May

Early American History Seminar "All Manner of Slavery Servitude Labour Service Bondage and Hire": Varieties of Indian and African Unfreedom in Colonial New England and Jamaica 5 May 2015.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Linford Fisher, Brown University Comment: Jennifer Anderson, SUNY - Stonybrook New England and Jamaica seemed worlds apart during the colonial period, on the surface at least. But ...

New England and Jamaica seemed worlds apart during the colonial period, on the surface at least. But is it possible that there was more than meets the eye? This paper investigates varying ways that people of color labored in Jamaica and New England, and how these unfree circumstances changed over time.

details
Brown Bag Slave Horse: The Narragansett Pacer 6 May 2015.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Charlotte Carrington-Farmer, Roger Williams University This project uses horses and the horse trade as a lens to explore a range of connections among ...

This project uses horses and the horse trade as a lens to explore a range of connections among people, colonies, and nations in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Part of a larger book project on horses throughout the Atlantic World, it focuses specifically on the Narragansett Pacer, a mixture of Dutch, Irish, and English breeds that was bred in Rhode Island for a wider global market. As such, it was entwined with slavery and the transatlantic slave trade. The first truly “American” horse, the Pacer was extinct by the nineteenth century.

details
MHS Tour History and the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society 9 May 2015.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, "God Save the People!” which explores events leading up to the American Revolution. 

details
Utopian Settlements Series Public Program, Author Talk Puritan Paradise: Eden in Massachusetts Bay & Beyond 13 May 2015.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   6:00 program with 5:30 reception Zachary Hutchins, Assistant Professor of English – Colorado State University Utopian Settlements SeriesProgram 1 Thomas More’s Utopia was inspired ...

Utopian Settlements Series
Program 1

Thomas More’s Utopia was inspired by paradisiacal descriptions of the New World, and associations between Eden and the Americas persisted throughout the colonial period. Many of the immigrants arriving in New England during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries looked to the biblical garden of Adam and Eve as a pattern of the ideal society they wished to build. Religiously-minded colonists modeled the English language after the Adamic tongue, cited Genesis during debates over natural law, and looked to the prelapsarian Eve as a physiological ideal. A belief in Eden’s historicity and the future return of paradisiacal conditions inspired Quakers to disrobe in public and led to the first judicial decision abolishing slavery in United States history. New England settlers striving to invent Eden’s perfections anew shaped American history and culture in lasting ways; their visions of paradise linger in the theology of prophets from Robert Matthews to Joseph Smith and in the enduring myth of the “self-made man.”

Zach Hutchins is Assistant Professor of English at Colorado State University, where he teaches courses on early American literature and culture. His talk will draw on research recently published in his first book, Inventing Eden: Primitivism, Millennialism, and the Making of New England (Oxford UP; 2014). Hutchins is also the author of a dozen essays that have appeared in journals such as The New England Quarterly, ELH, Shakespeare, and Early American Literature. A New England native, he returns to Massachusetts regularly to wield a clamshell hoe in the garden of his aged parents, the last two surviving Puritans. 


Utopian Settlements Series

New Englanders have a long tradition of separating from society and trying to create a more perfect world. From the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Yankees have dreamed of a better world and tried to make it real. This series will explore the history of three utopian settlements that started in our backyard. Puritan Paradise with Zachary Hutchins is the first program in the series. Mr. Ripley's Utopia with Peter Drummey will take place on Wednesday, 20 May. Fruitlands with Jan Turnquist will take place on Wednesday, 27 May. We are thankful to the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) for its support of this series.

details
MHS Tour History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society 16 May 2015.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, "God Save the People!” which explores events leading up to the American Revolution. 

details
Early American History Seminar Panel Discussion: Slavery in Early Massachusetts 19 May 2015.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Barbara A. Mathews, Historic Deerfield, and Gloria McCahon Whiting, Harvard University Maria A. Bollettino, Framingham State University This session will consider two papers. “‘Is this where Titus lived?’ Researching ...

This session will consider two papers. “‘Is this where Titus lived?’ Researching and Interpreting African-American Presence in 18th-Century Rural New England,” by Barbara A. Mathews, and “The Body of Liberties and Bodies in Bondage: Dorcas the Blackmore, Dorchester’s First Church, and the Legalization of Slavery in the Anglo-Atlantic World,” by Gloria McCahon Whiting.

Mathews’s paper draws on a remarkable cache of documentation preserved by early antiquarians of Deerfield, Massachusetts. It discusses the preliminary results of research into slavery in the 18th-century town, focusing on the ways in which slavery was inextricably bound up in the social, economic, and political web that defined a closely-knit rural community. Drawing on the work of Joanne Pope Melish, it also explores the broader implications of this history and its preservation even as Deerfielders in company with other New Englanders disassociated themselves in the decades before and after the Civil War from the region’s slave-holding history.

Whiting’s paper contextualizes the lived experience of one of the Bay Colony’s first African slaves to argue that slavery was bound up with democracy in the colony’s early years; that race shaped servitude from the colony’s founding; that Puritan religion provided slaves with unique opportunities for family building; that family was linked to freedom for the region’s early blacks; that Africans were building kin networks—and whites were recognizing them—from the first decades of Puritan settlement; and that the histories of whites and blacks, of powerful men and their polyglot households, and of law and social relations are inextricably linked.

details
Utopian Settlements Series Public Program, Walking Tour Mr. Ripley’s Utopia 20 May 2015.Wednesday, 5:30PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   Lecture and tour at Brook Farm (670 Baker Street in West Roxbury, entrance shared with the Gardens at Gethsemane) Peter Drummey from MHS and DCR Staff Utopian Settlements SeriesProgram 2 Brook Farm, the utopian community established ...

Utopian Settlements Series
Program 2

Brook Farm, the utopian community established by George and Sophia Ripley in West Roxbury, lasted only from 1841 to 1847, but it became the country’s most celebrated experiment in Transcendentalism as a social movement. By opening the benefits of education and the profits of labor to all, the Brook Farm Association sought to prepare a society of liberal, intelligent, and cultivated men and women, whose relations with each other would permit a simple and wholesome life, apart from the competitive pressures found beyond the boundaries of the Farm. 

Peter Drummey, the Historical Society’s Stephen T. Riley Librarian (and a volunteer during the archaeological investigation of Brook Farm), will lead a discussion of what Brook Farmers attempted, what they accomplished, and why they failed as well as describing the manuscript records of the Association held by MHS.  This talk will be followed by a DCR tour of Brook Farm, led by DCR staff. We will explore the quiet woodlands and wetlands that inspired the likes of Nathaniel Hawthorne and George Ripley. 


Utopian Settlements Series

New Englanders have a long tradition of separating from society and trying to create a more perfect world. From the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Yankees have dreamed of a better world and tried to make it real. This series will explore the history of three utopian settlements that started in our backyard. The final program in the series, Fruitlands with Jan Turnquist, will take place on Wednesday, 27 May. We are thankful to the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) for its support of this series.

details
Library Closed Memorial Day 23 May 2015.Saturday, all day The MHS library is closed. 

The MHS library is closed. 

details
Library Closed Memorial Day 25 May 2015.Monday, all day The MHS library is closed. 

The MHS library is closed. 

details
Brown Bag Purity and Power: The American Sugar Empire in the Gilded Age 27 May 2015.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM David Singerman, MIT In the late nineteenth century, American dreams of empire were built on sugar. The Bostonian sugar ...

In the late nineteenth century, American dreams of empire were built on sugar. The Bostonian sugar magnate Edwin Atkins, a key architect of that empire, owned New England refineries, Atlantic shipping lines, and Cuban plantations. By following Atkins’s machinations from the White House to the customs house, we can see how U.S. attempts to govern labor and nature overseas were linked to the most contentious issues of Gilded Age political economy: corruption, free trade, and monopoly power.

details
Utopian Settlements Series Public Program, Conversation Fruitlands 27 May 2015.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   6:00 program with 5:30 reception Jan Turnquist, Executive Director of Orchard House Utopian Settlements SeriesProgram 3 Jan Turnquist, Executive Director of Orchard ...

Utopian Settlements Series
Program 3

Jan Turnquist, Executive Director of Orchard House, the Alcott family home in Concord will give a living history presentation of Louisa May Alcott. Looking back on her time at Fruitlands, the author of Little Women will give us the behind the scenes stories from her life: family friendships with Thoreau and Emerson; her unconventional upbringing in poverty; and the family love that inspired her to write an American classic. From the youngest reader to the most sophisticated Alcott scholar, audiences have acclaimed Turnquist’s performances. The interactive presentation is an inspiring experience is open to all ages. 


Utopian Settlements Series

New Englanders have a long tradition of separating from society and trying to create a more perfect world. From the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Yankees have dreamed of a better world and tried to make it real. This series will explore the history of three utopian settlements that started in our backyard. Fruitlands with Jan Turnquist is the final program in the series. We are thankful to the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) for its support of this series.

details
Member Event, Special Event The Court and the World with Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer 28 May 2015.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM This event is SOLD OUT. If you would like to put your name on the waiting list, please call 617-646-0518. MHS Fellows and ...

If you would like to put your name on the waiting list, please call 617-646-0518.

MHS Fellows and Members are invited to a special event with Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

5:30 pm: Reception
6:30 pm: Remarks by Justice Stephen Breyer

This event is open only to MHS Fellows and Members. Become a Member today!

details
MHS Tour History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society 30 May 2015.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, "God Save the People!” which explores events leading up to the American Revolution. 

details
June
Brown Bag The Invention of Rum 3 June 2015.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Jordan Smith, Georgetown University This project investigates the history of rum in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In ...

This project investigates the history of rum in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In particular, it examines the processes of invention, commodification, innovation, and transformation that defined the spirit's production in the West Indies, North America, and Britain. Ultimately, rum—and the knowledge necessary for its production—was pioneered by a complex cast of free and coerced workers operating in various parts of the British Atlantic world.

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Public Program, Author Talk, Conversation How Community Activism Made the New Boston Better 3 June 2015.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   There will be a 5:30 reception before the 6:00 pm program Jim Vrabel, independent author $10 fee (no charge for Fellows and Members) Author and activist, Jim Vrabel will facilitate a conversation among history makers. The discussion ...

Author and activist, Jim Vrabel will facilitate a conversation among history makers. The discussion will focus on the role that protests, demonstrations, and increased civic involvement by residents in the 1960s and 1970s played in the physical, economic, and social improvements made to the city during and since that time – in areas like urban renewal, community development, transportation, civil rights, school and welfare reform, employment, and service delivery. The discussion will explore reasons for the rise in community activism in that era and the state of activism today. Vrabel will provide a brief overview of Boston in the 1950s and list some of the various activist movements of the 1960s and 1970s. He will invite a panel of community activists featured in his book; A People’s History of the New Boston and ask each to reflect on his or her own experience.

Jim Vrabel is a former newspaper reporter, longtime community activist, local historian, and city official. He is also author of the recently released A People’s History of the New Boston, When in Boston: A Timeline & Almanac, and Homage to Henry: A Dramatization of John Berryman’s “The Dream Songs.”

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Public Program Boston Historical Societies 10 June 2015.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP   Reception Although Boston does not have a city historical society, it has a wealth of neighborhood ...

Although Boston does not have a city historical society, it has a wealth of neighborhood organizations. From the North End to the South End and from Brighton to Dorchester, Bostonians are steeped in local history and proud of their neighborhood’s identity. The Massachusetts Historical Society is pleased to invite representatives of local organizations for a chance to mingle and tell their neighbors about the great projects they have started or recent accomplishments.

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Special Event MHS Fellows Annual Meeting & Reception 24 June 2015.Wednesday, 5:00PM - 7:00PM This event is open only to MHS Fellows. MHS Fellows are invited to the Society's annual business meeting. A reception will follow the ...

MHS Fellows are invited to the Society's annual business meeting. A reception will follow the meeting.

Please call 617-646-0572 with any questions.

details
July
Library Closed, Galleries Open 4th of July 3 July 2015.Friday, all day The MHS Library will be closed all day.  Galleries will be open from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

The MHS Library will be closed all day.  Galleries will be open from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

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Building Closed 4th of July 4 July 2015.Saturday, all day The MHS Library and Galleries will be closed all day.  

The MHS Library and Galleries will be closed all day.  

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Teacher Workshop, Public Programbegins Perspectives on the Boston Massacre 7 July 2015.Tuesday, 8:30AM - 3:00AM Please RSVP   On the evening of March 5, 1770, a confrontation between British soldiers and a boisterous crowd in ...

On the evening of March 5, 1770, a confrontation between British soldiers and a boisterous crowd in front of the Custom House on King Street in Boston turned deadly. Five men were killed and nine soldiers were tried for their murder. Why and how did this confrontation come to pass? In the days after the event, the men who lost their lives became martyrs for the Patriot cause, and propagandists labeled the event a “massacre.” Using letters, depositions, newspapers, and engravings, we will explore how participants, onlookers, residents, authorities, and outsiders made meaning of the “massacre” and its aftermath. Participants will have an opportunity to view original documents and artifacts from MHS collections, and take a walking tour of downtown Boston and the Old State House Museum. Educators can earn 22.5 PDPs, as well as 1 graduate credit (for an additional $75).

Fee: $35 per person

To Register / For more information: complete this registration form, or contact the education department at education@masshist.org or 617-646-0557.

Program Highlights

  • Tour the Old State House and other sites associated with the Boston Massacre.
  • View original documents and artifacts of the pre-Revolutionary era from the Society’s collections.
  • Discuss with historians the various perspectives on the Massacre, the role of propaganda in the conflict, and public memory of the event.

This program is funded in part by the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati.

details
Teacher Workshop, Public Programends Perspectives on the Boston Massacre 9 July 2015.Thursday, 8:30AM - 3:00AM Please RSVP   On the evening of March 5, 1770, a confrontation between British soldiers and a boisterous crowd in ...

On the evening of March 5, 1770, a confrontation between British soldiers and a boisterous crowd in front of the Custom House on King Street in Boston turned deadly. Five men were killed and nine soldiers were tried for their murder. Why and how did this confrontation come to pass? In the days after the event, the men who lost their lives became martyrs for the Patriot cause, and propagandists labeled the event a “massacre.” Using letters, depositions, newspapers, and engravings, we will explore how participants, onlookers, residents, authorities, and outsiders made meaning of the “massacre” and its aftermath. Participants will have an opportunity to view original documents and artifacts from MHS collections, and take a walking tour of downtown Boston and the Old State House Museum. Educators can earn 22.5 PDPs, as well as 1 graduate credit (for an additional $75).

Fee: $35 per person

To Register / For more information: complete this registration form, or contact the education department at education@masshist.org or 617-646-0557.

Program Highlights

  • Tour the Old State House and other sites associated with the Boston Massacre.
  • View original documents and artifacts of the pre-Revolutionary era from the Society’s collections.
  • Discuss with historians the various perspectives on the Massacre, the role of propaganda in the conflict, and public memory of the event.

This program is funded in part by the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati.

details
Adams Family Series Teacher Workshop, Public Programbegins Abigail & John: A Life in Letters 14 July 2015.Tuesday, 9:00AM - 3:00PM Please RSVP   Meet John and Abigail Adams! Our hands-on workshop will introduce participants to this famous couple ...

Meet John and Abigail Adams! Our hands-on workshop will introduce participants to this famous couple and their rich correspondence. What can these letters tell us about life in the late eighteenth century, especially those connected to the creation of the United States? We will analyze primary sources related to topics such as 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. Educators can earn 22.5 PDPs, as well as 1 graduate credit (for an additional $75).

Fee: $125 per person

Schedule:

July 14 @ the Massachusetts Historical Society

  • Learn more about John and Abigail Adams and their connections to the American Revolution.
  • View original Adams documents and artifacts from the Society's collections.
  • Try your hand at transcribing eighteenth-century Adams letters and diaries.

July 15 -- Reading Day on your own

July 16 @ the Abigail Adams Birthplace

  • Explore treasures from the collections of the Abigail Adams Historical Society.
  • Tour the Abigail Adams Birthplace
  • Analyze documents from the 1770s and 1780s, and explore the relationships forged between Thomas Jefferson and different members of the Adams family.

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

To register: visit The Education Cooperative website: http://www.tec-coop.org/sites/default/files/PD-Sum15-AbigailandJohn.pdf 

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

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Adams Family Series Teacher Workshop, Public Programends Abigail & John: A Life in Letters 16 July 2015.Thursday, 9:00AM - 3:00PM Please RSVP   Meet John and Abigail Adams! Our hands-on workshop will introduce participants to this famous couple ...

Meet John and Abigail Adams! Our hands-on workshop will introduce participants to this famous couple and their rich correspondence. What can these letters tell us about life in the late eighteenth century, especially those connected to the creation of the United States? We will analyze primary sources related to topics such as 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. Educators can earn 22.5 PDPs, as well as 1 graduate credit (for an additional $75).

Fee: $125 per person

Schedule:

July 14 @ the Massachusetts Historical Society

  • Learn more about John and Abigail Adams and their connections to the American Revolution.
  • View original Adams documents and artifacts from the Society's collections.
  • Try your hand at transcribing eighteenth-century Adams letters and diaries.

July 15 -- Reading Day on your own

July 16 @ the Abigail Adams Birthplace

  • Explore treasures from the collections of the Abigail Adams Historical Society.
  • Tour the Abigail Adams Birthplace
  • Analyze documents from the 1770s and 1780s, and explore the relationships forged between Thomas Jefferson and different members of the Adams family.

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

To register: visit The Education Cooperative website: http://www.tec-coop.org/sites/default/files/PD-Sum15-AbigailandJohn.pdf 

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

details
More events
Early American History Seminar "All Manner of Slavery Servitude Labour Service Bondage and Hire": Varieties of Indian and African Unfreedom in Colonial New England and Jamaica 5 May 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.
Linford Fisher, Brown University Comment: Jennifer Anderson, SUNY - Stonybrook

New England and Jamaica seemed worlds apart during the colonial period, on the surface at least. But is it possible that there was more than meets the eye? This paper investigates varying ways that people of color labored in Jamaica and New England, and how these unfree circumstances changed over time.

close
Brown Bag Slave Horse: The Narragansett Pacer 6 May 2015.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM this event is free Charlotte Carrington-Farmer, Roger Williams University

This project uses horses and the horse trade as a lens to explore a range of connections among people, colonies, and nations in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Part of a larger book project on horses throughout the Atlantic World, it focuses specifically on the Narragansett Pacer, a mixture of Dutch, Irish, and English breeds that was bred in Rhode Island for a wider global market. As such, it was entwined with slavery and the transatlantic slave trade. The first truly “American” horse, the Pacer was extinct by the nineteenth century.

close
MHS Tour History and the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society 9 May 2015.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, "God Save the People!” which explores events leading up to the American Revolution. 

close
Public Program, Author Talk Puritan Paradise: Eden in Massachusetts Bay & Beyond 13 May 2015.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   registration required at no cost 6:00 program with 5:30 reception Zachary Hutchins, Assistant Professor of English – Colorado State University Utopian Settlements Series

Utopian Settlements Series
Program 1

Thomas More’s Utopia was inspired by paradisiacal descriptions of the New World, and associations between Eden and the Americas persisted throughout the colonial period. Many of the immigrants arriving in New England during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries looked to the biblical garden of Adam and Eve as a pattern of the ideal society they wished to build. Religiously-minded colonists modeled the English language after the Adamic tongue, cited Genesis during debates over natural law, and looked to the prelapsarian Eve as a physiological ideal. A belief in Eden’s historicity and the future return of paradisiacal conditions inspired Quakers to disrobe in public and led to the first judicial decision abolishing slavery in United States history. New England settlers striving to invent Eden’s perfections anew shaped American history and culture in lasting ways; their visions of paradise linger in the theology of prophets from Robert Matthews to Joseph Smith and in the enduring myth of the “self-made man.”

Zach Hutchins is Assistant Professor of English at Colorado State University, where he teaches courses on early American literature and culture. His talk will draw on research recently published in his first book, Inventing Eden: Primitivism, Millennialism, and the Making of New England (Oxford UP; 2014). Hutchins is also the author of a dozen essays that have appeared in journals such as The New England Quarterly, ELH, Shakespeare, and Early American Literature. A New England native, he returns to Massachusetts regularly to wield a clamshell hoe in the garden of his aged parents, the last two surviving Puritans. 


Utopian Settlements Series

New Englanders have a long tradition of separating from society and trying to create a more perfect world. From the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Yankees have dreamed of a better world and tried to make it real. This series will explore the history of three utopian settlements that started in our backyard. Puritan Paradise with Zachary Hutchins is the first program in the series. Mr. Ripley's Utopia with Peter Drummey will take place on Wednesday, 20 May. Fruitlands with Jan Turnquist will take place on Wednesday, 27 May. We are thankful to the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) for its support of this series.

close
MHS Tour History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society 16 May 2015.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, "God Save the People!” which explores events leading up to the American Revolution. 

close
Early American History Seminar Panel Discussion: Slavery in Early Massachusetts 19 May 2015.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM this event is free Barbara A. Mathews, Historic Deerfield, and Gloria McCahon Whiting, Harvard University Maria A. Bollettino, Framingham State University

This session will consider two papers. “‘Is this where Titus lived?’ Researching and Interpreting African-American Presence in 18th-Century Rural New England,” by Barbara A. Mathews, and “The Body of Liberties and Bodies in Bondage: Dorcas the Blackmore, Dorchester’s First Church, and the Legalization of Slavery in the Anglo-Atlantic World,” by Gloria McCahon Whiting.

Mathews’s paper draws on a remarkable cache of documentation preserved by early antiquarians of Deerfield, Massachusetts. It discusses the preliminary results of research into slavery in the 18th-century town, focusing on the ways in which slavery was inextricably bound up in the social, economic, and political web that defined a closely-knit rural community. Drawing on the work of Joanne Pope Melish, it also explores the broader implications of this history and its preservation even as Deerfielders in company with other New Englanders disassociated themselves in the decades before and after the Civil War from the region’s slave-holding history.

Whiting’s paper contextualizes the lived experience of one of the Bay Colony’s first African slaves to argue that slavery was bound up with democracy in the colony’s early years; that race shaped servitude from the colony’s founding; that Puritan religion provided slaves with unique opportunities for family building; that family was linked to freedom for the region’s early blacks; that Africans were building kin networks—and whites were recognizing them—from the first decades of Puritan settlement; and that the histories of whites and blacks, of powerful men and their polyglot households, and of law and social relations are inextricably linked.

close
Public Program, Walking Tour Mr. Ripley’s Utopia 20 May 2015.Wednesday, 5:30PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   registration required at no cost Lecture and tour at Brook Farm (670 Baker Street in West Roxbury, entrance shared with the Gardens at Gethsemane) Peter Drummey from MHS and DCR Staff Utopian Settlements Series

Utopian Settlements Series
Program 2

Brook Farm, the utopian community established by George and Sophia Ripley in West Roxbury, lasted only from 1841 to 1847, but it became the country’s most celebrated experiment in Transcendentalism as a social movement. By opening the benefits of education and the profits of labor to all, the Brook Farm Association sought to prepare a society of liberal, intelligent, and cultivated men and women, whose relations with each other would permit a simple and wholesome life, apart from the competitive pressures found beyond the boundaries of the Farm. 

Peter Drummey, the Historical Society’s Stephen T. Riley Librarian (and a volunteer during the archaeological investigation of Brook Farm), will lead a discussion of what Brook Farmers attempted, what they accomplished, and why they failed as well as describing the manuscript records of the Association held by MHS.  This talk will be followed by a DCR tour of Brook Farm, led by DCR staff. We will explore the quiet woodlands and wetlands that inspired the likes of Nathaniel Hawthorne and George Ripley. 


Utopian Settlements Series

New Englanders have a long tradition of separating from society and trying to create a more perfect world. From the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Yankees have dreamed of a better world and tried to make it real. This series will explore the history of three utopian settlements that started in our backyard. The final program in the series, Fruitlands with Jan Turnquist, will take place on Wednesday, 27 May. We are thankful to the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) for its support of this series.

close
Library Closed Memorial Day 23 May 2015.Saturday, all day

The MHS library is closed. 

close
Library Closed Memorial Day 25 May 2015.Monday, all day

The MHS library is closed. 

close
Brown Bag Purity and Power: The American Sugar Empire in the Gilded Age 27 May 2015.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM this event is free David Singerman, MIT

In the late nineteenth century, American dreams of empire were built on sugar. The Bostonian sugar magnate Edwin Atkins, a key architect of that empire, owned New England refineries, Atlantic shipping lines, and Cuban plantations. By following Atkins’s machinations from the White House to the customs house, we can see how U.S. attempts to govern labor and nature overseas were linked to the most contentious issues of Gilded Age political economy: corruption, free trade, and monopoly power.

close
Public Program, Conversation Fruitlands 27 May 2015.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   registration required at no cost 6:00 program with 5:30 reception Jan Turnquist, Executive Director of Orchard House Utopian Settlements Series

Utopian Settlements Series
Program 3

Jan Turnquist, Executive Director of Orchard House, the Alcott family home in Concord will give a living history presentation of Louisa May Alcott. Looking back on her time at Fruitlands, the author of Little Women will give us the behind the scenes stories from her life: family friendships with Thoreau and Emerson; her unconventional upbringing in poverty; and the family love that inspired her to write an American classic. From the youngest reader to the most sophisticated Alcott scholar, audiences have acclaimed Turnquist’s performances. The interactive presentation is an inspiring experience is open to all ages. 


Utopian Settlements Series

New Englanders have a long tradition of separating from society and trying to create a more perfect world. From the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Yankees have dreamed of a better world and tried to make it real. This series will explore the history of three utopian settlements that started in our backyard. Fruitlands with Jan Turnquist is the final program in the series. We are thankful to the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) for its support of this series.

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Member Event, Special Event The Court and the World with Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer 28 May 2015.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM registration required at no cost This event is SOLD OUT.

If you would like to put your name on the waiting list, please call 617-646-0518.

MHS Fellows and Members are invited to a special event with Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

5:30 pm: Reception
6:30 pm: Remarks by Justice Stephen Breyer

This event is open only to MHS Fellows and Members. Become a Member today!

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MHS Tour History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society 30 May 2015.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, "God Save the People!” which explores events leading up to the American Revolution. 

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Brown Bag The Invention of Rum 3 June 2015.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM this event is free Jordan Smith, Georgetown University

This project investigates the history of rum in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In particular, it examines the processes of invention, commodification, innovation, and transformation that defined the spirit's production in the West Indies, North America, and Britain. Ultimately, rum—and the knowledge necessary for its production—was pioneered by a complex cast of free and coerced workers operating in various parts of the British Atlantic world.

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Public Program, Author Talk, Conversation How Community Activism Made the New Boston Better 3 June 2015.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   registration required There will be a 5:30 reception before the 6:00 pm program Jim Vrabel, independent author $10 fee (no charge for Fellows and Members)

Author and activist, Jim Vrabel will facilitate a conversation among history makers. The discussion will focus on the role that protests, demonstrations, and increased civic involvement by residents in the 1960s and 1970s played in the physical, economic, and social improvements made to the city during and since that time – in areas like urban renewal, community development, transportation, civil rights, school and welfare reform, employment, and service delivery. The discussion will explore reasons for the rise in community activism in that era and the state of activism today. Vrabel will provide a brief overview of Boston in the 1950s and list some of the various activist movements of the 1960s and 1970s. He will invite a panel of community activists featured in his book; A People’s History of the New Boston and ask each to reflect on his or her own experience.

Jim Vrabel is a former newspaper reporter, longtime community activist, local historian, and city official. He is also author of the recently released A People’s History of the New Boston, When in Boston: A Timeline & Almanac, and Homage to Henry: A Dramatization of John Berryman’s “The Dream Songs.”

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Public Program Boston Historical Societies 10 June 2015.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP   registration required at no cost Reception

Although Boston does not have a city historical society, it has a wealth of neighborhood organizations. From the North End to the South End and from Brighton to Dorchester, Bostonians are steeped in local history and proud of their neighborhood’s identity. The Massachusetts Historical Society is pleased to invite representatives of local organizations for a chance to mingle and tell their neighbors about the great projects they have started or recent accomplishments.

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Special Event MHS Fellows Annual Meeting & Reception 24 June 2015.Wednesday, 5:00PM - 7:00PM registration required at no cost This event is open only to MHS Fellows.

MHS Fellows are invited to the Society's annual business meeting. A reception will follow the meeting.

Please call 617-646-0572 with any questions.

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Library Closed, Galleries Open 4th of July 3 July 2015.Friday, all day

The MHS Library will be closed all day.  Galleries will be open from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

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Building Closed 4th of July 4 July 2015.Saturday, all day

The MHS Library and Galleries will be closed all day.  

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Teacher Workshop, Public Program Perspectives on the Boston Massacre 7 July 2015 to 9 July 2015 Please RSVP   registration required

On the evening of March 5, 1770, a confrontation between British soldiers and a boisterous crowd in front of the Custom House on King Street in Boston turned deadly. Five men were killed and nine soldiers were tried for their murder. Why and how did this confrontation come to pass? In the days after the event, the men who lost their lives became martyrs for the Patriot cause, and propagandists labeled the event a “massacre.” Using letters, depositions, newspapers, and engravings, we will explore how participants, onlookers, residents, authorities, and outsiders made meaning of the “massacre” and its aftermath. Participants will have an opportunity to view original documents and artifacts from MHS collections, and take a walking tour of downtown Boston and the Old State House Museum. Educators can earn 22.5 PDPs, as well as 1 graduate credit (for an additional $75).

Fee: $35 per person

To Register / For more information: complete this registration form, or contact the education department at education@masshist.org or 617-646-0557.

Program Highlights

  • Tour the Old State House and other sites associated with the Boston Massacre.
  • View original documents and artifacts of the pre-Revolutionary era from the Society’s collections.
  • Discuss with historians the various perspectives on the Massacre, the role of propaganda in the conflict, and public memory of the event.

This program is funded in part by the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati.

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Teacher Workshop, Public Program Abigail & John: A Life in Letters 14 July 2015 to 16 July 2015 Please RSVP   registration required Adams Family Series

Meet John and Abigail Adams! Our hands-on workshop will introduce participants to this famous couple and their rich correspondence. What can these letters tell us about life in the late eighteenth century, especially those connected to the creation of the United States? We will analyze primary sources related to topics such as 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. Educators can earn 22.5 PDPs, as well as 1 graduate credit (for an additional $75).

Fee: $125 per person

Schedule:

July 14 @ the Massachusetts Historical Society

  • Learn more about John and Abigail Adams and their connections to the American Revolution.
  • View original Adams documents and artifacts from the Society's collections.
  • Try your hand at transcribing eighteenth-century Adams letters and diaries.

July 15 -- Reading Day on your own

July 16 @ the Abigail Adams Birthplace

  • Explore treasures from the collections of the Abigail Adams Historical Society.
  • Tour the Abigail Adams Birthplace
  • Analyze documents from the 1770s and 1780s, and explore the relationships forged between Thomas Jefferson and different members of the Adams family.

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

To register: visit The Education Cooperative website: http://www.tec-coop.org/sites/default/files/PD-Sum15-AbigailandJohn.pdf 

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

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