January

Building Closed New Years Observed -- MHS Closed 2 January 2017.Monday, all day The library and exhibition galleries will be closed all day.  

The library and exhibition galleries will be closed all day.  

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Brown Bag "A Great and Rising Nation": Naval Exploration and Empire in the Early American Republic, 1815-1860 4 January 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Michael Verney, University of New Hampshire This project examines the global exploring expeditions of the United States Navy in the antebellum ...

This project examines the global exploring expeditions of the United States Navy in the antebellum era.  While not every mission was successful, each voyage helped the nation pursue Great Power status and global empire before the Civil War.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 7 January 2017.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: Turning Points in American History.

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Library Closed Library Closed @ 1:00PM 7 January 2017.Saturday, all day Library Closed at 1:00PM due to weather. 

Library Closed at 1:00PM due to weather. 

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Environmental History Seminar Sex in the Reeds: Disciplining Nature and Cultivating Virtue in the Back Bay Fens 10 January 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Zachary Nowak, Harvard University Comment: Phyllis Andersen, Independent Scholar With the introduction of discourse about “invasive exotic species” in the 1980s, the ...

With the introduction of discourse about “invasive exotic species” in the 1980s, the reason for the removal of reeds planted along the Muddy River shifted, from socio-sexual disapproval of illicit activities to “ecoxenophobia.” This essay aims to historicize “exotic” species to show that their labeling as such is a social construct, not a biological fact. Improving the Fens through planting and weeding has for more than a century really been a project to improve people.

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Brown Bag The Early American Bookseller: A Network History 11 January 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM John Garcia, Boston University Booksellers in colonial and 19th-century America were essential agents in the distribution of books ...

Booksellers in colonial and 19th-century America were essential agents in the distribution of books and reading. This talk will explain how financial records, correspondence, and writing by booksellers can help to reconstruct print networks and geographies of books and reading. It will argue that the many instances of economic failure in American bookselling reveal various attempts to connect authors, readers, and publics in the face of geographic and infrastructural obstacles. 

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 14 January 2017.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: Turning Points in American History.

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Building Closed Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 16 January 2017.Monday, all day The MHS is CLOSED for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

The MHS is CLOSED for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

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Brown Bag The Fight for Women's Equality in the Anti-Slavery Movement, 1833-1840 18 January 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Louise Knight, author of Jane Addams, Spirit in Action This talk will examine how some early feminist abolitionists, led by Maria Weston Chapman of the ...

This talk will examine how some early feminist abolitionists, led by Maria Weston Chapman of the Boston Female Antislavery Society, sought, to integrate women into the American Antislavery Society beginning in 1833 and finally succeeded in 1840. It will illustrate how these women were inspired by their groundbreaking, feminist vision for a genderblind democracy. 

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Public Program, Author Talk Loom 18 January 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Kevin Gallagher, Boston University Kevin Gallagher’s new book of poetry explores the difficult relations between the northern ...

Kevin Gallagher’s new book of poetry explores the difficult relations between the northern textile mills and the cotton produced by the southern slave economy. Through narrative poems he explores the origin of the American industry, the impact it had on the slave states and the conflicts and contradictions this relationship caused. Gallagher is a poet and a professor of Global Development Policy at Boston University’s Pardee School for Global Studies.

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Biography Seminar Publishing Lives: How It’s Done, and Who Does It 19 January 2017.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM Laura Claridge, Jill Kneerim, and Deanne Urmy Moderator: Megan Marshall Deanne Urmy, Senior Executive Editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Jill Kneerim of the Kneerim ...

Deanne Urmy, Senior Executive Editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Jill Kneerim of the Kneerim & Williams literary agency, both of whom are actively engaged in publishing biography, will be joined by Laura Claridge, author of the just-published The Lady with the Borzoi: Blanche Knopf, Literary Tastemaker Extraordinaire. Their conversation will widen out from biography itself to the workings of the literary marketplace, then and now.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 21 January 2017.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: Turning Points in American History.

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Brown Bag "Faraway Women" and the Atlantic Monthly 23 January 2017.Monday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Cathryn Halverson, University of Groningen This talk discusses Ellery Sedgwick, editor of the Atlantic Monthly from 1908-1938, and the ...

This talk discusses Ellery Sedgwick, editor of the Atlantic Monthly from 1908-1938, and the “Faraway Women” who were viewed as a defining feature of his career: women who published in the Atlantic accounts of unusual life experiences in Europe, Asia, the American South, and, most especially, the American West.

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Panel Discussion: Urban History on the Digital Frontier 24 January 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Vivek Bald, MIT, Jack A. Dougherty, Trinity College, and Marilynn S. Johnson, Boston College Moderator: Douglas O'Reagan, MIT Bald is working on a transmedia project aimed at recovering the histories of peddlers and steamship ...

Bald is working on a transmedia project aimed at recovering the histories of peddlers and steamship workers from British colonial India who came to the U.S. in the early 20th century. It includes a digital oral history website. Dougherty and his students are writing an open-access book, On The Line: How Schooling, Housing, and Civil Rights Shaped Hartford and its Suburbs, which features interactive maps and oral history videos. Johnson’s Global Boston is a public history website combining a basic immigration history overview for the region with student research, oral history, and a curated selection of digitized primary sources, images and maps documenting the local immigrant experience.

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Public Program, Author Talk The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire 26 January 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Stephen Kinzer, Boston Globe and Robin Young, Here and Now How should the United States act in the world? Sometimes we burn with righteous anger, launching ...

How should the United States act in the world? Sometimes we burn with righteous anger, launching foreign wars and deposing governments. Then we retreat—until the cycle begins again. However, these debates are not original. Revealing a piece of forgotten history, Stephen Kinzer transports us to the dawn of the 20th century, when the United States first found itself with the chance to dominate faraway lands. The country’s political and intellectual leaders took sides. Only once before—the period when the United States was founded—have so many brilliant Americans eloquently debated a question so fraught with meaning for all humanity. Their words are amazingly current today.

 

Stephen Kinzer is an award-winning author and foreign correspondent who has covered more than 50 countries on five continents. His articles and books have led the Washington Post to place him “among the best in popular foreign policy storytelling.” He was Latin America correspondent for The Boston Globe, and then spent more than 20 years working for the New York Times, with extended postings in Nicaragua, Germany, and Turkey. He is a visiting fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University. 

Robin Young brings more than 25 years of broadcast experience to her role as host of Here & Now. She is a Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker who has also reported for NBC, CBS and ABC television and for several years was substitute host and correspondent for "The Today Show."

Robin has received five Emmy Awards for her television work, as well as two CableACE Awards, the Religious Public Relations Council's Wilbur Award, the National Conference of Christians and Jews Gold Award, and numerous regional Edward R. Murrow awards.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 28 January 2017.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: Turning Points in American History.

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Public Program Begin at the Beginning: Medical and Surgical Care in Puritan New England 28 January 2017.Saturday, 1:00PM - 3:00PM Sidney Levitsky, MD From bloodletting to powders made from roasted toads, medical care in early New England was of ...

From bloodletting to powders made from roasted toads, medical care in early New England was of uncertain value to the patient. In this discussion of primary documents led by Sid Levitsky of Harvard Medical School, we’ll explore the foundations of 17th century English medicine and surgery and the practice of medicine in New England.  

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February
Brown Bag "Leaving their callings": Retirement in the Early Republic 1 February 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Andrea Gray, George Mason University and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation This project looks at elderly men in the early national period who voluntarily left their public ...

This project looks at elderly men in the early national period who voluntarily left their public careers—including prominent politicians as well as those in fields such as commerce, law, and medicine—and permanently returned to domestic life. By examining their motives, how they spent their retired years, and the impression they made on their fellow Americans, we gain important insights into the relationships between aging, work and public service, gender, and republican civic virtue.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 4 February 2017.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: Turning Points in American History.

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Early American History Seminar The Coromantee War in Jamaica: Charting the Course of an Atlantic Slave Revolt 7 February 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Vincent Brown, Harvard University Comment: Malick Ghachem, MIT Drawn from Brown’s current book project, this essay will discuss African diasporic warfare in ...

Drawn from Brown’s current book project, this essay will discuss African diasporic warfare in the Americas. It puts the Jamaican Revolt of 1760-61 in the context of a dramatic series of 17th- and 18th-century revolts and conspiracies that were staged by enslaved Africans from the Gold Coast, known widely as “Coromantees."

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Public Program Collecting the World at War, 1919-1946 8 February 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Kenneth Rendell, Museum of World War II Kenneth Rendell, a noted collector and dealer of historical documents and artifacts, has amassed the ...

Kenneth Rendell, a noted collector and dealer of historical documents and artifacts, has amassed the most comprehensive collection of material related to World War II anywhere. This collection is open to the public through the Museum of World War II, a research and educational institution devoted to preserving and exhibiting the reality of the war. With over 7,000 artifacts on display and more than 500,000 documents and photographs in the research archives, it is a remarkable resource. Rendell will discuss the challenges he’s faced in the past 58 years of collecting, globally, the most cataclysmic event of modern times.

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Building Closed MHS Closed 9 February 2017.Thursday, all day Due to inclement weather, the MHS library and galleries will be closed on Thursday, February 9.

Due to inclement weather, the MHS library and galleries will be closed on Thursday, February 9.

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Building Closed MHS Closed 10 February 2017.Friday, all day Due to inclement weather, the MHS library and galleries will be closed on Friday, February 10.

Due to inclement weather, the MHS library and galleries will be closed on Friday, February 10.

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Building Closed MHS Closed 13 February 2017.Monday, all day Due to inclement weather the MHS library and galleries will be closed on Monday, 13 February 2016.

Due to inclement weather the MHS library and galleries will be closed on Monday, 13 February 2016.

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Public Program, Author Talk Of Arms and Artists: The American Revolution Through Painters' Eyes 16 February 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Paul Staiti, Mount Holyoke College The lives of the five great American artists of the Revolutionary period--Charles Willson Peale, ...

The lives of the five great American artists of the Revolutionary period--Charles Willson Peale, John Singleton Copley, John Trumbull, Benjamin West, and Gilbert Stuart--were every bit as eventful as those of the Founders with whom they continually interacted. Living in a time of breathtaking change, each in his own way came to grips with the history being made by turning to brushes and canvases. The stories of these five artists open a fresh window on the Revolutionary era, making more human the figures we have long honored as our Founders, and deepening our understanding of the whirlwind out of which the United States emerged.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 18 February 2017.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: Turning Points in American History.

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Building Closed Presidents' Day 20 February 2017.Monday, all day The Society is CLOSED for President's Day

The Society is CLOSED for President's Day

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Environmental History Seminar Postponed: Harvest for War: Fruits, Nuts, Imperialism, and Gas Mask Manufacture in the United States During World War I 21 February 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Gerard Fitzgerald, George Mason University Comment: Nicoletta Gullace, University of New Hampshire This session has been POSTPONED to Tuesday, May 9, at 5:15 PM. Part of a larger ...

This session has been POSTPONED to Tuesday, May 9, at 5:15 PM.

Part of a larger book length study, this essay examines the use of seemingly exotic foodstuffs and industrial waste in the form of fruit pits for the manufacture of a high-density carbon filter critical for defense against chemical weapons. It involves not only environmental and military history but also the history of science and biology. The essay includes analysis of transportation networks within the context of 19th-century US imperialism, especially from a resource allocation perspective.

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Teacher Workshopbegins Women in the Era of the American Revolution 22 February 2017.Wednesday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM Registration fee: $40 (free for students) Study the revolution through the words and artifacts of the women who lived it. Women were vital ...

Study the revolution through the words and artifacts of the women who lived it. Women were vital consumers (and boycotters) of imported goods, and they functioned as heads of household while their male family members served in the military or traveled on political missions. We will explore the daily lives of these revolutionary women, including those who served as soldiers and secret agents, or followed the army as cooks and laundresses. The program fee includes a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts.

This program is open to K-12 educators. Teachers can earn 45 PDPs and 2 graduate credits (for an additional fee).

Please email education@masshist.org or call 617-646-0557 for more information or to register.

Image: The Female Review: or, Memoirs of an American Young Lady ...  Frontispiece including an engraved portrait of Deborah Sampson. Dedham, [MA]: printed by Nathaniel and Benjamin Heaton, 1797.

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Brown Bag Constructing American Belatedness: The Archives of American Artists in Late Nineteenth-Century Paris 22 February 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Emily C. Burns, Auburn University Thousands of US artists traveled to Paris between 1865 and 1914, at various stages of their careers ...

Thousands of US artists traveled to Paris between 1865 and 1914, at various stages of their careers and for various lengths of time. This project culls archival materials to understand  how American culture collectively became defined through international mobility as belated and innocent.

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Public Program MIT: History and Architecture 22 February 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Douglass Shand-Tucci       This talk arises out of a two part guide -- a history of MIT and a series of ...

 

 

 

This talk arises out of a two part guide -- a history of MIT and a series of walking tours of its present campus on the Charles River Basin -- which has been called "Boston's Central Park" -- the first result of "The Gods of Copley Square," a multi-year project and Shand-Tucci's next book, the subject of which is the Boston Brahmin Ascendancy. A high-point of that ascendancy was the development of Copley Square in 1860-1915 as a great New World Acropolis of Faith and Learning, Arts and Sciences, the cornerstone of which was MIT, founded as a notable scientific university, a companion Brahmin school to modern Harvard. This talk focuses on the way the schools, now universally ranked among the top five seats of higher learning in the world, reflected Boston 19th century Unitarian tradition and framed its Brahmin Ascendancy.

Shand-Tucci's recent publication, MIT: The Campus Guide, will be available for purchase.

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Teacher Workshopends Women in the Era of the American Revolution 23 February 2017.Thursday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM Registration fee: $40 (free for students) Study the revolution through the words and artifacts of the women who lived it. Women were vital ...

Study the revolution through the words and artifacts of the women who lived it. Women were vital consumers (and boycotters) of imported goods, and they functioned as heads of household while their male family members served in the military or traveled on political missions. We will explore the daily lives of these revolutionary women, including those who served as soldiers and secret agents, or followed the army as cooks and laundresses. The program fee includes a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts.

This program is open to K-12 educators. Teachers can earn 45 PDPs and 2 graduate credits (for an additional fee).

Please email education@masshist.org or call 617-646-0557 for more information or to register.

Image: The Female Review: or, Memoirs of an American Young Lady ...  Frontispiece including an engraved portrait of Deborah Sampson. Dedham, [MA]: printed by Nathaniel and Benjamin Heaton, 1797.

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History of Women and Gender Seminar Conversation: Sexuality of History, History of Sexuality 23 February 2017.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM Location: Radcliffe, Fay House, Sheerr Room, 10 Garden St. in Cambridge Sue Lanser, Brandeis University, and Jim Downs, Connecticut College Moderator: Jen Manion, Amherst College Please join us for a conversation with the authors of two important new books in the history of ...

Please join us for a conversation with the authors of two important new books in the history of sexuality.  This wide-ranging discussion will explore the relationship between lesbian and gay male histories, literary and historical methods, representation and political mobilization of people and communities. We will explore the following questions: How do such vastly different works advance the ongoing project of queer historicism and/or LGBTQ history and to what end? What scholarly fields and trends have enabled and inspired this new work? Who is the audience for LGBTQ history and queer scholarship, the LGBTQ community or the academy? How do we make theoretical insights legible and relevant to the community? How do we articulate the urgency to make the history of sexuality and LGBTQ communities central part of curricula, graduate training, and our professional organizations?" - Please note that there are no precirculated essays for this session.

Sue Lanser is author of The Sexuality of History: Modernity and the Sapphic, 1565-1830 (Chicago, 2014) which explores the ways in which a historically specific interest in lesbians intersected with and stimulated systemic concerns that would seem to have little to do with sexuality. Departing from the prevailing trend of queer reading whereby scholars ferret out hidden content in “closeted” texts, Lanser situates overtly erotic representations within wider spheres of interest. In so doing, she demonstrates that just as one can understand sexuality by studying the past, so too can one understand the past by studying sexuality. Jim Downs is author of Stand by Me (Basic, 2016) which rewrites the history of gay life in the 1970s, arguing that the decade was about much more than sex and marching in the streets. Drawing on a vast trove of untapped records at LGBT community centers in Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia, Downs tells moving, revelatory stories of gay people who stood together—as friends, fellow believers, and colleagues—to create a sense of community among people who felt alienated from mainstream American life.

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Turning Points Exhibitionends Turning Points in American History 25 February 2017.Saturday, 10:00AM - 4:00PM Open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM Turning Points in American History examines 15 decisive moments when everything ...

Turning Points in American History examines 15 decisive moments when everything suddenly changed or a process began that would change what followed. These are not the only, or even the most important, events in American history, but turning points described in eyewitness accounts and personal records, or commemorated by "dumb witnesses"--artifacts found in the Society's enormous collections. The exhibition begins with an account of sailing a small boat through New York Harbor on 11 September 2001 and then travels back in time to the opening of the American West in the 19th century; the abolitionist movement and the Civil War; the American Revolution and the birth of the United States; and culminates with John Winthrop's account of setting sail for New England in 1630. The exhibition opens on 10 June.

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Teacher Workshop Abraham Lincoln & Emancipation 25 February 2017.Saturday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM “I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way ...

“I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races….”  Abraham Lincoln, 1858

Investigate Abraham Lincoln’s evolving thoughts on social and political equality for African Americans. How do we reconcile Lincoln’s words from his September 18, 1858, debate with Stephen A. Douglas with the man who signed the Emancipation Proclamation? Together MHS staff, participants will discuss Lincoln’s grounds for opposing slavery and his thoughts on colonization, abolition, and gradual emancipation. Using primary sources from the Society’s collection, participants can debate Lincoln’s rationale for singing the Emancipation Proclamation, as well as public reaction to the edict. We will be joined by Kevin M .Levin, author of Civil War Memory.

This program is open to K-12 educators. Teachers can earn 22.5 PDPs and 1 graduate credit (for an additional fee).

Please email education@masshist.org or call 617-646-0557 for more information or to register.

Image: By the President of the United States: A Proclamation. [Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation]. Washington, D.C.: 1862.

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MHS Tour Canceled: The History and Collections of the MHS 25 February 2017.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: Turning Points in American History.

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Public Program, Conversation Begin at the Beginning: Mapping New England - a visual story 25 February 2017.Saturday, 1:00PM - 3:00PM Peter Drummey, Stephen T. Riley Librarian The first English explorers to reach the northeastern corner of the New World were left with a ...

The first English explorers to reach the northeastern corner of the New World were left with a conundrum: how to explain the new land to people who had never - and probably would never - see it? John Smith wrote his extravagantly promotional A Description of New England (1616) and William Wood New Englands Prospect (1634). But nothing succeeded in reaching a broad public like a picture.

Join MHS librarian Peter Drummey in investigating the world of early New England maps: how they were created; what they included and what they omitted; the images their creators choose and the messages they conveyed. Were early maps designed to encourage emigrants, or aids to navigation? Did they chart colonial-Native American conflict or paint an idyllic garden scene? Find out how these non-textual artifacts communicated the world of 17th-century New England.

NOTE: This meeting is a discussion, not a lecture. Come prepared to examine maps, raise questions, and make your points! No expertise required, just a willingness to engage with primary material, talk to fellow attendees, and enjoy yourself.

Map above selection from: 

A map of New-England : being the first that ever was here cut, and done by the best pattern that could be had, which being in some places defective, it made the other less exact: Yet doth it sufficiently show the situation of the country & conveniently well the distances of places.

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Public Program, Author Talk Self-Evident Truths: Contesting Equal Rights from the Revolution to the Civil War 27 February 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Richard Brown, University of Connecticut Despite our country’s founding statement that “all men are created equal,” the ...

Despite our country’s founding statement that “all men are created equal,” the early Republic struggled with social inequality. While people paid homage to the ideal of equal rights, this ideal came up against entrenched social and political practices. Brown will discuss how the ideal was tested in struggles over race and ethnicity, religious freedom, gender and social class, voting rights and citizenship. He shows how high principles fared in criminal trials and divorce cases when minorities, women, and people from different social classes faced judgment. This book offers a much-needed exploration of the ways revolutionary political ideas penetrated popular thinking and everyday practice.

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Vietnamese Political Prisoners and the Politics of Family, 1975-1996 28 February 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Amanda C. Demmer, University of New Hampshire Comment: Arissa Oh, Boston College This project dispels the myths that American involvement in Vietnam ended abruptly after the fall of ...

This project dispels the myths that American involvement in Vietnam ended abruptly after the fall of Saigon and that U.S. servicemen listed as prisoner of war/missing in action were the only exception to American disengagement. It explores the American response to Hanoi's incarceration of Vietnamese political prisoners in so-called “reeducation” camps, whose last prisoner was not released until 1992. More specifically, it argues that Vietnamese Americans successfully made the prisoners' release and resettlement a major objective of U.S. foreign policy.

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March
Brown Bag Ask Carol Lane!: Imaginaries of Safe Travel in the 1950s 1 March 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Renée Blackburn, MIT As post-war traffic fatalities rose, so did the concern to create safe communities and roads. Some ...

As post-war traffic fatalities rose, so did the concern to create safe communities and roads. Some of the work done by organizations involved creating imaginary personas, mostly of women, to perpetuate the rules of safe travel and normalize traffic and travel safety during a period of increased vehicle use, recreational travel, and fatality risk on the roads. This talk examines these personas and their place in the larger safety context of the 1950s.

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Public Program A Child's Photo Album 2 March 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Ken Liss, Boston University Libraries In 2014, the Brookline Historical Society was given a tiny photo album with postage stamp-sized ...

In 2014, the Brookline Historical Society was given a tiny photo album with postage stamp-sized photos of 48 Brookline and Boston children. Written inside the front cover were the name Mamie Williams and the date March 16, 1882. Who was Mamie Williams? Who were the children pictured in her album? What became of them as adults? Months of research by Liss led to answers to these questions and to some fascinating stories about the offspring of Edward Atkinson, H.H. Richardson, Moorefield Storey, as well as stories of Brookline and Boston society. In this presentation, Liss tells the tale of this album and the people inside it.

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Early American History Seminar A History of Violence: The Harpe Murders and the Legacies of the American Revolution 7 March 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Kate Grandjean, Wellesley College Comment: Eliga Gould, University of New Hampshire This paper looks at a series of murders in Appalachia in the 1790s, committed by former loyalists. ...

This paper looks at a series of murders in Appalachia in the 1790s, committed by former loyalists. By following the lives of the Harpe brothers, who left a trail of blood through early Tennessee and Kentucky, it explores the violent legacies of the American Revolution—especially in the southern borderlands. 

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Brown Bag Inventing Citizens: Patents, Inventors, and Civil Rights 8 March 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Kara Swanson, Northeastern University Beginning with the Constitutional Convention, Americans created the world's most accessible patent ...

Beginning with the Constitutional Convention, Americans created the world's most accessible patent system. As the system and the republic grew together, Americans came to consider issued patents both a measurement of their national progress and proof of the desirable qualities possessed by the wide swath of Americans who obtained patents. This project examines this foundational relationship by demonstrating how the patent system became a resource for marginalized groups making claims to full civil rights, particularly women and African Americans.  

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The Irish Atlantic Member Event, Special Event SOLD OUT: The Irish Atlantic Fellows & Members Preview Reception 9 March 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM Please note that this event is sold out. This event is open only to MHS Fellows and Members. William M. Fowler, Northeastern University Please note that this event is sold out.To put your name on a waiting list, please call our RSVP ...

Please note that this event is sold out.To put your name on a waiting list, please call our RSVP line at 617-646-0578.

MHS Fellows and Members are invited to a special program, reception, and chance to preview The Irish Atlantic. The exhibition explores 175 years of the Irish in Boston. Guest curator William Fowler will give an overview, beginning with a look at the Irish community in Massachusetts stretching back into the 18th century, through famine relief efforts led by Capt. Robert Bennet Forbes at the helm of the Jamestown, to a mass migration movement, decades of community and institutional building, and a rise in political power.

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Exhibitionbegins The Irish Atlantic 10 March 2017.Friday, 10:00AM - 4:00PM Open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM Explore 175 years of the Irish in Boston from the founding of the Charitable Irish Society in 1737, ...

Explore 175 years of the Irish in Boston from the founding of the Charitable Irish Society in 1737, through famine relief efforts led by Capt. Robert Bennet Forbes at the helm of the Jamestown, to a mass migration movement, decades of community and institutional building, and a rise in political power. The exhibition is co-sponsored by the MHS and the Forbes House Museum.

See the exhibit’s companion website for an overview, timeline, and more videos about the Irish in Boston.

Watch this video for an overview of the exhibit by guest curator William M. Fowler, Distinguished Professor of History at Northeastern University.

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Brown Bag A Constitutional Lost Cause: The Fifteenth Amendment in American Memory and Political Culture, 1870-1920 10 March 2017.Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Stephen A. West, The Catholic University of America Initially hailed by supporters as the fulfillment of America’s democratic promise, the ...

Initially hailed by supporters as the fulfillment of America’s democratic promise, the Fifteenth Amendment would, within a few decades, be nullified in the southern states and regarded by many white Americans as a constitutional mistake. This talk examines how Americans—across lines of race, region, and party—placed the voting rights amendment at the center of their memories of Reconstruction, and how those memories shaped their debates about citizenship and the very nature of the Constitution.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 11 March 2017.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: The Irish Atlantic: A Story of Famine Migration and Opportunity.

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Building Closed Due to inclement weather the MHS will be closed on 14 March 2017.Tuesday, all day Due to inclement weather the MHS library and galleries will be closed on Tuesday, 14 March.  

Due to inclement weather the MHS library and galleries will be closed on Tuesday, 14 March.  

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Environmental History Seminar, Postponed Postponed: The Winter Workscape: Weather and the Meaning of Industrial Capitalism in the Northern Forest, 1850-1950 14 March 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Jason L. Newton, Syracuse University Comment: Richard W. Judd, University of Maine POSTPONED: This program has been rescheduled for May 16, 2017. Industrial logging ...

POSTPONED: This program has been rescheduled for May 16, 2017.

Industrial logging operators used the winter weather, wood, simple machines, and muscle power alone to increase the production and transportation of saw logs to reach industrial scale and efficiency. Drawing on methods from environmental and labor history and the history of slavery and capitalism, this essay characterizes industrial capitalism as a force that will sustain seemingly anachronistic modes of production as long as they remain profitable. It shows that increased efficiency and scale need not always lead to massive carbon emissions.

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Boston Codfish Balls ad - Cooking Boston series Public Program, Conversation, Cooking Boston Cooking Boston: Refined to Rustic 15 March 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Keith Stavely, Kelly Erby and moderator Barbara Wheaton Program 1: Refined to RusticKeith Stavely will explore the role Boston has played ...

Program 1: Refined to Rustic
Keith Stavely will explore the role Boston has played from being the home of early European refinement to the rise of the Colonial Revival rustic dishes. Kelly Erby will explore the role of restaurants and the rise of commercial dining in the increasingly urban landscape of nineteenth century Boston. Barbara Wheaton will lead a discussion on how the Hub has shaped American culinary culture through cookbooks and changing perceptions of the city.


Cooking Boston: How the Hub Shaped the American Diet 

This series of programs will explore the culinary history of Boston and the impact the city has had on the American diet. In the first half of the 19th century, Boston had a reputation as the center for European taste and refinement. By the end of the 19th century, the Colonial Revival movement nationally popularized foods like Boston baked beans and Yankee pot-roast shifting Boston’s image from refined to rustic. In the 20th century, Boston clung to two identities: that of thrifty Puritans and of cosmopolitanism through education. This created some remarkably bland food but also made the city fertile ground for a culinary revolution. In the 1960s, chefs like Julia Child and Joyce Chen brought the flavors of the world to America through Boston.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 18 March 2017.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: The Irish Atlantic: A Story of Famine Migration and Opportunity.

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Politics of Taste series - Mary Otis Gray Public Program, Author Talk, Politics of Taste Politics of Taste: Republic of Taste 20 March 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Catherine E. Kelly, University of Oklahoma Program 1: Republic of TasteWhether Americans believed that taste was innate ...

Program 1: Republic of Taste
Republic of TasteWhether Americans believed that taste was innate or acquired, it was widely believed that shared aesthetic sensibilities connected like-minded individuals and that shared affinities advanced the public good and held great promise for the American republic. Catherine E. Kelly demonstrates how American thinkers acknowledged the similarities between aesthetics and politics in order to wrestle with questions about power and authority. In the years following independence, ordinary women and men reassured themselves that taste revealed larger truths about an individual's character and potential for republican citizenship.

 

 


Politics of Taste

Three authors will explore how the development of manners and taste in colonial America and the early republic were not just a statement of aesthetics but were also ways to define political identity and create shared affinities. This journey through the study of material culture with show how the politics of politeness helped define American thought. 

Other programs in the series 

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Brown Bag Love in the Time of Mutual Assured Destruction: Rethinking Cold War Rationality 22 March 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Marie Burks, MIT The nuclear strategy of mutual assured destruction has come to symbolize the prevailing rationality ...

The nuclear strategy of mutual assured destruction has come to symbolize the prevailing rationality of the atomic age. This talk will highlight the work of intellectuals who deployed alternative rationalities to challenge the assumptions underlying not only nuclear strategy but also U.S. Cold War policy more broadly. These thinkers argued that, alongside familiar tools of Cold War rationality such as game theory, love and empathy were just as critical to a full understanding of social conflict.

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Public Program, Author Talk, Politics of Taste Portrait of a Woman in Silk: Hidden Histories of the British Atlantic World 23 March 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Zara Anishanslin, University of Delaware Program 2: Portrait of a Woman in Silk Through the story of a portrait of a woman ...

Program 2: Portrait of a Woman in Silk

Through the story of a portrait of a woman in a silk dress, historian Zara Anishanslin embarks on a journey, exploring and refining debates about the cultural history of the eighteenth-century British Atlantic world. She examines the worlds of four people who produced, wore, and represented this object: a London weaver, one of early modern Britain’s few women silk designers, a Philadelphia merchant’s wife, and a New England painter. Anishanslin shows how making, buying, and using goods in the British Atlantic created an object-based community that tied its inhabitants together, while also allowing for different views of the Empire.

Politics of Taste

Three authors will explore how the development of manners and taste in colonial America and the early republic were not just a statement of aesthetics but were also ways to define political identity and create shared affinities. This journey through the study of material culture with show how the politics of politeness helped define American thought. 

Other programs in the series 

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Public Program, Conversation Begin at the Beginning: Slavery in Early Boston 25 March 2017.Saturday, 1:00PM - 3:00PM Kerri Greenidge, Tufts University and the University of Massachusetts, Boston "Slavery in Early Boston" is the first of three Partnership of Historic Bostons discussions this ...

"Slavery in Early Boston" is the first of three Partnership of Historic Bostons discussions this spring about slavery and servitude in early Massachusetts. 

This discussion will explore Samuel Sewall's forceful and controversial pamphlet, The Selling of Joseph; notwithstanding his reputation as a Salem witch trial judge, Sewall advocated abolition (although he did not believe black and white people could live together) and entered into a fierce pamphlet war with his slaveowning neighbor John Saffin. We will also examine the "uncommon sufferings" of Briton Hammon, abducted into slavery for many years before returning home to Boston.

Led by Prof. Kerri Greenidge of Tufts and UMass-Boston, this open group discussion will be about our responses to readings of primary texts about slavery in early Boston (17th and 18th centuries), including Samuel Sewall's The Selling of Joseph, and A Narrative of Uncommon Sufferings by Briton Hammon.

Please note that this is a reaing discussion group, not a lecture. All participants are expected to have read the following two primary texts for this discussion:

The Selling of Joseph, by Samuel Sewell

A Narrative of the Uncommon Sufferings, and Surprizing Deliverance of Briton Hammon

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Public Program, The Irish Atlantic The Mission of the Jamestown 27 March 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. William Fowler, Jr., Northeastern University; Christine Kinealy, Director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute, Quinnipiac University; Catherine Shannon, Professor Emerita of History, Westfield State University The Irish Atlantic Series As news of the Irish Famine made its way across ...

The Irish Atlantic Series

As news of the Irish Famine made its way across the Atlantic, the citizens of Boston rallied to help. In 1847, a relief mission was organized and authorized by Congress, allowing the Secretary of the Navy to place two Naval ships—the Jamestown from Boston and the Macedonian from NYC—under civilian command to bring relief to Ireland. Capt. Robert Bennet Forbes, the head of Russell and Co, the largest American trading house in China, led the mission from Boston. He mobilized the city's citizens and merchants and amassed tons of food relief. William Fowler, guest curator for The Irish Atlantic, will lead a discussion with Catherine Shannon and Christine Kinealy on the relief efforts of the Jamestown on the eve of the 170th anniversary of its voyage.

Panelists:
Catherine Shannon - Professor Emerita of History, Westfield State University
Christine Kinealy - Director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute, Quinnipiac University
William Fowler, Jr. - Distinguished Professor of History, Northeastern University

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar, The Irish Atlantic Moving News, Affecting Relief: The Irish Famine’s Trans-Atlantic Circulations 28 March 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Anelise H. Shrout, California State University, Fullerton Comment: Kevin Kenny, Boston College The ships that carried Irish famine victims across the Atlantic also carried tragic accounts of ...

The ships that carried Irish famine victims across the Atlantic also carried tragic accounts of those left behind; in response, North Americans sent millions of dollars to relieve rural suffering. This paper argues that exploring the interactions between these various circulations reveals a tension between aiding strangers overseas and welcoming them in American cities. Further, it demonstrates that Americans’ decisions to send funds overseas were deeply conditioned by the political utility of those donations at home.

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Brown Bag An Actor’s Tale: Theater, Culture, and Everyday Life in Nineteenth-Century U.S. America 29 March 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Amy Hughes, Brooklyn College, CUNY Hughes will discuss her monograph-in-progress, inspired by the diary of U.S. actor Harry Watkins ...

Hughes will discuss her monograph-in-progress, inspired by the diary of U.S. actor Harry Watkins (1825-1894). In “An Actor’s Tale,” she deploys Watkins’s diary in order to offer an “alternative theater history” focusing on workaday laborers in the antebellum entertainment industry. She draws on the voluminous details in the manuscript to expose heretofore neglected or misunderstood aspects of U.S. theater culture during the 1800s while also shedding light on the trials and tribulations of everyday life during the tumultuous years leading up to the Civil War.

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Public Program, Author Talk, Politics of Taste Tea Sets and Tyranny: The Politics of Politeness in Early America 29 March 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Steven C. Bullock, Worcester Polytechnic University Even as eighteenth-century thinkers from John Locke to Thomas Jefferson struggled to find effective ...

Even as eighteenth-century thinkers from John Locke to Thomas Jefferson struggled to find effective means to restrain power, contemporary discussions of society gave increasing attention to ideals of refinement, moderation, and polished self-presentation. These two sets of ideas have long seemed separate, one dignified as political theory, the other primarily concerned with manners and material culture. Tea Sets and Tyranny challenges that division. In its original context, Steven C. Bullock suggests, politeness also raised important issues of power, leadership, and human relationships. This politics of politeness helped make opposition to overbearing power central to early American thought and practice.

 

Politics of Taste

Three authors will explore how the development of manners and taste in colonial America and the early republic were not just a statement of aesthetics but were also ways to define political identity and create shared affinities. This journey through the study of material culture with show how the politics of politeness helped define American thought. 

Other programs in the series 

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Building Closed New Years Observed -- MHS Closed 2 January 2017.Monday, all day

The library and exhibition galleries will be closed all day.  

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Brown Bag "A Great and Rising Nation": Naval Exploration and Empire in the Early American Republic, 1815-1860 4 January 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Michael Verney, University of New Hampshire

This project examines the global exploring expeditions of the United States Navy in the antebellum era.  While not every mission was successful, each voyage helped the nation pursue Great Power status and global empire before the Civil War.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 7 January 2017.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM

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: Turning Points in American History.

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Library Closed Library Closed @ 1:00PM 7 January 2017.Saturday, all day

Library Closed at 1:00PM due to weather. 

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Environmental History Seminar Sex in the Reeds: Disciplining Nature and Cultivating Virtue in the Back Bay Fens 10 January 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Zachary Nowak, Harvard University Comment: Phyllis Andersen, Independent Scholar

With the introduction of discourse about “invasive exotic species” in the 1980s, the reason for the removal of reeds planted along the Muddy River shifted, from socio-sexual disapproval of illicit activities to “ecoxenophobia.” This essay aims to historicize “exotic” species to show that their labeling as such is a social construct, not a biological fact. Improving the Fens through planting and weeding has for more than a century really been a project to improve people.

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Brown Bag The Early American Bookseller: A Network History 11 January 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM John Garcia, Boston University

Booksellers in colonial and 19th-century America were essential agents in the distribution of books and reading. This talk will explain how financial records, correspondence, and writing by booksellers can help to reconstruct print networks and geographies of books and reading. It will argue that the many instances of economic failure in American bookselling reveal various attempts to connect authors, readers, and publics in the face of geographic and infrastructural obstacles. 

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 14 January 2017.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM

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: Turning Points in American History.

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Building Closed Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 16 January 2017.Monday, all day

The MHS is CLOSED for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

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Brown Bag The Fight for Women's Equality in the Anti-Slavery Movement, 1833-1840 18 January 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Louise Knight, author of Jane Addams, Spirit in Action

This talk will examine how some early feminist abolitionists, led by Maria Weston Chapman of the Boston Female Antislavery Society, sought, to integrate women into the American Antislavery Society beginning in 1833 and finally succeeded in 1840. It will illustrate how these women were inspired by their groundbreaking, feminist vision for a genderblind democracy. 

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Public Program, Author Talk Loom 18 January 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Kevin Gallagher, Boston University

Kevin Gallagher’s new book of poetry explores the difficult relations between the northern textile mills and the cotton produced by the southern slave economy. Through narrative poems he explores the origin of the American industry, the impact it had on the slave states and the conflicts and contradictions this relationship caused. Gallagher is a poet and a professor of Global Development Policy at Boston University’s Pardee School for Global Studies.

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Biography Seminar Publishing Lives: How It’s Done, and Who Does It 19 January 2017.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM Laura Claridge, Jill Kneerim, and Deanne Urmy Moderator: Megan Marshall

Deanne Urmy, Senior Executive Editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Jill Kneerim of the Kneerim & Williams literary agency, both of whom are actively engaged in publishing biography, will be joined by Laura Claridge, author of the just-published The Lady with the Borzoi: Blanche Knopf, Literary Tastemaker Extraordinaire. Their conversation will widen out from biography itself to the workings of the literary marketplace, then and now.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 21 January 2017.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM

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: Turning Points in American History.

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Brown Bag "Faraway Women" and the Atlantic Monthly 23 January 2017.Monday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Cathryn Halverson, University of Groningen

This talk discusses Ellery Sedgwick, editor of the Atlantic Monthly from 1908-1938, and the “Faraway Women” who were viewed as a defining feature of his career: women who published in the Atlantic accounts of unusual life experiences in Europe, Asia, the American South, and, most especially, the American West.

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Panel Discussion: Urban History on the Digital Frontier 24 January 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Vivek Bald, MIT, Jack A. Dougherty, Trinity College, and Marilynn S. Johnson, Boston College Moderator: Douglas O'Reagan, MIT

Bald is working on a transmedia project aimed at recovering the histories of peddlers and steamship workers from British colonial India who came to the U.S. in the early 20th century. It includes a digital oral history website. Dougherty and his students are writing an open-access book, On The Line: How Schooling, Housing, and Civil Rights Shaped Hartford and its Suburbs, which features interactive maps and oral history videos. Johnson’s Global Boston is a public history website combining a basic immigration history overview for the region with student research, oral history, and a curated selection of digitized primary sources, images and maps documenting the local immigrant experience.

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Public Program, Author Talk The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire 26 January 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Stephen Kinzer, Boston Globe and Robin Young, Here and Now

Watch the recording of this event, embedded below:

How should the United States act in the world? Sometimes we burn with righteous anger, launching foreign wars and deposing governments. Then we retreat—until the cycle begins again. However, these debates are not original. Revealing a piece of forgotten history, Stephen Kinzer transports us to the dawn of the 20th century, when the United States first found itself with the chance to dominate faraway lands. The country’s political and intellectual leaders took sides. Only once before—the period when the United States was founded—have so many brilliant Americans eloquently debated a question so fraught with meaning for all humanity. Their words are amazingly current today.

 

Stephen Kinzer is an award-winning author and foreign correspondent who has covered more than 50 countries on five continents. His articles and books have led the Washington Post to place him “among the best in popular foreign policy storytelling.” He was Latin America correspondent for The Boston Globe, and then spent more than 20 years working for the New York Times, with extended postings in Nicaragua, Germany, and Turkey. He is a visiting fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University. 

Robin Young brings more than 25 years of broadcast experience to her role as host of Here & Now. She is a Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker who has also reported for NBC, CBS and ABC television and for several years was substitute host and correspondent for "The Today Show."

Robin has received five Emmy Awards for her television work, as well as two CableACE Awards, the Religious Public Relations Council's Wilbur Award, the National Conference of Christians and Jews Gold Award, and numerous regional Edward R. Murrow awards.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 28 January 2017.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM

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: Turning Points in American History.

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Public Program Begin at the Beginning: Medical and Surgical Care in Puritan New England 28 January 2017.Saturday, 1:00PM - 3:00PM Sidney Levitsky, MD

From bloodletting to powders made from roasted toads, medical care in early New England was of uncertain value to the patient. In this discussion of primary documents led by Sid Levitsky of Harvard Medical School, we’ll explore the foundations of 17th century English medicine and surgery and the practice of medicine in New England.  

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Brown Bag "Leaving their callings": Retirement in the Early Republic 1 February 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Andrea Gray, George Mason University and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation

This project looks at elderly men in the early national period who voluntarily left their public careers—including prominent politicians as well as those in fields such as commerce, law, and medicine—and permanently returned to domestic life. By examining their motives, how they spent their retired years, and the impression they made on their fellow Americans, we gain important insights into the relationships between aging, work and public service, gender, and republican civic virtue.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 4 February 2017.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM

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: Turning Points in American History.

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Early American History Seminar The Coromantee War in Jamaica: Charting the Course of an Atlantic Slave Revolt 7 February 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Vincent Brown, Harvard University Comment: Malick Ghachem, MIT

Drawn from Brown’s current book project, this essay will discuss African diasporic warfare in the Americas. It puts the Jamaican Revolt of 1760-61 in the context of a dramatic series of 17th- and 18th-century revolts and conspiracies that were staged by enslaved Africans from the Gold Coast, known widely as “Coromantees."

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Public Program Collecting the World at War, 1919-1946 8 February 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Kenneth Rendell, Museum of World War II

Kenneth Rendell, a noted collector and dealer of historical documents and artifacts, has amassed the most comprehensive collection of material related to World War II anywhere. This collection is open to the public through the Museum of World War II, a research and educational institution devoted to preserving and exhibiting the reality of the war. With over 7,000 artifacts on display and more than 500,000 documents and photographs in the research archives, it is a remarkable resource. Rendell will discuss the challenges he’s faced in the past 58 years of collecting, globally, the most cataclysmic event of modern times.

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Building Closed MHS Closed 9 February 2017.Thursday, all day

Due to inclement weather, the MHS library and galleries will be closed on Thursday, February 9.

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Building Closed MHS Closed 10 February 2017.Friday, all day

Due to inclement weather, the MHS library and galleries will be closed on Friday, February 10.

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Building Closed MHS Closed 13 February 2017.Monday, all day

Due to inclement weather the MHS library and galleries will be closed on Monday, 13 February 2016.

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Public Program, Author Talk Of Arms and Artists: The American Revolution Through Painters' Eyes 16 February 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Paul Staiti, Mount Holyoke College

The lives of the five great American artists of the Revolutionary period--Charles Willson Peale, John Singleton Copley, John Trumbull, Benjamin West, and Gilbert Stuart--were every bit as eventful as those of the Founders with whom they continually interacted. Living in a time of breathtaking change, each in his own way came to grips with the history being made by turning to brushes and canvases. The stories of these five artists open a fresh window on the Revolutionary era, making more human the figures we have long honored as our Founders, and deepening our understanding of the whirlwind out of which the United States emerged.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 18 February 2017.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM

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: Turning Points in American History.

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Building Closed Presidents' Day 20 February 2017.Monday, all day

The Society is CLOSED for President's Day

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Environmental History Seminar Postponed:
Harvest for War: Fruits, Nuts, Imperialism, and Gas Mask Manufacture in the United States During World War I
21 February 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Gerard Fitzgerald, George Mason University Comment: Nicoletta Gullace, University of New Hampshire

This session has been POSTPONED to Tuesday, May 9, at 5:15 PM.

Part of a larger book length study, this essay examines the use of seemingly exotic foodstuffs and industrial waste in the form of fruit pits for the manufacture of a high-density carbon filter critical for defense against chemical weapons. It involves not only environmental and military history but also the history of science and biology. The essay includes analysis of transportation networks within the context of 19th-century US imperialism, especially from a resource allocation perspective.

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Teacher Workshop Women in the Era of the American Revolution 22 February 2017 to 23 February 2017 Registration fee: $40 (free for students)

Study the revolution through the words and artifacts of the women who lived it. Women were vital consumers (and boycotters) of imported goods, and they functioned as heads of household while their male family members served in the military or traveled on political missions. We will explore the daily lives of these revolutionary women, including those who served as soldiers and secret agents, or followed the army as cooks and laundresses. The program fee includes a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts.

This program is open to K-12 educators. Teachers can earn 45 PDPs and 2 graduate credits (for an additional fee).

Please email education@masshist.org or call 617-646-0557 for more information or to register.

Image: The Female Review: or, Memoirs of an American Young Lady ...  Frontispiece including an engraved portrait of Deborah Sampson. Dedham, [MA]: printed by Nathaniel and Benjamin Heaton, 1797.

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Brown Bag Constructing American Belatedness: The Archives of American Artists in Late Nineteenth-Century Paris 22 February 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Emily C. Burns, Auburn University

Thousands of US artists traveled to Paris between 1865 and 1914, at various stages of their careers and for various lengths of time. This project culls archival materials to understand  how American culture collectively became defined through international mobility as belated and innocent.

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Public Program MIT: History and Architecture 22 February 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Douglass Shand-Tucci

 

 

 

This talk arises out of a two part guide -- a history of MIT and a series of walking tours of its present campus on the Charles River Basin -- which has been called "Boston's Central Park" -- the first result of "The Gods of Copley Square," a multi-year project and Shand-Tucci's next book, the subject of which is the Boston Brahmin Ascendancy. A high-point of that ascendancy was the development of Copley Square in 1860-1915 as a great New World Acropolis of Faith and Learning, Arts and Sciences, the cornerstone of which was MIT, founded as a notable scientific university, a companion Brahmin school to modern Harvard. This talk focuses on the way the schools, now universally ranked among the top five seats of higher learning in the world, reflected Boston 19th century Unitarian tradition and framed its Brahmin Ascendancy.

Shand-Tucci's recent publication, MIT: The Campus Guide, will be available for purchase.

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History of Women and Gender Seminar Conversation: Sexuality of History, History of Sexuality 23 February 2017.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM Location: Radcliffe, Fay House, Sheerr Room, 10 Garden St. in Cambridge Sue Lanser, Brandeis University, and Jim Downs, Connecticut College Moderator: Jen Manion, Amherst College

Please join us for a conversation with the authors of two important new books in the history of sexuality.  This wide-ranging discussion will explore the relationship between lesbian and gay male histories, literary and historical methods, representation and political mobilization of people and communities. We will explore the following questions: How do such vastly different works advance the ongoing project of queer historicism and/or LGBTQ history and to what end? What scholarly fields and trends have enabled and inspired this new work? Who is the audience for LGBTQ history and queer scholarship, the LGBTQ community or the academy? How do we make theoretical insights legible and relevant to the community? How do we articulate the urgency to make the history of sexuality and LGBTQ communities central part of curricula, graduate training, and our professional organizations?" - Please note that there are no precirculated essays for this session.

Sue Lanser is author of The Sexuality of History: Modernity and the Sapphic, 1565-1830 (Chicago, 2014) which explores the ways in which a historically specific interest in lesbians intersected with and stimulated systemic concerns that would seem to have little to do with sexuality. Departing from the prevailing trend of queer reading whereby scholars ferret out hidden content in “closeted” texts, Lanser situates overtly erotic representations within wider spheres of interest. In so doing, she demonstrates that just as one can understand sexuality by studying the past, so too can one understand the past by studying sexuality. Jim Downs is author of Stand by Me (Basic, 2016) which rewrites the history of gay life in the 1970s, arguing that the decade was about much more than sex and marching in the streets. Drawing on a vast trove of untapped records at LGBT community centers in Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia, Downs tells moving, revelatory stories of gay people who stood together—as friends, fellow believers, and colleagues—to create a sense of community among people who felt alienated from mainstream American life.

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Exhibition Turning Points in American History 25 February 2017.Saturday, 10:00AM - 4:00PM Open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM Turning Points

Turning Points in American History examines 15 decisive moments when everything suddenly changed or a process began that would change what followed. These are not the only, or even the most important, events in American history, but turning points described in eyewitness accounts and personal records, or commemorated by "dumb witnesses"--artifacts found in the Society's enormous collections. The exhibition begins with an account of sailing a small boat through New York Harbor on 11 September 2001 and then travels back in time to the opening of the American West in the 19th century; the abolitionist movement and the Civil War; the American Revolution and the birth of the United States; and culminates with John Winthrop's account of setting sail for New England in 1630. The exhibition opens on 10 June.

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Teacher Workshop Abraham Lincoln & Emancipation 25 February 2017.Saturday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM

“I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races….”  Abraham Lincoln, 1858

Investigate Abraham Lincoln’s evolving thoughts on social and political equality for African Americans. How do we reconcile Lincoln’s words from his September 18, 1858, debate with Stephen A. Douglas with the man who signed the Emancipation Proclamation? Together MHS staff, participants will discuss Lincoln’s grounds for opposing slavery and his thoughts on colonization, abolition, and gradual emancipation. Using primary sources from the Society’s collection, participants can debate Lincoln’s rationale for singing the Emancipation Proclamation, as well as public reaction to the edict. We will be joined by Kevin M .Levin, author of Civil War Memory.

This program is open to K-12 educators. Teachers can earn 22.5 PDPs and 1 graduate credit (for an additional fee).

Please email education@masshist.org or call 617-646-0557 for more information or to register.

Image: By the President of the United States: A Proclamation. [Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation]. Washington, D.C.: 1862.

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MHS Tour Canceled:
The History and Collections of the MHS
25 February 2017.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM

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: Turning Points in American History.

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Public Program, Conversation Begin at the Beginning: Mapping New England - a visual story 25 February 2017.Saturday, 1:00PM - 3:00PM Peter Drummey, Stephen T. Riley Librarian

The first English explorers to reach the northeastern corner of the New World were left with a conundrum: how to explain the new land to people who had never - and probably would never - see it? John Smith wrote his extravagantly promotional A Description of New England (1616) and William Wood New Englands Prospect (1634). But nothing succeeded in reaching a broad public like a picture.

Join MHS librarian Peter Drummey in investigating the world of early New England maps: how they were created; what they included and what they omitted; the images their creators choose and the messages they conveyed. Were early maps designed to encourage emigrants, or aids to navigation? Did they chart colonial-Native American conflict or paint an idyllic garden scene? Find out how these non-textual artifacts communicated the world of 17th-century New England.

NOTE: This meeting is a discussion, not a lecture. Come prepared to examine maps, raise questions, and make your points! No expertise required, just a willingness to engage with primary material, talk to fellow attendees, and enjoy yourself.

Map above selection from: 

A map of New-England : being the first that ever was here cut, and done by the best pattern that could be had, which being in some places defective, it made the other less exact: Yet doth it sufficiently show the situation of the country & conveniently well the distances of places.

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Public Program, Author Talk Self-Evident Truths: Contesting Equal Rights from the Revolution to the Civil War 27 February 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Richard Brown, University of Connecticut

Despite our country’s founding statement that “all men are created equal,” the early Republic struggled with social inequality. While people paid homage to the ideal of equal rights, this ideal came up against entrenched social and political practices. Brown will discuss how the ideal was tested in struggles over race and ethnicity, religious freedom, gender and social class, voting rights and citizenship. He shows how high principles fared in criminal trials and divorce cases when minorities, women, and people from different social classes faced judgment. This book offers a much-needed exploration of the ways revolutionary political ideas penetrated popular thinking and everyday practice.

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Vietnamese Political Prisoners and the Politics of Family, 1975-1996 28 February 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Amanda C. Demmer, University of New Hampshire Comment: Arissa Oh, Boston College

This project dispels the myths that American involvement in Vietnam ended abruptly after the fall of Saigon and that U.S. servicemen listed as prisoner of war/missing in action were the only exception to American disengagement. It explores the American response to Hanoi's incarceration of Vietnamese political prisoners in so-called “reeducation” camps, whose last prisoner was not released until 1992. More specifically, it argues that Vietnamese Americans successfully made the prisoners' release and resettlement a major objective of U.S. foreign policy.

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Brown Bag Ask Carol Lane!: Imaginaries of Safe Travel in the 1950s 1 March 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Renée Blackburn, MIT

As post-war traffic fatalities rose, so did the concern to create safe communities and roads. Some of the work done by organizations involved creating imaginary personas, mostly of women, to perpetuate the rules of safe travel and normalize traffic and travel safety during a period of increased vehicle use, recreational travel, and fatality risk on the roads. This talk examines these personas and their place in the larger safety context of the 1950s.

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Public Program A Child's Photo Album 2 March 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Ken Liss, Boston University Libraries

In 2014, the Brookline Historical Society was given a tiny photo album with postage stamp-sized photos of 48 Brookline and Boston children. Written inside the front cover were the name Mamie Williams and the date March 16, 1882. Who was Mamie Williams? Who were the children pictured in her album? What became of them as adults? Months of research by Liss led to answers to these questions and to some fascinating stories about the offspring of Edward Atkinson, H.H. Richardson, Moorefield Storey, as well as stories of Brookline and Boston society. In this presentation, Liss tells the tale of this album and the people inside it.

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Early American History Seminar A History of Violence: The Harpe Murders and the Legacies of the American Revolution 7 March 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Kate Grandjean, Wellesley College Comment: Eliga Gould, University of New Hampshire

This paper looks at a series of murders in Appalachia in the 1790s, committed by former loyalists. By following the lives of the Harpe brothers, who left a trail of blood through early Tennessee and Kentucky, it explores the violent legacies of the American Revolution—especially in the southern borderlands. 

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Brown Bag Inventing Citizens: Patents, Inventors, and Civil Rights 8 March 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Kara Swanson, Northeastern University

Beginning with the Constitutional Convention, Americans created the world's most accessible patent system. As the system and the republic grew together, Americans came to consider issued patents both a measurement of their national progress and proof of the desirable qualities possessed by the wide swath of Americans who obtained patents. This project examines this foundational relationship by demonstrating how the patent system became a resource for marginalized groups making claims to full civil rights, particularly women and African Americans.  

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Member Event, Special Event SOLD OUT: The Irish Atlantic Fellows & Members Preview Reception 9 March 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM Please note that this event is sold out. This event is open only to MHS Fellows and Members. William M. Fowler, Northeastern University The Irish Atlantic

Watch the recording of this event, embedded below:

Please note that this event is sold out.To put your name on a waiting list, please call our RSVP line at 617-646-0578.

MHS Fellows and Members are invited to a special program, reception, and chance to preview The Irish Atlantic. The exhibition explores 175 years of the Irish in Boston. Guest curator William Fowler will give an overview, beginning with a look at the Irish community in Massachusetts stretching back into the 18th century, through famine relief efforts led by Capt. Robert Bennet Forbes at the helm of the Jamestown, to a mass migration movement, decades of community and institutional building, and a rise in political power.

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Exhibition The Irish Atlantic this event is free 10 March 2017 to 22 September 2017 Open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM

Explore 175 years of the Irish in Boston from the founding of the Charitable Irish Society in 1737, through famine relief efforts led by Capt. Robert Bennet Forbes at the helm of the Jamestown, to a mass migration movement, decades of community and institutional building, and a rise in political power. The exhibition is co-sponsored by the MHS and the Forbes House Museum.

See the exhibit’s companion website for an overview, timeline, and more videos about the Irish in Boston.

Watch this video for an overview of the exhibit by guest curator William M. Fowler, Distinguished Professor of History at Northeastern University.

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Brown Bag A Constitutional Lost Cause: The Fifteenth Amendment in American Memory and Political Culture, 1870-1920 10 March 2017.Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Stephen A. West, The Catholic University of America

Initially hailed by supporters as the fulfillment of America’s democratic promise, the Fifteenth Amendment would, within a few decades, be nullified in the southern states and regarded by many white Americans as a constitutional mistake. This talk examines how Americans—across lines of race, region, and party—placed the voting rights amendment at the center of their memories of Reconstruction, and how those memories shaped their debates about citizenship and the very nature of the Constitution.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 11 March 2017.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM

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: The Irish Atlantic: A Story of Famine Migration and Opportunity.

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Building Closed Due to inclement weather the MHS will be closed on 14 March 2017.Tuesday, all day

Due to inclement weather the MHS library and galleries will be closed on Tuesday, 14 March.  

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Environmental History Seminar, Postponed Postponed:
The Winter Workscape: Weather and the Meaning of Industrial Capitalism in the Northern Forest, 1850-1950
14 March 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Jason L. Newton, Syracuse University Comment: Richard W. Judd, University of Maine

POSTPONED: This program has been rescheduled for May 16, 2017.

Industrial logging operators used the winter weather, wood, simple machines, and muscle power alone to increase the production and transportation of saw logs to reach industrial scale and efficiency. Drawing on methods from environmental and labor history and the history of slavery and capitalism, this essay characterizes industrial capitalism as a force that will sustain seemingly anachronistic modes of production as long as they remain profitable. It shows that increased efficiency and scale need not always lead to massive carbon emissions.

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Public Program, Conversation, Cooking Boston Cooking Boston: Refined to Rustic 15 March 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Keith Stavely, Kelly Erby and moderator Barbara Wheaton Boston Codfish Balls ad - Cooking Boston series

Program 1: Refined to Rustic
Keith Stavely will explore the role Boston has played from being the home of early European refinement to the rise of the Colonial Revival rustic dishes. Kelly Erby will explore the role of restaurants and the rise of commercial dining in the increasingly urban landscape of nineteenth century Boston. Barbara Wheaton will lead a discussion on how the Hub has shaped American culinary culture through cookbooks and changing perceptions of the city.


Cooking Boston: How the Hub Shaped the American Diet 

This series of programs will explore the culinary history of Boston and the impact the city has had on the American diet. In the first half of the 19th century, Boston had a reputation as the center for European taste and refinement. By the end of the 19th century, the Colonial Revival movement nationally popularized foods like Boston baked beans and Yankee pot-roast shifting Boston’s image from refined to rustic. In the 20th century, Boston clung to two identities: that of thrifty Puritans and of cosmopolitanism through education. This created some remarkably bland food but also made the city fertile ground for a culinary revolution. In the 1960s, chefs like Julia Child and Joyce Chen brought the flavors of the world to America through Boston.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 18 March 2017.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM

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: The Irish Atlantic: A Story of Famine Migration and Opportunity.

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Public Program, Author Talk, Politics of Taste Politics of Taste: Republic of Taste 20 March 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Catherine E. Kelly, University of Oklahoma Politics of Taste series - Mary Otis Gray

Program 1: Republic of Taste
Republic of TasteWhether Americans believed that taste was innate or acquired, it was widely believed that shared aesthetic sensibilities connected like-minded individuals and that shared affinities advanced the public good and held great promise for the American republic. Catherine E. Kelly demonstrates how American thinkers acknowledged the similarities between aesthetics and politics in order to wrestle with questions about power and authority. In the years following independence, ordinary women and men reassured themselves that taste revealed larger truths about an individual's character and potential for republican citizenship.

 

 


Politics of Taste

Three authors will explore how the development of manners and taste in colonial America and the early republic were not just a statement of aesthetics but were also ways to define political identity and create shared affinities. This journey through the study of material culture with show how the politics of politeness helped define American thought. 

Other programs in the series 

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Brown Bag Love in the Time of Mutual Assured Destruction: Rethinking Cold War Rationality 22 March 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Marie Burks, MIT

The nuclear strategy of mutual assured destruction has come to symbolize the prevailing rationality of the atomic age. This talk will highlight the work of intellectuals who deployed alternative rationalities to challenge the assumptions underlying not only nuclear strategy but also U.S. Cold War policy more broadly. These thinkers argued that, alongside familiar tools of Cold War rationality such as game theory, love and empathy were just as critical to a full understanding of social conflict.

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Public Program, Author Talk, Politics of Taste Portrait of a Woman in Silk: Hidden Histories of the British Atlantic World 23 March 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Zara Anishanslin, University of Delaware

Program 2: Portrait of a Woman in Silk

Through the story of a portrait of a woman in a silk dress, historian Zara Anishanslin embarks on a journey, exploring and refining debates about the cultural history of the eighteenth-century British Atlantic world. She examines the worlds of four people who produced, wore, and represented this object: a London weaver, one of early modern Britain’s few women silk designers, a Philadelphia merchant’s wife, and a New England painter. Anishanslin shows how making, buying, and using goods in the British Atlantic created an object-based community that tied its inhabitants together, while also allowing for different views of the Empire.

Politics of Taste

Three authors will explore how the development of manners and taste in colonial America and the early republic were not just a statement of aesthetics but were also ways to define political identity and create shared affinities. This journey through the study of material culture with show how the politics of politeness helped define American thought. 

Other programs in the series 

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Public Program, Conversation Begin at the Beginning: Slavery in Early Boston 25 March 2017.Saturday, 1:00PM - 3:00PM Kerri Greenidge, Tufts University and the University of Massachusetts, Boston

"Slavery in Early Boston" is the first of three Partnership of Historic Bostons discussions this spring about slavery and servitude in early Massachusetts. 

This discussion will explore Samuel Sewall's forceful and controversial pamphlet, The Selling of Joseph; notwithstanding his reputation as a Salem witch trial judge, Sewall advocated abolition (although he did not believe black and white people could live together) and entered into a fierce pamphlet war with his slaveowning neighbor John Saffin. We will also examine the "uncommon sufferings" of Briton Hammon, abducted into slavery for many years before returning home to Boston.

Led by Prof. Kerri Greenidge of Tufts and UMass-Boston, this open group discussion will be about our responses to readings of primary texts about slavery in early Boston (17th and 18th centuries), including Samuel Sewall's The Selling of Joseph, and A Narrative of Uncommon Sufferings by Briton Hammon.

Please note that this is a reaing discussion group, not a lecture. All participants are expected to have read the following two primary texts for this discussion:

The Selling of Joseph, by Samuel Sewell

A Narrative of the Uncommon Sufferings, and Surprizing Deliverance of Briton Hammon

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Public Program, The Irish Atlantic The Mission of the Jamestown Please RSVP   registration required at no cost 27 March 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. William Fowler, Jr., Northeastern University; Christine Kinealy, Director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute, Quinnipiac University; Catherine Shannon, Professor Emerita of History, Westfield State University

The Irish Atlantic Series

As news of the Irish Famine made its way across the Atlantic, the citizens of Boston rallied to help. In 1847, a relief mission was organized and authorized by Congress, allowing the Secretary of the Navy to place two Naval ships—the Jamestown from Boston and the Macedonian from NYC—under civilian command to bring relief to Ireland. Capt. Robert Bennet Forbes, the head of Russell and Co, the largest American trading house in China, led the mission from Boston. He mobilized the city's citizens and merchants and amassed tons of food relief. William Fowler, guest curator for The Irish Atlantic, will lead a discussion with Catherine Shannon and Christine Kinealy on the relief efforts of the Jamestown on the eve of the 170th anniversary of its voyage.

Panelists:
Catherine Shannon - Professor Emerita of History, Westfield State University
Christine Kinealy - Director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute, Quinnipiac University
William Fowler, Jr. - Distinguished Professor of History, Northeastern University

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar, The Irish Atlantic Moving News, Affecting Relief: The Irish Famine’s Trans-Atlantic Circulations Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
28 March 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Anelise H. Shrout, California State University, Fullerton Comment: Kevin Kenny, Boston College

The ships that carried Irish famine victims across the Atlantic also carried tragic accounts of those left behind; in response, North Americans sent millions of dollars to relieve rural suffering. This paper argues that exploring the interactions between these various circulations reveals a tension between aiding strangers overseas and welcoming them in American cities. Further, it demonstrates that Americans’ decisions to send funds overseas were deeply conditioned by the political utility of those donations at home.

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Brown Bag An Actor’s Tale: Theater, Culture, and Everyday Life in Nineteenth-Century U.S. America this event is free 29 March 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Amy Hughes, Brooklyn College, CUNY

Hughes will discuss her monograph-in-progress, inspired by the diary of U.S. actor Harry Watkins (1825-1894). In “An Actor’s Tale,” she deploys Watkins’s diary in order to offer an “alternative theater history” focusing on workaday laborers in the antebellum entertainment industry. She draws on the voluminous details in the manuscript to expose heretofore neglected or misunderstood aspects of U.S. theater culture during the 1800s while also shedding light on the trials and tribulations of everyday life during the tumultuous years leading up to the Civil War.

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Public Program, Author Talk, Politics of Taste Tea Sets and Tyranny: The Politics of Politeness in Early America Please RSVP   registration required 29 March 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Steven C. Bullock, Worcester Polytechnic University

Even as eighteenth-century thinkers from John Locke to Thomas Jefferson struggled to find effective means to restrain power, contemporary discussions of society gave increasing attention to ideals of refinement, moderation, and polished self-presentation. These two sets of ideas have long seemed separate, one dignified as political theory, the other primarily concerned with manners and material culture. Tea Sets and Tyranny challenges that division. In its original context, Steven C. Bullock suggests, politeness also raised important issues of power, leadership, and human relationships. This politics of politeness helped make opposition to overbearing power central to early American thought and practice.

 

Politics of Taste

Three authors will explore how the development of manners and taste in colonial America and the early republic were not just a statement of aesthetics but were also ways to define political identity and create shared affinities. This journey through the study of material culture with show how the politics of politeness helped define American thought. 

Other programs in the series 

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