The Beehive: the official blog of the Massachusetts Historical Society

This Week @ MHS

We have a busy week here at the Society with several public events on tap. First up, on Tuesday, 14 January, is an Environmental History Seminar featuring Edward D. Melillo of Amherst College. “Out of the Blue: Nantucket and the Pacific World” builds upon insights from environmental history, migration studies, and cultural geography to argue that certain historical groups of displayed a rooted cosmopolitanism, which develops through sustained encounters with the peoples and environments of far-away places. Through whaling, Nantucket mariners came to know a distant ocean and its inhabitants in was that were often more refined and subtle than many contemporaneous understandings of the Pacific World. Nancy Shoemaker, University of Connecticut, provides comment. Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required. Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers. The seminar begins at 5:15PM.

On Wednesday, 15 January, stop by at noon for a Brown Bag lunch talk with Dylan Yeats, New York University, presenting “Americanizing America: Yankee Civilization and the U.S. State.” With research at the Massachusetts Historical Society and the Boston Athenaeum, Yeats is charting the evolution of what he terms the Yankee Network, comprising academic, educational, missionary, and social reform organizations, and the ways in which this network sought to harness those organs of the state that it could over the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Brown Bag discussions are free and open to the public.

Also on Wednesday, MHS Associate Members (age 40 and under) are invited to an evening social with the Young Friends of Historic New England. Guests will gather at the MHS for a reception followed by a scavenger hunt based on “The Cabinetmaker & the Carver” exhibition. For more information, please call 617-646-0543 or e-mail And speaking of the current furniture exhibition, if you have not seen it yet then you are running out of time! The exhibition ends on Friday, January 17. Make sure you come in sometime this week between 10:00AM and 4:00PM to catch a rare glimpse of these Massachusetts-made pieces from private collections which span four centuries.

Finally, on Thursday, 16 January, there is another seminar, this time from the Biography series. “When Subjects Talk Back: Oral History, Contemporary Biography, and the Runaway Interview” will feature a conversation with Joyce Antler, Professor of American Studies at Brandeis, who is currently writing a book on Jewish women active in the feminist movement; Claire Potter, Professor of History at the New School, who is writing on anti-pornography efforts in the 1980s; and Ted Widmer of Brown University, senior advisor to former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. The moderator for the discussion is Carol Bundy, author of “The Nature of Sacrifice: A Biography of Charles Russell Lowell, Jr., 1835-64.” The talk begins at 5:30PM and is open to the public. Be sure to RSVP for this program by emailing or phoning 617-646-0568.

Please note that the Society is closed on Monday, 20 January, in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Normal hours will resume on Tuesday, 21 January.

permalink | Published: Monday, 13 January, 2014, 1:16 PM