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October 2016

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    • Public Program, Author Talk, Presidents and Politics SeriesJohn Quincy Adams: Militant Spirit
      Public Program, Author Talk, Presidents and Politics SeriesJohn Quincy Adams: Militant Spirit
      6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. James Traub, The New York Times Magazine registration required More
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        • Library Closed, Galleries OpenColumbus Day
          Library Closed, Galleries OpenColumbus Day
          all day More
        • Brown BagHenry Cabot Lodge and the Decline of the Eastern Establishment
          Brown BagHenry Cabot Lodge and the Decline of the Eastern Establishment
          12:00PM - 1:00PM Luke A. Nichter, Texas A&M University this event is free More
        • Public ProgramGetting the MBTA Back-on-Track
          Public ProgramGetting the MBTA Back-on-Track
          6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Brian Shortsleeve, MBTA Chief Administrator; James Rooney, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce; Chris Osgood, Chief of Streets, Transportation & Sanitation registration required More
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                • Special Event, Member EventDemocracy in Crisis: Four Elections
                  Special Event, Member EventDemocracy in Crisis: Four Elections
                  5:30PM - 7:30PM This event is open only to MHS Fellows and Members. There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30 pm. registration required at no cost More
                • Public ProgramArt, Craft and Reform: The Eliot School, Manual Arts Training and t...
                  Public ProgramArt, Craft and Reform: The Eliot School, Manual Arts Training and the Arts and Crafts Movement
                  6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Nonie Gadsden, Carolyn and Peter Lynch Curator of American Decorative Arts and Sculpture, Museum of Fine Arts Please RSVP   registration required at no cost More
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                    • Modern American Society and Culture Seminar“A Shiftless, Undesirable Class”: The Sexual Policing of Miami...
                      Modern American Society and Culture Seminar“A Shiftless, Undesirable Class”: The Sexual Policing of Miami’s Bahamian Community in the Early Twentieth Century
                      5:15PM - 7:30PM Julio Capó, University of Massachusetts—Amherst Comment: Michael Bronski, Harvard University Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
                      Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
                      More
                    • Public Program, Presidents and Politics SeriesFirst Ladies
                      Public Program, Presidents and Politics SeriesFirst Ladies
                      6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Jacqueline Berger registration required More
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                          Exhibition Turning Points in American History 10 June 2016 to 25 February 2017 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.

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                          MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 1 October 2016.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.

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                          Public Program, Conversation Begin at the Beginning: Sweet Talk - The Passion of Puritans in Letters, Diaries and Sermons 1 October 2016.Saturday, 1:00PM - 3:00PM Lori Stokes and Sarah Stewart, Partnership of Historic Bostons

                          When we think of love and passion, New England Puritans rarely come to mind. But that’s not what their writings reveal – on the contrary. “Love was their banqueting house, love was their wine,” John Winthrop wrote to his wife Margaret. Join us in a discussion of Puritan writings to discover just how fervently they loved in marriage and in faith. 

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                          Public Program, Author Talk, Presidents and Politics Series John Quincy Adams: Militant Spirit registration required 3 October 2016.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. James Traub, The New York Times Magazine

                           

                           

                          John Quincy Adams was the last of his kind—a Puritan from the age of the Founders who despised party and compromise, yet dedicated himself to politics and government. He was a brilliant ambassador and secretary of state, a frustrated president at a historic turning point in American politics, and a dedicated congressman who literally died in office—at the age of 80, in the House of Representatives, in the midst of an impassioned political debate. Adams’ numerous achievements—and equally numerous failures—stand as testaments to his unwavering moral convictions. James Traub tells the story of this brilliant, flinty, and unyielding man whose life exemplified political courage.

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                          Early American History Seminar Reconsidering Slavery and Slave Law in Early Massachusetts Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
                          Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
                          4 October 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Holly Brewer, University of Maryland Comment: Annettte Gordon-Reed, Harvard Law School

                          The consensus among historians has largely been that Massachusetts was unexceptional in its attitudes towards slavery; recent scholarship contends that the colony laid a foundation for enslavement and perpetuated its practices elsewhere. However, this paper emphasizes that there was considerable resistance to ideas of forced labor embedded within Puritan ideology as it offers a nuanced reading of the Massachusetts policy debates of the 1640s during the critical first period of slavery in the colonies.

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                          Brown Bag Reading Textiles as Text: An Examination of Pre-1750s Survivals at MHS this event is free 5 October 2016.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Kimberly Alexander, University of New Hampshire

                          This project sets the experiences of fashion, consumerism, and consumption within a cosmopolitan Atlantic world that carried the elegant fancies of fashionable London to the gentility of provincial British America. The garments and textiles housed at the MHS offer insights into the ongoing debate over the process of Anglicization in pre-Revolutionary America. Particular attention will be paid to the textiles associated with the Byles and Hancock families in Boston.

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                          Brown Bag A Muss Among the Flunkies: Unruly Choristers and Instrumentalists in the Antebellum Opera this event is free 7 October 2016.Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Rachel Miller, University of Michigan

                          In the decades before the Civil War, opera in the United States became a major financial and infrastructural undertaking that generated enormous attention from fans and investors alike. As a result, opera generated intense conflict about the manner in which this entirely new scale of entertainment would be produced. This presentation traces how “a muss among the flunkies”--the haphazard strikes of anonymous choristers and instrumentalists--grew into the nation's first performers' unions and protective associations, which in turn continue to shape our contemporary ideas and practices of creative work.

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                          Public Program Turning Point: The U.S. Constitution this event is free 7 October 2016.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Kyle Jenks, Reenactor

                           

                          Kyle Jenks, a James Madison reenactor, will discuss Elbridge Gerry’s criticism of the Constitution.

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                          MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS this event is free 8 October 2016.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.

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                          Library Closed, Galleries Open Columbus Day 10 October 2016.Monday, all day

                          The MHS library is closed; the exhibition galleries are open, 10:00AM-4:00PM.

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                          Environmental History Seminar Adapting Capitalism to Climates: Entrepreneurs, Stock, and Transcontinental Telegraphy in the United States, 1844-1861 Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
                          Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
                          11 October 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Edmund Russell, Boston University Comment: Merritt Roe Smith, MIT

                          In 1861, the transcontinental telegraph was completed, allowing signals to be transmitted through wires from the Atlantic to the Pacific. This system, often overshadowed by the transcontinental railroad, advanced three great projects of American history: expanding capitalism, building the state, and conquering nature with technology. This essay focuses on the models of capital accumulation employed in building the telegraph and on the financial models and environments that made regional telegraph networks with different features.

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                          Brown Bag Henry Cabot Lodge and the Decline of the Eastern Establishment this event is free 12 October 2016.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Luke A. Nichter, Texas A&M University

                          Senator, statesman, presidential advisor, and presidential candidate by popular demand, Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. and his national political career that stretched from the 1930s to the 1970s have up to now escaped biographical treatment. During the height of the Cold War, Lodge was consistently at the epicenter of power, whether in the Senate, Saigon, or his bipartisan roles serving four successive presidents from Kennedy to Nixon.

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                          Public Program Getting the MBTA Back-on-Track registration required 12 October 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Brian Shortsleeve, MBTA Chief Administrator; James Rooney, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce; Chris Osgood, Chief of Streets, Transportation & Sanitation

                            

                          Boston has been ambitious and innovative in thinking about transportation, we were the first American city to build a subway and the Big Dig was the largest urban infrastructure project in American history. Today, the metro area boasts one of the highest percentages of commuters that use public transit in the nation and the population is growing. However, despite this groundbreaking history and widespread use, public transportation in Boston is facing serious challenges. Brian Shortsleeve, the Chief Administrator for the MBTA, will discuss the steps the T is taking to control expenses while providing improved service. He will be joined by James Rooney and Chris Osgood for a discussion of the history of the MBTA, how the current situation came to be, and what we can expect in the future.

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                          Public Program Turning Point: Ether as an Anesthetic this event is free 14 October 2016.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Peter Drummey, Stephen T. Riley Librarian

                           

                           

                           

                          The use of ether as an anesthetic may have been the greatest innovation American has given the world, its first use in surgery and the revolution it produced will be explained by Peter Drummey.

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                          MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS this event is free 15 October 2016.Saturday, all day

                          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
                          Special Event, Member Event Democracy in Crisis: Four Elections registration required at no cost 19 October 2016.Wednesday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM This event is open only to MHS Fellows and Members. There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30 pm.

                          As we approach an election that promises far reaching ramifications, we will look back at previous periods of tumult in American democracy. We find ourselves in a volatile moment in which globalization and the rise of the information economy have created great wealth but have also swept out the financial underpinnings of working class communities. A portion of the population feels unmoored and this coupled with a rise of nativist sentiment, violence between police and the public, and inflammatory political rhetoric has been testing our democracy.

                          Following a reception, a panel discussion will explore the legacies of four previous presidential elections and the question of what this history suggests for our country’s current trajectory. Our panelists, led by Ted Widmer, will discuss the election of 1860, which took place as the country approached disunion; the election of 1928 on the heels of the first Red Scare; the election of 1952 in the midst of McCarthyism; and the election of 1968, which was marred by assassinations, protests, and war.

                          Panelists:

                          • Carol Bundy, author
                          • Michael A. Cohen, Boston Globe columnist and author
                          • Lisa McGirr, Professor of History, Harvard University
                          • James T. Patterson, Ford Foundation Professor of History emeritus, Brown University
                          • Ted Widmer, Senior Fellow, Watson Institute, Brown University

                          There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30 pm. The panel discussion will begin at 6:00 pm.

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                          Public Program Art, Craft and Reform: The Eliot School, Manual Arts Training and the Arts and Crafts Movement Please RSVP   registration required at no cost 20 October 2016.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Nonie Gadsden, Carolyn and Peter Lynch Curator of American Decorative Arts and Sculpture, Museum of Fine Arts Wooden lily pads carved at the Eliot School in 1910

                          The rapid rise of industrialization and immigration during the 19th century greatly affected American society, especially in major cities such as Boston. Faced with the prospect of an unskilled or semi-skilled work force, many reform leaders sought out ways to provide the craft training that could benefit the well-being of the individual and society at large. In the 1870s, after 200 years of academic instruction, the Trustees of the Eliot School decided to explore more experimental modes of education to meet the new needs of its community. The School provided manual arts training for students of many backgrounds—from young boys and girls, to upper and middle class hobbyists, to immigrants seeking vocational education. Gadsden will place the efforts of the Eliot School in a larger context, exploring how the School related to rise of manual arts training and the advent of the Arts and Crafts Movement.

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                          Public Program Helen F. Stuart and the Birth of Spirit Photography in Boston this event is free 21 October 2016.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Felicity Tsering Chödron Hamer

                           

                          Borne by the same ideas that founded Spiritualism in the nineteenth century, spirit photographs are joint-portraits achieved posthumously, without use of a corpse, wherein the bereaved are visually united with the deceased. These enchanted mementos are said to have been ‘invented’ in 1861, in Boston, Massachusetts, by William H. Mumler. Spirit photographers typically worked with individuals who claimed mediumistic qualities in order to enable the appearance of the magical ‘extras’ of the deceased. The majority of mediums were women and the contributions of women to the production of spirit photography have been often limited to such enabling activities. Felicity Hamer argues for a more foundational placement of women within the narrative of personal mourning rituals.

                           

                          Photo: Mrs. Helen F. Stuart, Woman at Table with Male Spirit, c. 1865. William L.Clements Library, University of Michigan 

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                          Teacher Workshop Painless: A Survival Guide to the “Dreaded” History Project Please RSVP   registration required 22 October 2016.Saturday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM

                          Are you a teacher who is tired of assigning the same old history paper year after year? By applying National History Day methodologies in the classroom, you can transform the “dreaded” history project into an imaginative, engaging, and meaningful history experience. Using the broad theme of “Taking a Stand in History” as a springboard, you’ll explore how to approach primary source research in special libraries and archives through a range of historical documents, including letters, diaries, songs, petitions, and government records.

                           

                          This program is open to Educators and students in grades 5-12. Teachers can earn 10 PDPs.

                          Date: October 22, 2016

                          Time: 9:00am - 4:00pm

                          Fee: $10 for teachers; FREE for students

                          To Register: Complete this registration form or contact the MHS education department: dbeardsley@masshist.org; 617-646-0570.

                          Program Highlights

                          • Explore letters, diaries, and images from the Society's collection and participate in a hands-on activity that will engage your detective skills.
                          • Lean more about Massachusetts History Day and how to participate in the program.
                          • Take a behind-the-scenes tour of MHS and our current exhibition Turning Points in American History.
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                          Modern American Society and Culture Seminar “A Shiftless, Undesirable Class”: The Sexual Policing of Miami’s Bahamian Community in the Early Twentieth Century Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
                          Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
                          25 October 2016.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Julio Capó, University of Massachusetts—Amherst Comment: Michael Bronski, Harvard University

                          This chapter is drawn from Professor Capó’s forthcoming book, Welcome to Fairyland, which chronicles the transnational forces that helped shape Miami's queer world from 1890 to 1940. In this chapter, Capó traces how urban authorities policed the perceived "suspect" sexualities of Miami's temporary and permanent settlers from the Bahamas and how their increased migration similarly informed gender and sexual norms on the archipelago.

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                          Brown Bag The Pull of a Revolutionary America: The British Atlantic Islands in the American Revolution this event is free 26 October 2016.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Ross Nedervelt, Florida International University

                          This project examines the political, economic, and social influence the revolutionary American colonies had on the British Atlantic islands of Bermuda and the Bahamas from 1763 through the 1780s. The MHS collection of British commercial documents relating to the New England-Bermuda trade, business papers and correspondence, and patriot maps indicating the locations of Bermuda's pro-American inhabitants will establish the degree of influence the rebellious Americans had on the British Atlantic islands over the course of the American Revolution - one that moved from strongly supporting the American cause, to becoming Britain's western Gibraltar.

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                          Ravishing Affection this event is free 26 October 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM This program will be held at the Old South Meeting House Frank Bremer, Millersville University of Pennsylvania close
                          Public Program Ravishing Affection: Myths and Realities about Puritans and Sex Please RSVP   registration required at no cost 26 October 2016.Wednesday, 6:30PM - 8:00PM This program will take place at the Old South Meeting House, 310 Washington St, Boston

                          The Merriam-Webster Thesaurus lists “prudish,” “straightlaced,” and “puritanical” as synonyms. But historical records challenge the stereotype of Puritans’ repressive views and behaviors. Don’t miss this special opportunity to hear Francis J. Bremer, author of sixteen books about the Puritans and Puritanism in the Atlantic world, as he dispels a popular myth—demonstrating that in fact, Puritans openly discussed sexuality and freely expressed passionate longings toward their loved ones.

                          This program is hosted by the Old South Meeting House, co-Sponsored by the Massachusetts Historical Society and co-Presented by Partnership of Historic Bostons. This program is made possible with funding from the Lowell Institute. 

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                          Public Program, Presidents and Politics Series First Ladies registration required 27 October 2016.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Jacqueline Berger

                           America's First Ladies are iconic examples of such indispensable leadership qualities as resilience, courage, focus, and agility. Author, historian, and national speaker Jacqueline Berger goes behind the scenes with pictures and stories that bring history to life and uncover this remarkable "sorority of women." Discover the real lives of ordinary women—wives, mothers, and daughters—who lived extraordinary lives both inside the White House and out. 

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                          MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS this event is free 29 October 2016.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

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