Calendar of Events

Exhibition

Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country

Massachusetts Women in WWI. 12 June 2014 to 24 January 2015

Details

August

Brown Bag Ten Years of Winter: The Cold Decade and Environmental Consciousness in the Early 19th Century 22 August 2014.Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Sean Munger, University of Oregon Between 1810 and 1820, a series of volcanic eruptions around the world caused a temporary global ...

Between 1810 and 1820, a series of volcanic eruptions around the world caused a temporary global climate change with dramatic effects, the most famous of them being the "Year Without Summer" (1816). This research attempts to understand how people in the English-speaking world understood and evaluated these anomalies, and what their reactions tell us about the state of scientific thinking, environmental consciousness, and how their worlds—both global and local—were constructed.

details
MHS Tour MHS Tour: The History and Collections of the MHS 23 August 2014.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, the tour ...

Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, the tour touches on the history and collections of the MHS and lasts approximately 90 minutes.

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 abentley@masshist.org.

Free and open to the public.

details
Building Closed Labor Day 30 August 2014.Saturday, all day The MHS library and galleries will be closed Labor Day weekend.

The MHS library and galleries will be closed Labor Day weekend.

details
September
Building Closed Labor Day 1 September 2014.Monday, all day The MHS library and galleries will be closed Labor Day weekend.

The MHS library and galleries will be closed Labor Day weekend.

details
Notice Library Hours Changing: No Tuesday evening hours 2 September 2014.Tuesday, all day Beginning 2 September 2014 the MHS library will no longer be open on Tuesday evenings. The new ...

Beginning 2 September 2014 the MHS library will no longer be open on Tuesday evenings. The new library hours will be:

9:00 AM - 4:45 PM Mon. - Fri.
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM Sat.

details
Brown Bag Unspeakable Loss: North America’s Invisible Throat Distemper Epidemic of 1735–1765 3 September 2014.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Nicholas Bonneau, University of Notre Dame While the New England throat distemper epidemic never achieved the notoriety acquired by other more ...

While the New England throat distemper epidemic never achieved the notoriety acquired by other more notorious diseases of the colonial era, no single epidemic of that period proved more deadly to European settlers. This project asks why this epidemic escaped comment by contemporaries and past historians while raising interpretive questions informing our larger views of change, the priority of documentation, and the role of memory. 

details
Immigration and Urban History Seminar The Importance of Place and Place-makers in the Life of a Los Angeles Community: What Gentrification Erases from Echo Park, 1950s-Present 23 September 2014.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Natalia Molina, University of California - San Diego Comment: Judith Smith, University of Massachusetts - Boston This talk examines a Los Angeles neighborhood, Echo Park, and discusses its history, shaped by its ...

This talk examines a Los Angeles neighborhood, Echo Park, and discusses its history, shaped by its Leftist, Communist, and gay residents.  Beginning in the 1950s and 60s, this neighborhood’s history of progressive politics left a legacy for a wave of Mexican immigrants, allowing them to create a community that reached across social boundaries. The paper looks at Echo Park today to examine this gentrifying area and ask what the role of history is in the neighborhood’s evolving identity.

details
Teacher Workshop, Public Programbegins Old Towns/New Country: The First Years of a New Nation 26 September 2014.Friday, 8:30AM - 3:30PM What was it like to live in a town that had existed for years (if not a full century or more) before ...

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.

Participants will have the opportunity to:

  • investigate what it was like to live in an old town in a new country and discover what changed for the inhabitants of different towns as new government structures were implemented.
  • discuss the concerns (both local and national) expressed by Massachusetts & New Hampshire residents in various towns while the American government was being created in the years after the revolution.
  • explore the ways in which geography, economy, and social/cultural practices influenced local concerns.
  • discover evidence of local concerns, and discussions of national policies, in primary sources held by local repositories and the Massachusetts Historical Society.
  •  explore new ways of engaging students and local communities in their history.

There is a $25 charge to cover lunches both days; program and material costs have been generously funded by the Richard Saltonstall Charitable Foundation. Educators can earn 14 PDPs and 1 Graduate Credit (for an additional fee) from Framingham State University.

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.

Additional two-day workshops will be held in Pepperell, Massachusetts & Milford, New Hampshire, July 30-31; in Searsport, Maine, August 6-7; and in Falmouth, Massachusetts, August 13-14.

details
Teacher Workshop, Public Programends Old Towns/New Country: The First Years of a New Nation 27 September 2014.Saturday, 8:30AM - 3:30PM What was it like to live in a town that had existed for years (if not a full century or more) before ...

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.

Participants will have the opportunity to:

  • investigate what it was like to live in an old town in a new country and discover what changed for the inhabitants of different towns as new government structures were implemented.
  • discuss the concerns (both local and national) expressed by Massachusetts & New Hampshire residents in various towns while the American government was being created in the years after the revolution.
  • explore the ways in which geography, economy, and social/cultural practices influenced local concerns.
  • discover evidence of local concerns, and discussions of national policies, in primary sources held by local repositories and the Massachusetts Historical Society.
  •  explore new ways of engaging students and local communities in their history.

There is a $25 charge to cover lunches both days; program and material costs have been generously funded by the Richard Saltonstall Charitable Foundation. Educators can earn 14 PDPs and 1 Graduate Credit (for an additional fee) from Framingham State University.

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.

Additional two-day workshops will be held in Pepperell, Massachusetts & Milford, New Hampshire, July 30-31; in Searsport, Maine, August 6-7; and in Falmouth, Massachusetts, August 13-14.

details
October
Brown Bag Reading Locke on the Plantation 1 October 2014.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Sean Moore, University of New Hampshire This talk will extend into book history Edmund Morgan’s articulation of the well-known paradox ...

This talk will extend into book history Edmund Morgan’s articulation of the well-known paradox that some early Americans were asserting their own desire for freedom from Britain while simultaneously enslaving others. Considering Locke’s political theory, it will examine how the African diaspora underwrote the dissemination of books of British literature and philosophy, and how Jefferson, Washington, and others bartered slave-produced goods for books through the London agents with whom they did business.

details
Public Program, Author Talk The Trials of Old New England Towns in a New Nation 1 October 2014.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM Pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Mary Fuhrer, Independent Scholar We tend to think of New England towns in the first decades of the 19th century as peaceful, bucolic ...

Mary White, circa 1840. Courtesy Boylston Historical Society.We tend to think of New England towns in the first decades of the 19th century as peaceful, bucolic havens -- they were not. In this talk, Mary Babson Fuhrer will discuss the remarkable stories of conflict and transformation that reshaped local communities in the decades leading up to the Civil War. As people struggled to work out the promises of the Revolution on the personal level, contrary ideals of community identity and individual interests clashed, until, as one observer noted, "the most malignant passions of our depraved natures raged." The diaries, letters, and account books she draws on form the basis of her recent book, Crisis of Community: Trials and Transformation of a New England Town, 1815-1848.

Mary Babson Fuhrer is a public historian and independent scholar who lives in Littleton, Mass. Fuhrer provides research, interpretation, and programs for humanities associations, museums, historical societies, and educational institutions. She specializes in using primary sources to recover everyday lives from the past. Her scholarship has received generous support from the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the American Antiquarian Society, and the New England Regional Fellowship Consortium. Fuhrer was recently awarded the Massachusetts History Commendation for 2014 by the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities. She is currently pursuing research on the illness narratives of consumptives (tubercular patients) across gender, class, ethnicity, and race in antebellum New England.

There is a $10 fee (no charge for Fellows and Members). Please call 617- 646-0560 to register.

details
History of Women and Gender Seminar Enslaved Women and the Politics of Liberation in the Late Eighteenth- and Early Nineteenth-Century Atlantic World 2 October 2014.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Location: Schlesinger Library Barbara Krauthamer, University of Massachusetts - Amherst Comment: Kate Masur, Northwestern University This paper examines enslaved women's strategies for gaining freedom through escape. It focuses on ...

This paper examines enslaved women's strategies for gaining freedom through escape. It focuses on enslaved women's escapes from bondage and their concomitant movements to various sites in the Americas from the Revolutionary era through the early decades of the nineteenth century. It also considers the ways in which both enslaved women and slaveholders made sense of the changing political landscape in the late eighteenth-century British Atlantic and African Diaspora.

details
Early American History Seminar Thomas Jefferson, Slavery, and the Law 7 October 2014.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required David Konig, Washington University in St. Louis Comment: Malick Ghachem, MIT This paper, based on research into the nearly one thousand legal matters Thomas Jefferson handled as ...

This paper, based on research into the nearly one thousand legal matters Thomas Jefferson handled as a practicing attorney, analyzes the complex relationship between his legal career and his ownership of slaves. Jefferson used the law to manage enslaved people as his property but never repudiated their essential humanity. The political structure of the day made open assault on slavery inconceivable, but Jefferson claimed small victories against a loathsome institution in the courtroom.

Modern conceptions of rights posit them as universal and unitary: one either has the full panoply of rights protected by our express Constitutional commitment to “equal protection under the law,” or is experiencing a denial of liberty. Such a binary of rights-bearing status did not exist at the Founding – not in any of the newly independent united states, nor anywhere else for that matter. If we look closely at the nature of rights and of rights-bearing individuals, we find that they existed across a graded spectrum.

No full-scale frontal assault on slavery was conceivable within that structure of politics and law, but a venue for piecemeal achievements might be found in the courtroom within the interstices of procedure and doctrine still being debated and yet to assume settled form.  This study locates them in his legal practice where, to Jefferson, the enslaved were not only property but clients whose freedom he sought in the courtroom, and whose basic human dignity was to be effected by the rules of law.

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Thomas Hutchinson Member Event, Special Event History Revealed: Thomas Hutchinson and the Stamp Act Riots 8 October 2014.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP   This event is open only to MHS Fellows and Members MHS Fellows and Members are invited to a special evening at the Society as John W. Tyler, editor of ...

MHS Fellows and Members are invited to a special evening at the Society as John W. Tyler, editor of The Correspondence of Thomas Hutchinson: 1740-1766 (2014), relays the story of Lt. Gov. Thomas Hutchinson and how he came to be on the losing side of the American Revolution. His house was destroyed by a mob during the Stamp Act riots, a milestone in the series of acts of civil disobedience that made Boston notorious in the eyes of the British government. A pair of fire tongs salvaged from that evening and now in the collections of the MHS will be on display along with other objects related to Hutchinson and the coming of the American Revolution.

6:00 PM: Reception
6:30 PM: Remarks by John W. Tyler followed by a presentation of items from the Society's collections

Become a Member today!

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Library Closed Columbus Day 13 October 2014.Monday, all day The MHS library is closed on Columbus Day.

The MHS library is closed on Columbus Day.

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Environmental History Seminar Finding Meaning and Debating Value in a Historical Landscape 14 October 2014.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required David Benac, Western Michigan University Victoria Cain, Northeastern University Rural Oregon has shifted from an emphasis on resource extraction to a reliance on ecotourism.   ...

Rural Oregon has shifted from an emphasis on resource extraction to a reliance on ecotourism.  This transition exacerbated a clash of opposing visions of the value of history and the natural world. Competing interpretations of landscape as a resource or as a haven is an old dichotomy in environmental history. This paper adds nuance by employing a third category that intermingles the others: historical significance.

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Brown Bag The Role of the Military within Imperial Security Policy, 1685-1689. 15 October 2014.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Rachael Abbiss, University of Chester The Dominion of New England was established in 1686 by James VII & II. James’s ...

The Dominion of New England was established in 1686 by James VII & II. James’s colonial policy was the first substantial attempt to unite colonies under royal military authority and permanently station regular soldiers in New England. There is limited research pertaining to the military purpose of James’s imperial design, in particular the role, function and contribution of regular troops in controlling and securing New England. This project examines the army and military policy in North America between 1686 and 1689. 

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Teacher Workshopbegins Massachusetts Women in the First World War 17 October 2014.Friday, 9:00AM - 5:00PM Women participated in the Great War in numerous ways, even before the United States officially ...

World War I poster featuring a women representing Joan of ArcWomen participated in the Great War in numerous ways, even before the United States officially entered the conflict in 1917. This two-day workshop will explore women’s many activities using the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society and the Fort Devens Museum. Participants will analyze posters that used images of women as propaganda or encouraged women’s participation in various efforts, as well as letters, diaries, and photographs created by women who volunteered for the war effort at home and abroad. This workshop is open to all K-12 educations, as well as history enthusiasts.

Registration Fee: $75

Fee includes lunch both days, materials, and admission to the Fort Devens Museum. To register complete this Registration Form and send it with your payment to: Kathleen Barker, Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02215. Contact education@masshist.org for more information.

Image: Joan of Arc Saved France. Poster image by Haskell Coffin. Washington, D.C.: U.S. War Savings Stamps, 1918. Massachusetts Historical Society.

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Teacher Workshopends Massachusetts Women in the First World War 18 October 2014.Saturday, 9:00AM - 5:00PM Women participated in the Great War in numerous ways, even before the United States officially ...

World War I poster featuring a women representing Joan of ArcWomen participated in the Great War in numerous ways, even before the United States officially entered the conflict in 1917. This two-day workshop will explore women’s many activities using the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society and the Fort Devens Museum. Participants will analyze posters that used images of women as propaganda or encouraged women’s participation in various efforts, as well as letters, diaries, and photographs created by women who volunteered for the war effort at home and abroad. This workshop is open to all K-12 educations, as well as history enthusiasts.

Registration Fee: $75

Fee includes lunch both days, materials, and admission to the Fort Devens Museum. To register complete this Registration Form and send it with your payment to: Kathleen Barker, Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02215. Contact education@masshist.org for more information.

Image: Joan of Arc Saved France. Poster image by Haskell Coffin. Washington, D.C.: U.S. War Savings Stamps, 1918. Massachusetts Historical Society.

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Early American History Seminar Popular U.S. Enthusiasm for Latin American Independence, 1810-1825 21 October 2014.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Caitlin A. Fitz, Northwestern University Comment: John Bezis-Selfa, Wheaton College This paper explores the reactions of those in the United States to the independence movements of ...

This paper explores the reactions of those in the United States to the independence movements of Latin American nations in the 1800s. In general, U.S. observers were overjoyed by these movements; however, Massachusetts citizens were less thrilled. This presentation will analyze the national trend and the commonwealth’s deviation from it.

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Immigration and Urban History Seminar Playing Charro, Transforming the City: Mexican Cowboys in San Antonio and Los Angeles, 1947-1970 28 October 2014.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Laura Barraclough, Yale University Comment: Desirée J. Garcia, Arizona State University This paper examines the practice of charrería (Mexican rodeo) among Mexican immigrant ...

This paper examines the practice of charrería (Mexican rodeo) among Mexican immigrant men in San Antonio and Los Angeles from the late 1940s through the early 1970s. The charros claimed an active place for Mexicans in the history of the Southwest – as well as its future. At the same time, however, they reinscribed a gendered and classed vision of ethnic Mexican inclusion: one that privileged middle-class, socially conservative men while marginalizing other, more transformative visions.

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November
Brown Bag Choosing Challenges 5 November 2014.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Gavin Kleespies, Massachusetts Historical Society Public programs are often the most direct contact a historical society has with its members and the ...

Public programs are often the most direct contact a historical society has with its members and the larger community. If an institution's presentations are well targeted, they can be an effective tool for forging new relationships, establishing connections among previously disparate groups, increasing support, and even redefining public perception. However, like any tool, programs are only effective if you have a clear sense of the goals you're aiming for. This presentation, by the Society’s new Director of Public Programs, will give a rough outline of goals determined through meetings with key constituents at the Massachusetts Historical Society and proposed tactics to meet these challenges. 

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Biography Seminar Understanding the Presidency: Personality, Politics, and Policy 6 November 2014.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Evan Thomas, Kathleen Dalton, and David Michaelis Moderator: Ted Widmer Focusing on the peculiar balance between policy and politics as it affects writing presidential ...

Focusing on the peculiar balance between policy and politics as it affects writing presidential biography, noted biographers Evan Thomas, Kathleen Dalton, and David Michaelis, with guest moderator Ted Widmer, will share their reflections on a wide range of 20th and 21st century presidencies.

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Library Closed Library Closed 7 November 2014.Friday, all day The MHS library will be closed to researchers on Friday, 7 November.

The MHS library will be closed to researchers on Friday, 7 November.

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Cocktails with Clio 2014 Special Event Cocktails with Clio 7 November 2014.Friday, 6:00PM - 9:00PM The fifth annual Cocktails with Clio will take place on 7 November 2014. Named for the muse of ...

The fifth annual Cocktails with Clio will take place on 7 November 2014. Named for the muse of history, this festive evening celebrates American history and the 223-year-old mission of the Society. Following an elegant cocktail buffet at the Society’s building, guests will proceed to the nearby Harvard Club for dessert and a conversation with historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Hackett FIscher.

Tickets cost $250 per person. All net proceeds from the event will support the Society's outreach efforts.


Become a sponsor of Cocktails with Clio

Our sponsors are crucial to the success of the event. As a result of their generosity, the Society’s outreach efforts have expanded. The additional funding has an important impact on our programming, and this year we hope to surpass last year’s goal in order to further enhance our exhibitions, public programs, and education initiatives. 

We are proud to offer individual sponsorship opportunities at the following levels:
$5,000 - Clio’s Circle
$2,500 - Patrons of the Muse
$1,000 - Friends of the Muse   

For more information about becoming a sponsor, please contact Carol Knauff at cknauff@masshist.org or 617-646-0554.

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Building Closed Veterans Day 11 November 2014.Tuesday, all day The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed on Veterans Day. 

The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed on Veterans Day. 

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Environmental History Seminar The Ravages of Teredo: The Historical Impacts of Marine Wood-Boring Worms on American Society, Geography, and Culture, 1865-1930 18 November 2014.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Derek Lee Nelson, University of New Hampshire Comment: Robert Martello, Olin College of Engineering In an episode of history largely forgotten today, teredo, or shipworm, caused millions of ...

In an episode of history largely forgotten today, teredo, or shipworm, caused millions of dollars’ worth of damage in American ports by destroying the structural integrity of wharves and ships. Even more startling was the extent to which the wood-boring mollusk invaded the American consciousness through congressional reports, newspapers, and popular culture from the coast deep into America’s heartland. This paper contributes to the history of the “littoral,” or coastal, environment.

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More events
Brown Bag Ten Years of Winter: The Cold Decade and Environmental Consciousness in the Early 19th Century 22 August 2014.Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM this event is free Sean Munger, University of Oregon

Between 1810 and 1820, a series of volcanic eruptions around the world caused a temporary global climate change with dramatic effects, the most famous of them being the "Year Without Summer" (1816). This research attempts to understand how people in the English-speaking world understood and evaluated these anomalies, and what their reactions tell us about the state of scientific thinking, environmental consciousness, and how their worlds—both global and local—were constructed.

close
MHS Tour MHS Tour: The History and Collections of the MHS 23 August 2014.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM this event is free

Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, the tour touches on the history and collections of the MHS and lasts approximately 90 minutes.

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 abentley@masshist.org.

Free and open to the public.

close
Building Closed Labor Day 30 August 2014.Saturday, all day

The MHS library and galleries will be closed Labor Day weekend.

close
Building Closed Labor Day 1 September 2014.Monday, all day

The MHS library and galleries will be closed Labor Day weekend.

close
Notice Library Hours Changing: No Tuesday evening hours 2 September 2014.Tuesday, all day

Beginning 2 September 2014 the MHS library will no longer be open on Tuesday evenings. The new library hours will be:

9:00 AM - 4:45 PM Mon. - Fri.
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM Sat.

close
Brown Bag Unspeakable Loss: North America’s Invisible Throat Distemper Epidemic of 1735–1765 3 September 2014.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM this event is free Nicholas Bonneau, University of Notre Dame

While the New England throat distemper epidemic never achieved the notoriety acquired by other more notorious diseases of the colonial era, no single epidemic of that period proved more deadly to European settlers. This project asks why this epidemic escaped comment by contemporaries and past historians while raising interpretive questions informing our larger views of change, the priority of documentation, and the role of memory. 

close
Immigration and Urban History Seminar The Importance of Place and Place-makers in the Life of a Los Angeles Community: What Gentrification Erases from Echo Park, 1950s-Present 23 September 2014.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.
Natalia Molina, University of California - San Diego Comment: Judith Smith, University of Massachusetts - Boston

This talk examines a Los Angeles neighborhood, Echo Park, and discusses its history, shaped by its Leftist, Communist, and gay residents.  Beginning in the 1950s and 60s, this neighborhood’s history of progressive politics left a legacy for a wave of Mexican immigrants, allowing them to create a community that reached across social boundaries. The paper looks at Echo Park today to examine this gentrifying area and ask what the role of history is in the neighborhood’s evolving identity.

close
Teacher Workshop, Public Program Old Towns/New Country: The First Years of a New Nation 26 September 2014 to 27 September 2014 this event is free

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.

Participants will have the opportunity to:

  • investigate what it was like to live in an old town in a new country and discover what changed for the inhabitants of different towns as new government structures were implemented.
  • discuss the concerns (both local and national) expressed by Massachusetts & New Hampshire residents in various towns while the American government was being created in the years after the revolution.
  • explore the ways in which geography, economy, and social/cultural practices influenced local concerns.
  • discover evidence of local concerns, and discussions of national policies, in primary sources held by local repositories and the Massachusetts Historical Society.
  •  explore new ways of engaging students and local communities in their history.

There is a $25 charge to cover lunches both days; program and material costs have been generously funded by the Richard Saltonstall Charitable Foundation. Educators can earn 14 PDPs and 1 Graduate Credit (for an additional fee) from Framingham State University.

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.

Additional two-day workshops will be held in Pepperell, Massachusetts & Milford, New Hampshire, July 30-31; in Searsport, Maine, August 6-7; and in Falmouth, Massachusetts, August 13-14.

close
Brown Bag Reading Locke on the Plantation 1 October 2014.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM this event is free Sean Moore, University of New Hampshire

This talk will extend into book history Edmund Morgan’s articulation of the well-known paradox that some early Americans were asserting their own desire for freedom from Britain while simultaneously enslaving others. Considering Locke’s political theory, it will examine how the African diaspora underwrote the dissemination of books of British literature and philosophy, and how Jefferson, Washington, and others bartered slave-produced goods for books through the London agents with whom they did business.

close
Public Program, Author Talk The Trials of Old New England Towns in a New Nation 1 October 2014.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM registration required Pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Mary Fuhrer, Independent Scholar

Mary White, circa 1840. Courtesy Boylston Historical Society.We tend to think of New England towns in the first decades of the 19th century as peaceful, bucolic havens -- they were not. In this talk, Mary Babson Fuhrer will discuss the remarkable stories of conflict and transformation that reshaped local communities in the decades leading up to the Civil War. As people struggled to work out the promises of the Revolution on the personal level, contrary ideals of community identity and individual interests clashed, until, as one observer noted, "the most malignant passions of our depraved natures raged." The diaries, letters, and account books she draws on form the basis of her recent book, Crisis of Community: Trials and Transformation of a New England Town, 1815-1848.

Mary Babson Fuhrer is a public historian and independent scholar who lives in Littleton, Mass. Fuhrer provides research, interpretation, and programs for humanities associations, museums, historical societies, and educational institutions. She specializes in using primary sources to recover everyday lives from the past. Her scholarship has received generous support from the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the American Antiquarian Society, and the New England Regional Fellowship Consortium. Fuhrer was recently awarded the Massachusetts History Commendation for 2014 by the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities. She is currently pursuing research on the illness narratives of consumptives (tubercular patients) across gender, class, ethnicity, and race in antebellum New England.

There is a $10 fee (no charge for Fellows and Members). Please call 617- 646-0560 to register.

close
History of Women and Gender Seminar Enslaved Women and the Politics of Liberation in the Late Eighteenth- and Early Nineteenth-Century Atlantic World 2 October 2014.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
Location: Schlesinger Library Barbara Krauthamer, University of Massachusetts - Amherst Comment: Kate Masur, Northwestern University

This paper examines enslaved women's strategies for gaining freedom through escape. It focuses on enslaved women's escapes from bondage and their concomitant movements to various sites in the Americas from the Revolutionary era through the early decades of the nineteenth century. It also considers the ways in which both enslaved women and slaveholders made sense of the changing political landscape in the late eighteenth-century British Atlantic and African Diaspora.

close
Early American History Seminar Thomas Jefferson, Slavery, and the Law 7 October 2014.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.
David Konig, Washington University in St. Louis Comment: Malick Ghachem, MIT

This paper, based on research into the nearly one thousand legal matters Thomas Jefferson handled as a practicing attorney, analyzes the complex relationship between his legal career and his ownership of slaves. Jefferson used the law to manage enslaved people as his property but never repudiated their essential humanity. The political structure of the day made open assault on slavery inconceivable, but Jefferson claimed small victories against a loathsome institution in the courtroom.

Modern conceptions of rights posit them as universal and unitary: one either has the full panoply of rights protected by our express Constitutional commitment to “equal protection under the law,” or is experiencing a denial of liberty. Such a binary of rights-bearing status did not exist at the Founding – not in any of the newly independent united states, nor anywhere else for that matter. If we look closely at the nature of rights and of rights-bearing individuals, we find that they existed across a graded spectrum.

No full-scale frontal assault on slavery was conceivable within that structure of politics and law, but a venue for piecemeal achievements might be found in the courtroom within the interstices of procedure and doctrine still being debated and yet to assume settled form.  This study locates them in his legal practice where, to Jefferson, the enslaved were not only property but clients whose freedom he sought in the courtroom, and whose basic human dignity was to be effected by the rules of law.

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Member Event, Special Event History Revealed: Thomas Hutchinson and the Stamp Act Riots 8 October 2014.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP   registration required at no cost This event is open only to MHS Fellows and Members Thomas Hutchinson

MHS Fellows and Members are invited to a special evening at the Society as John W. Tyler, editor of The Correspondence of Thomas Hutchinson: 1740-1766 (2014), relays the story of Lt. Gov. Thomas Hutchinson and how he came to be on the losing side of the American Revolution. His house was destroyed by a mob during the Stamp Act riots, a milestone in the series of acts of civil disobedience that made Boston notorious in the eyes of the British government. A pair of fire tongs salvaged from that evening and now in the collections of the MHS will be on display along with other objects related to Hutchinson and the coming of the American Revolution.

6:00 PM: Reception
6:30 PM: Remarks by John W. Tyler followed by a presentation of items from the Society's collections

Become a Member today!

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Library Closed Columbus Day 13 October 2014.Monday, all day

The MHS library is closed on Columbus Day.

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Environmental History Seminar Finding Meaning and Debating Value in a Historical Landscape 14 October 2014.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.
David Benac, Western Michigan University Victoria Cain, Northeastern University

Rural Oregon has shifted from an emphasis on resource extraction to a reliance on ecotourism.  This transition exacerbated a clash of opposing visions of the value of history and the natural world. Competing interpretations of landscape as a resource or as a haven is an old dichotomy in environmental history. This paper adds nuance by employing a third category that intermingles the others: historical significance.

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Brown Bag The Role of the Military within Imperial Security Policy, 1685-1689. 15 October 2014.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM this event is free Rachael Abbiss, University of Chester

The Dominion of New England was established in 1686 by James VII & II. James’s colonial policy was the first substantial attempt to unite colonies under royal military authority and permanently station regular soldiers in New England. There is limited research pertaining to the military purpose of James’s imperial design, in particular the role, function and contribution of regular troops in controlling and securing New England. This project examines the army and military policy in North America between 1686 and 1689. 

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Teacher Workshop Massachusetts Women in the First World War 17 October 2014 to 18 October 2014 registration required

World War I poster featuring a women representing Joan of ArcWomen participated in the Great War in numerous ways, even before the United States officially entered the conflict in 1917. This two-day workshop will explore women’s many activities using the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society and the Fort Devens Museum. Participants will analyze posters that used images of women as propaganda or encouraged women’s participation in various efforts, as well as letters, diaries, and photographs created by women who volunteered for the war effort at home and abroad. This workshop is open to all K-12 educations, as well as history enthusiasts.

Registration Fee: $75

Fee includes lunch both days, materials, and admission to the Fort Devens Museum. To register complete this Registration Form and send it with your payment to: Kathleen Barker, Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02215. Contact education@masshist.org for more information.

Image: Joan of Arc Saved France. Poster image by Haskell Coffin. Washington, D.C.: U.S. War Savings Stamps, 1918. Massachusetts Historical Society.

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Early American History Seminar Popular U.S. Enthusiasm for Latin American Independence, 1810-1825 21 October 2014.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.
Caitlin A. Fitz, Northwestern University Comment: John Bezis-Selfa, Wheaton College

This paper explores the reactions of those in the United States to the independence movements of Latin American nations in the 1800s. In general, U.S. observers were overjoyed by these movements; however, Massachusetts citizens were less thrilled. This presentation will analyze the national trend and the commonwealth’s deviation from it.

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Immigration and Urban History Seminar Playing Charro, Transforming the City: Mexican Cowboys in San Antonio and Los Angeles, 1947-1970 28 October 2014.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.
Laura Barraclough, Yale University Comment: Desirée J. Garcia, Arizona State University

This paper examines the practice of charrería (Mexican rodeo) among Mexican immigrant men in San Antonio and Los Angeles from the late 1940s through the early 1970s. The charros claimed an active place for Mexicans in the history of the Southwest – as well as its future. At the same time, however, they reinscribed a gendered and classed vision of ethnic Mexican inclusion: one that privileged middle-class, socially conservative men while marginalizing other, more transformative visions.

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Brown Bag Choosing Challenges 5 November 2014.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM this event is free Gavin Kleespies, Massachusetts Historical Society

Public programs are often the most direct contact a historical society has with its members and the larger community. If an institution's presentations are well targeted, they can be an effective tool for forging new relationships, establishing connections among previously disparate groups, increasing support, and even redefining public perception. However, like any tool, programs are only effective if you have a clear sense of the goals you're aiming for. This presentation, by the Society’s new Director of Public Programs, will give a rough outline of goals determined through meetings with key constituents at the Massachusetts Historical Society and proposed tactics to meet these challenges. 

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Biography Seminar Understanding the Presidency: Personality, Politics, and Policy 6 November 2014.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
Evan Thomas, Kathleen Dalton, and David Michaelis Moderator: Ted Widmer

Focusing on the peculiar balance between policy and politics as it affects writing presidential biography, noted biographers Evan Thomas, Kathleen Dalton, and David Michaelis, with guest moderator Ted Widmer, will share their reflections on a wide range of 20th and 21st century presidencies.

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Library Closed Library Closed 7 November 2014.Friday, all day

The MHS library will be closed to researchers on Friday, 7 November.

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Special Event Cocktails with Clio 7 November 2014.Friday, 6:00PM - 9:00PM registration required Cocktails with Clio 2014

The fifth annual Cocktails with Clio will take place on 7 November 2014. Named for the muse of history, this festive evening celebrates American history and the 223-year-old mission of the Society. Following an elegant cocktail buffet at the Society’s building, guests will proceed to the nearby Harvard Club for dessert and a conversation with historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Hackett FIscher.

Tickets cost $250 per person. All net proceeds from the event will support the Society's outreach efforts.


Become a sponsor of Cocktails with Clio

Our sponsors are crucial to the success of the event. As a result of their generosity, the Society’s outreach efforts have expanded. The additional funding has an important impact on our programming, and this year we hope to surpass last year’s goal in order to further enhance our exhibitions, public programs, and education initiatives. 

We are proud to offer individual sponsorship opportunities at the following levels:
$5,000 - Clio’s Circle
$2,500 - Patrons of the Muse
$1,000 - Friends of the Muse   

For more information about becoming a sponsor, please contact Carol Knauff at cknauff@masshist.org or 617-646-0554.

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Building Closed Veterans Day 11 November 2014.Tuesday, all day

The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed on Veterans Day. 

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Environmental History Seminar The Ravages of Teredo: The Historical Impacts of Marine Wood-Boring Worms on American Society, Geography, and Culture, 1865-1930 18 November 2014.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.
Derek Lee Nelson, University of New Hampshire Comment: Robert Martello, Olin College of Engineering

In an episode of history largely forgotten today, teredo, or shipworm, caused millions of dollars’ worth of damage in American ports by destroying the structural integrity of wharves and ships. Even more startling was the extent to which the wood-boring mollusk invaded the American consciousness through congressional reports, newspapers, and popular culture from the coast deep into America’s heartland. This paper contributes to the history of the “littoral,” or coastal, environment.

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