This Month at the MHS

Extended
to May 26

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
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        • NoticeLibrary Closing at 4:15PM
          NoticeLibrary Closing at 4:15PM
          all day More
        • Biography SeminarBioFictions—Turning “Real” People into Fictional Characters
          Biography SeminarBioFictions—Turning “Real” People into Fictional Characters
          5:30PM - 7:30PM THIS EVENT IS NOW FILLED. Email seminars@masshist.org to be placed on a wait list. You will be contacted in the event of a cancellation. Geraldine Brooks (March and The Secret Chord), Matthew Pearl (The Last Bookaneer), and Alice Hoffman (The Marriage of Opposites) Moderator: Megan Marshall, Emerson College Please RSVP  this event is free More
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          • Public ProgramThe Big Dig
            Public ProgramThe Big Dig
            6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Frederick Salvucci, MIT registration required More
            • History of Women and Gender SeminarThe Origins of “Women’s Rights are Human Rights”: Pan-America...
              History of Women and Gender SeminarThe Origins of “Women’s Rights are Human Rights”: Pan-American Feminism and the 1945 United Nation Charter
              5:30PM - 7:30PM Location: Massachusetts Historical Society Katherine Marino, American Academy of Arts and Sciences Comment: Kirsten Weld, Harvard University Please RSVP  Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
              Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
              More
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                • Jefferson Series, Teacher WorkshopTeaching Thomas Jefferson
                  Jefferson Series, Teacher WorkshopTeaching Thomas Jefferson
                  9:00AM - 4:00PM Beverly Heigre and Lee Pruett, Notre Dame High School, San Jose, CA Please RSVP   registration required More
                • Public Program, Author TalkThe Citizen Poets of Boston: A Collection of Forgotten Poems, 1789...
                  Public Program, Author TalkThe Citizen Poets of Boston: A Collection of Forgotten Poems, 1789–1820
                  6:00PM - 7:00PM There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Paul Lewis, Boston College registration required at no cost More
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                            Exhibition The Private Jefferson this event is free 29 January 2016 to 26 May 2016 Open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM The Private Jefferson

                            Thomas Jefferson has been described as an "American Sphinx." As the drafter of the Declaration of Independence and the third president of the United States, he is one of the most famous Americans. Nevertheless, he is an enigmatic figure: an intensely private man who spent more than thirty years in public service; the spokesman for popular democracy who, at the same time, held hundreds of men, women and children as his personal property; an urbane, widely-travelled, and widely-read exemplar of the Enlightenment, who appeared happiest in a meticulously-planned environment that he had created for himself in the back country. The exhibition aims to pull back the veil and uncover the private Jefferson. Kicking off a year-long 225th anniversary celebration, The Private Jefferson: From the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society is open at the MHS through 20 May, Monday through Saturday, from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

                            One of the Society’s greatest treasures is the Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson manuscripts. The collection is comprised of letters, journals, record books, accounts, and 400 architectural drawings and sketches—almost 9,500 documents in all—collected by Jefferson’s descendants who lived in Massachusetts and donated them to the Society. 

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                            Public Program, Jefferson Series Gallery Talk: Jefferson and Slavery this event is free 1 April 2016.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Peter Drummey

                            Jefferson was the author of the Declaration of Independence, yet he also owned people as slaves. His experimental farm and garden and his architectural tests were made possible through the uncompensated labor of hundreds. While Jefferson and slavery is not the primary focus of our exhibition, it is present in every room. The curator of the show ,Peter Drummey, will explore this subject.

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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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                            Notice Library Closing at 4:15PM 7 April 2016.Thursday, all day

                            In preparation for an evening event, the library closes at 4:15PM. 

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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 THIS EVENT IS NOW FILLED. Email seminars@masshist.org to be placed on a wait list. You will be contacted in the event of a cancellation. Geraldine Brooks (March and The Secret Chord), Matthew Pearl (The Last Bookaneer), and Alice Hoffman (The Marriage of Opposites) Moderator: Megan Marshall, Emerson College

                            THIS EVENT IS FILLED. 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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                            Notice Library Closing at 1:00PM 8 April 2016.Friday, all day

                            In preparation for an evening event, the library closes at 1:00PM. The galleries remain open until 4:00PM.

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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, Conversation Begin at the Beginning: Daniel Gookin, Praying Indians, and America's Bloodiest War Please RSVP   registration required 9 April 2016.Saturday, 1:00PM - 3:00PM Dwight Mackerron, Historian and Peter Drummey, Stephen T. Riley Librarian

                            Join independent historian Dwight Mackerron and those who love 17th-century history to talk about King Philip's War. It was per capita the bloodiest war in American history. The war created a climate of terror for Colonists and Native Americans and cost tens of thousands of lives, mainly Native American. How New England descended into this violence is the subject of our conversation. Daniel Gookin's The Doings and Sufferings of the Praying Indians, published after the war, defends Native Americans and is a primary source for some of the most violent years in early American history. Participants are invited to share their own knowledge of the war. Gookin was Massachusetts Bay Colony's commissioner for Indians, and his sympathy towards Christianized Indians gained him the opprobrium of many of his fellows as well as a death threat.

                             

                            Co-hosted with the Partnership of Historic Bostons, www.historicbostons.org

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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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                            Building Closed Patriot's Day 18 April 2016.Monday, all day close
                            Public Program Family Program: Comic History – Making Your Own Comic Explaining The Stamp Act Please RSVP   registration required at no cost 19 April 2016.Tuesday, 1:00PM - 3:00PM J. L. Bell and The Boston Comics Roundtable

                            Comics, stamps, and protests will fill April school vacation week. Join the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Shirley Eustis House, Longfellow House - Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site, and the Old State House for hands-on history programs that will use comics to explore the Stamp Act and the protests that started America on the road to the Revolution. Participants will receive a comic book that tells the story of the stamp act in four chapters with art by Jesse Lonergan, John Carvajal, LJ Baptiste Ben Doane and Jerel Dye. Noted historian J. L. Bell will engage participants in the history of the Stamp Act through the stories of   eighteenth-century children. After the discussion, local comic book artists associated with the Boston Comics Roundtable will assist and inspire young historians as they fill in the blank pages at the end of the comic book with their own comic.

                            The workshops are free, although space is limited and prior registration is required. The program and the comic book have been made possible through the support of the Society of the Cincinnati and the Massachusetts Historical Society. 

                            To sign up for the other programs, please visit: 

                            This event is a part of the Revolution 250 Forum's celebration of the history of Boston and the American Revolution. http://www.revolution250.org/ 

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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 at no cost 20 April 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Paul Lewis, Boston College

                            Decades before Longfellow told the story of Paul Revere’s ride, before Poe published his "Dream within a Dream" in a newspaper on Tremont Street, before Emerson and Whitman took their famous stroll around Boston Common, a generation of poets, now mostly forgotten, created an intimate and interactive literary culture in Boston. Recovered by a 3-year, Boston College project in which small groups reviewed about 4,500 poems published in 59 literary magazines, works by these mostly anonymous writers have just resurfaced in The Citizen Poets of Boston: A Collection of Forgotten Poems, 1789–1820. Its editor, BC professor Paul Lewis, and members of the research team will discuss the project and read from the book.

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                            MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS this event is free 23 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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                            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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                            Brown Bag Among Strangers in a Distant Climate: Loyalist Exiles Define Empire and Nation, 1775-1783 this event is free 27 April 2016.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Christina Carrick, Boston University

                            Between 1775 and 1783, the American Revolution drove more than 60,000 Loyalists from their homes and scattered them throughout the British Empire, but correspondence linked them together and with their former homes in America.The exiles used correspondence to interpret and diffuse information, and they politicized long-distance connections to shape their own futures. This project uses Loyalist correspondence networks to examine how these exiles crafted and empowered new identities and in the process helped to reshape the British Empire and the United States.

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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 This event is sold out 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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                            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.

                            close