The MHS offers many engaging programs and special events.

October

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Public Program Looking West from the East 20 October 2017.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Da Zheng, Suffolk University     Artist, poet, lecturer, and best selling author Chiang Yee is best known for his ...

 

 

Artist, poet, lecturer, and best selling author Chiang Yee is best known for his Silent Traveler books, which offered a Chinese perspective of London, Paris, New York, San Francisco, and Boston. Chiang was also good friends with historian, author, and Boston Athenaeum librarian Walt Whitehill, whose papers are at the MHS. This biographical sketch offers a unique perspective on America and the immigrant experience as well as a glimpse into the life of the Silent Traveler through one of his closest friendships.

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Public Program The Apparitionists: A Tale of Phantoms, Fraud, Photography & the Man Who Captured Lincoln's Ghost 21 October 2017.Saturday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Peter Manseau, Smithsonian National Museum of American History More than just a ghost story, this is a portrait of a young nation struggling to separate fact from ...

More than just a ghost story, this is a portrait of a young nation struggling to separate fact from fiction. Manseau details the trial of William H. Mumler, the “spirit photographer” who claimed he could take pictures of the souls of the dead, along with the battlefield exploits of Mathew Brady and Alexander Gardner, the fathers of photojournalism who created frauds of their own. These stories offer a view of our nation’s obsession with the afterlife and our reluctance to choose science over fantasy.

More
Public Program Advise and Dissent? The Role of Public History in Modern Life 23 October 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30 pm. There is a $10 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows) Karilyn Crockett, Office of Economic Development, City of Boston; Brian W. J. LeMay, independent scholar; Richard Rabinowitz, American History Workshop and author, Curating America: Journeys through Storyscapes of the American Past; and Moderator Kathryn P. Viens, Massachusetts Historical Society What is the role of historical organizations in a politically polarized environment, a world of ...

What is the role of historical organizations in a politically polarized environment, a world of “alternative facts” and a social fabric that is being torn apart by political and class divides? Many historians and public historical organizations are changing the way they work, offering their talents and skills as advocates and healers. Yet, they face a complex public. Some audience members embrace the opportunity to engage in dialogue over difficult issues. Others seek a more entertaining, escapist experience. Still others are alert to activities that appear to overstep the traditional role of museums or to signal that their own perspectives might be unwelcome. Some visitors yearn for the inclusion of minority viewpoints but consider museums too inherently biased to present these narratives. It is all a challenging prospect for organizations that are seeking to be truly inclusive and build broad public support. Join us for a compelling conversation.

More
Public Program Weird and Worrisome Tour 25 October 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Meet at Loring-Greenough House, 12 South Street, Jamaica Plain, Boston Hosted by the MHS, Emerald Necklace Conservancy, and Jamaica Plain Historical Society $10 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS, ENC, and JPHS Members) All neighborhoods have secrets but some are stranger than others. Just in time for Halloween, we ...

All neighborhoods have secrets but some are stranger than others. Just in time for Halloween, we will explore Jamaica Plain in Boston. Participants will stop at sites of anarchist robberies, stuffed elephants, and a nervine asylum and hear tales of trainwrecks and things that lurk beneath the surface of Jamaica Pond. The tour is hosted in collaboration with the Emerald Necklace Conservancy and the Jamaica Plain Historical Society.

More
Public Program Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson 30 October 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Gordon S. Wood, Brown University $20 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows) Thomas Jefferson and John Adams could scarcely have come from more different worlds or been more ...

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams could scarcely have come from more different worlds or been more different in temperament. Jefferson, the optimist, was an aristocratic Southern slaveowner, while Adams, the overachiever from New England’s middle classes, was a skeptic. They worked closely in the crucible of revolution, but ultimately, their differences would lead to a crisis, in their friendship and the nation. But late in life these two men were nudged into reconciliation. What started as a trickle of correspondence became a flood, and a friendship was rekindled.

 

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November
Public Program The Weeping Angel: Letter and Poems from World War I France 8 November 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Mary Kelley, editor, and Christopher Capozzola, MIT $10 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows) Army recruitment posters proclaimed “Join up and be in France in 60 days.” Young high ...

Army recruitment posters proclaimed “Join up and be in France in 60 days.” Young high school graduate Hubert Kelley answered the call. Working as a soldier on the railroads in France during World War I, he found his vocation as a poet and writer through vivid letters to family. Kelley will describe her efforts to retrace the forgotten history of a perceptive observer of the war’s destruction, and Capozzola will comment on the letters’ contribution to new historical understandings that have emerged during the war’s centennial.

 

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Public Program Jefferson: Architect of American Liberty 16 November 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. John Boles, Rice University $10 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows) Jefferson challenges us more thoroughly than any other Founder; he was at once the most idealistic, ...

Jefferson challenges us more thoroughly than any other Founder; he was at once the most idealistic, contradictory, and quintessentially American of them all. This biography does not ignore aspects of Jefferson that trouble us today but strives to see him in full and understand him amid the sweeping upheaval of his times. From his inspiring defenses of political and religious liberty to his heterodox abridgment of Christian belief, this book explores Jefferson’s expansive intellectual life and the profound impact of his ideas on the world.

More
Public Program Schlesinger: The Imperial Historian 20 November 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Richard Aldous, Bard College $10 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows) Drawing on oral histories, rarely seen archival documents, and the official Schlesinger papers, this ...

Drawing on oral histories, rarely seen archival documents, and the official Schlesinger papers, this biography crafts an invaluable portrait of a brilliant and controversial historian who framed America’s rise to global empire. Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., the architect of John F. Kennedy’s legacy, redefined the art of presidential biography. A Thousand Days, his best selling record of the Kennedy administration, remains immensely influential and cemented his place as one of the nation’s greatest political image makers.

More
Public Program The New Annotated African American Folktales 27 November 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Harvard University, and Maria Tatar, Harvard University $10 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows) This new publication presents nearly 150 African American stories, among them familiar Brer Rabbit ...

This new publication presents nearly 150 African American stories, among them familiar Brer Rabbit classics, but also stories like “The Talking Skull” and “Witches Who Ride,” as well as out-of-print tales from the 1890s’ Southern Workman. Arguing for the value of these stories as part of a sophisticated, complex, and heterogeneous cultural heritage, Gates and Tatar show how these stories deserve a place alongside the classic works of African American literature and American literature more broadly.

More
Public Program Revolution Song 30 November 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Russell Shorto, New York Times Magazine $10 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows) With America’s founding principles being debated today as never before, Shorto looks back to ...

With America’s founding principles being debated today as never before, Shorto looks back to the era in which those principles were forged. Drawing on new sources, he weaves the lives of six people into a seamless narrative that casts fresh light on the range of experience in colonial America on the cusp of revolution. While some of the protagonists play major roles, others struggle no less valiantly. Through these lives we understand that the Revolution was, indeed, fought over the meaning of individual freedom.

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December
Winter Scene, Newbury Street Member Event, Special Event MHS Fellows and Members Holiday Party 6 December 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM This event is open only to MHS Fellows and Members MHS Fellows and Members are invited to celebrate the season at the Society’s annual holiday ...

MHS Fellows and Members are invited to celebrate the season at the Society’s annual holiday party. Enjoy an evening of holiday cheer along with the traditional reading of the anti-Christmas laws.

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More events
Public Program Looking West from the East registration required at no cost 20 October 2017.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Da Zheng, Suffolk University

 

 

Artist, poet, lecturer, and best selling author Chiang Yee is best known for his Silent Traveler books, which offered a Chinese perspective of London, Paris, New York, San Francisco, and Boston. Chiang was also good friends with historian, author, and Boston Athenaeum librarian Walt Whitehill, whose papers are at the MHS. This biographical sketch offers a unique perspective on America and the immigrant experience as well as a glimpse into the life of the Silent Traveler through one of his closest friendships.

close
Public Program The Apparitionists: A Tale of Phantoms, Fraud, Photography & the Man Who Captured Lincoln's Ghost registration required at no cost 21 October 2017.Saturday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Peter Manseau, Smithsonian National Museum of American History

More than just a ghost story, this is a portrait of a young nation struggling to separate fact from fiction. Manseau details the trial of William H. Mumler, the “spirit photographer” who claimed he could take pictures of the souls of the dead, along with the battlefield exploits of Mathew Brady and Alexander Gardner, the fathers of photojournalism who created frauds of their own. These stories offer a view of our nation’s obsession with the afterlife and our reluctance to choose science over fantasy.

close
Public Program Advise and Dissent? The Role of Public History in Modern Life registration required 23 October 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30 pm. There is a $10 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows) Karilyn Crockett, Office of Economic Development, City of Boston; Brian W. J. LeMay, independent scholar; Richard Rabinowitz, American History Workshop and author, Curating America: Journeys through Storyscapes of the American Past; and Moderator Kathryn P. Viens, Massachusetts Historical Society

What is the role of historical organizations in a politically polarized environment, a world of “alternative facts” and a social fabric that is being torn apart by political and class divides? Many historians and public historical organizations are changing the way they work, offering their talents and skills as advocates and healers. Yet, they face a complex public. Some audience members embrace the opportunity to engage in dialogue over difficult issues. Others seek a more entertaining, escapist experience. Still others are alert to activities that appear to overstep the traditional role of museums or to signal that their own perspectives might be unwelcome. Some visitors yearn for the inclusion of minority viewpoints but consider museums too inherently biased to present these narratives. It is all a challenging prospect for organizations that are seeking to be truly inclusive and build broad public support. Join us for a compelling conversation.

close
Public Program Weird and Worrisome Tour registration required 25 October 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Meet at Loring-Greenough House, 12 South Street, Jamaica Plain, Boston Hosted by the MHS, Emerald Necklace Conservancy, and Jamaica Plain Historical Society $10 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS, ENC, and JPHS Members)

All neighborhoods have secrets but some are stranger than others. Just in time for Halloween, we will explore Jamaica Plain in Boston. Participants will stop at sites of anarchist robberies, stuffed elephants, and a nervine asylum and hear tales of trainwrecks and things that lurk beneath the surface of Jamaica Pond. The tour is hosted in collaboration with the Emerald Necklace Conservancy and the Jamaica Plain Historical Society.

close
Public Program Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson registration required 30 October 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Gordon S. Wood, Brown University $20 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows)

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams could scarcely have come from more different worlds or been more different in temperament. Jefferson, the optimist, was an aristocratic Southern slaveowner, while Adams, the overachiever from New England’s middle classes, was a skeptic. They worked closely in the crucible of revolution, but ultimately, their differences would lead to a crisis, in their friendship and the nation. But late in life these two men were nudged into reconciliation. What started as a trickle of correspondence became a flood, and a friendship was rekindled.

 

close
Public Program The Weeping Angel: Letter and Poems from World War I France registration required 8 November 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Mary Kelley, editor, and Christopher Capozzola, MIT $10 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows)

Army recruitment posters proclaimed “Join up and be in France in 60 days.” Young high school graduate Hubert Kelley answered the call. Working as a soldier on the railroads in France during World War I, he found his vocation as a poet and writer through vivid letters to family. Kelley will describe her efforts to retrace the forgotten history of a perceptive observer of the war’s destruction, and Capozzola will comment on the letters’ contribution to new historical understandings that have emerged during the war’s centennial.

 

close
Public Program Jefferson: Architect of American Liberty registration required 16 November 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. John Boles, Rice University $10 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows)

Jefferson challenges us more thoroughly than any other Founder; he was at once the most idealistic, contradictory, and quintessentially American of them all. This biography does not ignore aspects of Jefferson that trouble us today but strives to see him in full and understand him amid the sweeping upheaval of his times. From his inspiring defenses of political and religious liberty to his heterodox abridgment of Christian belief, this book explores Jefferson’s expansive intellectual life and the profound impact of his ideas on the world.

close
Public Program Schlesinger: The Imperial Historian registration required 20 November 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Richard Aldous, Bard College $10 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows)

Drawing on oral histories, rarely seen archival documents, and the official Schlesinger papers, this biography crafts an invaluable portrait of a brilliant and controversial historian who framed America’s rise to global empire. Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., the architect of John F. Kennedy’s legacy, redefined the art of presidential biography. A Thousand Days, his best selling record of the Kennedy administration, remains immensely influential and cemented his place as one of the nation’s greatest political image makers.

close
Public Program The New Annotated African American Folktales registration required 27 November 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Harvard University, and Maria Tatar, Harvard University $10 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows)

This new publication presents nearly 150 African American stories, among them familiar Brer Rabbit classics, but also stories like “The Talking Skull” and “Witches Who Ride,” as well as out-of-print tales from the 1890s’ Southern Workman. Arguing for the value of these stories as part of a sophisticated, complex, and heterogeneous cultural heritage, Gates and Tatar show how these stories deserve a place alongside the classic works of African American literature and American literature more broadly.

close
Public Program Revolution Song registration required 30 November 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Russell Shorto, New York Times Magazine $10 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows)

With America’s founding principles being debated today as never before, Shorto looks back to the era in which those principles were forged. Drawing on new sources, he weaves the lives of six people into a seamless narrative that casts fresh light on the range of experience in colonial America on the cusp of revolution. While some of the protagonists play major roles, others struggle no less valiantly. Through these lives we understand that the Revolution was, indeed, fought over the meaning of individual freedom.

close
Member Event, Special Event MHS Fellows and Members Holiday Party registration required at no cost 6 December 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM This event is open only to MHS Fellows and Members Winter Scene, Newbury Street

MHS Fellows and Members are invited to celebrate the season at the Society’s annual holiday party. Enjoy an evening of holiday cheer along with the traditional reading of the anti-Christmas laws.

close

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