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July 2015

Visitors from the National Library of Uzbekistan Tour the MHS

Uzbekistan visitorsOn 5 June, several MHS staff members met with librarians from the National Library of Uzbekistan. The visit was arranged by World Boston. The focus of the meeting and tour was on how the MHS makes special collections materials available to both remote and on-site researchers. With the aid of two interpreters, MHS Librarian Elaine Heavey, Digital Projects Coordinator Nancy Heywood, and Web Developer Bill Beck shared information about cataloging, archival storage, and collections management. The visitors enjoyed a tour of the building with a focus on the spaces used by researchers including the orientation room, reading room, and catalog room. They went behind the scenes to see the conservation workroom and one of the larger stack floors. They also saw a few highlights from the Society's collection. Read more about the visit.

New Trustees, Overseers, and Fellows Elected at Annual Meeting

Annual Meeting receptionAt the Annual Meeting on 24 June, the Fellows of the MHS unanimously approved the proposed slate of Trustees, Overseers, and Fellows. Following reports by the treasurer and the president, Staff Service Awards were presented to Gregg Lint, senior editor of the Adams Papers, Conrad E. Wright, Worthington C. Ford Editor and director of research, and James P. Harrison III, custodian, for their respective milestones, 40, 30, and 25 years of service to the Society. The meeting continued with the election of ten new Fellows: Robert Charles Anderson, Brooke Blower, Mathew J. Dennis, Jim Donahue, Lisa A. Francavilla, Mary Babson Fuhrer, Gloria Polizzotti Greis, Martha Hodes, Mark B. Kerwin, and Rosalind Williams. Claire Nee Nelson, an American history teacher at Concord Academy and American history Ph.D. candidate at Yale University, R. Newcomb Stillwell, co-managing partner of the Ropes & Gray Boston office, and Edward L. Widmer, author as well as adjunct professor of history and assistant to the president at Brown University, were elected to the Board of Trustees. William R. Cotter, Lia G. Poorvu, and Nancy S. Anthony retired from the Board. Ms. Anthony was elected to the Council of Overseers along with G. Nathaniel Jeppson, Amelia Lloyd McCarthy, and Anne Craige McNay. The Fellows also elected John F. Moffitt as Trustee Emeritus. Mr. Moffitt retired in June 2014 as Secretary and member of the Board of Trustees.

The Story of the Philosophers' Camp

The Philosophers' CampJoin us at 6:00 PM on 5 August for an author talk with James Schlett. He will tell the story of the Philosophers' Camp, an August 1858 gathering at Follensby Pond in the Adirondacks of 19th-century America's leading intellectuals. Included in this group were the transcendentalist philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, the Harvard scientist Louis Agassiz, and the Cambridge poet James Russell Lowell. They were led into the Adirondack wilderness by William James Stillman, a painter who co-founded the nation's first art journal, The Crayon. News that these cultured men were living in the wilderness appeared in newspapers across the nation. Schlett's research draws on many collections from the MHS, including an invitation to the Philosophers' Camp extended by the Concord lawyer Ebenezer Rockwood Hoar to Richard H. Dana on 29 July 1858. There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30 PM. Register for The Story of the Philosophers' Camp.

From the Stacks: Stills and Strikes – Policing in Early-20th Century Boston

Robert E. Grant diaryIn 2013, the MHS purchased a set of 14 diaries kept by Robert E. Grant, an officer and then captain of the Boston police department, between 1901 and 1930. The Robert E. Grant Diaries provide a glimpse into a variety of events and developments—such as the Sacco and Vanzetti trial and executions—that took place in the city during those decades. While Grant's entries are usually brief and direct, they chronicle the career of a person who spent three decades experiencing urban life at the ground level. One interesting topic covered in the Grant diaries is Prohibition. On Friday, 15 February 1924, he writes that "5000 lbs of sugar was seized," followed by a mention of the "largest still seized." A newspaper clipping describing raids that had recently occurred (and that mentions Grant's name) is attached to the entry. This account captures the pride Grant must have felt on that day; it also serves as a snapshot of Prohibition-era Boston and the actions taken by law enforcement to enforce bans on alcohol. Read more about Grant and his diary entries.

Research Programs in Bloom

Perhaps the Society's urban setting--steps away from the Fenway gardens--warrants an analogy to beautiful and hardy perennials. This is the time of year when our Research Fellowships yield their promise as the reading room fills with scholars. Keep an eye on the MHS calendar for brown-bag lunchtime programs, where you can learn about their projects. Later this summer, watch for an announcement of our 2015-2016 seminars; committees have just about finalized these programs. And, if you are a graduate student or faculty member, save the date of 24 September for our Graduate Student Reception! Details to follow.

MHS Seminar E-mail Lists

While all of our seminars are listed in the MHS events calendars, the Society keeps separate e-mail lists to announce its five seminar series: the Boston Area Early American History Seminar, the Boston Environmental History Seminar, the Boston Immigration and Urban History Seminar, the Seminar on the History of Women and Gender, and the New England Biography Seminar. We encourage you to e-mail if you have an interest in one of these subjects and wish to receive reminders of the programs in a particular series. These late afternoon sessions are followed by a light supper (with the exception of the biography seminar) and involve the discussion of a pre-circulated essay.

Object of the Month

"Shamefully abus'd": Bobolition Day Broadsides in 19th-Century Boston

Bobolition broadsideThis broadside, published in 1818, satirizes the African Society of Boston's annual celebration of the abolition of the slave trade, a tradition that began in 1808. It is one example of a genre of broadsides mocking free blacks in the early years of the 19th century. Although the imprint at the foot of the page reads "Printed at Greenfield" in Western Massachusetts, this could well be a spurious imprint designed to further disguise the anonymous publisher of the sheet. Read more about Abolition Day and "Bobolition" broadsides.

On View

God Save the People! From the Stamp Act to Bunker Hill

Boston Massacre engraving by Paul RevereTo 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. The exhibition is on display at the Society 27 February through 4 September.

Explore the coming of the American Revolution through these online displays. Perspectives of the Boston Massacre is an interactive website that allows visitors to examine materials offering a range of perspectives related to the events of 5 March 1765. The Siege of Boston presents more than one dozen accounts written by individuals personally engaged in or affected by the siege, which occurred from April 1775 to March 1776. The Annotated Newspapers of Harbottle Dorr, Jr., presents the complete four-volume set of Revolutionary-era Boston newspapers and pamphlets assembled, annotated, and indexed by Harbottle Dorr, Jr., a shopkeeper in Boston. Discover the fears, friction, and turmoil that shaped these times with The Coming of the American Revolution, a web display of newspapers, official documents, and personal correspondence arranged into fifteen key topics.

The exhibition galleries are open to the public, Monday through Saturday, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

MHS Events Calendar

Saturday, 11 July 10:00 AM

MHS Tour
The History & Collections of the MHS

Tuesday, 14 July and Thursday, 16 July 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Abigail & John: A Life in Letters
Fee: $125 per person
Registration required: Abigail & John

Saturday, 18 July 10:00 AM

MHS Tour
The History & Collections of the MHS

Monday, 20 July to Wednesday, 22 July 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM

Maritime Massachusetts: Salem Stories & Sources
Fee: $35 per person
This workshop will take place in Salem, Mass.
Registration required: Salem Stories

Saturday, 25 July 10:00 AM

MHS Tour
The History & Collections of the MHS

Saturday, 1 August 10:00 AM

MHS Tour
The History & Collections of the MHS

Wednesday, 5 August 6:00 PM

Author Talk
The Story of the Philosophers' Camp
James Schlett
Pre-talk reception at 5:30 PM
Registration required: The Story of the Philosophers' Camp

Saturday, 8 August 10:00 AM

MHS Tour
The History & Collections of the MHS

Monday, 10 August to Wednesday, 12 August 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM

Maritime Massachusetts: Falmouth Stories & Sources
Fee: $35 per person
This workshop will take place in Falmouth, Mass.
Registration required: Falmouth Stories

Friday, 14 August 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Framing America's Constitution
Gordon Lloyd, Ashbrook Center and Pepperdine University
Co-Sponsored by the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University
Registration required: Framing America's Constitution

All events are free and open to the public and held at the MHS unless otherwise noted. Reservations are requested for most events. There is a charge to receive seminar papers in advance.

For complete event and RSVP information, visit the MHS online calendar:

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