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The Confederacy in History, Myth, & Memory

The Confederacy in history, myth, and memory continues to be a topic that fascinates a global audience. Waite Rawls, President and CEO of the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, demonstrates how this history is relevant in the 21st century, especially its complications and nuances.

Cotton & Race in the Making of Massachusetts & America

Gene Dattel, author of Cotton and Race in the Making of America, brings the relationship of cotton and race out of the regional shadows into the forefront of American history. The powerful dynamic of cotton, the first truly global business, produced catastrophic racial consequences and performed a critical nation-building economic impact. Dattel casts light upon today’s economic and racial issues and financial policies and explains why the antebellum North provides the key to the tragedy of African American history from Reconstruction to the present.

Insuring the City: The Prudential Center & the Postwar Urban Landscape

One of the most significant urban developments of the 1950s and 60s, the Prudential Center anchors the Boston skyline with its tall gray tower. It is also a beacon of a mid-century moment when insurance companies like Prudential deployed buildings in cities to symbolize and advertise their intangible product: financial security. Yale architectural historian Elihu Rubin tells the full story of "The Pru," placing it in its political, economic, and architectural contexts and providing new insights into urban renewal in postwar America. Listen to the lecture.

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The Architecture of Edmund March Wheelwright and the Building of the Harvard Lampoon Castle

At the turn of the 20th-century, Edmund March Wheelwright was the Boston City Architect, a board member of the American Institute of Architects, and designer of several notable buildings in Boston including the Massachusetts Historical Society's home on Boylston Street. He also designed the Harvard Lampoon Castle. Along with an overview of Wheelwright's life and accomplishments, Wheelwright and Lampoon enthusiasts discuss the design and inspiration for the Castle.

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MHS Presents Kennedy Medal to Gordon S. Wood

On May 16, 2012, the MHS honored Gordon S. Wood as the 11th recipient of the John F. Kennedy Medal.  Awarded to persons who have rendered distinguished service to the cause of history, it is the highest award given by the Society. Wood, a Corresponding Fellow of the MHS since 2002 and the Alva O. Way University Professor at Brown University, was presented the medal as part of the Society’s Annual Meeting. In remarks to MHS Fellows and Members he spoke about the way in which history writing has divided between the academics who write for one another and the growing numbers of popular non-academic historians who write for the general reading public.

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New Israel/New England: Jews & Puritans in Early America

The New England Puritans’ fascination with the legacy of the Jewish religion has been well documented, but their interactions with actual Jews have escaped sustained historical attention. Michael Hoberman's New Israel/New England tells the story of the Sephardic merchants who traded and sojourned in Boston and Newport between the mid-seventeenth century and the era of the American Revolution. It also explores the complex and often contradictory meanings that the Puritans attached to Judaism and the fraught attitudes that they bore toward the Jews as a people. Hoberman conducted research for his book while on an MHS-NEH Long-term Fellowship in 2008-2009.

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