This Week @ MHS
This is the final week of the year with events here at the Society. Here is what is on tap.
On Monday, 8 December, there is a special public program presented by students from Boston University. "Making History: King Philip's War in Documents & Artifacts" is the culmination of a semester-long project on the bloody conflict between English colonists and Native Americans, using letters and diaries, sermons, early printed books, and objects from the war. The event begins at 6:00PM and is free and open to the public. Please RSVP.
Then, on Tuesday, 9 December, come by at 5:15PM for the next installment of the Environmental History seminar series. "Water Rights in the American Southwest" is presented by Steven Rudnick of UMass - Boston with author Megan Kate Nelson (Ruin Nation: Destruction and the American Civil War) providing comment. Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required. Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
And on Thursday, 11 December, there is a special author talk starting at 6:00PM. Writer-explorer Sheldon Bart presents "Race to the Top of the World: Richarc Byrd & the First Flight to the North Pole," and will discuss his recent book of the same name. This talk is open to the public, registration required. There is a $10 fee (no charge for Fellows and Members). Please call 617- 646-0560 or click here to register. Pre-talk reception begins at 5:30PM.
Last but not least, on Saturday, 13 December, come by for a free tour beginning at 10:00AM. The History and Collections of the MHS is a 90-minute docent-led walk through our public rooms. The tour is free and 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 firstname.lastname@example.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."
We hope to see you one last time before the new year!
| Published: Sunday, 7 December, 2014, 10:00 AM
This Week @ MHS
By Dan Hinchen
After a long weekend to be thankful for we have a heavy list of events this week at the Society. First, stop by Tuesday evening, 2 December, for "Threads that Bind: Irish Linens, Immigration, and the Consumer Atlantic World." This installment of the Early American History Seminar is presented by Kristin Condotta of Tulane University with Marla R. Miller, UMass - Amherst, providing comment. The program is free and open to the public; RSVP required. Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers. The talk begins at 5:15PM.
On Wednesday, pack a lunch and stop by at noon for a Brown Bag talk that begins at noon and is presented by Seth Meehan of the Insitute for Advanced Jesuit Studies, Boston College. "Denominating a People: Congregational Laity, Church Disestablishment, and the Struggles of Denominationalism in Massachusetts, 1780-1865" is free and open to the public.
And on Wednesday evening, beginning at 6:00PM is the MHS Felllows and Members Holiday Party. Members and Fellows who wish to attend, please RSVP. This event is open only to MHS Fellows and Members.
Thursday evening, 4 December, features the second seminar of the week, this time from the department of the History of Women and Gender. "One's Own Branch of the Human Race: Frances Watkins Harper, Anna Dickinson, and Frederick Douglass" is presented by Sharon Hartman Strom, University of Rhode Island, with Julie Winch, UMass - Boston, providing comment. The seminar begins at 5:30PM and is free and open to the public, RSVP required. Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
Finally, come by on Saturday, 6 December, for a free tour. "The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society" is a 90-minute docent-led walk through our public rooms. The tour is free and open to the public with no need for reservations. If you would like to bring a larger party (8 or more), please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or email@example.com.
While you're here you will also have the opportunity to view our current exhibitions, "Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country: Massachusetts Women in World War I" and "The Father of His Country Returns to Boston, October 24, 1789."
| Published: Sunday, 30 November, 2014, 10:00 AM
Thanksgiving in London
By Amanda A. Mathews, Adams Papers
On October 3, 1789, President George Washington issued a proclamation, calling for November 26 of that year to be celebrated as a day of thanksgiving by the whole nation now independent and united under a new Constitution. Exactly 74 years later, President Abraham Lincoln, seeing the nation embroiled in a bitter, devastating, and deadly Civil War, recognized that there was still much to be grateful for as “the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”
Charles Francis Adams was one of those Americans sojourning in foreign lands as the United States minister to Great Britain. Invited by a group of Americans living in London to attend a Thanksgiving Day celebration and give a toast to President Lincoln, the dinner opened with a reading of Lincoln’s proclamation. No devotee of the president, Adams noted that the proclamation was “very good, and...therefore never emanated from Mr Lincoln’s pen.” In his diary, Adams summarized his toast and feelings on the honoree:
“The press here had sneered at the notion of a thanksgiving in the midst of a desolating civil war. I thought it a good opportunity, whilst avoiding the topic of victories over our fellow countrymen which necessarily take a shade of sadness, to explain more exclusively the causes of rejoicing we had in the restoration of a healthy national solidity in the government since the announcement of the President’s term. I went over each particular in turn. The result is to give much credit to Mr Lincoln as an organizing mind, perhaps more than individually he may deserve. But with us the President as the responsible head takes the whole credit of successful efforts. It certainly looks now as if he would close his term with the honor of having raised up and confirmed the government, which at his accession had been shaken all to pieces. And this a raw, inexperienced hand has done in the face of difficulties that might well appall the most practised statesman! What a curious thing is History! The real men in this struggle have been Messr [William] Seward and [Salmon] Chase. Yet the will of the President has not been without its effect even though not always judiciously exerted.”
Shown here is the program for that Thanksgiving Day celebration. Since 1863, Americans around the world have stopped in late November each year for a day of joy and thanksgiving with friends and family, as we will tomorrow. Wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving!
| Published: Thursday, 27 November, 2014, 1:00 AM
This Week @ MHS
Before the long holiday weekend ahead we have two events at the Society this week. On Monday, 24 November, join us for a Brown Bag lunch talk given by Nathan Jérémie-Brink, Loyola University Chicago. "'Gratuitous Distribution': Distributing African American Antislavery Texts, 1773-1850" is free and open to the public and begins at noon. And on Tuesday, 25 November, we have the next installment in our Immigration and Urban History Seminar series. Stop by at 5:15PM for "'Greetings from the Levee!': Labor and Leisure on the Streets and Docks of Postbellum New Orleans." This talk is presented by Theresa McCulla of Harvard University with Lynnell Thomas, UMass-Boston, providing comment. Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required. Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
Please note that the Society is closed on Thursday, 27 November, for Thanksgiving. The library is also closed on Friday and Saturday, 28 and 29 November. The exhibition galleries are open on Friday and Saturday, 28 and 29 November. Take a break from battling the shopping crowds and come in for some history! There is also a free tour taking place on Saturday, 29 November, at 10:00AM.
| Published: Sunday, 23 November, 2014, 12:00 PM
Stephen Greenleaf Bulfinch Diary, Post 38
The following excerpt is from the diary of Stephen Greenleaf Bulfinch.
Sunday, Nov. 6th
In public affairs, I record the startling discoveries of election fraud in New York, & of a conspiracy against the gov’t in Indiana. Next Tuesday decides the election of President; - & my preference is for Mr. Lincoln, alike from personal approval, - as he is identified with the cause I believe to be right, and as I think that a change of system now would delay, instead of advancing, the return of peace.
Wednesday Nov. 16th
The election decided by a very great majority in favor of Mr. Lincoln, & the magnanimous & Christian manner in which he has expressed himself thereon, - are makers of history. There was a very [-elty] illumination here in honor of the result. Last news is of Sherman’s leaving Atlanta, supposed for Savannah & Charleston. At present there is going on in Boston a great ‘Sailors’ Fair,’ for the establ. of a naval hospital; My girls have attended, - through kindness of Uncles T. & H. & we propose to see some more of its wonders.
Sunday, Nov. 27th
Public attention is now fixed on the daring march of Sherman through the interior of Georgia - & the recent capture of the Florida in the waters of Brazil, with the danger of misunderstanding with that power. Hope dawns, but we fear lest we hope too much.
| Published: Friday, 21 November, 2014, 1:00 AM