Calendar of Events

Exhibition

The Private Jefferson

Explore Jefferson’s complexity through select correspondence and writings including the Declaration of Independence, records of farming at Monticello, and his architectural drawings.

Details

February

Jefferson Series, Public Program Gallery Talk: Jefferson’s Journey to Massachusetts: The Origin of the Coolidge Collection at MHS 12 February 2016.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Peter Drummey, Stephen T. Riley Librarian Most people don’t associate Thomas Jefferson with Massachusetts and yet MHS has the largest ...

Most people don’t associate Thomas Jefferson with Massachusetts and yet MHS has the largest collection of Jefferson’s private papers. Peter Drummey, the Stephen T. Riley Librarian at MHS will explain the provenance of the collection. 

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 13 February 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a docent-led walk ...

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 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.

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Building Closed President's Day 15 February 2016.Monday, all day The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed.

The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed.

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Mass Modern Series, Public Program, Conversation Modernism Series: Program Three - Politics of Modernism 16 February 2016.Tuesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Liz Cohen, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University; Elihu Rubin, Associate Professor at Yale University and Chris Grimley, AIA, Over, Under The arrival of Edward Logue as the head of the Boston Redevelopment Authority ushered in a new ...

The arrival of Edward Logue as the head of the Boston Redevelopment Authority ushered in a new generation of buildings in Boston. Both the politics and the design of this period could be described as bold, often controversial, and of a scale that had not been seen before. Starting with the completion of the Prudential Tower, this era redefined the skyline, streetscape, and aspirations of the region.

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Jefferson Series, Teacher Workshop Adams, Jefferson, and Shakespeare 17 February 2016.Wednesday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM Please RSVP   Commemorate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death by investigating his ...

Commemorate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death by investigating his influence on America’s Founding Mothers and Fathers. John and Abigail Adams sprinkled their letters to one another with quotes from the Bard, and Thomas Jefferson owned numerous volumes of Shakespeare’s work. This hands-on workshop will introduce participants to Adams and Jefferson documents in the Society’s collection, and explore Shakespeare’s themes of politics, power, and leadership through these eyes of these revolutionary men and women.

This program is open to educators and history enthusiasts. Educators can earn 22.5 PDPs or one graduate credit (for an additional fee).

Workshop Fee: $25 per person (to cover materials and lunch)

To Register / For more information: complete this registration form, or contact the education department at education@masshist.org or 617-646-0557.

Program Highlights

  • Discuss the Founders' understanding of Shakespeare and their use of his works in their own publications and correspondence with Adams Papers editors Hobson Woodward and Emily Ross.
  • View documents from the Adams Family Papers and the Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson Manuscripts.
  • Preview and brainstorm suggestions for using Adams, Jefferson, and Shakespeare materials in history and English language arts projects.
  • Take a guided tour of the Society's new exhibition, The Private Jefferson.
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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 20 February 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a docent-led walk ...

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 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.

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Conversation, Public Program Begin at the Beginning: Boston’s Founding Documents "What News?": Communication in Early New England 20 February 2016.Saturday, 1:00PM - 3:00PM Please RSVP   Katherine Grandjean, Wellesley College "What News?": Communication in Early New England   New England was built on letters. ...

"What News?": Communication in Early New England  

New England was built on letters. Its colonists left behind thousands of these “paper pilgrims,” brittle and browning. But how were they delivered? In a time before postal service and newspapers, how did news travel?

 

Even when it was meant solely for English eyes, news did not pass solely through English hands. Native messengers carried letters along footpaths, and Dutch ships took them across waterways. Rumors flew. Who could travel where, who controlled the routes winding through the woods, who dictated what news might be sent—these questions reveal a new dimension of contest in the northeast.

 

In her new book American Passage: The Communications Frontier in Early New England, Katherine Grandjean reveals a new view of colonial New England.  It is a darker and more precarious place entirely.

 

Reading

American Passage: The Communications Frontier in Early New England  (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015), especially the introduction and chapters 1, 2, and 3.

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Immigration and Urban History Seminar “The Other Essential Job of War”: Jewish American Merchants and the European Refugee Crisis, 1933-1945 23 February 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Niki C. Lefebvre, Boston University Comment: Hasia Diner, New York University Following the rise of Adolf Hitler, political and trade conditions in the United States prevented ...

Following the rise of Adolf Hitler, political and trade conditions in the United States prevented department stores from collaborating in an effective boycott against German imports. However, individuals did undertake personal campaigns to bring Jewish refugees out of Europe. Drawing on their networks abroad and influence in Washington, a handful of Jewish American merchants in the northeast took great personal risks to pursue what Ira Hirschman called the “other essential job of war”: saving people.

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Brown Bag Free Religion as Spiritual Abolitionism 24 February 2016.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Scott Shubitz, Florida State University This project reexamines the rise of the Free Religion movement and frames it as an outgrowth of ...

This project reexamines the rise of the Free Religion movement and frames it as an outgrowth of both liberal religion and abolitionism. It argues that, rather than being a simple continuation of Transcendentalism, Free Religion represented a continuation of abolitionism during Reconstruction – a new “spiritual abolitionism.” Led by notable ministers like Octavius Brooks Frothingham, Francis Ellingwood Abbot, and William J. Potter, the Free Religion movement sought to overcome the divisions of creed and dogma and to unite people from diverse denominations and religions within one spiritual movement. This project draws on a number of MHS collections, including the papers of Henry W. Bellows and John Weiss.

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Mass Modern Series, Public Program, Conversation Modernism Series: Program Four - Preservation of Modernism 24 February 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Henry Moss, AIA, Bruner/Cott & Associates; Ann Beha, AIA, Ann Beha Architects; David Fixler, FAIA, co-founder of DOCOMOMO and Mark Pasnik, AIA, Over, Under Today, the optimism of the movement is often forgotten and many of the buildings suffer from years ...

Today, the optimism of the movement is often forgotten and many of the buildings suffer from years of poor maintenance and are facing insensitive renovation or demolition. Architects who have renovated important modernist buildings will talk about the challenges and opportunities and explain their work locally on buildings such as Sert’s BU Law Tower and Alvar Aalto’s Baker House at MIT as well as internationally on sites such as the Gropius’s US Embassy in Greece and the UN Headquarters.

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March
Early American History Seminar “Unawed by the Laws of their Country”: The Role of English Law in North Carolina’s Regulator Rebellion 1 March 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Abigail Chandler, University of Massachusetts—Lowell Comment: Hon. Hiller Zobel, Masschusetts Superior Court This project explores the use of English legal and political traditions in the three-year Regulator ...

This project explores the use of English legal and political traditions in the three-year Regulator Rebellion of North Carolina. The essay will address how these traditions impacted the motivations and justifications of both Regulators and the North Carolina government, while simultaneously incorporating a wider discussion of English identity and American colonists in the 1760s.

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Brown Bag Redeeming Verse: The Poetics of Revivalism 2 March 2016.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Wendy Roberts, University at Albany, SUNY This project offers a post-secular account of British North America poetry through the everyday ...

This project offers a post-secular account of British North America poetry through the everyday poetic practices of eighteenth-century evangelicalism.

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Jefferson Series, Public Program Gallery Talk: Fellow Laborers: The Friendship of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams 4 March 2016.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Sara Sikes, Associate Editor, Adams Papers and Sara Georgini, Assistant Editor, Adams Papers Thomas Jefferson and John Adams worked together on the Declaration of Independence, were political ...

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams worked together on the Declaration of Independence, were political allies, and were friends, but they they grew apart and became fierce opponents in the election of 1800. Although they did not speak for years, later in life they reconciled. Two leading scholars will talk about this relationship and what it meant to two founding fathers.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 5 March 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a docent-led walk ...

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 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.

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Environmental History Seminar How to Police Your Food: A Story of Controlling Homes and Bodies in the Early Age of Manufactured Foods 8 March 2016.Tuesday, all day RSVP required Benjamin R. Cohen, Lafayette College Comment: Joyce Chaplin, Harvard University This project addresses three concerns of our day: food, knowledge, and control. These concerns are ...

This project addresses three concerns of our day: food, knowledge, and control. These concerns are anchored in debates over environmental and public health inside a world of industrial food. By examining the dawn of this manufactured food system, it argues that decisions about protecting the boundary of nation, home, and body—and defining pure food—were shaped by competing ways of understanding how to grow and know food.

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Brown Bag Practicing Politics in the Revolutionary Atlantic World: Secrecy, Publicity, and the Making of Modern Democracy 9 March 2016.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Katlyn M. Carter, Princeton University This project explores how decisions and debates about the place of secrecy in politics during the ...

This project explores how decisions and debates about the place of secrecy in politics during the Age of Revolution shaped both the conceptual evolution and practical implementation of representative democracy. In it, Carter traces how revolutionaries in the United States and France navigated the tension between and Enlightenment imperative to eradicate secrets from the state and a practical need to limit the extent of transparency. At MHS, she has focused on how political figures reported on their political activity to their correspondents and whether they wrote about the need for secrecy in government.

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Public Program, Author Talk The New Bostonians: How Immigrants Have Transformed the Metro Area since the 1960s 9 March 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Marilynn S. Johnson, Boston College The Immigration Act of 1965 opened the nation's doors to large-scale immigration from Africa, Asia, ...

The Immigration Act of 1965 opened the nation's doors to large-scale immigration from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. A half century later, the impact of the "new immigration" is evident in the transformation of the country's demographics, economy, politics, and culture, particularly in urban America. The confluence of recent immigration and urban transformation in greater Boston has been a part of the region rebounding from a dramatic decline after World War II to an astounding renaissance. From 1970 to 2010, the percentage of foreign-born residents of the city more than doubled, representing far more diversity than earlier waves of immigration. Like the older immigrant groups, these newer migrants have been crucial in re-building the population, labor force, and metropolitan landscape of the New Boston.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 12 March 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a docent-led walk ...

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 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.

More
Author Talk, Public Program Republic of Spin: An Inside History of the American Presidency 16 March 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30 David Greenberg of Rutgers University interviewed by Robin Young Co-host of Here & Now on WBUR and NPR   Republic of Spin covers more than one hundred years of politics and the rise of the White ...

 

Republic of Spin covers more than one hundred years of politics and the rise of the White House spin machine, from Teddy Roosevelt to Barack Obama. The story takes us behind the scenes to see how the tools and techniques of image making and message craft work. We meet Woodrow Wilson convening the first White House press conference, Franklin Roosevelt huddling with his private pollsters, Ronald Reagan’s aides crafting his nightly news sound bites, and George W. Bush staging his “Mission Accomplished” photo-op. We meet, too, the backstage visionaries who pioneered new ways of gauging public opinion and mastering the media―figures like George Cortelyou, TR’s brilliantly efficient Press Manager; 1920s ad whiz Bruce Barton; Robert Montgomery, Dwight Eisenhower’s canny TV Coach; and of course the key spinmeisters of our own times, from Roger Ailes to David Axelrod.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 19 March 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a docent-led walk ...

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 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.

More
MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 26 March 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a docent-led walk ...

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 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.

More
Immigration and Urban History Seminar The War on Butchers: San Francisco and the Making of Animal Space, 1850-1870 29 March 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Andrew Robichaud, Boston University Comment: Harriet Ritvo, MIT For much of the nineteenth century American cities were alive with a wide variety of animal life. ...

For much of the nineteenth century American cities were alive with a wide variety of animal life. This paper examines some of the challenges of urban animal life (and death) in cities, while tracing the evolution of animal regulations in San Francisco between 1850 and 1870, a period of notable change. Through the creation of new livestock and slaughterhouse regulations, the city of San Francisco remade laws, space, and the environment, which together contributed to a broader transformation of urban life.

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Author Talk, Public Program The Saltwater Frontier: Indians and the Contest for the American Coast 30 March 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Andrew Lipman, Barnard College Andrew Lipman explores the previously untold story of how the ocean became a “frontier” ...

Andrew Lipman explores the previously untold story of how the ocean became a “frontier” between colonists and Indians. When the English and Dutch empires both tried to claim the same patch of coast between the Hudson River and Cape Cod, the sea itself became the arena of contact and conflict. During the violent European invasions, the region’s Algonquian-speaking Natives were navigators, boatbuilders, fishermen, pirates, and merchants who became active players in the emergence of the Atlantic World. Drawing from a wide range of English, Dutch, and archeological sources, Lipman uncovers a new geography of Native America that incorporates seawater as well as soil. Looking past Europeans’ arbitrary land boundaries, he reveals unseen links between local episodes and global events.

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April
Early American History Seminar Constructing Castle William: An Intimate History of Labor and Empire in Provincial America 5 April 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Jared Hardesty, Western Washington University Comment: Eliga H. Gould, University of New Hampshire This seminar will examine the tumultuous construction of Castle William, a fort meant to protect ...

This seminar will examine the tumultuous construction of Castle William, a fort meant to protect Boston Harbor. Begun in 1701, this five-year project was fraught with corruption, labor strife, supply shortages, ineptitude, and tension between colonial desires and imperial ambition. Hardesty will explore the fort as a microcosm of imperial reform and as a lens into post-Glorious Revolution attempts to build empire in Massachusetts and other mainland colonies.

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Brown Bag The Elusive Quest: African-American Emigration to Haiti and the Struggle for Full Citizenship in the United States, 1815-1865 6 April 2016.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Westenley Alcenat, Columbia University and MIT This project explores the experience and radicalism of the African-American settlers who emigrated ...

This project explores the experience and radicalism of the African-American settlers who emigrated to Haiti throughout the nineteenth century. It focuses on how this migration movement influenced African-American and Haitian political thought and the transnational struggle for Black citizenship before and during the American Civil War.

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Public Program, Author Talk Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams 6 April 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Louisa Thomas, Author Born in London to an American father and a British mother on the eve of the Revolutionary War, ...

Born in London to an American father and a British mother on the eve of the Revolutionary War, Louisa Catherine Johnson was raised in circumstances very different from the New England upbringing of the future president John Quincy Adams. And yet John Quincy fell in love with her, almost despite himself. They lived in Prussia, Massachusetts, Washington, Russia, and England. Louisa saw more of Europe and America than nearly any other woman of her time. But wherever she lived, she was always pressing her nose against the glass, not quite sure whether she was looking in or out. The story of Louisa Catherine Adams is one of a woman who forged a sense of self. As the country her husband led found its place in the world, she found a voice. That voice resonates still.

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Biography Seminar BioFictions—Turning “Real” People into Fictional Characters 7 April 2016.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM Please RSVP   Geraldine Brooks (March and The Secret Chord), Matthew Pearl (The Last Bookaneer), and Alice Hoffman (The Marriage of Opposites) Moderator: Megan Marshall, Emerson College Novelists often go to great lengths in researching past lives only to turn their findings into ...

Novelists often go to great lengths in researching past lives only to turn their findings into fiction.  In a discussion moderated by Megan Marshall, novelists Geraldine Brooks, Matthew Pearl, and Alice Hoffman, will talk about the process, where they draw the line between fact and fiction, and what inspires them to make fiction out of history. Geraldine Brooks is the author of five novels, including the 2006 Pulitzer Prize winner, March. Her 2015 novel, The Secret Chord, reimagines the life of King David in Second Iron Age Israel. Matthew Pearl’s five novels include The Dante Club (set in 19th-century Cambridge among the Fireside Poets), The Last Dickens, The Poe Shadow, and most recently, The Last Bookaneer, featuring Robert Louis Stevenson.  Alice Hoffman, the author of over two dozen books, often uses history in her fiction; The Marriage of Opposites, her latest novel, is based on the life of Camille Pissarro’s mother in a community of Jews living in exile on St. Thomas.

New England Biography Seminar series information

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 9 April 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a docent-led walk ...

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 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.

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Public Program The Big Dig 11 April 2016.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Frederick Salvucci, MIT Twenty five years ago, Boston undertook the largest transportation project in recent American ...

Twenty five years ago, Boston undertook the largest transportation project in recent American history. After years of planning, ground was broken for the Big Dig in 1991, kicking off a 16-year construction project. Although the Central Artery/Tunnel Project was controversial, it radically changed the landscape of the city. The Big Dig reconnected the North End to downtown; significantly improved access to the airport, downtown, the waterfront, and Seaport; created open space along the Rose Kennedy Greenway; and built one of the most iconic bridges in the metro area. Former secretary of transportation Fred Salvucci will look back on the project, its impacts, and the legacy of the Big Dig.

Image courtesy of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation 

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Environmental History Seminar Surviving the 1970s: The Case of the Friends of the Earth 12 April 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Jennifer Thomson, Bucknell University Comment: Chad Montrie, University of Massachusetts—Lowell How did environmental politics survive the de-regulation, economic crisis, and nativism of the 1970s ...

How did environmental politics survive the de-regulation, economic crisis, and nativism of the 1970s? What compromises did environmental activists make? This paper engages with these questions through the fractious history of the environmental organization Friends of the Earth (FOE). Founded in 1969, FOE’s first decade illuminates how the political and economic changes of the 1970s impacted, limited, and ultimately gave shape to the parameters of mainstream environmentalism.

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History of Women and Gender Seminar The Origins of “Women’s Rights are Human Rights”: Pan-American Feminism and the 1945 United Nation Charter 14 April 2016.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Location: Massachusetts Historical Society Katherine Marino, American Academy of Arts and Sciences Comment: Kirsten Weld, Harvard University In June, 1945, at the conference in San Francisco that created the United Nations, a group of Latin ...

In June, 1945, at the conference in San Francisco that created the United Nations, a group of Latin American feminists pushed “women’s rights” into the category of international human rights in the founding documents of the UN and proposed what became the UN Commission on the Status of Women. The Brazilian delegate and feminist Bertha Lutz called their work a “Latin American contribution to the constitution of the world.” This paper examines what “women’s rights” and “human rights” meant to these Latin American activists and how a movement of transnational, Pan-American feminism shaped their ideas and activism. It argues that the notion that “women’s rights are human rights,” often assumed to be a product of U.S./Western European liberal democratic and feminist thought, was in fact forged through transnational collaboration in a context of fraught U.S./Latin American relations.

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Jefferson Series, Public Program Gallery Talk: The Conservation of the Notes on the State of Virginia 15 April 2016.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Anne Bentley, Curator of Art and Artifacts, Massachusetts Historical Society Handling the papers of the founding fathers requires an unflinching confidence in your technical ...

Handling the papers of the founding fathers requires an unflinching confidence in your technical ability. Anne Bentley, MHS's curator, will discuss her conservation work on one of the canonical texts of America, Jefferson’s only book, The Notes on the State of Virginia.

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Special Event, Public Program Family Program: Comic History – Making Your Own Comic Explaining The Stamp Act 19 April 2016.Tuesday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM John Bell and The Boston Comics Roundtable Come to MHS during the school vacation week for a hands-on history program. Noted historian John ...

Come to MHS during the school vacation week for a hands-on history program. Noted historian John Bell will tell participants the story the Stamp Act and its repeal from an eighteenth century child’s point of view; young boys participated in marches and the ransacking of Thomas Hutchinson’s mansion. After the talk, local comic book artists associated with the Boston Comics Roundtable will help the young historians make their own historical comic depicting the story of the Stamp Act.

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Jefferson Series, Teacher Workshop Teaching Thomas Jefferson 20 April 2016.Wednesday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM Please RSVP   Beverly Heigre and Lee Pruett, Notre Dame High School, San Jose, CA Thomas Jefferson was a man of many talents and interests. This interdisciplinary workshop will ...

Thomas Jefferson was a man of many talents and interests. This interdisciplinary workshop will introduce participants to the Society’s collection of Jefferson manuscripts, including his Farm and Garden Books, which detail the management of his plantations; his architectural drawings; and his notes on the Declaration of Independence. We will sample methods for using these original documents in history, English, math, and science classrooms.

This program is open to educators and history enthusiasts. Educators can earn 22.5 PDPs or one graduate credit (for an additional fee).

Workshop Fee: $25 per person (to cover materials and lunch)

To Register / For more information: complete this registration form, or contact the education department at education@masshist.org or 617-646-0557.

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Public Program, Author Talk The Citizen Poets of Boston: A Collection of Forgotten Poems, 1789–1820 20 April 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Paul Lewis, Boston College Welcome to Boston in the early years of the republic. Prepare to journey by stagecoach with a young ...

Welcome to Boston in the early years of the republic. Prepare to journey by stagecoach with a young man moving to the “bustling city”; stop by a tavern for food, drink, and conversation; eavesdrop on clerks and customers in a dry-goods shop; get stuck in what might have been Boston’s first traffic jam; and enjoy arch comments about spouses, doctors, lawyers, politicians, and poets. As Paul Lewis and his students at Boston College reveal, regional vernacular poetry—largely overlooked or deemed of little or no artistic value—provides access to the culture and daily life of the city. Selected from over 4,500 poems published during the early national period, the works presented here, mostly anonymous, will carry you back to Old Boston to hear the voices of its long-forgotten citizen poets.

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Immigration and Urban History Seminar Communities Must be Vigilant: The Financial Turn in National Urban Policy 26 April 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Rebecca Marchiel, University of Mississippi Comment: Davarian Baldwin, Trinity College This research comes from a book project entitled "Neighborhoods First: The Urban Reinvestment ...

This research comes from a book project entitled "Neighborhoods First: The Urban Reinvestment Movement in the Era of Financial Deregulation." It explores how the U.S. financial system shaped, and was shaped by, the community organizing of low- and moderate-income urbanites during the last third of the twentieth century. This particular chapter explores the mixed results of 1970s efforts to revitalize neighborhoods through community-bank partnerships. In 1977, reinvestment activists successfully lobbied for the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), which gave them standing to stall bank mergers if banks redlined, or refused to lend in, the communities outside their offices. In effect, the CRA gave activists leverage to win new loan commitments from local banks. But just as activists gained traction here, new challenges emerged. The CRA offered no protection from gentrification, high interest rates, and bank deregulation that threatened neighborhood stability by decade's end.

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Author Talk, Public Program, Jefferson Series “Most Blessed of the Patriarchs” Thomas Jefferson and The Empire of The Imagination 27 April 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Annette Gordon-Reed, Harvard Law School and Peter Onuf, University of Virginia Thomas Jefferson is still presented today as a hopelessly enigmatic figure, despite being written ...


Thomas Jefferson is still presented today as a hopelessly enigmatic figure, despite being written about more than any other Founding Father. Lauded as the most articulate voice of American freedom, even as he held people in bondage, Jefferson is variably described by current-day observers as a hypocrite, an atheist, and a simple-minded proponent of limited government. Now, Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Annette Gordon-Reed works with the country’s leading Jefferson scholar, Peter S. Onuf, to present an absorbing and revealing character study that finally clarifies the philosophy of Thomas Jefferson. Tracing Jefferson’s development and maturation from his youth to his old age, the authors explore what they call the “empire” of Jefferson’s imagination―his expansive state of mind born of the intellectual influences and life experiences that led him into public life as a modern avatar of the enlightenment, who often likened himself to an ancient figure―“the most blessed of the patriarchs.”

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Jefferson Series, Public Program Gallery Talk: Touch Art Gallery brings Jefferson to the Digital Age 29 April 2016.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Andries van Dam and team, Brown University The Private Jefferson represents a significant new use of technology in MHS exhibitions. This was ...

The Private Jefferson represents a significant new use of technology in MHS exhibitions. This was made possible by Microsoft and a team of undergraduates at Brown University who created the Touch Art Gallery program. The faculty guide and the students who worked on the project will show the technology and explain how it was created.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 30 April 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a docent-led walk ...

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 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.

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May
Early American History Seminar “They bid me speak what I thought he would give”: The Commodification of Captive Peoples during King Phillip’s War 3 May 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Joanne Jahnke Wegner, University of Minnesota Comment: Kate Grandjean, Wellesley College This essay will address the systems of human trafficking that circulated both Native American and ...

This essay will address the systems of human trafficking that circulated both Native American and English captives during King Phillip’s War. Using the examples of Mary Rowlandson and King Phillip’s nameless son, the study explores the processes that turned captive peoples into commodities exchangeable for currency, material goods, or other humans. It argues that this commodification facilitated the circulation, exchange, and exploitation of captive peoples through human trafficking during King Phillip’s War.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 7 May 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a docent-led walk ...

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 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.

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Jefferson Series, Public Program Gallery Talk: Jefferson’s Journey to Massachusetts: The Origin of the Coolidge Collection at MHS this event is free 12 February 2016.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Peter Drummey, Stephen T. Riley Librarian

Most people don’t associate Thomas Jefferson with Massachusetts and yet MHS has the largest collection of Jefferson’s private papers. Peter Drummey, the Stephen T. Riley Librarian at MHS will explain the provenance of the collection. 

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS this event is free 13 February 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 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.

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Building Closed President's Day 15 February 2016.Monday, all day

The MHS library and exhibition galleries are closed.

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Mass Modern Series, Public Program, Conversation Modernism Series: Program Three - Politics of Modernism registration required 16 February 2016.Tuesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Liz Cohen, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University; Elihu Rubin, Associate Professor at Yale University and Chris Grimley, AIA, Over, Under

The arrival of Edward Logue as the head of the Boston Redevelopment Authority ushered in a new generation of buildings in Boston. Both the politics and the design of this period could be described as bold, often controversial, and of a scale that had not been seen before. Starting with the completion of the Prudential Tower, this era redefined the skyline, streetscape, and aspirations of the region.

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Jefferson Series, Teacher Workshop Adams, Jefferson, and Shakespeare Please RSVP   registration required 17 February 2016.Wednesday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Commemorate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death by investigating his influence on America’s Founding Mothers and Fathers. John and Abigail Adams sprinkled their letters to one another with quotes from the Bard, and Thomas Jefferson owned numerous volumes of Shakespeare’s work. This hands-on workshop will introduce participants to Adams and Jefferson documents in the Society’s collection, and explore Shakespeare’s themes of politics, power, and leadership through these eyes of these revolutionary men and women.

This program is open to educators and history enthusiasts. Educators can earn 22.5 PDPs or one graduate credit (for an additional fee).

Workshop Fee: $25 per person (to cover materials and lunch)

To Register / For more information: complete this registration form, or contact the education department at education@masshist.org or 617-646-0557.

Program Highlights

  • Discuss the Founders' understanding of Shakespeare and their use of his works in their own publications and correspondence with Adams Papers editors Hobson Woodward and Emily Ross.
  • View documents from the Adams Family Papers and the Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson Manuscripts.
  • Preview and brainstorm suggestions for using Adams, Jefferson, and Shakespeare materials in history and English language arts projects.
  • Take a guided tour of the Society's new exhibition, The Private Jefferson.
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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS this event is free 20 February 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 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.

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Conversation, Public Program Begin at the Beginning: Boston’s Founding Documents "What News?": Communication in Early New England Please RSVP   registration required at no cost 20 February 2016.Saturday, 1:00PM - 3:00PM Katherine Grandjean, Wellesley College

"What News?": Communication in Early New England  

New England was built on letters. Its colonists left behind thousands of these “paper pilgrims,” brittle and browning. But how were they delivered? In a time before postal service and newspapers, how did news travel?

 

Even when it was meant solely for English eyes, news did not pass solely through English hands. Native messengers carried letters along footpaths, and Dutch ships took them across waterways. Rumors flew. Who could travel where, who controlled the routes winding through the woods, who dictated what news might be sent—these questions reveal a new dimension of contest in the northeast.

 

In her new book American Passage: The Communications Frontier in Early New England, Katherine Grandjean reveals a new view of colonial New England.  It is a darker and more precarious place entirely.

 

Reading

American Passage: The Communications Frontier in Early New England  (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015), especially the introduction and chapters 1, 2, and 3.

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Immigration and Urban History Seminar “The Other Essential Job of War”: Jewish American Merchants and the European Refugee Crisis, 1933-1945 Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
23 February 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Niki C. Lefebvre, Boston University Comment: Hasia Diner, New York University

Following the rise of Adolf Hitler, political and trade conditions in the United States prevented department stores from collaborating in an effective boycott against German imports. However, individuals did undertake personal campaigns to bring Jewish refugees out of Europe. Drawing on their networks abroad and influence in Washington, a handful of Jewish American merchants in the northeast took great personal risks to pursue what Ira Hirschman called the “other essential job of war”: saving people.

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Brown Bag Free Religion as Spiritual Abolitionism this event is free 24 February 2016.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Scott Shubitz, Florida State University

This project reexamines the rise of the Free Religion movement and frames it as an outgrowth of both liberal religion and abolitionism. It argues that, rather than being a simple continuation of Transcendentalism, Free Religion represented a continuation of abolitionism during Reconstruction – a new “spiritual abolitionism.” Led by notable ministers like Octavius Brooks Frothingham, Francis Ellingwood Abbot, and William J. Potter, the Free Religion movement sought to overcome the divisions of creed and dogma and to unite people from diverse denominations and religions within one spiritual movement. This project draws on a number of MHS collections, including the papers of Henry W. Bellows and John Weiss.

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Mass Modern Series, Public Program, Conversation Modernism Series: Program Four - Preservation of Modernism registration required 24 February 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Henry Moss, AIA, Bruner/Cott & Associates; Ann Beha, AIA, Ann Beha Architects; David Fixler, FAIA, co-founder of DOCOMOMO and Mark Pasnik, AIA, Over, Under

Today, the optimism of the movement is often forgotten and many of the buildings suffer from years of poor maintenance and are facing insensitive renovation or demolition. Architects who have renovated important modernist buildings will talk about the challenges and opportunities and explain their work locally on buildings such as Sert’s BU Law Tower and Alvar Aalto’s Baker House at MIT as well as internationally on sites such as the Gropius’s US Embassy in Greece and the UN Headquarters.

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Early American History Seminar “Unawed by the Laws of their Country”: The Role of English Law in North Carolina’s Regulator Rebellion Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
1 March 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Abigail Chandler, University of Massachusetts—Lowell Comment: Hon. Hiller Zobel, Masschusetts Superior Court

This project explores the use of English legal and political traditions in the three-year Regulator Rebellion of North Carolina. The essay will address how these traditions impacted the motivations and justifications of both Regulators and the North Carolina government, while simultaneously incorporating a wider discussion of English identity and American colonists in the 1760s.

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Brown Bag Redeeming Verse: The Poetics of Revivalism this event is free 2 March 2016.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Wendy Roberts, University at Albany, SUNY

This project offers a post-secular account of British North America poetry through the everyday poetic practices of eighteenth-century evangelicalism.

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Jefferson Series, Public Program Gallery Talk: Fellow Laborers: The Friendship of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams this event is free 4 March 2016.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Sara Sikes, Associate Editor, Adams Papers and Sara Georgini, Assistant Editor, Adams Papers

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams worked together on the Declaration of Independence, were political allies, and were friends, but they they grew apart and became fierce opponents in the election of 1800. Although they did not speak for years, later in life they reconciled. Two leading scholars will talk about this relationship and what it meant to two founding fathers.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS this event is free 5 March 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 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.

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Environmental History Seminar How to Police Your Food: A Story of Controlling Homes and Bodies in the Early Age of Manufactured Foods Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
8 March 2016.Tuesday, all day Benjamin R. Cohen, Lafayette College Comment: Joyce Chaplin, Harvard University

This project addresses three concerns of our day: food, knowledge, and control. These concerns are anchored in debates over environmental and public health inside a world of industrial food. By examining the dawn of this manufactured food system, it argues that decisions about protecting the boundary of nation, home, and body—and defining pure food—were shaped by competing ways of understanding how to grow and know food.

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Brown Bag Practicing Politics in the Revolutionary Atlantic World: Secrecy, Publicity, and the Making of Modern Democracy this event is free 9 March 2016.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Katlyn M. Carter, Princeton University

This project explores how decisions and debates about the place of secrecy in politics during the Age of Revolution shaped both the conceptual evolution and practical implementation of representative democracy. In it, Carter traces how revolutionaries in the United States and France navigated the tension between and Enlightenment imperative to eradicate secrets from the state and a practical need to limit the extent of transparency. At MHS, she has focused on how political figures reported on their political activity to their correspondents and whether they wrote about the need for secrecy in government.

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Public Program, Author Talk The New Bostonians: How Immigrants Have Transformed the Metro Area since the 1960s registration required 9 March 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Marilynn S. Johnson, Boston College

The Immigration Act of 1965 opened the nation's doors to large-scale immigration from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. A half century later, the impact of the "new immigration" is evident in the transformation of the country's demographics, economy, politics, and culture, particularly in urban America. The confluence of recent immigration and urban transformation in greater Boston has been a part of the region rebounding from a dramatic decline after World War II to an astounding renaissance. From 1970 to 2010, the percentage of foreign-born residents of the city more than doubled, representing far more diversity than earlier waves of immigration. Like the older immigrant groups, these newer migrants have been crucial in re-building the population, labor force, and metropolitan landscape of the New Boston.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS this event is free 12 March 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 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.

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Author Talk, Public Program Republic of Spin: An Inside History of the American Presidency registration required 16 March 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30 David Greenberg of Rutgers University interviewed by Robin Young Co-host of Here & Now on WBUR and NPR

 

Republic of Spin covers more than one hundred years of politics and the rise of the White House spin machine, from Teddy Roosevelt to Barack Obama. The story takes us behind the scenes to see how the tools and techniques of image making and message craft work. We meet Woodrow Wilson convening the first White House press conference, Franklin Roosevelt huddling with his private pollsters, Ronald Reagan’s aides crafting his nightly news sound bites, and George W. Bush staging his “Mission Accomplished” photo-op. We meet, too, the backstage visionaries who pioneered new ways of gauging public opinion and mastering the media―figures like George Cortelyou, TR’s brilliantly efficient Press Manager; 1920s ad whiz Bruce Barton; Robert Montgomery, Dwight Eisenhower’s canny TV Coach; and of course the key spinmeisters of our own times, from Roger Ailes to David Axelrod.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS this event is free 19 March 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 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.

close
MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS this event is free 26 March 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 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.

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Immigration and Urban History Seminar The War on Butchers: San Francisco and the Making of Animal Space, 1850-1870 Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
29 March 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Andrew Robichaud, Boston University Comment: Harriet Ritvo, MIT

For much of the nineteenth century American cities were alive with a wide variety of animal life. This paper examines some of the challenges of urban animal life (and death) in cities, while tracing the evolution of animal regulations in San Francisco between 1850 and 1870, a period of notable change. Through the creation of new livestock and slaughterhouse regulations, the city of San Francisco remade laws, space, and the environment, which together contributed to a broader transformation of urban life.

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Author Talk, Public Program The Saltwater Frontier: Indians and the Contest for the American Coast registration required 30 March 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Andrew Lipman, Barnard College

Andrew Lipman explores the previously untold story of how the ocean became a “frontier” between colonists and Indians. When the English and Dutch empires both tried to claim the same patch of coast between the Hudson River and Cape Cod, the sea itself became the arena of contact and conflict. During the violent European invasions, the region’s Algonquian-speaking Natives were navigators, boatbuilders, fishermen, pirates, and merchants who became active players in the emergence of the Atlantic World. Drawing from a wide range of English, Dutch, and archeological sources, Lipman uncovers a new geography of Native America that incorporates seawater as well as soil. Looking past Europeans’ arbitrary land boundaries, he reveals unseen links between local episodes and global events.

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Early American History Seminar Constructing Castle William: An Intimate History of Labor and Empire in Provincial America Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
5 April 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Jared Hardesty, Western Washington University Comment: Eliga H. Gould, University of New Hampshire

This seminar will examine the tumultuous construction of Castle William, a fort meant to protect Boston Harbor. Begun in 1701, this five-year project was fraught with corruption, labor strife, supply shortages, ineptitude, and tension between colonial desires and imperial ambition. Hardesty will explore the fort as a microcosm of imperial reform and as a lens into post-Glorious Revolution attempts to build empire in Massachusetts and other mainland colonies.

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Brown Bag The Elusive Quest: African-American Emigration to Haiti and the Struggle for Full Citizenship in the United States, 1815-1865 this event is free 6 April 2016.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Westenley Alcenat, Columbia University and MIT

This project explores the experience and radicalism of the African-American settlers who emigrated to Haiti throughout the nineteenth century. It focuses on how this migration movement influenced African-American and Haitian political thought and the transnational struggle for Black citizenship before and during the American Civil War.

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Public Program, Author Talk Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams registration required 6 April 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Louisa Thomas, Author

Born in London to an American father and a British mother on the eve of the Revolutionary War, Louisa Catherine Johnson was raised in circumstances very different from the New England upbringing of the future president John Quincy Adams. And yet John Quincy fell in love with her, almost despite himself. They lived in Prussia, Massachusetts, Washington, Russia, and England. Louisa saw more of Europe and America than nearly any other woman of her time. But wherever she lived, she was always pressing her nose against the glass, not quite sure whether she was looking in or out. The story of Louisa Catherine Adams is one of a woman who forged a sense of self. As the country her husband led found its place in the world, she found a voice. That voice resonates still.

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Biography Seminar BioFictions—Turning “Real” People into Fictional Characters Please RSVP  this event is free 7 April 2016.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM Geraldine Brooks (March and The Secret Chord), Matthew Pearl (The Last Bookaneer), and Alice Hoffman (The Marriage of Opposites) Moderator: Megan Marshall, Emerson College

Novelists often go to great lengths in researching past lives only to turn their findings into fiction.  In a discussion moderated by Megan Marshall, novelists Geraldine Brooks, Matthew Pearl, and Alice Hoffman, will talk about the process, where they draw the line between fact and fiction, and what inspires them to make fiction out of history. Geraldine Brooks is the author of five novels, including the 2006 Pulitzer Prize winner, March. Her 2015 novel, The Secret Chord, reimagines the life of King David in Second Iron Age Israel. Matthew Pearl’s five novels include The Dante Club (set in 19th-century Cambridge among the Fireside Poets), The Last Dickens, The Poe Shadow, and most recently, The Last Bookaneer, featuring Robert Louis Stevenson.  Alice Hoffman, the author of over two dozen books, often uses history in her fiction; The Marriage of Opposites, her latest novel, is based on the life of Camille Pissarro’s mother in a community of Jews living in exile on St. Thomas.

New England Biography Seminar series information

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS this event is free 9 April 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 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.

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Public Program The Big Dig registration required 11 April 2016.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Frederick Salvucci, MIT

Twenty five years ago, Boston undertook the largest transportation project in recent American history. After years of planning, ground was broken for the Big Dig in 1991, kicking off a 16-year construction project. Although the Central Artery/Tunnel Project was controversial, it radically changed the landscape of the city. The Big Dig reconnected the North End to downtown; significantly improved access to the airport, downtown, the waterfront, and Seaport; created open space along the Rose Kennedy Greenway; and built one of the most iconic bridges in the metro area. Former secretary of transportation Fred Salvucci will look back on the project, its impacts, and the legacy of the Big Dig.

Image courtesy of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation 

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Environmental History Seminar Surviving the 1970s: The Case of the Friends of the Earth Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
12 April 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Jennifer Thomson, Bucknell University Comment: Chad Montrie, University of Massachusetts—Lowell

How did environmental politics survive the de-regulation, economic crisis, and nativism of the 1970s? What compromises did environmental activists make? This paper engages with these questions through the fractious history of the environmental organization Friends of the Earth (FOE). Founded in 1969, FOE’s first decade illuminates how the political and economic changes of the 1970s impacted, limited, and ultimately gave shape to the parameters of mainstream environmentalism.

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History of Women and Gender Seminar The Origins of “Women’s Rights are Human Rights”: Pan-American Feminism and the 1945 United Nation Charter Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
14 April 2016.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM Location: Massachusetts Historical Society Katherine Marino, American Academy of Arts and Sciences Comment: Kirsten Weld, Harvard University

In June, 1945, at the conference in San Francisco that created the United Nations, a group of Latin American feminists pushed “women’s rights” into the category of international human rights in the founding documents of the UN and proposed what became the UN Commission on the Status of Women. The Brazilian delegate and feminist Bertha Lutz called their work a “Latin American contribution to the constitution of the world.” This paper examines what “women’s rights” and “human rights” meant to these Latin American activists and how a movement of transnational, Pan-American feminism shaped their ideas and activism. It argues that the notion that “women’s rights are human rights,” often assumed to be a product of U.S./Western European liberal democratic and feminist thought, was in fact forged through transnational collaboration in a context of fraught U.S./Latin American relations.

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Jefferson Series, Public Program Gallery Talk: The Conservation of the Notes on the State of Virginia this event is free 15 April 2016.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Anne Bentley, Curator of Art and Artifacts, Massachusetts Historical Society

Handling the papers of the founding fathers requires an unflinching confidence in your technical ability. Anne Bentley, MHS's curator, will discuss her conservation work on one of the canonical texts of America, Jefferson’s only book, The Notes on the State of Virginia.

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Special Event, Public Program Family Program: Comic History – Making Your Own Comic Explaining The Stamp Act this event is free 19 April 2016.Tuesday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM John Bell and The Boston Comics Roundtable

Come to MHS during the school vacation week for a hands-on history program. Noted historian John Bell will tell participants the story the Stamp Act and its repeal from an eighteenth century child’s point of view; young boys participated in marches and the ransacking of Thomas Hutchinson’s mansion. After the talk, local comic book artists associated with the Boston Comics Roundtable will help the young historians make their own historical comic depicting the story of the Stamp Act.

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Jefferson Series, Teacher Workshop Teaching Thomas Jefferson Please RSVP   registration required 20 April 2016.Wednesday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM Beverly Heigre and Lee Pruett, Notre Dame High School, San Jose, CA

Thomas Jefferson was a man of many talents and interests. This interdisciplinary workshop will introduce participants to the Society’s collection of Jefferson manuscripts, including his Farm and Garden Books, which detail the management of his plantations; his architectural drawings; and his notes on the Declaration of Independence. We will sample methods for using these original documents in history, English, math, and science classrooms.

This program is open to educators and history enthusiasts. Educators can earn 22.5 PDPs or one graduate credit (for an additional fee).

Workshop Fee: $25 per person (to cover materials and lunch)

To Register / For more information: complete this registration form, or contact the education department at education@masshist.org or 617-646-0557.

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Public Program, Author Talk The Citizen Poets of Boston: A Collection of Forgotten Poems, 1789–1820 registration required 20 April 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Paul Lewis, Boston College

Welcome to Boston in the early years of the republic. Prepare to journey by stagecoach with a young man moving to the “bustling city”; stop by a tavern for food, drink, and conversation; eavesdrop on clerks and customers in a dry-goods shop; get stuck in what might have been Boston’s first traffic jam; and enjoy arch comments about spouses, doctors, lawyers, politicians, and poets. As Paul Lewis and his students at Boston College reveal, regional vernacular poetry—largely overlooked or deemed of little or no artistic value—provides access to the culture and daily life of the city. Selected from over 4,500 poems published during the early national period, the works presented here, mostly anonymous, will carry you back to Old Boston to hear the voices of its long-forgotten citizen poets.

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Immigration and Urban History Seminar Communities Must be Vigilant: The Financial Turn in National Urban Policy Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
26 April 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Rebecca Marchiel, University of Mississippi Comment: Davarian Baldwin, Trinity College

This research comes from a book project entitled "Neighborhoods First: The Urban Reinvestment Movement in the Era of Financial Deregulation." It explores how the U.S. financial system shaped, and was shaped by, the community organizing of low- and moderate-income urbanites during the last third of the twentieth century. This particular chapter explores the mixed results of 1970s efforts to revitalize neighborhoods through community-bank partnerships. In 1977, reinvestment activists successfully lobbied for the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), which gave them standing to stall bank mergers if banks redlined, or refused to lend in, the communities outside their offices. In effect, the CRA gave activists leverage to win new loan commitments from local banks. But just as activists gained traction here, new challenges emerged. The CRA offered no protection from gentrification, high interest rates, and bank deregulation that threatened neighborhood stability by decade's end.

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Author Talk, Public Program, Jefferson Series “Most Blessed of the Patriarchs” Thomas Jefferson and The Empire of The Imagination registration required 27 April 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Annette Gordon-Reed, Harvard Law School and Peter Onuf, University of Virginia


Thomas Jefferson is still presented today as a hopelessly enigmatic figure, despite being written about more than any other Founding Father. Lauded as the most articulate voice of American freedom, even as he held people in bondage, Jefferson is variably described by current-day observers as a hypocrite, an atheist, and a simple-minded proponent of limited government. Now, Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Annette Gordon-Reed works with the country’s leading Jefferson scholar, Peter S. Onuf, to present an absorbing and revealing character study that finally clarifies the philosophy of Thomas Jefferson. Tracing Jefferson’s development and maturation from his youth to his old age, the authors explore what they call the “empire” of Jefferson’s imagination―his expansive state of mind born of the intellectual influences and life experiences that led him into public life as a modern avatar of the enlightenment, who often likened himself to an ancient figure―“the most blessed of the patriarchs.”

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Jefferson Series, Public Program Gallery Talk: Touch Art Gallery brings Jefferson to the Digital Age this event is free 29 April 2016.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Andries van Dam and team, Brown University

The Private Jefferson represents a significant new use of technology in MHS exhibitions. This was made possible by Microsoft and a team of undergraduates at Brown University who created the Touch Art Gallery program. The faculty guide and the students who worked on the project will show the technology and explain how it was created.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS this event is free 30 April 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 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.

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Early American History Seminar “They bid me speak what I thought he would give”: The Commodification of Captive Peoples during King Phillip’s War Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
3 May 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Joanne Jahnke Wegner, University of Minnesota Comment: Kate Grandjean, Wellesley College

This essay will address the systems of human trafficking that circulated both Native American and English captives during King Phillip’s War. Using the examples of Mary Rowlandson and King Phillip’s nameless son, the study explores the processes that turned captive peoples into commodities exchangeable for currency, material goods, or other humans. It argues that this commodification facilitated the circulation, exchange, and exploitation of captive peoples through human trafficking during King Phillip’s War.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS this event is free 7 May 2016.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 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.

close