January

Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Panel Discussion: Urban History on the Digital Frontier 24 January 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required 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.

More
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 Please RSVP   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.

More
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.

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

More
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.

More
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.

More
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 RSVP required 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."

More
Public Program Collecting the World at War, 1919-1946 8 February 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   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.

More
Teacher Workshop Lincoln & Emancipation 11 February 2017.Saturday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM Please RSVP   Registration fee: $25 (free for students) “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.

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

More
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.

More
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

More
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 RSVP required 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.

More
Teacher Workshopbegins Women in the Era of the American Revolution 22 February 2017.Wednesday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM Please RSVP   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.

More
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.

More
Public Program MIT: History and Architecture 22 February 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   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.

More
Teacher Workshopends Women in the Era of the American Revolution 23 February 2017.Thursday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM Please RSVP   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.

More
History of Women and Gender Seminar Conversation: Sexuality of History, History of Sexuality 23 February 2017.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM RSVP required 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?"

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.

More
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.

More
MHS Tour 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.

More
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 Please RSVP   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.

More
Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Vietnamese Political Prisoners and the Politics of Family, 1975-1996 28 February 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required 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.

More
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.

More
Public Program A Children's Photo Album 2 March 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   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.

More
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 RSVP required 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. 

More
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.  

More
The Irish Atlantic Member Event, Special Event The Irish Atlantic Fellows & Members Preview Reception 9 March 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM This event is open only to MHS Fellows and Members William M. Fowler, Northeastern University MHS Fellows and Members are invited to a special program, reception, and chance to preview ...

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.  

More
The Irish Atlantic 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.

More
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.

More
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.

More
Environmental History Seminar The Winter Workscape: Weather and the Meaning of Industrial Capitalism in the Northern Forest, 1850-1950 14 March 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Jason L. Newton, Syracuse University Comment: Richard W. Judd, University of Maine Industrial logging operators used the winter weather, wood, simple machines, and muscle power alone ...

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.

More
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 Please RSVP   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 dinning 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.

More
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.

More
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 Please RSVP   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

 Join us for a series to 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. A journey through the study of material culture will demonstrate how the politics of politeness helped define American thought.  

More
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.

More
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 Please RSVP   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.

More
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 The Irish Atlantic Series   As news of the Irish Famine made its ...

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 discuss the relief efforts of the Jamestown on the eve of the 170th anniversary of its voyage.

More
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.

More
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.

More
April
MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 1 April 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.

More
Early American History Seminar Promotional Literature and Identity in Colonial Massachusetts 4 April 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Agnès Delahaye, Université Lumière Lyon II Comment: Conrad E. Wright, Massachusetts Historical Society This essay will examine the institutional and cultural factors behind promotional literature, the ...

This essay will examine the institutional and cultural factors behind promotional literature, the body of colonial sources written for metropolitan audiences. All share the common intent of promoting, or defending, the political or economic choices made by the colonists as their communities were taking shape. The essay will detail the tropes and expressions of the commonality of purpose that Delahaye sees in most New England historiography. It will also explore the relationship between colonial historiography and exceptionalism in the New England tradition.

More
Brown Bag A Fear of Foreigners and of Freedom: Ideological Exclusion and Deportation in America 5 April 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Julia Rose Kraut, Historical Society of the New York Courts This talk will examine the history of the exclusion and deportation of foreigners from the United ...

This talk will examine the history of the exclusion and deportation of foreigners from the United States based on their beliefs, associations, and/or expressions, from the Alien Act of 1798 to the War on Terror.  It will illustrate that this history reflects a perennial fear of subversion in America, and that during moments of national insecurity, the United States has consistently and continuously depicted foreigners as the source of subversion and has used ideological exclusion and deportation as tools to suppress the free expression of radicalism and dissent.     

More
MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 8 April 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.

More
Public Program, Author Talk Creating Acadia National Park: The Biography of George Bucknam Dorr 10 April 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Ronald Epp Although he is known as the “Father of Acadia,” George Bucknam Dorr’s seminal ...

Although he is known as the “Father of Acadia,” George Bucknam Dorr’s seminal contributions to the American environmental movement have gone largely unacknowledged. This biography is the story of Dorr’s pioneering role. Raised in Boston, Dorr adopted Maine’s Mount Desert Island as his home and the setting to apply the practical lessons of “Boston Brahmin” philanthropy. Through his finest work—the creation and management of Acadia National Park—and through his collaborations with park co-founders Charles W. Eliot, John D. Rockefeller Jr., and others—Dorr transformed an elitist social inheritance into an all-consuming commitment to conservation.

More
Environmental History Seminar Panel: Fishing the Commons 11 April 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Erik Reardon, University of Maine at Orono, and Stacy Roberts, University of California, Davis Comment: Matthew McKenzie, University of Connecticut at Avery Point Reardon’s paper, “New England’s Pre-Industrial River Commons: Culture and Economy ...

Reardon’s paper, “New England’s Pre-Industrial River Commons: Culture and Economy,” argues for the persistence of a river commons long after population growth and market pressures undermined the prospects for shared lands. Roberts’s essay, “The Private Commons: Oyster Planting in 19th-century Connecticut,” explain why Connecticut developed a dual system of public and private oyster production over the course of the 19th century by weaving together a history of the environment, law, and capitalism.

More
Brown Bag Radical Enlightenment in the Struggle over Slavery 12 April 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Matthew Stewart, author of Nature's God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic Frederick Douglass owed a substantial intellectual debt to the controversial German philosopher ...

Frederick Douglass owed a substantial intellectual debt to the controversial German philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach. The militant abolitionist Theodore Parker relied on a wide range of philosophers hailing from the radical edges of the European Enlightenment. Abraham Lincoln’s political thought reflects in part the influence of Parker, Douglass, and their philosophical sources. This talk will draw material from a work in progress to lead a discussion about the role of Enlightenment ideas in shaping abolitionism, anti-slavery politics, and the Civil War.

More
Public Program, The Irish Atlantic The Rise and Fall of the American Party 12 April 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Peter Drummey, Stephen T. Riley Librarian, Massachusetts Historical Society The Irish Atlantic Series Secretive nativist societies began to form in ...

The Irish Atlantic Series

Secretive nativist societies began to form in the 1840s in response to large-scale immigration of Irish and German Catholics. By the 1850s, these organizations coalesced into the American Party—commonly referred to as the “Know Nothings” because members would not reveal any information about their movement. The American Party advocated for severe restrictions on immigration and citizenship and in 1854 swept the Massachusetts election, winning all state offices and all but four seats in the legislature. In seven years the state had gone from launching an Irish relief mission with the sailing of the Jamestown to strident nativist sentiment. Peter Drummey will look at the meteoric rise of the American Party as well as its rapid decline with the approach of the Civil War.

More
MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 15 April 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.

More
Building Closed Patriots' Day 17 April 2017.Monday, all day The MHS is CLOSED for Patriots' Day. 

The MHS is CLOSED for Patriots' Day. 

More
The Irish Atlantic, Public Program Make Your Own Comic: The Jamestown Relief Mission to Ireland & the Life of John Boyle O’Reilly 18 April 2017.Tuesday, 2:00PM - 3:30PM Please RSVP   Come to MHS during the school vacation week for a hands-on history program. Historians will tell ...

Come to MHS during the school vacation week for a hands-on history program. Historians will tell participants two stories related to Irish immigration. The first will explore the famine relief mission from Boston to Ireland led by Robert Bennet Forbes aboard the Jamestown. The second will explore the life of John Boyle O’Reilly, a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, or Fenians. For his part in the Fenian conspiracy, he was convicted and sent to Australia. He escaped from prison, made his way to America, and settled in Boston, finding work with the Catholic newspaper the Pilot, eventually becoming a celebrated writer and poet, as well as the paper’s editor and co-owner. After the talk, local comic book artists will help the young historians make their own historical comic depicting stories of Irish immigration.

More
Teacher Workshop, The Irish Atlantic Boston to the Rescue: Robert B. Forbes & Irish Famine Relief 20 April 2017.Thursday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM Please RSVP   Registration fee: $25 (free for students) On April 12, 1847, Boston merchant Robert Bennet Forbes arrived in Ireland aboard the USS Jamestown. ...

On April 12, 1847, Boston merchant Robert Bennet Forbes arrived in Ireland aboard the USS Jamestown. The ship carried more than 8,000 barrels of food and provisions to the island’s inhabitants at the height of the Great Famine. We will explore the history of early Irish immigration to Boston and the tensions that divided Catholic immigrants and Protestant New Englanders in the 1830s and 1840s. Despite their differences, private citizens and local organizations rallied to provide indispensable humanitarian aid to a nation in need.

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: The USS Jamestown, by George M. Atkinson, Forbes House Museum.

More
History of Women and Gender Seminar Sadie Alexander, Black Women’s Work, and Economic Citizenship during the New Deal Era 20 April 2017.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Lauren Meyer, Yale University Comment: Martin Summers, Boston College This essay argues that Sadie Alexander, the first black woman to earn a Ph.D. in economics and a ...

This essay argues that Sadie Alexander, the first black woman to earn a Ph.D. in economics and a successful practicing lawyer, offered an alternative, black feminist definition of economic citizenship that shifted discourses on the relationship between race, gender, labor, and the meaning of citizenship. Alexander positioned black women’s paid labor as a potential source of strength: for black women themselves, for national economic wellbeing, and for the movement for black first-class citizenship.

More
MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 22 April 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.

More
More events
Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Panel Discussion: Urban History on the Digital Frontier Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
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.

close
Public Program, Author Talk The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire Please RSVP   registration required 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 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.

close
MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS this event is free 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.

close
Public Program Begin at the Beginning: Medical and Surgical Care in Puritan New England Please RSVP   registration required at no cost 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.  

close
Brown Bag "Leaving their callings": Retirement in the Early Republic this event is free 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.

close
MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS this event is free 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.

close
Early American History Seminar The Coromantee War in Jamaica: Charting the Course of an Atlantic Slave Revolt Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
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."

close
Public Program Collecting the World at War, 1919-1946 Please RSVP   registration required 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.

close
Teacher Workshop Lincoln & Emancipation Please RSVP   registration required 11 February 2017.Saturday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM Registration fee: $25 (free for students)

“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.

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

close
MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS this event is free 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.

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

The Society is CLOSED for President's Day

close
Environmental History Seminar Postponed:
Harvest for War: Fruits, Nuts, Imperialism, and Gas Mask Manufacture in the United States During World War I
Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
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.

close
Teacher Workshop Women in the Era of the American Revolution Please RSVP   registration required 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.

close
Brown Bag Constructing American Belatedness: The Archives of American Artists in Late Nineteenth-Century Paris this event is free 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.

close
Public Program MIT: History and Architecture Please RSVP   registration required 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.

close
History of Women and Gender Seminar Conversation: Sexuality of History, History of Sexuality Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
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?"

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.

close
Exhibition Turning Points in American History this event is free 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.

close
MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS this event is free 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.

close
Public Program, Author Talk Self-Evident Truths: Contesting Equal Rights from the Revolution to the Civil War Please RSVP   registration required 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.

close
Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Vietnamese Political Prisoners and the Politics of Family, 1975-1996 Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
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.

close
Brown Bag Ask Carol Lane!: Imaginaries of Safe Travel in the 1950s this event is free 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.

close
Public Program A Children's Photo Album Please RSVP   registration required 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.

close
Early American History Seminar A History of Violence: The Harpe Murders and the Legacies of the American Revolution Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
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. 

close
Brown Bag Inventing Citizens: Patents, Inventors, and Civil Rights this event is free 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.  

close
Member Event, Special Event The Irish Atlantic Fellows & Members Preview Reception registration required at no cost 9 March 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM This event is open only to MHS Fellows and Members William M. Fowler, Northeastern University The Irish Atlantic

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.  

close
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 The Irish Atlantic

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.

close
Brown Bag A Constitutional Lost Cause: The Fifteenth Amendment in American Memory and Political Culture, 1870-1920 this event is free 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.

close
MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS this event is free 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.

close
Environmental History Seminar The Winter Workscape: Weather and the Meaning of Industrial Capitalism in the Northern Forest, 1850-1950 Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
14 March 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Jason L. Newton, Syracuse University Comment: Richard W. Judd, University of Maine

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.

close
Public Program, Conversation, Cooking Boston Cooking Boston: Refined to Rustic Please RSVP   registration required 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 dinning 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.

close
MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS this event is free 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.

close
Public Program, Author Talk, Politics of Taste Politics of Taste: Republic of Taste Please RSVP   registration required 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

 Join us for a series to 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. A journey through the study of material culture will demonstrate how the politics of politeness helped define American thought.  

close
Brown Bag Love in the Time of Mutual Assured Destruction: Rethinking Cold War Rationality this event is free 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.

close
Public Program, Author Talk, Politics of Taste Portrait of a Woman in Silk: Hidden Histories of the British Atlantic World Please RSVP   registration required 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.

close
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

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 discuss the relief efforts of the Jamestown on the eve of the 170th anniversary of its voyage.

close
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.

close
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.

close
MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS this event is free 1 April 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.

close
Early American History Seminar Promotional Literature and Identity in Colonial Massachusetts Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
4 April 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Agnès Delahaye, Université Lumière Lyon II Comment: Conrad E. Wright, Massachusetts Historical Society

This essay will examine the institutional and cultural factors behind promotional literature, the body of colonial sources written for metropolitan audiences. All share the common intent of promoting, or defending, the political or economic choices made by the colonists as their communities were taking shape. The essay will detail the tropes and expressions of the commonality of purpose that Delahaye sees in most New England historiography. It will also explore the relationship between colonial historiography and exceptionalism in the New England tradition.

close
Brown Bag A Fear of Foreigners and of Freedom: Ideological Exclusion and Deportation in America this event is free 5 April 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Julia Rose Kraut, Historical Society of the New York Courts

This talk will examine the history of the exclusion and deportation of foreigners from the United States based on their beliefs, associations, and/or expressions, from the Alien Act of 1798 to the War on Terror.  It will illustrate that this history reflects a perennial fear of subversion in America, and that during moments of national insecurity, the United States has consistently and continuously depicted foreigners as the source of subversion and has used ideological exclusion and deportation as tools to suppress the free expression of radicalism and dissent.     

close
MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS this event is free 8 April 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.

close
Public Program, Author Talk Creating Acadia National Park: The Biography of George Bucknam Dorr registration required 10 April 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Ronald Epp

Although he is known as the “Father of Acadia,” George Bucknam Dorr’s seminal contributions to the American environmental movement have gone largely unacknowledged. This biography is the story of Dorr’s pioneering role. Raised in Boston, Dorr adopted Maine’s Mount Desert Island as his home and the setting to apply the practical lessons of “Boston Brahmin” philanthropy. Through his finest work—the creation and management of Acadia National Park—and through his collaborations with park co-founders Charles W. Eliot, John D. Rockefeller Jr., and others—Dorr transformed an elitist social inheritance into an all-consuming commitment to conservation.

close
Environmental History Seminar Panel: Fishing the Commons Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
11 April 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Erik Reardon, University of Maine at Orono, and Stacy Roberts, University of California, Davis Comment: Matthew McKenzie, University of Connecticut at Avery Point

Reardon’s paper, “New England’s Pre-Industrial River Commons: Culture and Economy,” argues for the persistence of a river commons long after population growth and market pressures undermined the prospects for shared lands. Roberts’s essay, “The Private Commons: Oyster Planting in 19th-century Connecticut,” explain why Connecticut developed a dual system of public and private oyster production over the course of the 19th century by weaving together a history of the environment, law, and capitalism.

close
Brown Bag Radical Enlightenment in the Struggle over Slavery this event is free 12 April 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Matthew Stewart, author of Nature's God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic

Frederick Douglass owed a substantial intellectual debt to the controversial German philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach. The militant abolitionist Theodore Parker relied on a wide range of philosophers hailing from the radical edges of the European Enlightenment. Abraham Lincoln’s political thought reflects in part the influence of Parker, Douglass, and their philosophical sources. This talk will draw material from a work in progress to lead a discussion about the role of Enlightenment ideas in shaping abolitionism, anti-slavery politics, and the Civil War.

close
Public Program, The Irish Atlantic The Rise and Fall of the American Party Please RSVP   registration required at no cost 12 April 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Peter Drummey, Stephen T. Riley Librarian, Massachusetts Historical Society

The Irish Atlantic Series

Secretive nativist societies began to form in the 1840s in response to large-scale immigration of Irish and German Catholics. By the 1850s, these organizations coalesced into the American Party—commonly referred to as the “Know Nothings” because members would not reveal any information about their movement. The American Party advocated for severe restrictions on immigration and citizenship and in 1854 swept the Massachusetts election, winning all state offices and all but four seats in the legislature. In seven years the state had gone from launching an Irish relief mission with the sailing of the Jamestown to strident nativist sentiment. Peter Drummey will look at the meteoric rise of the American Party as well as its rapid decline with the approach of the Civil War.

close
MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS this event is free 15 April 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.

close
Building Closed Patriots' Day 17 April 2017.Monday, all day

The MHS is CLOSED for Patriots' Day. 

close
The Irish Atlantic, Public Program Make Your Own Comic: The Jamestown Relief Mission to Ireland & the Life of John Boyle O’Reilly Please RSVP   registration required at no cost 18 April 2017.Tuesday, 2:00PM - 3:30PM

Come to MHS during the school vacation week for a hands-on history program. Historians will tell participants two stories related to Irish immigration. The first will explore the famine relief mission from Boston to Ireland led by Robert Bennet Forbes aboard the Jamestown. The second will explore the life of John Boyle O’Reilly, a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, or Fenians. For his part in the Fenian conspiracy, he was convicted and sent to Australia. He escaped from prison, made his way to America, and settled in Boston, finding work with the Catholic newspaper the Pilot, eventually becoming a celebrated writer and poet, as well as the paper’s editor and co-owner. After the talk, local comic book artists will help the young historians make their own historical comic depicting stories of Irish immigration.

close
Teacher Workshop, The Irish Atlantic Boston to the Rescue: Robert B. Forbes & Irish Famine Relief Please RSVP   registration required 20 April 2017.Thursday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM Registration fee: $25 (free for students)

On April 12, 1847, Boston merchant Robert Bennet Forbes arrived in Ireland aboard the USS Jamestown. The ship carried more than 8,000 barrels of food and provisions to the island’s inhabitants at the height of the Great Famine. We will explore the history of early Irish immigration to Boston and the tensions that divided Catholic immigrants and Protestant New Englanders in the 1830s and 1840s. Despite their differences, private citizens and local organizations rallied to provide indispensable humanitarian aid to a nation in need.

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: The USS Jamestown, by George M. Atkinson, Forbes House Museum.

close
History of Women and Gender Seminar Sadie Alexander, Black Women’s Work, and Economic Citizenship during the New Deal Era Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
20 April 2017.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM Lauren Meyer, Yale University Comment: Martin Summers, Boston College

This essay argues that Sadie Alexander, the first black woman to earn a Ph.D. in economics and a successful practicing lawyer, offered an alternative, black feminist definition of economic citizenship that shifted discourses on the relationship between race, gender, labor, and the meaning of citizenship. Alexander positioned black women’s paid labor as a potential source of strength: for black women themselves, for national economic wellbeing, and for the movement for black first-class citizenship.

close
MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS this event is free 22 April 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.

close

Back to top