the North Shore Music Theater in Beverly (MA) and Colonial and Wang Theaters in Boston (MA) and PPAC in Providence (RI).
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Hall at Ecury Exhibitionends Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country: Massachusetts Women in the First World War 24 January 2015.Saturday, 10:00AM - 4:00PM Open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM To commemorate the centennial of the outbreak of World War I, the MHS has organized the exhibition ...

To commemorate the centennial of the outbreak of World War I, the MHS has organized the exhibition Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country: Massachusetts Women in the First World War focusing on two of the hundreds of women from the Commonwealth who went to France as members of the U.S. armed forces, the Red Cross, and other war relief organizations.

From the Society’s extraordinary collection of women’s recollections, this exhibition features photographs, letters, diaries, and memorabilia related to Margaret Hall and Eleanor (Nora) Saltonstall, Red Cross volunteers in France. The exhibition will highlight Hall’s large-format photographs of the battlefront on loan from the Cohasset Historical Society. Both women were keen observers of the climactic months of the war and depicted what they witnessed in vivid detail.

The exhibition celebrates the forthcoming MHS publication Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country: The World War I Memoir of Margaret Hall.

You can view all of the photographs from Margaret Hall's memoir on our companion website.

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Teacher Workshop, Public Program John & Abigail: A Life in Letters 24 January 2015.Saturday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM Co-Sponsored by the Abigail Adams Historical Society Immerse yourself in the lives of John & Abigail Adams! This hands-on workshop will (re)introduce ...

Immerse yourself in the lives of John & Abigail Adams! This hands-on workshop will (re)introduce participants to the famous couple and their rich correspondence. What can these letters tell us about life in the late eighteenth century? Over the course of two Saturdays in January we will explore topics such education, women’s rights, and the challenges John and Abigail faced as a young family living through a revolution. Participants will have the opportunity to view treasures from the Society’s collections and tour the Abigail Adams Birthplace in Weymouth. This program is open to all K-12 educators, as well as history enthusiasts. Teachers can earn 10 PDPs.

Fee: $50 per person

For more information: contact the education department at education@masshist.org or 617-646-0557.

To register: complete this registration form, or contact the education department at education@masshist.org or 617-646-0557.

Program Highlights

Saturday, January 24 at the Massachusetts Historical Society

  • Analyze documents from the 1770s and 1780s. What, according to Abigail, was “the decisive day… on which the fate of America depends”? Did John “Remember the Ladies”?
  • View original Adams manuscripts from the Society's collections.
  • Try your hand at transcribing eighteenth-century Adams letters and diaries.

Saturday, January 31 at the Abigail Adams Birthplace

  • Tour the Abigail Adams Birthplace
  • Discover and discuss the historical, cultural, and ethical role of women in early America.
  • Explore the relationships forged between Thomas Jefferson and different members of the Adams family.

Watercolor, circa 1800; birthplace of Abigail (Smith) Adams

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Immigration and Urban History Seminar Interpreters in Ellis Island: A Tool for Americanization, 1892-1954 27 January 2015.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Maria Aguilar-Solano, University of Massachusetts - Boston Emma Teng, MIT Through the narrative of existing interviews with Fiorello LaGuardia, personal letters of Ludmila ...

Through the narrative of existing interviews with Fiorello LaGuardia, personal letters of Ludmila Foxlee, and immigration literature, this paper will examine the role of interpreters in Ellis Island and the institutionalization of these interpreters as tools for assimilation into American culture.

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Author Talk, Public Program The Adams Series - Program One: The Remarkable Education of John Quincy Adams 29 January 2015.Thursday, all day 6:00 pm program with 5:30 reception Phyllis Lee Levin, independent author $10 fee (no charge for Fellows and Members) Please call 617-646-0578 to register A patriot by birth, John Quincy Adams’s destiny was foreordained. He was not only “The ...

The Remarkable Education of John Quincy Adams A patriot by birth, John Quincy Adams’s destiny was foreordained. He was not only “The Greatest Traveler of His Age,” but a gifted linguist and diplomat. His world encompassed the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the early and late Napoleonic Age. As an adolescent, he met everyone who was anyone in Europe, including America’s own luminaries, Franklin and Jefferson. Coming back to America he was determined to make his own career, but was soon embarked, at Washington’s appointment, on work aboard. At 50, he returned to America to serve as Secretary of State to President Monroe. He was inaugurated President in 1824, after which he served as a stirring defender of the slaves of the Amistad rebellion and as a member of the House of Representatives from 1831 until his death in 1848. In The Remarkable Education of John Quincy Adams, Phyllis Lee Levin provides the deeply researched and beautifully written definitive story of the intellectual development of one of the most fascinating and towering early Americans.

Phyllis Lee Levin is the author of several books including Abigail Adams and Edith and Woodrow. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, she has been a reporter, editor, and columnist for The New York Times. As writer and editor at Vogue she wrote a profile of Patricia Nixon whom she interviewed at the White House. She lives in Manhattan. 

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Brown Bag Choosing Challenges 5 November 2014.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM this event is free Gavin Kleespies, Massachusetts Historical Society

Public programs are often the most direct contact a historical society has with its members and the larger community. If an institution's presentations are well targeted, they can be an effective tool for forging new relationships, establishing connections among previously disparate groups, increasing support, and even redefining public perception. However, like any tool, programs are only effective if you have a clear sense of the goals you're aiming for. This presentation, by the Society’s new Director of Public Programs, will give a rough outline of goals determined through meetings with key constituents at the Massachusetts Historical Society and proposed tactics to meet these challenges. 

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Public Program, Author Talk The Rising at Roxbury Crossing: Boston 1919 5 November 2014.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP   registration required Pre-talk reception at 5:30pm James Redfearn

In this fascinating fictional tale Willie Dwyer, an Irish immigrant and Boston patrolman, struggles with his conscience after being caught up in the violence of his native land’s rebellion. The Rising at Roxbury Crossing features a hard and gritty look at post-World War I Boston when she was burdened with high unemployment, radical anarchists, and labor unrest. Escaped political prisoner, Eamon de Valera campaigns for financial assistance for Ireland’s revolutionary government as the city’s police prepare to strike for fair pay and better working conditions. It is 1919, and just as Boston’s Irish patrolman strike and the city erupts into riots and chaos, Willie’s nemesis crosses the Atlantic to track him down. Willie Dwyer must decide whether to run from his past or confront his future.

Jim Redfearn was raised in Boston’s Mission Hill neighborhood and is a former Massachusetts State Trooper, an investigator for a prominent Boston law firm, and an industrial photographer. He earned a graduate degree in writing from Harvard University at the age of fifty-nine. His short fiction has been published by the University’s Charles River Review and the New England Writer’s Network. Among his many appearances, Jim has participated in several authors’ panels, including last year’s panel at Harvard University, moderated by Pulitzer Prize winner, Paul Harding. He has lectured in the Moses Greeley Parker Lecture Series, at the Irish Cultural Center of New England and the Union Club of Boston. Visit www.TheRisingAtRoxburyCrossing.com to learn more about Jim or his novel.

There is a $10 fee (no charge for Fellows and Members). Please call 617-646-0560 or click here to register.

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Biography Seminar Understanding the Presidency: Personality, Politics, and Policy 6 November 2014.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
Evan Thomas, Kathleen Dalton, and David Michaelis Moderator: Ted Widmer

Ted Widmer, a presidential speech writer during the Clinton administration, will moderate a panel of three distinguished biographers: Evan Thomas (Ike’s Bluff: President Eisenhower’s Secret Battle to Save the World), Kathleen Dalton (Theodore Roosevelt: A Strenuous Life), and David Michaelis (author of a forthcoming biography of Eleanor Roosevelt) who will focus on the peculiar balance between policy and politics as it affects writing presidential biography.

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Library Closed Library Closed 7 November 2014.Friday, all day

The MHS library will be closed to researchers on Friday, 7 November.

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Special Event Cocktails with Clio 7 November 2014.Friday, 6:00PM - 9:00PM registration required Cocktails with Clio 2014

The fifth annual Cocktails with Clio will take place on 7 November 2014. Named for the muse of history, this festive evening celebrates American history and the 223-year-old mission of the Society. Following an elegant cocktail buffet at the Society’s building, guests will proceed to the nearby Harvard Club for dessert and a conversation with historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Hackett FIscher.

Purchase tickets (tickets cost $250 per person). All net proceeds from the event will support the Society's outreach efforts.


Become a sponsor of Cocktails with Clio

Our sponsors are crucial to the success of the event. As a result of their generosity, the Society’s outreach efforts have expanded. The additional funding has an important impact on our programming, and this year we hope to surpass last year’s goal in order to further enhance our exhibitions, public programs, and education initiatives. 

We are proud to offer individual sponsorship opportunities at the following levels:
$5,000 - Clio’s Circle
$2,500 - Patrons of the Muse
$1,000 - Friends of the Muse   

For more information about becoming a sponsor, please contact Carol Knauff at cknauff@masshist.org or 617-646-0554.

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Teacher Workshop Painless: A Survival Guide to the Dreaded History Project 8 November 2014.Saturday, 9:00AM - 2:30PM this event is free Co-Sponsored by the National Archives at Boston

This free hands-on workshop provides teachers and students with strategies for creating amazing history projects! Using the broad theme of “Leadership & Legacy” as a springboard, you’ll explore how to approach primary source research through a range of historical documents related to the antislavery movement, including letters, diaries, songs, petitions, and government records.

Activities will model research skills such as:

  • collecting evidence
  • analyzing information
  • drawing conclusions
  • assembling your findings into an historical narrative
  • designing a history project as a paper, website, exhibit, documentary, or performance

By applying National History Day methodologies, the “dreaded” history project is transformed into the creation of imaginative, engaging, and meaningful history experiences.

To Register: Contact the MHS Education Department at education@masshist.org or 617-646-0557.

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MHS Tour Canceled:
The History and Collections of the MHS
8 November 2014.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM this event is free

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, "Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country: Massachusetts Women in World War I."

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Building Closed Veterans Day 11 November 2014.Tuesday, all day

The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed on Veterans Day. 

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Brown Bag Making the Self-Made American: The Original Meanings and Purposes of America’s Public Schools 12 November 2014.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM this event is free Johann Neem, Western Washington University and the University of Virginia

In Making the Self-Made American, Professor Neem seeks to answer a simple question: why, in the age of individualism, did so many parents, taxpayers, and policymakers invest significant resources to build and to support public school systems? The answer is deceptively simple: new ideas about democracy and freedom combined with the economic imperative of “making it” in a free market economy. In other words, engaging in self-making was difficult and challenging and people had to prepare for it. Failure, both spiritual and economic, was a very real possibility. Public schools thus provided what young people needed to face the world. In short, American individualism required collective effort.

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Public Program, Author Talk Forgotten Drinks of Colonial New England 14 November 2014.Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM this event is free Corin Hirsch

Colonial New England was awash in ales, beers, wines, cider and spirits. Everyone from teenage farmworkers to our founding fathers imbibed heartily and often. Tipples at breakfast, lunch, teatime and dinner were the norm, and low-alcohol hard cider was sometimes even a part of children’s lives. This burgeoning cocktail culture reflected the New World’s abundance of raw materials: apples, sugar and molasses, wild berries and hops. This plentiful drinking sustained a slew of smoky taverns and inns—watering holes that became vital meeting places and the nexuses of unrest as the Revolution brewed. New England food and drinks writer Corin Hirsch explores the origins and taste of the favorite potations of early Americans and offers some modern-day recipes to revive them today.

Corin Hirsch is an award-winning food and drinks writer at Seven Days, the alt-weekly in Burlington, Vermont. She learned to pull a pint of Schlitz (for her grandfather) at the age of six, and she used to tend bar inside a sixteenth-century English pub. She has written about craft beer for Serious Eats and also ghost-blogs and writes in the wine world. This is her first book.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 15 November 2014.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM this event is free

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, "Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country: Massachusetts Women in World War I."

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Public Program The Better Angels with John Stauffer 16 November 2014.Sunday, 1:30PM - 3:30PM Event at Landmark Theaters Kendall Square (355 Binney Street, One Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA 02139) Commentary and discussion by John Stauffer following film

The Better AngelsSpecial screening of The Better Angels, a film about Abraham Lincoln's childhood followed by a discussion led by Professor John Stauffer of Harvard University. 

This is a story of the youth of one of America’s greatest heroes, Abraham Lincoln. Spanning nearly three years in the wilderness of Indiana, it tells of the hardships that shaped him, the tragedy that marked him forever and the two women who guided him to immortality.

Tom Lincoln leads his wife and children, Sally and Abe from Kentucky to the new state of Indiana. Abe, 10, is a quiet boy; gentle and intelligent. He knows happiness for a time until his mother is infected and dies from a mysterious illness. Abe, Sally and their cousin Dennis are left under the care of Tom, a callous disciplinarian.

When Tom leaves to find a new wife, the children are abandoned in the wilderness during a harsh winter. Abe must protect his siblings from wild animals, cold and hunger. Weeks pass before Tom’s return. He brings a new mother, Sarah. Having pledged his love solely to his late mother, Abe resists Sarah as she strives to win him over.

Recognizing Abe’s insatiable appetite for knowledge, Sarah takes up the challenge of schooling him and raising him as if he was her own. Sarah proves unyielding in her tenderness, love and devotion to Abe and his family. He learns to accept her, seeing that, in her he has regained his lost mother and a loving parent who inspires him forever. This understanding frees him to journey onward to the destiny that awaits him. He would later in life call her his “angel mother.”

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Public Program, Author Talk Decoding Roger Williams: The Lost Essay of Rhode Island's Founding Father 17 November 2014.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP   registration required Linford D. Fisher, Brown University and J. Stanley Lemons, Rhode Island College

In the margins of a curious seventeenth century book at the John Carter Brown Library is a mysterious handwritten code, long suspected to be the work of Roger Williams, the seventeenth century theologian and founder of Rhode Island. In the spring of 2012, an interdisciplinary team of undergraduates, with support from faculty members, was able to crack this code, revealing a brand new essay by Roger Williams. Come peer into the mind of Roger Williams through the presentations by Linford D. Fisher (Brown University) and J. Stanley Lemons (Rhode Island College), who will discuss what this new essay tells us about Williams. Copies of their new book, Decoding Roger Williams (2014), co-authored with Lucas Mason-Brown, will also be available for purchase.

There is a $10 fee (no charge for Fellows and Members). Please call 617-646-0560 or click here to register.

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Environmental History Seminar The Ravages of Teredo: The Historical Impacts of Marine Wood-Boring Worms on American Society, Geography, and Culture, 1865-1930 18 November 2014.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
Derek Lee Nelson, University of New Hampshire Comment: Robert Martello, Olin College of Engineering

In an episode of history largely forgotten today, teredo, or shipworm, caused millions of dollars’ worth of damage in American ports by destroying the structural integrity of wharves and ships. Even more startling was the extent to which the wood-boring mollusk invaded the American consciousness through congressional reports, newspapers, and popular culture from the coast deep into America’s heartland. This paper contributes to the history of the “littoral,” or coastal, environment.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 22 November 2014.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM this event is free

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, "Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country: Massachusetts Women in World War I."

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Brown Bag “Gratuitous Distribution”: Distributing African American Antislavery Texts, 1773-1850 24 November 2014.Monday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM this event is free Nathan Jérémie-Brink, Loyola University Chicago

This project highlights the diverse distribution strategies employed by authors, editors, and publishers of African American antislavery texts. Against slavery and pervasive racial discrimination in the early American republic, individuals and communities developed creative methods--private and public, personal and institutional, formal and informal, legal and illegal--to distribute antislavery imprints and the work of black authors and editors. Close reading and material investigations elucidate the alternative practices and activist networks that moved these texts and eventually shaped the broader abolitionist movement.

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Immigration and Urban History Seminar "Greetings from the Levee!": Labor and Leisure on the Streets and Docks of Postbellum New Orleans 25 November 2014.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
Theresa McCulla, Harvard University Lynnell Thomas, University of Massachusetts - Boston

This essay examines the histories of labor and leisure among the New Orleanian working poor and the white tourists who came to observe them, and underscores the constructed nature of the city’s food and culture industries. The paper also excavates the origins of longstanding racial distinctions between those who produced and those who consumed in the New South.

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Building Closed Thanksgiving Day 27 November 2014.Thursday, all day

The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed on Thanksgiving Day.

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Notice Exhibition Galleries Open 28 November 2014.Friday, all day close
Library Closed Thanksgiving 28 November 2014.Friday, all day

The MHS library is closed for Thanksgiving.  The exhibition galleries are open 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Friday, 28 November and Saturday, 29 November.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 29 November 2014.Saturday, 10:00AM - 12:00PM this event is free

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, "Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country: Massachusetts Women in World War I."

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Notice Exhibition Galleries Open 29 November 2014.Saturday, all day close
Library Closed Thanksgiving 29 November 2014.Saturday, all day

The MHS library is closed for Thanksgiving.  The exhibition galleries are open 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Friday, 28 November and Saturday, 29 November.

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Early American History Seminar Threads that Bind: Irish Linens, Immigration, and the Consumer Atlantic World 2 December 2014.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
Kristin Condotta, Tulane University Comment: Marla R. Miller, University of Massachusetts - Amherst

This paper traces early Irish immigration to the Americas through the Irish linen trade. It considers how the American desire to imitate Europeans and the immigrants’ wish to feel comfortable in their new homes intersected to ease Irish cultural transitions abroad. It will also consider the ways in which transatlantic consumerisms prepared travelers for movement around the Atlantic world.

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Brown Bag Denominating a People: Congregational Laity, Church Disestablishment, and the Struggles of Denominationalism in Massachusetts, 1780-1865 3 December 2014.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM this event is free Seth Meehan, Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies, Boston College

Local sources of church history—historical societies, libraries, town halls, and church basements and vaults—reveal a new half to Congregational historiography. Within the churches themselves power shifted to the pews and the laity and clergy fractured. There was no small degree of chaos, and it inhibited Congregationalists from denominating themselves from other groups and from articulating what was the unity in their diversity. Using a comparative approach focusing on Barnstable and Berkshire counties, this program will interest Congregational scholars and other historians alike.

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Member Event, Special Event MHS Fellows and Members Holiday Party 3 December 2014.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM Please RSVP   registration required at no cost This event is open only to MHS Fellows and Members. Cogswell snow scene

MHS Fellows and Members are invited to celebrate the season at the Society’s annual holiday party. Enjoy festive music, holiday cheer, and the annual tradition of reading the anti-Christmas laws.

Become a Member today!

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History of Women and Gender Seminar "One’s Own Branch of the Human Race": Frances Watkins Harper, Anna Dickinson, and Frederick Douglass 4 December 2014.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
Sharon Hartman Strom, University of Rhode Island Comment: Julie Winch, University of Massachusetts - Boston

Sharon Hartman Strom taught U.S. Social History and Women’s Studies courses at the University of Rhode Island from 1969 to 2011 and is the author of Political Woman: Florence Luscomb and the Legacy of Radical Reform, and Beyond the Typewriter: Gender, Class and the Origins of Modern Office Work. She is completing a manuscript entitled Fame, Fortune and Desire: Public and Private Lives of the Nineteenth Century.

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Library Closed Library Closing @ 3:45 PM 5 December 2014.Friday, all day close
MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 6 December 2014.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM this event is free

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, "Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country: Massachusetts Women in World War I."

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Public Program Making History: King Philip's War in Documents & Artifacts 8 December 2014.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP  this event is free Facilitator: Bruce J. Schulman, Boston University

Students of the Boston University course "Making History" discuss the MHS exhibit on King Philip's War they have researched and compiled. The semester-long project on the bloody conflict between English colonists and Native Americans includes work on letters and diaries, sermons, early printed books, and objects from the war.

Bruce J. Schulman is the William E. Huntington Professor and Chair of the History Department at Boston University. His teaching and research concentrate on the history of the modern United States, particularly on the relationships between politics and broader cultural change. Schulman is currently at work on a volume for the Oxford History of the United States covering the years 1896-1929. He lives with his family in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Image: Bowl attributed to the Wampanoag. Elm burl, 1655-1675. Massachusetts Historical Society .

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Environmental History Seminar Water Rights in the American Southwest 9 December 2014.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
Steven Rudnick, University of Massachusetts - Boston Comment: Megan Kate Nelson, author of Ruin Nation: Destruction and the American Civil War

This paper will primarily consider legal entanglements over water rights in the Southwest, which have been developing since the 1920s and continue to reshape the use and abuse of water in New Mexico. Local contests between Pueblo and Navajo rights and those claimed by the descendants of the Spanish also play a role in this narrative.

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Public Program, Author Talk Race to the Top of the World: Richard Byrd & the First Flight to the North Pole 11 December 2014.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP   registration required Pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Sheldon Bart

Race to the Top of the World book coverOne hundred years ago—then as now—the eyes of the industrialized world were on the Arctic. It was widely held in this era that a new, uncharted continent would be found in the Arctic Ocean. Scientific treatises “proved” its existence. As aviation developed, the mythical land became endowed with commercial value and strategic importance. This was the context in which Richard Byrd (1888-1957) emerged as an explorer—an international quest for a mythic grail. His rivals included Roald Amundsen, Lincoln Ellsworth, and Hubert Wilkins.

The Arctic was considered as remote as outer space in the 1920s, and aerial exploits north of the Arctic Circle attracted a tremendous amount of attention. The New York Times called the race “the greatest story of the year.” The sensationalism, however, has never ended. Byrd’s flight to the North Pole has been bitterly disputed for the better part of a century, and almost every part of his early life and career has become controversial. Author Sheldon Bart offers compelling new evidence and new revelations to substantiate his thesis that the controversies still swirling around Admiral Byrd—including the legitimacy of his flight to the North Pole—are based on incomplete research, distortion, and superficial assessment.

Writer-explorer Sheldon Bart is a member of the Board of Governors of the American Polar Society and president and founder of Wilderness Research Foundation (WRF), a not-for-profit organization seeking to create more opportunities for scientific exploration beyond the limited regime of government funding. He organized and led the 1996 American Expedition to Baffin Island in the Canadian Eastern Arctic and was project manager of the 2010 WRF Antarctic Peninsula field program. Sheldon has lectured at the National Archives, the Explorers Club, the Virginia Historical Society, the National Museum of the U.S. Navy, the Geographical Society of Philadelphia, the Elisha Kent Kane Historical Society, Hunter College of the City University of New York, and the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University. He is a senior associate at LAPA Fundraising, a consulting firm based in New York City, and has published fiction and nonfiction. He is currently working on a novel based on his own polar adventures.

There is a $10 fee (no charge for Fellows and Members). Please call 617- 646-0560 or click here to register.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 13 December 2014.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM this event is free

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, "Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country: Massachusetts Women in World War I."

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 20 December 2014.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM this event is free

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, "Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country: Massachusetts Women in World War I."

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Building Closed Christmas Eve 24 December 2014.Wednesday, all day

The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed on 24 & 25 December.

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Building Closed Christmas Day 25 December 2014.Thursday, all day

The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed on Christmas Day.

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Notice Exhibition Galleries Open 26 December 2014.Friday, all day

The MHS exhibition galleries are open from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

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Library Closed Library Closed 26 December 2014.Friday, all day

The MHS library is closed.  The exhibition galleries are open 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

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Notice Exhibition Galleries Open 27 December 2014.Saturday, all day

The MHS exhibition galleries are open from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

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Library Closed Library Closed 27 December 2014.Saturday, all day

The MHS library is closed.  The exhibition galleries are open 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

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Notice Exhibition Galleries Open 29 December 2014.Monday, all day

The MHS exhibition galleries are open from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

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Library Closed Library Closed 29 December 2014.Monday, all day

The MHS library is closed.  The exhibition galleries are open 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

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Notice Exhibition Galleries Open 30 December 2014.Tuesday, all day

The MHS exhibition galleries are open from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

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Library Closed Library Closed 30 December 2014.Tuesday, all day

The MHS library is closed.  The exhibition galleries are open 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

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Building Closed New Years Eve 31 December 2014.Wednesday, all day

The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed on New Years Eve.

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Building Closed New Years Day 1 January 2015.Thursday, all day

The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed on New Years Day.

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Notice Exhibition Galleries Open 2 January 2015.Friday, all day close
Library Closed Library Closed 2 January 2015.Friday, all day close
Notice Exhibition Galleries Open 3 January 2015.Saturday, all day close
Library Closed Library Closed 3 January 2015.Saturday, all day close
Public Program Over There: The Boys Who Went to Fight and the Women Who Endured 7 January 2015.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM 6:00 pm program with 5:30 reception $10 fee (no charge for Fellows and Members) Please call 617-646-0578 to register

“Over There:  The Boys Who Went to Fight and the Women Who Endured.”In the last weeks that the Massachusetts Historical Society is displaying the WWI exhibition “Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country,” we will host two events that explore the cultural and musical history of the time. The first program will be an approximately 70 minute program of songs telling the story of the U.S.’s involvement in WWI and its effects on the women, men and children.  Starting from before the U.S. entered the war until after the war when the “boys came home”, the program will feature some of the most popular songs of the era including “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary”, “Till We Meet Again”, “Oh How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning”, “Over There” and “How Ya Gonna Keep ‘Em Down on the Farm.”

Benjamin Sears & Bradford Conner have been called “Boston’s favorite song duo” by the Boston Globe, and “the delightful cabaret team” by the Boston Phoenix.  Recipients of IRNE (Independent Reviewers of New England) and LIP (Life in Provincetown) awards, they have performed as a duo since 1989, carrying on the great cabaret tradition of “the song, the singer, and the pianist”.  They are noted recording artists with a discography which features many previously unrecorded songs by Irving Berlin, the Gershwins, and E.Y. Harburg. 

Cynthia Mork, mezzo-soprano, is a performer of classical repertoire, American popular song and jazz, appearing around greater Boston and New England in a variety of concerts, recitals, operas, and other engagements. A vocal student of soprano Sue Ellen Kuzma for over ten years, she studied vocal performance as an undergraduate and was a student of tenor Jon Humphrey.  She currently resides with her husband and son in Bedford, MA.

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Exhibition The Father of His Country Returns to Boston, October 24, 1789 9 January 2015.Friday, 10:00AM - 4:00PM this event is free Open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM George Washington portrait by Gullager

Two hundred twenty-five years ago, during his first year in office, President George Washington embarked on a month-long tour of New England. Young John Quincy Adams observed the great excitement of people everywhere:

At the present moment they indulge themselves in sentiments of joy, arising/resulting . . . from the gratification of their affection in beholding personally among them, the friend, the benefactor, the father of his Country.

In Boston the president was met by a great procession that paraded beneath a triumphal arch designed by Charles Bulfinch. The MHS holds six portraits of Washington, including a life study by Christian Gullager painted during the New England tour.

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Environmental History Seminar The Rise and Fall of the Texas Longhorn 13 January 2015.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
Joshua Specht, Harvard University Beth LaDow, author of The Medicine Line: Life and Death on a North American Borderland

This essay will highlight the relationship between the Texas Longhorn and the evolution of the cattle ranching industry, and explore the linkages between economic systems and the biology of domesticated animals. It will also investigate how popular beliefs about cattle ranching and the West solidified the centrality of beef in the American diet, and serve as a meditation on environmental and business history.

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Biography Seminar Biography, the Visual Artist, and the Story Behind Public Art 15 January 2015.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
Belinda Rathbone, Jane Kamensky, and Ruth Butler Moderator: Carol Bundy

Carol Bundy will moderate this session, which will include panelists Belinda Rathbone (The Boston Raphael), Jane Kamensky (Copley: A Life in Color, forthcoming), and Ruth Butler (Rodin: The Shape of a Genius).

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Public Program Here Comes America-WWI Performance by the Boston Saxophone Quartet 21 January 2015.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please call 617-646-0578 to register Pre-talk reception at 5:30pm $10 fee (no charge for Fellows and Members)

Boston Saxophone QuartetThe Boston Saxophone Quartet, a unique blend of musicians combining a range of repertoire, will perform a selection of songs taking the audience through the musical landscape of World War One. This will include selections of music from both sides of the Atlantic before the war, songs that show the changing attitudes of Americans to the war, patriotic songs, and finally songs reflecting on the impact of the war. After all, “How Ya Gonna Keep 'em Down on the Farm After They've Seen Paree”? Members of the BSQ have performed with the Boston Pops and Boston Symphony Orchestra and leading Broadway theaters throughout New England.

  • Most of Tom Ferrante's performing career has been in the orchestras of the Colonial, Wang and Schubert Theaters of Boston. Other credits include membership in the Herb Pomeroy Jazz Orchestra, The Viola Premier Saxophone Quartet, and the Greg Hopkins Big Band.  A former Director of Bands for Waltham (MA) High School, Tom has been featured jazz clarinet soloist with the Boston Pops Orchestra for the past twenty seasons.
  • As an accomplished woodwind doubler on oboe, English horn, flute, saxophone, and clarinet,  Rod Ferland can often be heard and seen in the orchestra pit of Boston's Wang, Shubert and Colonial Theaters performing for Broadway productions.  Rod has also performed with the Boston Lyric Opera, the Boston Pops, Boston Symphony Orchestra and the North Shore Music Theater.  He was a former faculty member at Berklee College of Music.
  • Bob Bowlby is an active woodwind doubler and a Theater pit musician at Boston's Colonial, Wang, Shubert, Opera House and NSMT in Beverly.  He has been Lead alto with Buddy Rich, Frank Sinatra, Artie Shaw Orch and plays with the Boston Pops. Currently, he is a member of John Allmark Jazz Orchestra.
  • Sharing a dual performing career as an instrumentalist and conductor, Peter Cokkinias has conducted the Boston Ballet, Boston Pops, Springfield Symphony (MA), and the Atlantic Sinfonietta (NY).  He has performed with the Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Ballet, and Cincinnati, Hartford, Pittsburgh, and Boston Symphony Orchestras.  Presently, Dr. Cokkinias is Music Director/Conductor of the Metrowest Symphony Orchestra (MA) since 1979,  Professor at Berklee College of Music and is a woodwind doubler at the North Shore Music Theater in Beverly (MA) and Colonial and Wang Theaters in Boston (MA) and PPAC in Providence (RI).
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Exhibition Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country: Massachusetts Women in the First World War 24 January 2015.Saturday, 10:00AM - 4:00PM this event is free Open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM Hall at Ecury

To commemorate the centennial of the outbreak of World War I, the MHS has organized the exhibition Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country: Massachusetts Women in the First World War focusing on two of the hundreds of women from the Commonwealth who went to France as members of the U.S. armed forces, the Red Cross, and other war relief organizations.

From the Society’s extraordinary collection of women’s recollections, this exhibition features photographs, letters, diaries, and memorabilia related to Margaret Hall and Eleanor (Nora) Saltonstall, Red Cross volunteers in France. The exhibition will highlight Hall’s large-format photographs of the battlefront on loan from the Cohasset Historical Society. Both women were keen observers of the climactic months of the war and depicted what they witnessed in vivid detail.

The exhibition celebrates the forthcoming MHS publication Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country: The World War I Memoir of Margaret Hall.

You can view all of the photographs from Margaret Hall's memoir on our companion website.

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Teacher Workshop, Public Program John & Abigail: A Life in Letters 24 January 2015.Saturday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM registration required Co-Sponsored by the Abigail Adams Historical Society

Immerse yourself in the lives of John & Abigail Adams! This hands-on workshop will (re)introduce participants to the famous couple and their rich correspondence. What can these letters tell us about life in the late eighteenth century? Over the course of two Saturdays in January we will explore topics such education, women’s rights, and the challenges John and Abigail faced as a young family living through a revolution. Participants will have the opportunity to view treasures from the Society’s collections and tour the Abigail Adams Birthplace in Weymouth. This program is open to all K-12 educators, as well as history enthusiasts. Teachers can earn 10 PDPs.

Fee: $50 per person

For more information: contact the education department at education@masshist.org or 617-646-0557.

To register: complete this registration form, or contact the education department at education@masshist.org or 617-646-0557.

Program Highlights

Saturday, January 24 at the Massachusetts Historical Society

  • Analyze documents from the 1770s and 1780s. What, according to Abigail, was “the decisive day… on which the fate of America depends”? Did John “Remember the Ladies”?
  • View original Adams manuscripts from the Society's collections.
  • Try your hand at transcribing eighteenth-century Adams letters and diaries.

Saturday, January 31 at the Abigail Adams Birthplace

  • Tour the Abigail Adams Birthplace
  • Discover and discuss the historical, cultural, and ethical role of women in early America.
  • Explore the relationships forged between Thomas Jefferson and different members of the Adams family.

Watercolor, circa 1800; birthplace of Abigail (Smith) Adams

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Immigration and Urban History Seminar Interpreters in Ellis Island: A Tool for Americanization, 1892-1954 27 January 2015.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
Maria Aguilar-Solano, University of Massachusetts - Boston Emma Teng, MIT

Through the narrative of existing interviews with Fiorello LaGuardia, personal letters of Ludmila Foxlee, and immigration literature, this paper will examine the role of interpreters in Ellis Island and the institutionalization of these interpreters as tools for assimilation into American culture.

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Author Talk, Public Program The Adams Series - Program One: The Remarkable Education of John Quincy Adams 29 January 2015.Thursday, all day 6:00 pm program with 5:30 reception Phyllis Lee Levin, independent author $10 fee (no charge for Fellows and Members) Please call 617-646-0578 to register

The Remarkable Education of John Quincy Adams A patriot by birth, John Quincy Adams’s destiny was foreordained. He was not only “The Greatest Traveler of His Age,” but a gifted linguist and diplomat. His world encompassed the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the early and late Napoleonic Age. As an adolescent, he met everyone who was anyone in Europe, including America’s own luminaries, Franklin and Jefferson. Coming back to America he was determined to make his own career, but was soon embarked, at Washington’s appointment, on work aboard. At 50, he returned to America to serve as Secretary of State to President Monroe. He was inaugurated President in 1824, after which he served as a stirring defender of the slaves of the Amistad rebellion and as a member of the House of Representatives from 1831 until his death in 1848. In The Remarkable Education of John Quincy Adams, Phyllis Lee Levin provides the deeply researched and beautifully written definitive story of the intellectual development of one of the most fascinating and towering early Americans.

Phyllis Lee Levin is the author of several books including Abigail Adams and Edith and Woodrow. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, she has been a reporter, editor, and columnist for The New York Times. As writer and editor at Vogue she wrote a profile of Patricia Nixon whom she interviewed at the White House. She lives in Manhattan. 

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