The Beehive: the official blog of the Massachusetts Historical Society

This Week @MHS

There is a lot going on at the MHS this week including the opening of our next exhibition Fashioning the New England Family on Friday, 5 October.

- Tuesday, 2 October, 5:15 PM: The Protestant Cult of the Dead in New England, 1800-1848 with Erik Seeman, State University of New York at Buffalo, and comment by Kenneth Minkema, Yale University. Many 19th-century Protestants in New England held religious ceremonies venerating deceased family and friends, in addition to their orthodox worship of God. This paper examines women’s desires to connect with their deceased loved ones, and argues that this drove important developments in Protestant belief and practice. It shows how pious Protestants maintaining connections with the dead made séance Spiritualism a transatlantic sensation in 1848. This is part of the Boston Area Seminar on Early American History series. Seminars are free and open to the public.

- Wednesday, 3 October, 12:00 PMNative Citizens: Race, Culture, & the Politics of Belonging, 1884-1924 with Lila Teeters, University of New Hampshire. As the 19th century gave way to the 20th, Native activists played an essential—yet overlooked—role in shaping constructions of American citizenship. Some pushed to harden the political boundaries separating Native nations from their American foil, while others sought to remove those boundaries completely. Still others sought a more permeable relationship. This talk traces those debates from the 1884 Elk v. Wilkins decision through the 1924 Indian Citizenship Act. 

 - Wednesday, 3 October, 6:00 PM: American Honor: The Creation of the Nation's Ideals during the Revolutionary Era with Craig Bruce Smith, William Woods University. The American Revolution was not only a revolution for liberty and freedom; it was also a revolution of ethics, reshaping what colonial Americans understood as “honor” and “virtue.” As Craig Bruce Smith demonstrates, these concepts were crucial aspects of Revolutionary Americans’ ideological break from Europe, shared by all ranks of society. Focusing his study primarily on prominent Americans who came of age before and during the Revolution, Smith shows how a colonial ethical transformation caused and became inseparable from the American Revolution, creating an ethical ideology that still remains. A pre-talk reception begins at 5:30 PM; the speaking program begins at 6:00 PM. There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders).

- Thursday, 4 October, 6:00 PM: Fashioning the New England Family: Sneak Preview ReceptionMHS Fellows and Members are invited to the the opening of Fashioning the New England Family. The exhibition uncovers stories as told by various samples of clothing, fabric, accoutrements, and associated manuscripts—many shown for the first time. Join us and explore several family narratives as well as the cultural, social, and economic history of Massachusetts through the lens of fashion. This event is open only to MHS Members and Fellows.

- Friday, 5 October, 10:00 AM: Fashioning the New England Family opens to the public. The exhibition explores the ways in which the multiple meanings of fashion and fashionable goods are reflected in patterns of consumption and refashioning, recycling, and retaining favorite family pieces. Many of the items that will be featured have been out of sight, having never been exhibited for the public or seen in living memory. The exhibition is organized as part of MASS Fashion, a consortium of cultural institutions set up to explore and celebrate the many facets of the culture of fashion in Massachusetts. 

- Friday, 5 October, 12:00 PM: Liverpool, Slavery, & the Atlantic Cotton Frontier c. 1763-1833 with Alexey Krichtal, Johns Hopkins University. This talk follows the enslaved peoples who toiled on cotton estates in the Caribbean, Northeast Brazil and the American South, the planters who owned cotton plantations, the mariners who crossed the Atlantic basin shipping the fiber to Europe, and the merchants who linked enslaved producers to the Manchester manufacturers and fashion-orientated consumers in the Americas on a scale never see before, helping to usher in the first Industrial Revolution.

- Saturday, 6 October, 10:00 AM: The History & Collections of the MHS. Join us for a 90-minute docent-led tour of 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, 6 October and Sunday, 7 October: Boston Occupied: The British Are Coming . . . Again! Join us as British Redcoats will land from tall ships at Long Wharf and march up State Street with drums beating and flags flying to "occupy" Boston as they did 250 years ago. Visit for more information.

Please note that the Library is closed on Monday, 8 October but the galleries are open from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Stop by our Open House in conjunction with Opening Our Doors celebration in the Fenway Cultural District,

permalink | Published: Monday, 1 October, 2018, 1:00 AM