The Beehive: the official blog of the Massachusetts Historical Society

This Week @ MHS

Looking for some midday academic fulfilment this week? Then look no further. We have a couple of free lunchtime talks on the schedule this week at the Society, as well as a free tour and a free exhibition. Open to the public Monday - Saturday, 10:00AM-4:00PM, "Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country: Massachusetts Women in WWI" focuses on two of the hundreds of women from Massachusetts who went to France as members of the U.S. armed forces, the Red Cross, and other war relief organizations. This exhibit commemorates the centennial of the outbreak of World War I in 1914. 

On Monday, 4 August, join us for a Brown Bag lunch talk beginning at noon. "The Labor of Self-Making in New Engand Mill Women's Poetry," is presented by Robin Smith, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Through her research into poems and prose pieces written by women mill workers for publication in literary magazines such as the Lowell Offering, Smith argues that writing poetry was an important means of humanizing potentially dehumanizing labor for mill women. The rhythms of poetry helped them to reclaim control of time and, in so doing, made space for fortifying their creative, coherent selves. This talk is free and open to the public. 

And on Wednesday, 6 August, there is another Brown Bag talk, also beginning at noon. This time, Frank Cirillo of the University of Virginia presents "'The Day of Sainthood Has Passed': American Abolitionists and the Golden Moment of the Civil War, 1861-1865." With this project, Cirillo explores divisions among American abolitionists over whether or not to support the Lincoln Administration and the Union war effort during the Civil War. The choices that longtime reformers made in confronting the changed landscape of wartime America, and the series of schisms within the movement that ensued, helps to explain how the Union war achieved both so much and so little in terms of black social and political rights. Pack a lunch and please join us for the talk!

On Saturday, 9 August, come by at 10:00AM for a free tour. The History and Collections of the MHS is a 90 minute, docent-led tour that explores all of the public spaces in the Society's Boylston St. home and touches on the history, collections, art, and architecture of the MHS. The tour is free and open to the public. No reservation is required for individuals or small groups. Parties of 8 or more should contact the MHS prior to attending a tour. For more information please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or

What was it like to live in a town that had existed for years (if not a full century or more) before becoming part of a new nation in 1776? Designed for educators and local history enthusiasts, this workshop will explore some of the social, cultural, economic, and political concerns expressed in New England towns as the United States was attempting to form a new government in the 1780s and 1790s. We will discuss the truly participatory, well-informed conversations taking place in town halls and meeting places throughout the new colonies-turned-states. By turning an eye towards local politics and events we will rediscover the ways in which “ordinary people” contributed to America’s creation story. "Old Towns/New Country: The First Years of a New Nation" is a two-day teacher workshop that is open to the public. This week's two-day session takes place in Searsport, Maine. Addition two-day workshops will be held in Falmouth, Massacuhsetts (13-14 August) and in Framingham, Massachusetts (26-27 September). To Register: Please complete this registration form and send it with your payment to: Kathleen Barker, Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02215


permalink | Published: Sunday, 3 August, 2014, 12:00 PM