The Beehive: the official blog of the Massachusetts Historical Society

This Week @MHS

Here is a look at what is going on this week at the MHS:

- Monday, 3 December, 6:00 PM:  Rochambeau: The French Military Presence in Boston with 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. A pre-talk reception begins at 5:30 PM; the speaking program begins at 6:00 PM. There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders). 

 - Tuesday, 4 December, 5:15 PM: “Attend to the Opium”: Boston's Trade with China in the Early 19th Century with Gwenn Miller, College of the Holy Cross, and comment by 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.This is part of the Boston Area Seminar on Early American History series. Seminars are free and open to the public.

- Wednesday, 5 December, 12:00 PM: Seas of Connection: Narratives of Migration through Local American Wards with 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. This is part of the brown-bag lunch program. Brown-bags are free and open to the public.

- Wednesday, 5 December, 6:00 PM: MHS Fellows & Members Holiday PartyMHS Fellows and Members are invited to the Society's annual holiday party. Please note that the event is SOLD OUT.

- Thursday, 6 December, 6:00 PM: Boston in the Great War: Manuscripts & Artifacts of World War I with 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. This program is free and open to the public.

- Friday, 7 December, 12:00 PM: Sylvia Plath’s Letters & Traces with 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. This is part of the brown-bag lunch program.

- Saturday, 8 December, 10:00 AM: The History & Collections of the MHS. Join is for a 90-minute docent-led walk through of the public rooms of the MHS. 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

Fashioning the New England Family is open Monday through Friday, from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The exhibition explores the ways in which the multiple meanings of fashion and fashionable goods are reflected in patterns of consumption and refashioning, recycling, and retaining favorite family pieces. Many of the items that will be featured have been out of sight, having never been exhibited for the public or seen in living memory. The exhibition is organized as part of Mass Fashion, a consortium of cultural institutions set up to explore and celebrate the many facets of the culture of fashion in Massachusetts. 

Take a look at our calendar page for information about upcoming programs.

permalink | Published: Monday, 3 December, 2018, 1:00 AM