The Beehive: the official blog of the Massachusetts Historical Society

This Week @ MHS

It is a bit of an odd week ahead with a couple of early library closures. Still, there are plenty of programs to take in here at the Society. This is what's on tap:

- Monday, 11 June, 12:00PM : Starting the week is a Brown Bag lunch talk with Andrew Rutledge of University of Michigan. "'We have no need for Virginia Trade': New England Tobacco in the Atlantic World" examines tobacco's role in the agriculture, commerce, and political economy of New England. By the 18th century, tobacco figured prominently in the region, and was exported in large quantities to Dutch Suriname and to West African slave traders. Tobacco was a true "Atlantic Commodity," and, just as in the southern colonies, it drew New England farmers in the to the world of Atlantic slavery. 

This talk is free and open to the public. 

The library closes at 1:30PM on Wednesday, 13 June, to make way for the MHS Fellows Annual Meeting.

- Thursday, 14 June, 6:00PM : Authors Keith Stavely and Kathleen Fitzgerald will be on-hand to discuss their recent work United Tastes: The Making of the First American Cookbook. Amelia Simmons' American Cookery (1796) is known as the “first American cookbook”and has attracted an enthusiastic modern audience of historians, food journalists, and general readers. Yet until now American Cookery has not received the sustained scholarly attention it deserves. Stavely and Fitzgerald’s United Tastes fills this gap by providing a detailed examination of the social circumstances and culinary tradition that produced this American classic.

This talk is open to the public, registration required with a fee of $10 (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders). Pre-talk reception begins at 5:30PM, followed by the speaking program at 6:00PM.

- Friday, 15 June, 12:00PM : The second Brown Bag talk to round out the week is with Adam Mestyan of Duke University, and is titled "U. S. Monarchism in the Middle East?: Orientalism, American Travelers, and Arab Rulers." The origins of the United States are often framed as anti-monarchist, yet Americans entertain a fascination with monarchs and royalty. Is it possible to create a taxonomy of popular Orientalist images of modern Muslim and Arab rulership in the United States? Next to foreign policy considerations and economic interests, this talk searches for the private views of American travelers about modern Muslim and Arab rulers in the Middle East in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

This talk is free and open to the public. 

The library closes at 3:00PM on Friday, 15 June, for a staff event.

- Saturday, 16 June, 10:00AM : The History and Collections of the MHS 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

- Saturday, 16 June, 2:00PM : Come in for a special Gallery Talk related to our current exhibition, Entrpreneurship & Classical Design in Boston's South End. Guest curator and furniture conservator Robert Mussey will lead visitors through the exhibition’s highlights while giving deeper context to the life and work of two extraordinary Massachusetts craftsmen, Isaac Vose and Thomas Seymour.

permalink | Published: Sunday, 10 June, 2018, 12:00 AM