The Beehive: the official blog of the Massachusetts Historical Society

Beehive series: MHS in the News

Paul Revere's Ride

A recent news story has resulted in renewed interest in Paul Revere’s famous ride to Lexington, Massachusetts on the night of 18 April 1775.  Within our collections the MHS holds three accounts of the evening’s events, all written by Revere.  Two of the accounts are a draft and fair copy of a deposition likely prepared for the Provisional Congress in 1775, shortly after the events occurred. The third document is a letter written by Revere to Jeremy Belknap, founder of the MHS, circa 1798, in which Revere offers a detailed description and some reflection on the evening’s events. 

Paul Revere's deposition, draft, circa 1775

Paul Revere's deposition, fair copy, circa 1775

Letter from Paul Revere to Jeremy Belknap, circa 1798 

In addition to the documents listed above the MHS holds a large collection of Revere family papers – spanning several generations – which is available to researchers in our reading room.  A guide to the collection is available here.

comments: 1 | permalink | Published: Monday, 6 June, 2011, 10:00 AM

2010 National Humanities Medals Awarded

Earlier this month, President Barack Obama presented the 2010 National Humanities Medals to ten individuals honored for their outstanding achievements in history, literature, education, and cultural policy. We offer our congratulations to the five MHS Fellows to be honored:

  • - MHS Trustee Bernard Bailyn for illuminating the nation’s early history and pioneering the field of Atlantic history;
  • - Daniel Aaron for his contributions to American literature and culture;
  • - Jacques Barzun for his distinguished career as a scholar, educator, and public intellectual;
  • - Stanley Nider Katz for a career devoted to fostering public support for the humanities; and
  • - Gordon S. Wood for scholarship that provides insight into the founding of the nation and the drafting of the U.S. Constitution.

comments: 0 | permalink | Published: Wednesday, 23 March, 2011, 1:59 PM

Digital Collections Highlighted

The MHS was among several Boston-area repositories featured in Sam Allis' Saturday Boston Globe article "Historic collections meet the 21st century." Allis highlights HIstoric New England's new online collections database, and also reports on digitization efforts at the Boston Public Library, the American Antiquarian Society, and the Boston Athenaeum.

Among our digital projects mentioned by Allis are our presentations of Thomas Jefferson's manuscript of "Notes on the State of Virginia" (you can also view Jefferson's book catalogues, farm and garden books, a copy of the Declaration of Independence in his hand, and many of his architectural drawings on our Thomas Jefferson Papers website) and our forthcoming digital collection of materials relating to the Siege of Boston during the Revolutionary War.

For the Adams Family Papers (which amount to some 300,000 manuscript pages in all) we host several different types of digital collection. The diaries and autobiography of John Adams, plus the correspondence between John and Abigail Adams (nearly 1,200 letters) are available in digital facsimile with transcriptions through the Adams Family Papers Electronic Archive. The diaries of John Quincy Adams (some 14,000 pages) are presented in digital facsimile, searchable or browsable by date (and JQA's line-a-day diaries are currently being broadcast via Twitter, after which the transcriptions are added to the digital facsimile pages). And thirty-two volumes of the published Adams Papers are freely available as annotated transcriptions as part of the Adams Papers Digital Editions.

But our digital collections go far beyond the Adamses and Jefferson. You can browse the full list of our digital offerings here, but among the collections launched (fairly) recently are our Coming of the Revolution site, which features an interactive timeline of documents covering the period 1764-1776; African Americans and the End of Slavery in Massachusetts, a collection of 117 manuscript and printed documents from our collections including letters and poems by Phillis Wheatley and our (unique) copy of Samuel Sewall's anti-slavery pamphlet The Selling of Joseph. If maps are more your style, check out Massachusetts Maps, a selection of 104 maps (mostly unique manuscripts) from our collections. Or there's the ever-popular MHS Highlights Gallery, where you can see many of the most popular and striking visual items housed at the Society.

We hope you enjoy our digital collections, and always welcome feedback about them. Just email, and I'll pass them along.

comments: 0 | permalink | Published: Monday, 23 August, 2010, 8:52 AM

Bentley Receives ANA Presidential Award

Anne Bentley, our Curator of Art, was presented with a Presidential Award by the American Numismatic Association, meeting in Boston this week.

The plaque below the medal (pictured at left) reads: "Thank you for your outstanding contributions to our hobby community."

With John W. Adams, Anne is the curator of our current exhibit, "Precious Metals: From Au to Zn," which you can view Monday-Saturday, 1-4 p.m. here at the Society through 2 October.

Anne was feeling far too modest this morning to comment on her award, but she said "Come see the show. We've got some great items on display, and you'll have a chance to learn some interesting things about your history."

We're so proud of you, Anne - congratulations on this well-deserved honor!

comments: 1 | permalink | Published: Friday, 13 August, 2010, 9:20 AM

It's Pronounced HOW?

MHS Librarian Peter Drummey put his Boston pronunciation skills on the line in a recent column by Billy Palumbo over the "right" way to say "Tremont" (as in the name of the street). It's an amusing look at some of Boston's linguistic shibboleths, what they mean, and what they say about us.

Tremont is one of the more interesting Boston words, but there are so many others to choose from. My personal favorite is Faneuil, which I think I've heard said at least ten different ways.

Do you have a favorite Boston pronunciation? Or is there one that just drives you up the wall whenever you hear it? Is there one so egregiously wrong that you would stop someone on the street and correct them? Feel free to chime in in the Comments section!

comments: 0 | permalink | Published: Tuesday, 20 July, 2010, 9:36 AM

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