November

Biography Seminar “No Ideas But in Things”: Writing Lives from Objects 1 November 2018.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM Deborah Lutz, University of Louisville; Karen Sanchez-Eppler, Amherst College; Susan Ware, Independent Scholar Moderator: Natalie Dykstra, Hope College Often a biographer confronts silences in the record of her subject, when part of the life story is ...

Often a biographer confronts silences in the record of her subject, when part of the life story is not documented with words. Mute sources—objects in the subject’s archive—can pose a challenge for interpretation, but also offer rich opportunities. How can biographers read objects as eloquent sources?

Panelists include Deborah Lutz, whose book The Brontë Cabinet: Three Lives in Nine Objects is a biography of the sisters centered on the humble objects they owned. Susan Ware, author of the forthcoming Why They Marched: Untold Stories of the Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote, is using artifacts from the Schlesinger Library’s collections in her group biography of suffrage activists. Karen Sanchez-Eppler is writing In the Archives of Childhood: Playing with the Past, viewing children’s lives from material things. Natalie Dykstra, author of Clover Adams: A Gilded and Heartbreaking Life, will moderate.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 3 November 2018.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.

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Early American History Seminar “A Rotten-Hearted Fellow”: The Rise of Alexander McDougall 6 November 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Christopher Minty, the Adams Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society Comment: Brendan McConville, Boston University Historians have often grouped the DeLanceys of New York as self-interested opportunists who were ...

Historians have often grouped the DeLanceys of New York as self-interested opportunists who were destined to become loyalists. By focusing on the rise of Alexander McDougall, this paper offers a new interpretation, demonstrating how the DeLanceys and McDougall mobilized groups with competing visions of New York’s political economy. These prewar factions stayed in opposition until the Revolutionary War, thus shedding new light on the coming of the American Revolution.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Brown Bag John Perkins Cushing and Boston's Early China Trade 7 November 2018.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Gwenn Miller, College of the Holy Cross In July of 1803, John Perkins Cushing, an orphaned relation of some of the most prominent families ...

In July of 1803, John Perkins Cushing, an orphaned relation of some of the most prominent families in Boston, set sail for the Canton at the age of sixteen. The emerging literature on the Early American China trade often mentions Cushing as an aside, sometimes refers in passing to his importance among the foreign residents of Canton. This project explores how he came to be in that position of importance and casts Boston’s opium exchange at the center of the trade.

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Public Program, Author Talk, Revolution 250 Founding Martyr: The Life and Death of Dr. Joseph Warren, the American Revolution’s Lost Hero 7 November 2018.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30 with a special rum tasting courtesy of Privateer Rum Christian Di Spigna THIS PROGRAM IS NOW SOLD OUT Had he not been martyred at Bunker Hill in 1775, Dr. Joseph Warren, an architect of the colonial ...

Had he not been martyred at Bunker Hill in 1775, Dr. Joseph Warren, an architect of the colonial rebellion, might have led the country as Washington or Jefferson did. Warren was involved in almost every major insurrectionary act in the Boston, from the Stamp Act protests to the Boston Massacre to the Boston Tea Party, but his legacy has remained largely obscured. Di Spigna’s biography of Warren is the product of two decades of research and scores of newly unearthed documents that have given us this forgotten Founding Father anew.

Join our pre-talk reception at 5:30 for a special rum tasting courtesy of Privateer Rum.

 

 

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Brown Bag Persistent Futures of Americas Past: The Genres of Geography and Race in Early America 9 November 2018.Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Timothy Fosbury, University of California, Los Angeles This talk analyzes the speculative literary origins of America as a desired community and geography ...

This talk analyzes the speculative literary origins of America as a desired community and geography of economic, political, and religious belonging in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries by considering how place making was a form of nascent race making in the early Americas. Moving between New England, Bermuda, and the Caribbean, this talk considers how settler imaginings of their desired futures in the Americas produced the preconditions for what we would now call race.

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Conference Art and Memory: The Role of Medals 10 November 2018.Saturday, 8:00AM - 6:30PM THE REGISTRATION FOR THIS EVENT IS NOW CLOSED. Dinner afterward (at The Colonnade Hotel), 7:00PM – 9:00PM A cocktail reception at the MHS will conclude the conference in the late afternoon Medal Collectors of America and MHS Conference There is a $75 per person ...

Medal Collectors of America and MHS Conference

There is a $75 per person conference fee, with dinner afterward optional at an additional $95 per person.

This conference on medals and medal collecting will include a series of presentations on the role medals have played in America history, the evolution of medallic art, and the ways medals have reflected American culture up through the 20th century. In addition, a panel discussion will cover the stylistic developments from Renaissance medallic art to contemporary art medals (“The Art of the Medal”).  A second panel will explore the individual passions that drive numismatists to build their unique collections (“Why Collect Medals?”).

8:00 am Arrival/registration/coffee; time to view the MHS medal exhibit

8:30 am Welcome, A primer on the MHS Numismatic Collection.

Anne Bentley, Curator of Art and Artifacts

9:00 am Their Secrets Revealed! Early American College Secret Society Medals

John Sallay

9:45 am Medallic America: Allegorical Representations of America on European and American Medals

Alan Stahl

10:30 am Break

11:00 am Panel Discussion: “The Art of the Medal”

Ira Rezak (moderator)
Cory Gilliland
Robert Hoge
Scott Miller

12:00 noon Lunch

1:00 pm The Early Work of Victor David Brenner

Patrick McMahon

1:45 pm So-Called Dollars as a Reflection of Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century American Culture

Jonathan Brecher

2:30 pm Break

2:50 pm Welcome

Catherine Allgor, President of the MHS

3:00 pm Medals and Books

Len Augsburger

3:45 pm Medallic Art Company Archives at the ANS

Ute Wartenberg Kagan

4:15 pm Panel Discussion: “Why Collect Medals?”

John Adams (moderator)
Q. David Bowers
Rob Rodriguez
John Sallay
Stephen Scher

5:15 pm Wrap up

A cocktail reception at the MHS will conclude the conference, followed by an optional dinner at the Colonnade Hotel (120 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02116)

5:30 pm Social/cocktails/reception at MHS

6:30 pm Depart for dinner

7:00 pm Dinner at the Colonnade Hotel (Braemore/Kenmore Room)

The special rate offered by The Colonnade Hotel has expired and other rooms may or may not be available there. A list of other nearby hotels is available by request.

MHS is proud to partner with the Medal Collectors of America, a national organization dedicated to the study and collection of artistic and historical medals. For further information, please see www.medalcollectors.org.

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Library Closed Library Closed 10 November 2018.Saturday, all day The library is CLOSED to accommodate a special event.

The library is CLOSED to accommodate a special event.

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Building Closed Veterans Day 12 November 2018.Monday, all day The Society is CLOSED in observance of Veterans Day.

The Society is CLOSED in observance of Veterans Day.

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Environmental History Seminar Ditched: Digging Up Black History in the South Carolina Lowcountry 13 November 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Caroline Grego, University of Colorado Boulder Comment: Chad Montrie, University of Massachusetts Lowell For nearly three centuries, Black sea islanders enslaved and free have dug thousands of miles of ...

For nearly three centuries, Black sea islanders enslaved and free have dug thousands of miles of ditches that channeled the South Carolina Lowcountry, for purposes from rice to phosphate to mosquito control. This piece explores the evolving projects of environmental use and management in the Lowcountry, through the conduit of ditches, and traces the history of how the environment, politics, and labor intersected in the miry ditches of the region from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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African American History Seminar An “Organic Union”: Ecclesiastical Imperialism and Caribbean Missions 15 November 2018.Thursday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Christina Davidson, Harvard University Comment: Greg Childs, Brandeis University In 1880, hundreds of black clergy and lay delegates of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) ...

In 1880, hundreds of black clergy and lay delegates of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) gathered to discuss reunion with the British Methodist Episcopal Church of Canada. Factions within both denominations disputed the nature and procedure of the proposed organic union. This paper argues that the organic union debate was in fact crucial to AME expansion and the development of foreign missions in Haiti and the broader Caribbean.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Notice Library Closing @ 3:00PM 16 November 2018.Friday, all day The library is closing early at 3:00PM for staff training.

The library is closing early at 3:00PM for staff training.

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Tour Gallery Talk: Fashioning the New England Family 17 November 2018.Saturday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Kimberly Alexander, University of New Hampshire Material culture specialist and guest curator, Dr. Kimberly Alexander will help viewers explore and ...

Material culture specialist and guest curator, Dr. Kimberly Alexander will help viewers explore and contextualize rarely seen costumes, textiles and fashion-related accessories mined from the MHS collection. Representing three- centuries of evolving New England style, most of the pieces have never before been on view to the public.

 

 

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Public Program, Author Talk Black Flags, Blue Waters: The Epic History of America's Most Notorious Pirates 19 November 2018.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM This program is no longer accepting registrations. Eric Jay Dolin There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders). Set against the backdrop of the Age of Exploration, Black Flags, Blue Waters reveals the dramatic ...

Set against the backdrop of the Age of Exploration, Black Flags, Blue Waters reveals the dramatic history of American piracy’s “Golden Age”—spanning the late 1600s through the early 1700s—when lawless pirates plied the coastal waters of North America and beyond. Eric Jay Dolin illustrates how American colonists at first supported these outrageous pirates in an early display of solidarity against the Crown, and then violently opposed them.

 

 

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Building Closed Thanksgiving 22 November 2018.Thursday, all day The Society is CLOSED for Thanksgiving.

The Society is CLOSED for Thanksgiving.

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Building Closed Thanksgiving Friday 23 November 2018.Friday, all day More
Building Closed Thanksgiving Saturday 24 November 2018.Saturday, all day More
Modern American Society and Culture Seminar In Search of the Costs of Segregation 27 November 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Elizabeth Herbin-Triant, University of Massachusetts Lowell Comment: Kenneth W. Mack, Harvard Law School Historians generally treat Jim Crow as a legal, political, and cultural system shaping where African ...

Historians generally treat Jim Crow as a legal, political, and cultural system shaping where African Americans went, whether they voted, and how they acted. Yet it was also an economic system that imposed financial burdens. This paper explores how segregation made the activities undertaken by African Americans—from gaining education to property—more expensive for them and how it excluded them from economic advancement.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Brown Bag Mules, Fuels, and Fusion: Overcoming Entropy and Crossing the Isthmian Transit Zone 1848-1977 28 November 2018.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Jordan Coulombe, University of New Hampshire This talk explores American attempts to construct transportation infrastructures in Panama between ...

This talk explores American attempts to construct transportation infrastructures in Panama between the creation of the Panama Railroad and the Carter-Torrijos Treaties. It focuses specifically on the role proliferating energy sources played in restructuring the Isthmian environment.

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Public Program, Author Talk After Emily: Two Remarkable Women and the Legacy of America's Greatest Poet 29 November 2018.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Julie Dobrow, Tufts University There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders). Despite Emily Dickinson’s world renown, the story of the two women most responsible for her ...

Despite Emily Dickinson’s world renown, the story of the two women most responsible for her initial posthumous publication—Mabel Loomis Todd and her daughter, Millicent Todd Bingham—has remained in the shadows of the archives. A rich and compelling portrait of women who refused to be confined by the social mores of their era, After Emily explores Mabel and Millicent’s complex bond, as well as the powerful literary legacy they shared.

 

 

 

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Brown Bag The American Debates over the China Relief Expedition of 1900 30 November 2018.Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Xiangyun Xu, Pennsylvania State University This talk examines the American debates over the country’s participation in the eight-nation ...

This talk examines the American debates over the country’s participation in the eight-nation alliance to relieve the Chinese Boxers’ siege of internationals in Tianjin and Beijing. It places U.S. participation within the context of concurrent controversies over the Spanish-American and Philippine-American war as well as the assertive U.S. policy in East Asia.

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Tour Gallery Talk: Fashioning the New England Family 30 November 2018.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Kimberly Alexander, University of New Hampshire Material culture specialist and guest curator, Dr. Kimberly Alexander will help viewers explore and ...

Material culture specialist and guest curator, Dr. Kimberly Alexander will help viewers explore and contextualize rarely seen costumes, textiles and fashion-related accessories mined from the MHS collection. Representing three- centuries of evolving New England style, most of the pieces have never before been on view to the public.

 

 

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December
Portrait of Abigail Adams ca 1766.  She is about 19 years old, dark hair pulled back low on her neck, and wearing pearls. Teacher Workshop Remembering Abigail Adams 1 December 2018.Saturday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM Registration fee: $25 per person Abigail Adams lived at the heart of American politics for nearly half a century. She was a ...

Abigail Adams lived at the heart of American politics for nearly half a century. She was a revolutionary First Lady, urging her husband to “Remember the Ladies” in the colonial quest for independence, and a huge influence on the nation’s sixth president, John Quincy Adams. In her letters to her family and a wide circle of influential colleagues, Abigail was candid and colorful in depicting the hard work and great reward of nation-building. Join us as we remember the life and legacy of Abigail Adams, one of the many women who helped build early America.

This program is open to all educators of K-12 students. Teachers can earn 22.5 Professional Development Points or 1 graduate credit (for an additional fee).

If you have any questions, please contact Kate Melchior at education@masshist.org or 617-646-0588.

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Public Program, Revolution 250 Rochambeau: The French Military Presence in Boston 3 December 2018.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Robert Selig, The Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail In July 1780, the French troop transport Île de France sailed into Boston Harbor. ...

In July 1780, the French troop transport Île de France sailed into Boston Harbor. Thus began 30 months of uninterrupted French military presence in Boston as the city became the most important French base in North America until Christmas Day 1782, when a fleet under Admiral Vaudreuil sailed from Boston for the West Indies carrying the comte de Rochambeau’s infantry. This talk provides an in-depth look at this little-known episode in Massachusetts and Boston history.

 

 

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Early American History Seminar “Attend to the Opium”: Boston's Trade with China in the Early 19th Century 4 December 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Gwenn Miller, College of the Holy Cross Comment: Dael Norwood, University of Delaware The opium trade is the nefarious flip-side of the opulence of the American China trade. The ...

The opium trade is the nefarious flip-side of the opulence of the American China trade. The involvement of so many Boston families in this trade would contribute to the growth of the city and its institutions by the end of the nineteenth century. Homes decorated with Chinese art, porcelains, silks, and meticulously curated gardens were made possible by profits initially rooted in the fur trade, and in large part sustained by opium.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Notice Library Closing @ 3:30PM 5 December 2018.Wednesday, all day The Library closes early at 3:30PM in preparation for an evening event.

The Library closes early at 3:30PM in preparation for an evening event.

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Brown Bag Seas of Connection: Narratives of Migration through Local American Wards 5 December 2018.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Nicholas Ames, University of Notre Dame Mass emigration during the 19th and early 20th centuries produced rapidly shifting cityscapes across ...

Mass emigration during the 19th and early 20th centuries produced rapidly shifting cityscapes across America. This talk investigates changes at the neighborhood (ward) level in three industrial American communities, Pittsburgh, PA, Cleveland, OH, and Clinton, MA, to understand the impact of historic Irish immigrants on community development within "quintessential" America.

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Holiday card showing birds in flight Member Event, Special Event MHS Fellows & Members Holiday Party 5 December 2018.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM Registration for this event is now closed. MHS Fellows and Members are invited to the Society's annual holiday party.  Become a Member ...

MHS Fellows and Members are invited to the Society's annual holiday party. 

Become a Member today!

Image: Holiday card showing birds in flight, chromolithograph by unidentified publisher, late 19th century.

 

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Public Program Boston in the Great War: Manuscripts & Artifacts of World War I 6 December 2018.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Facilitator: Bruce J. Schulman, Boston University Prof. Bruce Schulman and students from Boston University will present a collection of artifacts and ...

Prof. Bruce Schulman and students from Boston University will present a collection of artifacts and documents from the holdings of the MHS. From printed propaganda and personal recollections to battle plans and victory gardens, this presentation and virtual exhibit will explore the many ways in which Bostonians were affected by the Great War.

Light refreshments will be served after the presentation.

 

 

 

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Brown Bag Sylvia Plath’s Letters & Traces 7 December 2018.Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Peter K. Steinberg, Co-Editor of the two-volume edition of The Letters of Sylvia Plath In this talk, Peter K. Steinberg will discuss his role in editing the two-volume Letters of ...

In this talk, Peter K. Steinberg will discuss his role in editing the two-volume Letters of Sylvia Plath, published recently by HarperCollins. He will also highlight the professional and personal responses to Plath in her lifetime, as well as share an archival discovery made on a piece of carbon typing paper.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 8 December 2018.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.

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Notice Library Opens @ 2:00PM 11 December 2018.Tuesday, all day Due to a large public program the library will delay opening until 2:00PM and remain open until 7 ...

Due to a large public program the library will delay opening until 2:00PM and remain open until 7:45PM.

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Public Program, Conversation Robert Treat Paine’s Life & Influence on Law 11 December 2018.Tuesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM THIS EVENT IS NOW SOLD OUT. Maura Healey, Massachusetts Attorney General; Alan Rogers, Boston College; Christina Carrick, Assistant Editor, The Papers of Robert Treat Paine Join us for a special event with the current Attorney General looking at the first Massachusetts ...

Join us for a special event with the current Attorney General looking at the first Massachusetts Attorney General’s life and influence on law and order during the Revolutionary era. This event celebrates the completion of the five-volume series The Papers of Robert Treat Paine.

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Environmental History Seminar A Nice History of Bird Migration: Ethology, Expertise, and Conservation in 20th Century North America 11 December 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Kristoffer Whitney, Rochester Institute of Technology Comment: Marilyn Ogilvie, University of Oklahoma This paper focuses on the historical relationships between migratory birds, scientists, and amateur ...

This paper focuses on the historical relationships between migratory birds, scientists, and amateur experts in 20th-century North America, especially Margaret Morse Nice. Nice, simultaneously a trained ornithologist and an enthusiastic amateur across disciplines, almost single-handedly introduced the American ornithological community to European ethology. Her bird-banding work exemplified the tensions in natural history around expertise, gender, and conservation.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Brown Bag Ecology of Utopia: Environmental Discourse and Practice in Antebellum Communal Settlements 12 December 2018.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Molly Reed, Cornell University During the 1840s, members of short-lived intentional communities debated strategies for &ldquo ...

During the 1840s, members of short-lived intentional communities debated strategies for “getting back to nature” and explored emerging meanings of “natural” through radical hygiene, diet, and agricultural practices. This talk examines how Transcendentalist and Fourierist communitarians articulated human-environment relationships in terms that reflected and informed their visions for social change.

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Public Program, Conversation No More, America 12 December 2018.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-program reception at 5:30. Peter Galison, Harvard University; Henry Louis Gates Jr., Harvard University There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders). In 1773, two graduating Harvard seniors, Theodore Parsons and Eliphalet Pearson, were summoned ...

In 1773, two graduating Harvard seniors, Theodore Parsons and Eliphalet Pearson, were summoned before a public audience to debate whether slavery was compatible with “natural law.” Peter Galison’s short film, “No More, America” co-directed with Henry Louis Gates, reimagines this original debate to include the powerful voice of Phillis Wheatley, an acclaimed poet, then-enslaved, who lived just across the Charles River from the two Harvard students. Join us for a film screening followed by a discussion between Peter Galison, and Henry Louis Gates.

 

 

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Notice Library Closing @ 3:30PM 13 December 2018.Thursday, all day The library closes early at 3:30PM for a staff event. 

The library closes early at 3:30PM for a staff event. 

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 15 December 2018.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.

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History of Women and Gender Seminar Transgender History and Archives: An Interdisciplinary Conversation 18 December 2018.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM RSVP required Location: Knafel Center, Radcliffe Institute Genny Beemyn, University of Massachusetts Amherst; Laura Peimer, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study; Sari L. Reisner, Harvard Medical School and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Moderator: Jen Manion, Amherst College This panel aims to begin an interdisciplinary conversation in transgender history. What is the state ...

This panel aims to begin an interdisciplinary conversation in transgender history. What is the state of the field of transgender studies in history, archiving, and public health? How do changes in popular usage and attitudes about terminology facilitate or hinder research? In what ways does transgender studies intersect with women’s and gender history and other feminist scholarly concerns?

This session has recommended reading (available here) but is open to all regardless of whether they have done the reading.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 22 December 2018.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.

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Building Closed Building Closed 24 December 2018.Monday, all day The MHS is CLOSED.

The MHS is CLOSED.

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Building Closed Christmas Day 25 December 2018.Tuesday, all day The MHS is CLOSED for Christmas.

The MHS is CLOSED for Christmas.

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Building Closed Building Closed 26 December 2018.Wednesday, all day The MHS Library is CLOSED.

The MHS Library is CLOSED.

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Building Closed Building Closed 27 December 2018.Thursday, all day The MHS Library is CLOSED.

The MHS Library is CLOSED.

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Building Closed Building Closed 28 December 2018.Friday, all day The MHS Library is CLOSED.

The MHS Library is CLOSED.

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Building Closed Building Closed 29 December 2018.Saturday, all day Building Closed

Building Closed

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Building Closed Building Closed 31 December 2018.Monday, all day The MHS Library is CLOSED.

The MHS Library is CLOSED.

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January
Building Closed New Year 1 January 2019.Tuesday, all day The Society is CLOSED for New Year

The Society is CLOSED for New Year

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Early American History Seminar The Consecration of Samuel Seabury and the Crisis of Atlantic Episcopacy, 1782-1807 8 January 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Brent Sirota, North Carolina State University Comment: Chris Beneke, Bentley University Samuel Seabury’s consecration in 1784 signaled a transformation in the organization of ...

Samuel Seabury’s consecration in 1784 signaled a transformation in the organization of American Protestantism. After more than a century of resistance to the office of bishops, American Methodists and Episcopalians and Canadian Anglicans all established some form of episcopal superintendency after the Peace of Paris. This paper considers how the making of American episcopacy and the controversies surrounding it betrayed a lack of consensus regarding the relationship between church, state and civil society in the Protestant Atlantic.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Brown Bag The Octopus’s Other Tentacles: The United Fruit Company, Congress, Dictators, & Exiles against the Guatemalan Revolution 9 January 2019.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Aaron Moulton, Stephen F. Austin University With the 1954 U.S. government-backed overthrow of Guatemalan president Jacobo Arbenz, scholars have ...

With the 1954 U.S. government-backed overthrow of Guatemalan president Jacobo Arbenz, scholars have focused on ties between the State Department, the CIA, and el pulpo, the octopus, the United Fruit Company. This talk reveals how the Company's influence reached further to Boston-based congresspersons, Caribbean Basin dictators, and Guatemalan exiles.

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Public Program American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, & Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic 9 January 2019.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30 Victoria Johnson, Hunter College There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders). The legacy of the long-forgotten early American visionary Dr. David Hosack includes the ...

The legacy of the long-forgotten early American visionary Dr. David Hosack includes the establishment of the first botanical garden in the United States as well as groundbreaking advances in pharmaceutical and surgical medicine. His tireless work championing public health and science earned him national fame and praise from the likes of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander von Humboldt, and the Marquis de Lafayette. Alongside other towering figures of the post-Revolutionary generation, he took the reins of a nation.

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Environmental History Seminar Camp Benson and the “GAR Camps”: Recreational Landscapes of Civil War Memory in Maine, 1886-1910 15 January 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required C. Ian Stevenson, Boston University Comment: Ian Delahanty, Springfield College This chapter examines sites where veterans transitioned the Civil War vacation toward a civilian ...

This chapter examines sites where veterans transitioned the Civil War vacation toward a civilian audience: Camp Benson, where several Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) posts built a campground, and at the “GAR Camps” where a single veteran proprietor built rental cottages. The chapter asks why postwar civilians would want to mimic the veteran desire to associate healthful destinations with wartime memory. How do these outdoor landscapes explain the nation’s healing process from the Civil War?

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Public Program Breaking the Banks: Representations & Realities in New England Fisheries, 1866–1966 16 January 2019.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Matthew McKenzie, University of Connecticut There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders). Matthew McKenzie weaves together the industrial, cultural, political, and ecological history of New ...

Matthew McKenzie weaves together the industrial, cultural, political, and ecological history of New England’s fisheries through the story of how the Boston haddock fleet rose, flourished, and then fished itself into near oblivion before the arrival of foreign competition in 1961. This fleet also embodied the industry’s change during this period, as it shucked its sail-and-oar, hook-and-line origins to embrace mechanized power and propulsion,more sophisticated business practices, and political engagement.

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African American History Seminar Race, Empire, and the Erasure of African Identities in Harvard’s “National Skulls” 17 January 2019.Thursday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Christopher Willoughby, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture Comment: Evelynn Hammonds, Harvard University In 1847, John Collins Warren gave his anatomical collection to the Harvard medical school, including ...

In 1847, John Collins Warren gave his anatomical collection to the Harvard medical school, including a collection of “national skulls.” This paper analyzes how skulls from the black Atlantic were collected and dubbed “African,” to show that medical schools were intimately connected to the violence of slavery and empire, and to posit a method for writing the history of racist museum exhibitions that does not continue the silencing of black voices at the heart of those exhibitions.

 

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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History of Women and Gender Seminar How to Be an American Housewife: American Red Cross “Bride Schools” in Japan in the Cold War Era 22 January 2019.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM RSVP required Location: Massachusetts Historical Society Sonia Gomez, University of Chicago Comment: Arissa Oh, Boston College In 1951, the American Red Cross in Japan began offering “schools for brides,” to prepare ...

In 1951, the American Red Cross in Japan began offering “schools for brides,” to prepare Japanese women married to American servicemen for successful entry into the United States. This paper argues that bride schools measured Japanese women’s ability to be good wives and mothers because their immigration to the US depended on their labor within the home as well as their reproductive value in the family.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Biography Seminar Writing Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom 24 January 2019.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM RSVP required David Blight, Yale University Carol Bundy, author of The Nature of Sacrifice (host) Join us for a conversation with David Blight about the challenges of writing his biography of ...

Join us for a conversation with David Blight about the challenges of writing his biography of Frederick Douglass, the fugitive slave who became America's greatest orator of the nineteenth century. Blight, a prolific author and winner of the Bancroft Prize among other awards, has spent a career preparing himself for this biography, which has been praised as “a stunning achievement,” “brilliant and compassionate,” and “incandescent.” Carol Bundy, author of The Nature of Sacrifice, will host.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Better Teaching through Technology, 1945-1969 29 January 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Victoria Cain, Northeastern University Comment: Heather Hendershot, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Uncertainty about media technology’s affective and political power plagued post-World War II ...

Uncertainty about media technology’s affective and political power plagued post-World War II efforts to expand media use in schools around the nation. Would foundations or federal agencies use screen media to strengthen participatory democracy and local control or to undermine it? Was screen media a neutral technology? This paper argues that educational technology foundered or flourished not solely on the merits of its pedagogical utility, but also as a result of changing ideas about the relationship between citizenship and pictorial screen media.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Brown Bag Superannuated: Old Age and Slavery’s Economy 30 January 2019.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Nathaniel Windon, Pennsylvania State University Plantation owners demarcated elderly enslaved laborers as “superannuated” in their ...

Plantation owners demarcated elderly enslaved laborers as “superannuated” in their logbooks. This talk examines some of the implications of locating the origin of old age on the antebellum American plantation

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Public Program, Conversation The Great Molasses Flood Revisited: Misremembered Molasses 31 January 2019.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-program reception at 5:30. Stephen Puleo; Allison Lange, Wentworth Institute of Technology; Gavin Kleespies, MHS; and moderator Rev. Stephen T. Ayres Please note: This program will be held at Old South Meeting House. The Great Molasses Flood of 1919, when remembered, is often interpreted in a dismissive, comical ...

The Great Molasses Flood of 1919, when remembered, is often interpreted in a dismissive, comical manner. How does this case compare with other incidences of historical events that are interpreted or "curated" at the expense of accuracy and respect for human experience? How can we bring complexity back to events that have long been relegated to the realm of local folklore? Local scholars will discuss the question of misunderstood history by looking at the Great Molasses Flood, the fight for women's suffrage and Leif Erickson.

This program is a collaboration between the MHS and Old South Meeting House. It will be held at Old South Meeting House at 310 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02108.

This program is made possible with funding from the Lowell Institute.

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Biography Seminar “No Ideas But in Things”: Writing Lives from Objects 1 November 2018.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM Deborah Lutz, University of Louisville; Karen Sanchez-Eppler, Amherst College; Susan Ware, Independent Scholar Moderator: Natalie Dykstra, Hope College

Often a biographer confronts silences in the record of her subject, when part of the life story is not documented with words. Mute sources—objects in the subject’s archive—can pose a challenge for interpretation, but also offer rich opportunities. How can biographers read objects as eloquent sources?

Panelists include Deborah Lutz, whose book The Brontë Cabinet: Three Lives in Nine Objects is a biography of the sisters centered on the humble objects they owned. Susan Ware, author of the forthcoming Why They Marched: Untold Stories of the Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote, is using artifacts from the Schlesinger Library’s collections in her group biography of suffrage activists. Karen Sanchez-Eppler is writing In the Archives of Childhood: Playing with the Past, viewing children’s lives from material things. Natalie Dykstra, author of Clover Adams: A Gilded and Heartbreaking Life, will moderate.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 3 November 2018.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.

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Early American History Seminar “A Rotten-Hearted Fellow”: The Rise of Alexander McDougall 6 November 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Christopher Minty, the Adams Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society Comment: Brendan McConville, Boston University

Historians have often grouped the DeLanceys of New York as self-interested opportunists who were destined to become loyalists. By focusing on the rise of Alexander McDougall, this paper offers a new interpretation, demonstrating how the DeLanceys and McDougall mobilized groups with competing visions of New York’s political economy. These prewar factions stayed in opposition until the Revolutionary War, thus shedding new light on the coming of the American Revolution.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Brown Bag John Perkins Cushing and Boston's Early China Trade 7 November 2018.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Gwenn Miller, College of the Holy Cross

In July of 1803, John Perkins Cushing, an orphaned relation of some of the most prominent families in Boston, set sail for the Canton at the age of sixteen. The emerging literature on the Early American China trade often mentions Cushing as an aside, sometimes refers in passing to his importance among the foreign residents of Canton. This project explores how he came to be in that position of importance and casts Boston’s opium exchange at the center of the trade.

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Public Program, Author Talk, Revolution 250 Founding Martyr: The Life and Death of Dr. Joseph Warren, the American Revolution’s Lost Hero 7 November 2018.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30 with a special rum tasting courtesy of Privateer Rum Christian Di Spigna THIS PROGRAM IS NOW SOLD OUT

Had he not been martyred at Bunker Hill in 1775, Dr. Joseph Warren, an architect of the colonial rebellion, might have led the country as Washington or Jefferson did. Warren was involved in almost every major insurrectionary act in the Boston, from the Stamp Act protests to the Boston Massacre to the Boston Tea Party, but his legacy has remained largely obscured. Di Spigna’s biography of Warren is the product of two decades of research and scores of newly unearthed documents that have given us this forgotten Founding Father anew.

Join our pre-talk reception at 5:30 for a special rum tasting courtesy of Privateer Rum.

 

 

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Brown Bag Persistent Futures of Americas Past: The Genres of Geography and Race in Early America 9 November 2018.Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Timothy Fosbury, University of California, Los Angeles

This talk analyzes the speculative literary origins of America as a desired community and geography of economic, political, and religious belonging in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries by considering how place making was a form of nascent race making in the early Americas. Moving between New England, Bermuda, and the Caribbean, this talk considers how settler imaginings of their desired futures in the Americas produced the preconditions for what we would now call race.

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Conference Art and Memory: The Role of Medals 10 November 2018.Saturday, 8:00AM - 6:30PM THE REGISTRATION FOR THIS EVENT IS NOW CLOSED. Dinner afterward (at The Colonnade Hotel), 7:00PM – 9:00PM A cocktail reception at the MHS will conclude the conference in the late afternoon

Medal Collectors of America and MHS Conference

There is a $75 per person conference fee, with dinner afterward optional at an additional $95 per person.

This conference on medals and medal collecting will include a series of presentations on the role medals have played in America history, the evolution of medallic art, and the ways medals have reflected American culture up through the 20th century. In addition, a panel discussion will cover the stylistic developments from Renaissance medallic art to contemporary art medals (“The Art of the Medal”).  A second panel will explore the individual passions that drive numismatists to build their unique collections (“Why Collect Medals?”).

8:00 am Arrival/registration/coffee; time to view the MHS medal exhibit

8:30 am Welcome, A primer on the MHS Numismatic Collection.

Anne Bentley, Curator of Art and Artifacts

9:00 am Their Secrets Revealed! Early American College Secret Society Medals

John Sallay

9:45 am Medallic America: Allegorical Representations of America on European and American Medals

Alan Stahl

10:30 am Break

11:00 am Panel Discussion: “The Art of the Medal”

Ira Rezak (moderator)
Cory Gilliland
Robert Hoge
Scott Miller

12:00 noon Lunch

1:00 pm The Early Work of Victor David Brenner

Patrick McMahon

1:45 pm So-Called Dollars as a Reflection of Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century American Culture

Jonathan Brecher

2:30 pm Break

2:50 pm Welcome

Catherine Allgor, President of the MHS

3:00 pm Medals and Books

Len Augsburger

3:45 pm Medallic Art Company Archives at the ANS

Ute Wartenberg Kagan

4:15 pm Panel Discussion: “Why Collect Medals?”

John Adams (moderator)
Q. David Bowers
Rob Rodriguez
John Sallay
Stephen Scher

5:15 pm Wrap up

A cocktail reception at the MHS will conclude the conference, followed by an optional dinner at the Colonnade Hotel (120 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02116)

5:30 pm Social/cocktails/reception at MHS

6:30 pm Depart for dinner

7:00 pm Dinner at the Colonnade Hotel (Braemore/Kenmore Room)

The special rate offered by The Colonnade Hotel has expired and other rooms may or may not be available there. A list of other nearby hotels is available by request.

MHS is proud to partner with the Medal Collectors of America, a national organization dedicated to the study and collection of artistic and historical medals. For further information, please see www.medalcollectors.org.

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Library Closed Library Closed 10 November 2018.Saturday, all day

The library is CLOSED to accommodate a special event.

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Building Closed Veterans Day 12 November 2018.Monday, all day

The Society is CLOSED in observance of Veterans Day.

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Environmental History Seminar Ditched: Digging Up Black History in the South Carolina Lowcountry 13 November 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Caroline Grego, University of Colorado Boulder Comment: Chad Montrie, University of Massachusetts Lowell

For nearly three centuries, Black sea islanders enslaved and free have dug thousands of miles of ditches that channeled the South Carolina Lowcountry, for purposes from rice to phosphate to mosquito control. This piece explores the evolving projects of environmental use and management in the Lowcountry, through the conduit of ditches, and traces the history of how the environment, politics, and labor intersected in the miry ditches of the region from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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African American History Seminar An “Organic Union”: Ecclesiastical Imperialism and Caribbean Missions 15 November 2018.Thursday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Christina Davidson, Harvard University Comment: Greg Childs, Brandeis University

In 1880, hundreds of black clergy and lay delegates of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) gathered to discuss reunion with the British Methodist Episcopal Church of Canada. Factions within both denominations disputed the nature and procedure of the proposed organic union. This paper argues that the organic union debate was in fact crucial to AME expansion and the development of foreign missions in Haiti and the broader Caribbean.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Notice Library Closing @ 3:00PM 16 November 2018.Friday, all day

The library is closing early at 3:00PM for staff training.

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Tour Gallery Talk: Fashioning the New England Family 17 November 2018.Saturday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Kimberly Alexander, University of New Hampshire

Material culture specialist and guest curator, Dr. Kimberly Alexander will help viewers explore and contextualize rarely seen costumes, textiles and fashion-related accessories mined from the MHS collection. Representing three- centuries of evolving New England style, most of the pieces have never before been on view to the public.

 

 

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Public Program, Author Talk Black Flags, Blue Waters: The Epic History of America's Most Notorious Pirates 19 November 2018.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM This program is no longer accepting registrations. Eric Jay Dolin There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders).

Set against the backdrop of the Age of Exploration, Black Flags, Blue Waters reveals the dramatic history of American piracy’s “Golden Age”—spanning the late 1600s through the early 1700s—when lawless pirates plied the coastal waters of North America and beyond. Eric Jay Dolin illustrates how American colonists at first supported these outrageous pirates in an early display of solidarity against the Crown, and then violently opposed them.

 

 

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Building Closed Thanksgiving 22 November 2018.Thursday, all day

The Society is CLOSED for Thanksgiving.

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Building Closed Thanksgiving Friday 23 November 2018.Friday, all day close
Building Closed Thanksgiving Saturday 24 November 2018.Saturday, all day close
Modern American Society and Culture Seminar In Search of the Costs of Segregation 27 November 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Elizabeth Herbin-Triant, University of Massachusetts Lowell Comment: Kenneth W. Mack, Harvard Law School

Historians generally treat Jim Crow as a legal, political, and cultural system shaping where African Americans went, whether they voted, and how they acted. Yet it was also an economic system that imposed financial burdens. This paper explores how segregation made the activities undertaken by African Americans—from gaining education to property—more expensive for them and how it excluded them from economic advancement.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Brown Bag Mules, Fuels, and Fusion: Overcoming Entropy and Crossing the Isthmian Transit Zone 1848-1977 28 November 2018.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Jordan Coulombe, University of New Hampshire

This talk explores American attempts to construct transportation infrastructures in Panama between the creation of the Panama Railroad and the Carter-Torrijos Treaties. It focuses specifically on the role proliferating energy sources played in restructuring the Isthmian environment.

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Public Program, Author Talk After Emily: Two Remarkable Women and the Legacy of America's Greatest Poet 29 November 2018.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Julie Dobrow, Tufts University There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders).

Despite Emily Dickinson’s world renown, the story of the two women most responsible for her initial posthumous publication—Mabel Loomis Todd and her daughter, Millicent Todd Bingham—has remained in the shadows of the archives. A rich and compelling portrait of women who refused to be confined by the social mores of their era, After Emily explores Mabel and Millicent’s complex bond, as well as the powerful literary legacy they shared.

 

 

 

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Brown Bag The American Debates over the China Relief Expedition of 1900 30 November 2018.Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Xiangyun Xu, Pennsylvania State University

This talk examines the American debates over the country’s participation in the eight-nation alliance to relieve the Chinese Boxers’ siege of internationals in Tianjin and Beijing. It places U.S. participation within the context of concurrent controversies over the Spanish-American and Philippine-American war as well as the assertive U.S. policy in East Asia.

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Tour Gallery Talk: Fashioning the New England Family 30 November 2018.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Kimberly Alexander, University of New Hampshire

Material culture specialist and guest curator, Dr. Kimberly Alexander will help viewers explore and contextualize rarely seen costumes, textiles and fashion-related accessories mined from the MHS collection. Representing three- centuries of evolving New England style, most of the pieces have never before been on view to the public.

 

 

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Teacher Workshop Remembering Abigail Adams 1 December 2018.Saturday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM Registration fee: $25 per person Portrait of Abigail Adams ca 1766.  She is about 19 years old, dark hair pulled back low on her neck, and wearing pearls.

Abigail Adams lived at the heart of American politics for nearly half a century. She was a revolutionary First Lady, urging her husband to “Remember the Ladies” in the colonial quest for independence, and a huge influence on the nation’s sixth president, John Quincy Adams. In her letters to her family and a wide circle of influential colleagues, Abigail was candid and colorful in depicting the hard work and great reward of nation-building. Join us as we remember the life and legacy of Abigail Adams, one of the many women who helped build early America.

This program is open to all educators of K-12 students. Teachers can earn 22.5 Professional Development Points or 1 graduate credit (for an additional fee).

If you have any questions, please contact Kate Melchior at education@masshist.org or 617-646-0588.

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Public Program, Revolution 250 Rochambeau: The French Military Presence in Boston 3 December 2018.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Robert Selig, The Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail

In July 1780, the French troop transport Île de France sailed into Boston Harbor. Thus began 30 months of uninterrupted French military presence in Boston as the city became the most important French base in North America until Christmas Day 1782, when a fleet under Admiral Vaudreuil sailed from Boston for the West Indies carrying the comte de Rochambeau’s infantry. This talk provides an in-depth look at this little-known episode in Massachusetts and Boston history.

 

 

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Early American History Seminar “Attend to the Opium”: Boston's Trade with China in the Early 19th Century 4 December 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Gwenn Miller, College of the Holy Cross Comment: Dael Norwood, University of Delaware

The opium trade is the nefarious flip-side of the opulence of the American China trade. The involvement of so many Boston families in this trade would contribute to the growth of the city and its institutions by the end of the nineteenth century. Homes decorated with Chinese art, porcelains, silks, and meticulously curated gardens were made possible by profits initially rooted in the fur trade, and in large part sustained by opium.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Notice Library Closing @ 3:30PM 5 December 2018.Wednesday, all day

The Library closes early at 3:30PM in preparation for an evening event.

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Brown Bag Seas of Connection: Narratives of Migration through Local American Wards 5 December 2018.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Nicholas Ames, University of Notre Dame

Mass emigration during the 19th and early 20th centuries produced rapidly shifting cityscapes across America. This talk investigates changes at the neighborhood (ward) level in three industrial American communities, Pittsburgh, PA, Cleveland, OH, and Clinton, MA, to understand the impact of historic Irish immigrants on community development within "quintessential" America.

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Member Event, Special Event MHS Fellows & Members Holiday Party 5 December 2018.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM Registration for this event is now closed. Holiday card showing birds in flight

MHS Fellows and Members are invited to the Society's annual holiday party. 

Become a Member today!

Image: Holiday card showing birds in flight, chromolithograph by unidentified publisher, late 19th century.

 

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Public Program Boston in the Great War: Manuscripts & Artifacts of World War I 6 December 2018.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Facilitator: Bruce J. Schulman, Boston University

Prof. Bruce Schulman and students from Boston University will present a collection of artifacts and documents from the holdings of the MHS. From printed propaganda and personal recollections to battle plans and victory gardens, this presentation and virtual exhibit will explore the many ways in which Bostonians were affected by the Great War.

Light refreshments will be served after the presentation.

 

 

 

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Brown Bag Sylvia Plath’s Letters & Traces 7 December 2018.Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Peter K. Steinberg, Co-Editor of the two-volume edition of The Letters of Sylvia Plath

In this talk, Peter K. Steinberg will discuss his role in editing the two-volume Letters of Sylvia Plath, published recently by HarperCollins. He will also highlight the professional and personal responses to Plath in her lifetime, as well as share an archival discovery made on a piece of carbon typing paper.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 8 December 2018.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.

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Notice Library Opens @ 2:00PM 11 December 2018.Tuesday, all day

Due to a large public program the library will delay opening until 2:00PM and remain open until 7:45PM.

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Public Program, Conversation Robert Treat Paine’s Life & Influence on Law 11 December 2018.Tuesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM THIS EVENT IS NOW SOLD OUT. Maura Healey, Massachusetts Attorney General; Alan Rogers, Boston College; Christina Carrick, Assistant Editor, The Papers of Robert Treat Paine

Join us for a special event with the current Attorney General looking at the first Massachusetts Attorney General’s life and influence on law and order during the Revolutionary era. This event celebrates the completion of the five-volume series The Papers of Robert Treat Paine.

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Environmental History Seminar A Nice History of Bird Migration: Ethology, Expertise, and Conservation in 20th Century North America 11 December 2018.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Kristoffer Whitney, Rochester Institute of Technology Comment: Marilyn Ogilvie, University of Oklahoma

This paper focuses on the historical relationships between migratory birds, scientists, and amateur experts in 20th-century North America, especially Margaret Morse Nice. Nice, simultaneously a trained ornithologist and an enthusiastic amateur across disciplines, almost single-handedly introduced the American ornithological community to European ethology. Her bird-banding work exemplified the tensions in natural history around expertise, gender, and conservation.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Brown Bag Ecology of Utopia: Environmental Discourse and Practice in Antebellum Communal Settlements 12 December 2018.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Molly Reed, Cornell University

During the 1840s, members of short-lived intentional communities debated strategies for “getting back to nature” and explored emerging meanings of “natural” through radical hygiene, diet, and agricultural practices. This talk examines how Transcendentalist and Fourierist communitarians articulated human-environment relationships in terms that reflected and informed their visions for social change.

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Public Program, Conversation No More, America 12 December 2018.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-program reception at 5:30. Peter Galison, Harvard University; Henry Louis Gates Jr., Harvard University There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders).

In 1773, two graduating Harvard seniors, Theodore Parsons and Eliphalet Pearson, were summoned before a public audience to debate whether slavery was compatible with “natural law.” Peter Galison’s short film, “No More, America” co-directed with Henry Louis Gates, reimagines this original debate to include the powerful voice of Phillis Wheatley, an acclaimed poet, then-enslaved, who lived just across the Charles River from the two Harvard students. Join us for a film screening followed by a discussion between Peter Galison, and Henry Louis Gates.

 

 

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Notice Library Closing @ 3:30PM 13 December 2018.Thursday, all day

The library closes early at 3:30PM for a staff event. 

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 15 December 2018.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.

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History of Women and Gender Seminar Transgender History and Archives: An Interdisciplinary Conversation Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
18 December 2018.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM Location: Knafel Center, Radcliffe Institute Genny Beemyn, University of Massachusetts Amherst; Laura Peimer, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study; Sari L. Reisner, Harvard Medical School and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Moderator: Jen Manion, Amherst College

This panel aims to begin an interdisciplinary conversation in transgender history. What is the state of the field of transgender studies in history, archiving, and public health? How do changes in popular usage and attitudes about terminology facilitate or hinder research? In what ways does transgender studies intersect with women’s and gender history and other feminist scholarly concerns?

This session has recommended reading (available here) but is open to all regardless of whether they have done the reading.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS this event is free 22 December 2018.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.

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Building Closed Building Closed 24 December 2018.Monday, all day

The MHS is CLOSED.

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Building Closed Christmas Day 25 December 2018.Tuesday, all day

The MHS is CLOSED for Christmas.

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Building Closed Building Closed 26 December 2018.Wednesday, all day

The MHS Library is CLOSED.

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Building Closed Building Closed 27 December 2018.Thursday, all day

The MHS Library is CLOSED.

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Building Closed Building Closed 28 December 2018.Friday, all day

The MHS Library is CLOSED.

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Building Closed Building Closed 29 December 2018.Saturday, all day

Building Closed

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Building Closed Building Closed 31 December 2018.Monday, all day

The MHS Library is CLOSED.

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Building Closed New Year 1 January 2019.Tuesday, all day

The Society is CLOSED for New Year

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Early American History Seminar The Consecration of Samuel Seabury and the Crisis of Atlantic Episcopacy, 1782-1807 Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
8 January 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Brent Sirota, North Carolina State University Comment: Chris Beneke, Bentley University

Samuel Seabury’s consecration in 1784 signaled a transformation in the organization of American Protestantism. After more than a century of resistance to the office of bishops, American Methodists and Episcopalians and Canadian Anglicans all established some form of episcopal superintendency after the Peace of Paris. This paper considers how the making of American episcopacy and the controversies surrounding it betrayed a lack of consensus regarding the relationship between church, state and civil society in the Protestant Atlantic.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Brown Bag The Octopus’s Other Tentacles: The United Fruit Company, Congress, Dictators, & Exiles against the Guatemalan Revolution this event is free 9 January 2019.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Aaron Moulton, Stephen F. Austin University

With the 1954 U.S. government-backed overthrow of Guatemalan president Jacobo Arbenz, scholars have focused on ties between the State Department, the CIA, and el pulpo, the octopus, the United Fruit Company. This talk reveals how the Company's influence reached further to Boston-based congresspersons, Caribbean Basin dictators, and Guatemalan exiles.

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Public Program American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, & Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic registration required 9 January 2019.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30 Victoria Johnson, Hunter College There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders).

The legacy of the long-forgotten early American visionary Dr. David Hosack includes the establishment of the first botanical garden in the United States as well as groundbreaking advances in pharmaceutical and surgical medicine. His tireless work championing public health and science earned him national fame and praise from the likes of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander von Humboldt, and the Marquis de Lafayette. Alongside other towering figures of the post-Revolutionary generation, he took the reins of a nation.

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Environmental History Seminar Camp Benson and the “GAR Camps”: Recreational Landscapes of Civil War Memory in Maine, 1886-1910 Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
15 January 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM C. Ian Stevenson, Boston University Comment: Ian Delahanty, Springfield College

This chapter examines sites where veterans transitioned the Civil War vacation toward a civilian audience: Camp Benson, where several Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) posts built a campground, and at the “GAR Camps” where a single veteran proprietor built rental cottages. The chapter asks why postwar civilians would want to mimic the veteran desire to associate healthful destinations with wartime memory. How do these outdoor landscapes explain the nation’s healing process from the Civil War?

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Public Program Breaking the Banks: Representations & Realities in New England Fisheries, 1866–1966 registration required 16 January 2019.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Matthew McKenzie, University of Connecticut There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders).

Matthew McKenzie weaves together the industrial, cultural, political, and ecological history of New England’s fisheries through the story of how the Boston haddock fleet rose, flourished, and then fished itself into near oblivion before the arrival of foreign competition in 1961. This fleet also embodied the industry’s change during this period, as it shucked its sail-and-oar, hook-and-line origins to embrace mechanized power and propulsion,more sophisticated business practices, and political engagement.

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African American History Seminar Race, Empire, and the Erasure of African Identities in Harvard’s “National Skulls” Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
17 January 2019.Thursday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Christopher Willoughby, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture Comment: Evelynn Hammonds, Harvard University

In 1847, John Collins Warren gave his anatomical collection to the Harvard medical school, including a collection of “national skulls.” This paper analyzes how skulls from the black Atlantic were collected and dubbed “African,” to show that medical schools were intimately connected to the violence of slavery and empire, and to posit a method for writing the history of racist museum exhibitions that does not continue the silencing of black voices at the heart of those exhibitions.

 

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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History of Women and Gender Seminar How to Be an American Housewife: American Red Cross “Bride Schools” in Japan in the Cold War Era Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
22 January 2019.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM Location: Massachusetts Historical Society Sonia Gomez, University of Chicago Comment: Arissa Oh, Boston College

In 1951, the American Red Cross in Japan began offering “schools for brides,” to prepare Japanese women married to American servicemen for successful entry into the United States. This paper argues that bride schools measured Japanese women’s ability to be good wives and mothers because their immigration to the US depended on their labor within the home as well as their reproductive value in the family.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Biography Seminar Writing Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
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24 January 2019.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM David Blight, Yale University Carol Bundy, author of The Nature of Sacrifice (host)

Join us for a conversation with David Blight about the challenges of writing his biography of Frederick Douglass, the fugitive slave who became America's greatest orator of the nineteenth century. Blight, a prolific author and winner of the Bancroft Prize among other awards, has spent a career preparing himself for this biography, which has been praised as “a stunning achievement,” “brilliant and compassionate,” and “incandescent.” Carol Bundy, author of The Nature of Sacrifice, will host.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Better Teaching through Technology, 1945-1969 Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
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29 January 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Victoria Cain, Northeastern University Comment: Heather Hendershot, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Uncertainty about media technology’s affective and political power plagued post-World War II efforts to expand media use in schools around the nation. Would foundations or federal agencies use screen media to strengthen participatory democracy and local control or to undermine it? Was screen media a neutral technology? This paper argues that educational technology foundered or flourished not solely on the merits of its pedagogical utility, but also as a result of changing ideas about the relationship between citizenship and pictorial screen media.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Brown Bag Superannuated: Old Age and Slavery’s Economy this event is free 30 January 2019.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Nathaniel Windon, Pennsylvania State University

Plantation owners demarcated elderly enslaved laborers as “superannuated” in their logbooks. This talk examines some of the implications of locating the origin of old age on the antebellum American plantation

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Public Program, Conversation The Great Molasses Flood Revisited: Misremembered Molasses registration required at no cost 31 January 2019.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-program reception at 5:30. Stephen Puleo; Allison Lange, Wentworth Institute of Technology; Gavin Kleespies, MHS; and moderator Rev. Stephen T. Ayres Please note: This program will be held at Old South Meeting House.

The Great Molasses Flood of 1919, when remembered, is often interpreted in a dismissive, comical manner. How does this case compare with other incidences of historical events that are interpreted or "curated" at the expense of accuracy and respect for human experience? How can we bring complexity back to events that have long been relegated to the realm of local folklore? Local scholars will discuss the question of misunderstood history by looking at the Great Molasses Flood, the fight for women's suffrage and Leif Erickson.

This program is a collaboration between the MHS and Old South Meeting House. It will be held at Old South Meeting House at 310 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02108.

This program is made possible with funding from the Lowell Institute.

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