This Month at the MHS
Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country
Massachusetts Women in WWI. 12 June 2014 to 24 January 2015Details
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers. Barbara A. Mathews, Historic Deerfield, and Gloria McCahon Whiting, Harvard University Comment: 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
Why did the Brookline Whist Club leave behind a handwritten book of poems? What did the members of the Boston Game Club think they were doing when they wrote and published poetic parodies and songs? This talk considers how and why members of late nineteenth-century social clubs wrote and circulated poetry. It argues that these poems were more than simple diversions, showing that these groups engaged with poetic forms in sophisticated ways in order to create a sense of community and place.close
America “goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy”—John Quincy Adams’s famous words are often quoted to justify noninterference in other nations’ affairs. Yet when he spoke them, Adams was not advocating neutrality or passivity but rather outlining a national policy that balanced democratic idealism with a pragmatic understanding of the young republic’s capabilities and limitations. America’s rise from a confederation of revolutionary colonies to a world power is often treated as inevitable, but Charles N. Edel’s provocative biography of Adams argues that he served as the central architect of a grand strategy that shaped America’s rise. Adams’s particular combination of ideas and policies made him a critical link between the founding generation and the Civil War–era nation of Lincoln. While Adams did not live to see all of his strategy fulfilled, his vision shaped the nation’s agenda for decades afterward and continues to resonate as America pursues its place in the twenty-first-century world.
Charles Edel serves an Assistant Professor of Strategy and Policy at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, R.I., where he focuses on U.S. foreign policy and grand strategy, American political history, and the connections between foreign policy and domestic politics. He holds a Ph.D. in History from Yale University, and received a B.A. in Classical Civilization from Yale College. He worked at Peking University's Center for International and Strategic Studies as a Henry A. Luce Scholar. Previously, he served in various roles in the U.S. government as a political and counterterrorism analyst, worked as a research associate at the Council of Foreign Relations, and taught high school history in New York.
Please call 617-646-0578 to registerclose
In a new discussion group co-hosted by the Massachusetts Historical Society and the Partnership of Historic Bostons, we’ll look at the documents at the heart of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Among them are the Charter and Winthrop’s sermon to his fellow passengers on board ship to New England. Whether you’re an expert or a newcomer to early Boston, please join us for the first meeting in a stimulating, exhilarating series of discussions. The meeting is chaired by Partnership President Rose A. Doherty.
Discussion group limited to 15. Available on a first come first serve basis.
Links to the documents are available at the registration site. (Registration for this discussion group is coordinated by the Partnership of Historic Bostons)close
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers. Katherine Johnston, Columbia University Conevery Bolton Valencius, University of Massachusetts - Boston
This paper examines the interactions between humans and the environment in the eighteenth century. Both Britons and creoles believed in a close connection between bodies and place, and colonists tried to change the environment based on those perceptions. That interaction created concern for Caribbean inhabitants who attempted to manage the environment to promote their health while noting the environmental changes their actions caused.close
Maureen Meister’s new book is the first comprehensive study of the Arts and Crafts architecture in the region. Focusing on the 1890s through the 1920s, she will explain how a group of Boston architects and craftsmen encountered English Arts and Crafts theorists, including John Ruskin and William Morris, and produced exquisite works of their own. Among the architects were Ralph Adams Cram, Lois Lilley Howe, Charles Maginnis, and R. Clipston Sturgis. They were conservative in some respects, promoting designs based on historical precedent and the region's heritage, while they also were forward-looking, blending Arts and Crafts values with Progressive Era idealism. They have left us with a legacy of landmark buildings, honored today in cities and towns across New England.
Maureen Meister is an art historian who writes about American art and architecture of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She is the author of Architecture and the Arts and Crafts Movement in Boston: Harvard's H. Langford Warren, 2003, and was volume editor of H. H. Richardson: The Architect, His Peers, and Their Era, 1999. She holds a doctorate from Brown University and an A.B. from Mount Holyoke College. She has taught at Boston area universities, including Lesley, Northeastern, and Tufts.close
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers. Location: Schlesinger Library Emily A. Remus, American Academy of Arts and Sciences Comment: Ardis Cameron, University of Southern Maine
This presentation examines a sumptuary law passed in Chicago to regulate the size of ladies’ theater hats and a near-riot that erupted over it. It reveals how civic authorities sought to protect the rights of ticketholders by constraining the conspicuous consumption of women. The paper offers insight into early notions of consumer rights and the remaking of gender codes amid capitalist transformation.close
MHS Fund Giving Circle members are invited to a special evening at the Concord Museum. Enjoy an intimate reception in Brooke Hall along with a gallery tour led by Curator David Wood of Behind Closed Doors: Asleep in New England, an exhibition that looks at the complex role sleep has played in everyday life.
Space is limited. To reserve, please call 617-646-0543.close
The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed.close
The destruction of the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire in 1915-16 was a brutal mass crime that prefigured other genocides in the 20th century. By various estimates, more than a million Armenians were killed and the survivors were scattered across the world. In Great Catastrophe, the eminent scholar and reporter Thomas de Waal looks at the changing narratives and politics of the Armenian Genocide and tells the story of recent efforts by courageous Armenians, Kurds, and Turks to come to terms with the disaster as Turkey enters a new post-Kemalist era. Drawing on archival sources, reportage and moving personal stories, de Waal tells the full story of Armenian-Turkish relations since the Genocide in all its extraordinary twists and turns. He strips away the propaganda to look both at the realities of a terrible crime and also the divisive "politics of genocide" it produced. The book throws light not only on our understanding of Armenian-Turkish relations but also of how mass atrocities and historical tragedies shape contemporary politics.
Thomas de Waal is a writer and scholar on the Caucasus and Black Sea region and currently Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is the author of three books, including The Caucasus: An Introduction. From 1991 to 2000, de Waal worked as a newspaper journalist in Moscow and for the BBC World Service in London.
Please call 617-646-0578 to registerclose
Learn how to capture your students’ attention and engage their imagination using comic books and graphic novels! Together with a historian we will explore the history of colonial Massachusetts, and hear from artists who have brought this period to life through images. We will also meet with teachers who have used comics in the classroom and brainstorm methods for incorporating them into history and English/language arts lessons. This program is open to all K-12 educators, as well as history enthusiasts. Teachers can earn 5 PDPs.
Fee: $25 per person
To register: contact the education department at email@example.com or 617-646-0557.
- Meet artists who have created and contributed to comic books on the history of colonial America.
- View original political cartoons and other documents from the Society’s collections.
- Learn how to incorporate comic books from multiple historical eras into your lesson plans.
On November 29, 1798, Abigail Adams wrote “When I look Back upon the Year past, I perceive many, very many causes for thanksgiving, both of a publick and private nature.” Throughout their dialog, John reported on having formal dinners in Europe or delegates in Philadelphia while Abigail grew from a New England wife to the First Lady. By studying "receipts" from 18th century cookbooks, we can paint a portrait of their culinary lives. While together, Abigail once wrote to her sister that her “Good Man is so very fat that [she is] lean as a rale,” before ending the letter “But is dinner time, and I must bid you good by…” While they were separate, they reminded each other of dishes they enjoyed including “rusticrat potatoes” and “fine salmon” while continuing the talk of independence. Rosana Y. Wan will speak about the process of documenting the culinary history of the Adams family and putting together her cookbook.
Rosana Yin-Ting Wan was born in Hong Kong and migrated to the United States as a child. Growing up in Houston, Texas, she began her passion of history by giving short lectures on classical music composers to fellow music class students. She received her B.A. in history from Suffolk University in 2011. As an independent scholar, a museum docent, and a sergeant in the Army National Guard, she continues to pursue her studies in the history of the American Revolution, late 18th century culinary culture, and fine arts. She is the first recipient of the John C. Cavanagh Prize in History at Suffolk University in 2011 and a member of the Phi Alpha Theta (National History Honor Society). She is also a recipient of the 2014 Outstanding New Interpreter Award from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.
Please call 617-646-0578 to registerclose
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers. Steven Carl Smith, Providence College Comment: Joshua Greenberg, Bridgewater State College
The essay examines the social and economic geographies of the New York City publishing trade between 1783 and 1830. The paper reveals the contours of social and economic networks formed by tradesmen and merchants on the streets and in the print houses of early New York, and focuses on the possibilities of Geographic Information Systems technology for book history and American studies.close
MHS Fellows and Members are invited to a special preview of and reception for God Save the People! From the Stamp Act to Bunker Hill. To tell the story of the coming of the American Revolution in Boston, this exhibition follows the evolution of colonial thought and political action through the letters and diaries of men and women caught up in the conflict, together with political cartoons, newspapers, maps, artifacts, and portraits.close
To tell the story of the coming of the American Revolution in Boston, this exhibition follows the evolution of colonial thought and political action through the letters and diaries of men and women caught up in the conflict, together with political cartoons, newspapers, maps, artifacts, and portraits.close
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 firstname.lastname@example.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