The Beehive: the official blog of the Massachusetts Historical Society

Remembering Former President George H. W. Bush

As the United States remembers former President George H. W. Bush, who died on Friday, 30 November 2018, at the age of 94, the MHS remembers him too.

George H. W. Bush addressing guests at the MHS Annual Dinner on 10 October 2002.

In 2002, MHS staff (and items from the collections!) had two notable encounters with George H. W. Bush. On 11 March 2002, the exhibition Fathers and Sons opened at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum on the grounds of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. The exhibition focused on the private and public careers of the two father and son sets of presidents: John Adams and John Quincy Adams and George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush. Staff from both the Bush Library and the MHS worked from September 2001 to January 2002 on establishing and finalizing which items from the Adams Family Papers and other collections would be on display in Texas. All in all, the Bush Library borrowed 26 manuscripts, 5 printed texts, 2 engravings, and 8 artifacts from the MHS for the exhibition. William M. Fowler, Jr., Director of the MHS (in 2002), joined George H. W. Bush, and his wife, Barbara, and many guests at the official opening of the show.

William M. Fowler, Jr.,  George H. W. Bush, and Patricia Burchfield examine Adams family artifacts from the MHS on display at the George Bush Presidential Library in March 2002.   

William M. Fowler, Jr. with George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush in March 2002.

About seven months later, Mr. Bush travelled to Boston, Mass. and spoke at the MHS Annual Dinner held at the Harvard Club on 10 October 2002. Not since John Quincy Adams addressed the members in 1841 had a president spoken to the MHS. Before the well-attended formal dinner, Mr. Bush visited the MHS. David McCullough, the well-known historian and author of the book, John Adams, and MHS Stephen T. Riley Librarian, Peter Drummey, shared information about selected items from MHS's collections, including the manuscript of George Washington's Newburgh Address, Thomas Jefferson's Farm Book, and Paul Revere's account of his famous ride to Lexington. 

George H. W. Bush examining documents from the collection of the MHS with David McCullough (right) and Peter Drummey (left).

From left to right: Amalie M. Kass (MHS President  in 2002), David McCullough, George H. W. Bush, Levin H. Campbell, and William M. Fowler, Jr. (MHS Director in 2002).


permalink | Published: Wednesday, 5 December, 2018, 1:00 AM