February

Brown Bag "Leaving their callings": Retirement in the Early Republic 1 February 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Andrea Gray, George Mason University and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation This project looks at elderly men in the early national period who voluntarily left their public ...

This project looks at elderly men in the early national period who voluntarily left their public careers—including prominent politicians as well as those in fields such as commerce, law, and medicine—and permanently returned to domestic life. By examining their motives, how they spent their retired years, and the impression they made on their fellow Americans, we gain important insights into the relationships between aging, work and public service, gender, and republican civic virtue.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 4 February 2017.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 90-minute docent-led ...

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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Early American History Seminar The Coromantee War in Jamaica: Charting the Course of an Atlantic Slave Revolt 7 February 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Vincent Brown, Harvard University Comment: Malick Ghachem, MIT Drawn from Brown’s current book project, this essay will discuss African diasporic warfare in ...

Drawn from Brown’s current book project, this essay will discuss African diasporic warfare in the Americas. It puts the Jamaican Revolt of 1760-61 in the context of a dramatic series of 17th- and 18th-century revolts and conspiracies that were staged by enslaved Africans from the Gold Coast, known widely as “Coromantees."

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Public Program Collecting the World at War, 1919-1946 8 February 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Kenneth Rendell, Museum of World War II Kenneth Rendell, a noted collector and dealer of historical documents and artifacts, has amassed the ...

Kenneth Rendell, a noted collector and dealer of historical documents and artifacts, has amassed the most comprehensive collection of material related to World War II anywhere. This collection is open to the public through the Museum of World War II, a research and educational institution devoted to preserving and exhibiting the reality of the war. With over 7,000 artifacts on display and more than 500,000 documents and photographs in the research archives, it is a remarkable resource. Rendell will discuss the challenges he’s faced in the past 58 years of collecting, globally, the most cataclysmic event of modern times.

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Building Closed MHS Closed 9 February 2017.Thursday, all day Due to inclement weather, the MHS library and galleries will be closed on Thursday, February 9.

Due to inclement weather, the MHS library and galleries will be closed on Thursday, February 9.

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Building Closed MHS Closed 10 February 2017.Friday, all day Due to inclement weather, the MHS library and galleries will be closed on Friday, February 10.

Due to inclement weather, the MHS library and galleries will be closed on Friday, February 10.

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Building Closed MHS Closed 13 February 2017.Monday, all day Due to inclement weather the MHS library and galleries will be closed on Monday, 13 February 2016.

Due to inclement weather the MHS library and galleries will be closed on Monday, 13 February 2016.

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Public Program, Author Talk Of Arms and Artists: The American Revolution Through Painters' Eyes 16 February 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Paul Staiti, Mount Holyoke College The lives of the five great American artists of the Revolutionary period--Charles Willson Peale, ...

The lives of the five great American artists of the Revolutionary period--Charles Willson Peale, John Singleton Copley, John Trumbull, Benjamin West, and Gilbert Stuart--were every bit as eventful as those of the Founders with whom they continually interacted. Living in a time of breathtaking change, each in his own way came to grips with the history being made by turning to brushes and canvases. The stories of these five artists open a fresh window on the Revolutionary era, making more human the figures we have long honored as our Founders, and deepening our understanding of the whirlwind out of which the United States emerged.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 18 February 2017.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 90-minute docent-led ...

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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Building Closed Presidents' Day 20 February 2017.Monday, all day The Society is CLOSED for President's Day

The Society is CLOSED for President's Day

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Environmental History Seminar Postponed: Harvest for War: Fruits, Nuts, Imperialism, and Gas Mask Manufacture in the United States During World War I 21 February 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Gerard Fitzgerald, George Mason University Comment: Nicoletta Gullace, University of New Hampshire This session has been POSTPONED to Tuesday, May 9, at 5:15 PM. Part of a larger ...

This session has been POSTPONED to Tuesday, May 9, at 5:15 PM.

Part of a larger book length study, this essay examines the use of seemingly exotic foodstuffs and industrial waste in the form of fruit pits for the manufacture of a high-density carbon filter critical for defense against chemical weapons. It involves not only environmental and military history but also the history of science and biology. The essay includes analysis of transportation networks within the context of 19th-century US imperialism, especially from a resource allocation perspective.

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Teacher Workshopbegins Women in the Era of the American Revolution 22 February 2017.Wednesday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM Registration fee: $40 (free for students) Study the revolution through the words and artifacts of the women who lived it. Women were vital ...

Study the revolution through the words and artifacts of the women who lived it. Women were vital consumers (and boycotters) of imported goods, and they functioned as heads of household while their male family members served in the military or traveled on political missions. We will explore the daily lives of these revolutionary women, including those who served as soldiers and secret agents, or followed the army as cooks and laundresses. The program fee includes a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts.

This program is open to K-12 educators. Teachers can earn 45 PDPs and 2 graduate credits (for an additional fee).

Please email education@masshist.org or call 617-646-0557 for more information or to register.

Image: The Female Review: or, Memoirs of an American Young Lady ...  Frontispiece including an engraved portrait of Deborah Sampson. Dedham, [MA]: printed by Nathaniel and Benjamin Heaton, 1797.

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Brown Bag Constructing American Belatedness: The Archives of American Artists in Late Nineteenth-Century Paris 22 February 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Emily C. Burns, Auburn University Thousands of US artists traveled to Paris between 1865 and 1914, at various stages of their careers ...

Thousands of US artists traveled to Paris between 1865 and 1914, at various stages of their careers and for various lengths of time. This project culls archival materials to understand  how American culture collectively became defined through international mobility as belated and innocent.

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Public Program MIT: History and Architecture 22 February 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Douglass Shand-Tucci       This talk arises out of a two part guide -- a history of MIT and a series of ...

 

 

 

This talk arises out of a two part guide -- a history of MIT and a series of walking tours of its present campus on the Charles River Basin -- which has been called "Boston's Central Park" -- the first result of "The Gods of Copley Square," a multi-year project and Shand-Tucci's next book, the subject of which is the Boston Brahmin Ascendancy. A high-point of that ascendancy was the development of Copley Square in 1860-1915 as a great New World Acropolis of Faith and Learning, Arts and Sciences, the cornerstone of which was MIT, founded as a notable scientific university, a companion Brahmin school to modern Harvard. This talk focuses on the way the schools, now universally ranked among the top five seats of higher learning in the world, reflected Boston 19th century Unitarian tradition and framed its Brahmin Ascendancy.

Shand-Tucci's recent publication, MIT: The Campus Guide, will be available for purchase.

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Teacher Workshopends Women in the Era of the American Revolution 23 February 2017.Thursday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM Registration fee: $40 (free for students) Study the revolution through the words and artifacts of the women who lived it. Women were vital ...

Study the revolution through the words and artifacts of the women who lived it. Women were vital consumers (and boycotters) of imported goods, and they functioned as heads of household while their male family members served in the military or traveled on political missions. We will explore the daily lives of these revolutionary women, including those who served as soldiers and secret agents, or followed the army as cooks and laundresses. The program fee includes a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts.

This program is open to K-12 educators. Teachers can earn 45 PDPs and 2 graduate credits (for an additional fee).

Please email education@masshist.org or call 617-646-0557 for more information or to register.

Image: The Female Review: or, Memoirs of an American Young Lady ...  Frontispiece including an engraved portrait of Deborah Sampson. Dedham, [MA]: printed by Nathaniel and Benjamin Heaton, 1797.

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History of Women and Gender Seminar Conversation: Sexuality of History, History of Sexuality 23 February 2017.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM Location: Radcliffe, Fay House, Sheerr Room, 10 Garden St. in Cambridge Sue Lanser, Brandeis University, and Jim Downs, Connecticut College Moderator: Jen Manion, Amherst College Please join us for a conversation with the authors of two important new books in the history of ...

Please join us for a conversation with the authors of two important new books in the history of sexuality.  This wide-ranging discussion will explore the relationship between lesbian and gay male histories, literary and historical methods, representation and political mobilization of people and communities. We will explore the following questions: How do such vastly different works advance the ongoing project of queer historicism and/or LGBTQ history and to what end? What scholarly fields and trends have enabled and inspired this new work? Who is the audience for LGBTQ history and queer scholarship, the LGBTQ community or the academy? How do we make theoretical insights legible and relevant to the community? How do we articulate the urgency to make the history of sexuality and LGBTQ communities central part of curricula, graduate training, and our professional organizations?" - Please note that there are no precirculated essays for this session.

Sue Lanser is author of The Sexuality of History: Modernity and the Sapphic, 1565-1830 (Chicago, 2014) which explores the ways in which a historically specific interest in lesbians intersected with and stimulated systemic concerns that would seem to have little to do with sexuality. Departing from the prevailing trend of queer reading whereby scholars ferret out hidden content in “closeted” texts, Lanser situates overtly erotic representations within wider spheres of interest. In so doing, she demonstrates that just as one can understand sexuality by studying the past, so too can one understand the past by studying sexuality. Jim Downs is author of Stand by Me (Basic, 2016) which rewrites the history of gay life in the 1970s, arguing that the decade was about much more than sex and marching in the streets. Drawing on a vast trove of untapped records at LGBT community centers in Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia, Downs tells moving, revelatory stories of gay people who stood together—as friends, fellow believers, and colleagues—to create a sense of community among people who felt alienated from mainstream American life.

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Turning Points Exhibitionends Turning Points in American History 25 February 2017.Saturday, 10:00AM - 4:00PM Open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM Turning Points in American History examines 15 decisive moments when everything ...

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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Teacher Workshop Abraham Lincoln & Emancipation 25 February 2017.Saturday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM “I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way ...

“I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races….”  Abraham Lincoln, 1858

Investigate Abraham Lincoln’s evolving thoughts on social and political equality for African Americans. How do we reconcile Lincoln’s words from his September 18, 1858, debate with Stephen A. Douglas with the man who signed the Emancipation Proclamation? Together MHS staff, participants will discuss Lincoln’s grounds for opposing slavery and his thoughts on colonization, abolition, and gradual emancipation. Using primary sources from the Society’s collection, participants can debate Lincoln’s rationale for singing the Emancipation Proclamation, as well as public reaction to the edict. We will be joined by Kevin M .Levin, author of Civil War Memory.

This program is open to K-12 educators. Teachers can earn 22.5 PDPs and 1 graduate credit (for an additional fee).

Please email education@masshist.org or call 617-646-0557 for more information or to register.

Image: By the President of the United States: A Proclamation. [Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation]. Washington, D.C.: 1862.

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MHS Tour Canceled: The History and Collections of the MHS 25 February 2017.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 90-minute docent-led ...

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: Mapping New England - a visual story 25 February 2017.Saturday, 1:00PM - 3:00PM Peter Drummey, Stephen T. Riley Librarian The first English explorers to reach the northeastern corner of the New World were left with a ...

The first English explorers to reach the northeastern corner of the New World were left with a conundrum: how to explain the new land to people who had never - and probably would never - see it? John Smith wrote his extravagantly promotional A Description of New England (1616) and William Wood New Englands Prospect (1634). But nothing succeeded in reaching a broad public like a picture.

Join MHS librarian Peter Drummey in investigating the world of early New England maps: how they were created; what they included and what they omitted; the images their creators choose and the messages they conveyed. Were early maps designed to encourage emigrants, or aids to navigation? Did they chart colonial-Native American conflict or paint an idyllic garden scene? Find out how these non-textual artifacts communicated the world of 17th-century New England.

NOTE: This meeting is a discussion, not a lecture. Come prepared to examine maps, raise questions, and make your points! No expertise required, just a willingness to engage with primary material, talk to fellow attendees, and enjoy yourself.

Map above selection from: 

A map of New-England : being the first that ever was here cut, and done by the best pattern that could be had, which being in some places defective, it made the other less exact: Yet doth it sufficiently show the situation of the country & conveniently well the distances of places.

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Public Program, Author Talk Self-Evident Truths: Contesting Equal Rights from the Revolution to the Civil War 27 February 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Richard Brown, University of Connecticut Despite our country’s founding statement that “all men are created equal,” the ...

Despite our country’s founding statement that “all men are created equal,” the early Republic struggled with social inequality. While people paid homage to the ideal of equal rights, this ideal came up against entrenched social and political practices. Brown will discuss how the ideal was tested in struggles over race and ethnicity, religious freedom, gender and social class, voting rights and citizenship. He shows how high principles fared in criminal trials and divorce cases when minorities, women, and people from different social classes faced judgment. This book offers a much-needed exploration of the ways revolutionary political ideas penetrated popular thinking and everyday practice.

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Vietnamese Political Prisoners and the Politics of Family, 1975-1996 28 February 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Amanda C. Demmer, University of New Hampshire Comment: Arissa Oh, Boston College This project dispels the myths that American involvement in Vietnam ended abruptly after the fall of ...

This project dispels the myths that American involvement in Vietnam ended abruptly after the fall of Saigon and that U.S. servicemen listed as prisoner of war/missing in action were the only exception to American disengagement. It explores the American response to Hanoi's incarceration of Vietnamese political prisoners in so-called “reeducation” camps, whose last prisoner was not released until 1992. More specifically, it argues that Vietnamese Americans successfully made the prisoners' release and resettlement a major objective of U.S. foreign policy.

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March
Brown Bag Ask Carol Lane!: Imaginaries of Safe Travel in the 1950s 1 March 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Renée Blackburn, MIT As post-war traffic fatalities rose, so did the concern to create safe communities and roads. Some ...

As post-war traffic fatalities rose, so did the concern to create safe communities and roads. Some of the work done by organizations involved creating imaginary personas, mostly of women, to perpetuate the rules of safe travel and normalize traffic and travel safety during a period of increased vehicle use, recreational travel, and fatality risk on the roads. This talk examines these personas and their place in the larger safety context of the 1950s.

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Public Program A Child's Photo Album 2 March 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Ken Liss, Boston University Libraries In 2014, the Brookline Historical Society was given a tiny photo album with postage stamp-sized ...

In 2014, the Brookline Historical Society was given a tiny photo album with postage stamp-sized photos of 48 Brookline and Boston children. Written inside the front cover were the name Mamie Williams and the date March 16, 1882. Who was Mamie Williams? Who were the children pictured in her album? What became of them as adults? Months of research by Liss led to answers to these questions and to some fascinating stories about the offspring of Edward Atkinson, H.H. Richardson, Moorefield Storey, as well as stories of Brookline and Boston society. In this presentation, Liss tells the tale of this album and the people inside it.

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Early American History Seminar A History of Violence: The Harpe Murders and the Legacies of the American Revolution 7 March 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Kate Grandjean, Wellesley College Comment: Eliga Gould, University of New Hampshire This paper looks at a series of murders in Appalachia in the 1790s, committed by former loyalists. ...

This paper looks at a series of murders in Appalachia in the 1790s, committed by former loyalists. By following the lives of the Harpe brothers, who left a trail of blood through early Tennessee and Kentucky, it explores the violent legacies of the American Revolution—especially in the southern borderlands. 

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Brown Bag Inventing Citizens: Patents, Inventors, and Civil Rights 8 March 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Kara Swanson, Northeastern University Beginning with the Constitutional Convention, Americans created the world's most accessible patent ...

Beginning with the Constitutional Convention, Americans created the world's most accessible patent system. As the system and the republic grew together, Americans came to consider issued patents both a measurement of their national progress and proof of the desirable qualities possessed by the wide swath of Americans who obtained patents. This project examines this foundational relationship by demonstrating how the patent system became a resource for marginalized groups making claims to full civil rights, particularly women and African Americans.  

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The Irish Atlantic Member Event, Special Event SOLD OUT: The Irish Atlantic Fellows & Members Preview Reception 9 March 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM Please note that this event is sold out. This event is open only to MHS Fellows and Members. William M. Fowler, Northeastern University Please note that this event is sold out.To put your name on a waiting list, please call our RSVP ...

Please note that this event is sold out.To put your name on a waiting list, please call our RSVP line at 617-646-0578.

MHS Fellows and Members are invited to a special program, reception, and chance to preview The Irish Atlantic. The exhibition explores 175 years of the Irish in Boston. Guest curator William Fowler will give an overview, beginning with a look at the Irish community in Massachusetts stretching back into the 18th century, through famine relief efforts led by Capt. Robert Bennet Forbes at the helm of the Jamestown, to a mass migration movement, decades of community and institutional building, and a rise in political power.

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Exhibitionbegins The Irish Atlantic 10 March 2017.Friday, 10:00AM - 4:00PM Open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM Explore 175 years of the Irish in Boston from the founding of the Charitable Irish Society in 1737, ...

Explore 175 years of the Irish in Boston from the founding of the Charitable Irish Society in 1737, through famine relief efforts led by Capt. Robert Bennet Forbes at the helm of the Jamestown, to a mass migration movement, decades of community and institutional building, and a rise in political power. The exhibition is co-sponsored by the MHS and the Forbes House Museum.

See the exhibit’s companion website for an overview, timeline, and more videos about the Irish in Boston.

Watch this video for an overview of the exhibit by guest curator William M. Fowler, Distinguished Professor of History at Northeastern University.

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Brown Bag A Constitutional Lost Cause: The Fifteenth Amendment in American Memory and Political Culture, 1870-1920 10 March 2017.Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Stephen A. West, The Catholic University of America Initially hailed by supporters as the fulfillment of America’s democratic promise, the ...

Initially hailed by supporters as the fulfillment of America’s democratic promise, the Fifteenth Amendment would, within a few decades, be nullified in the southern states and regarded by many white Americans as a constitutional mistake. This talk examines how Americans—across lines of race, region, and party—placed the voting rights amendment at the center of their memories of Reconstruction, and how those memories shaped their debates about citizenship and the very nature of the Constitution.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 11 March 2017.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 90-minute docent-led ...

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: The Irish Atlantic: A Story of Famine Migration and Opportunity.

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Building Closed Due to inclement weather the MHS will be closed on 14 March 2017.Tuesday, all day Due to inclement weather the MHS library and galleries will be closed on Tuesday, 14 March.  

Due to inclement weather the MHS library and galleries will be closed on Tuesday, 14 March.  

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Environmental History Seminar, Postponed Postponed: The Winter Workscape: Weather and the Meaning of Industrial Capitalism in the Northern Forest, 1850-1950 14 March 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Jason L. Newton, Syracuse University Comment: Richard W. Judd, University of Maine POSTPONED: This program has been rescheduled for May 16, 2017. Industrial logging ...

POSTPONED: This program has been rescheduled for May 16, 2017.

Industrial logging operators used the winter weather, wood, simple machines, and muscle power alone to increase the production and transportation of saw logs to reach industrial scale and efficiency. Drawing on methods from environmental and labor history and the history of slavery and capitalism, this essay characterizes industrial capitalism as a force that will sustain seemingly anachronistic modes of production as long as they remain profitable. It shows that increased efficiency and scale need not always lead to massive carbon emissions.

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Boston Codfish Balls ad - Cooking Boston series Public Program, Conversation, Cooking Boston Cooking Boston: Refined to Rustic 15 March 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Keith Stavely, Kelly Erby and moderator Barbara Wheaton Program 1: Refined to RusticKeith Stavely will explore the role Boston has played ...

Program 1: Refined to Rustic
Keith Stavely will explore the role Boston has played from being the home of early European refinement to the rise of the Colonial Revival rustic dishes. Kelly Erby will explore the role of restaurants and the rise of commercial dining in the increasingly urban landscape of nineteenth century Boston. Barbara Wheaton will lead a discussion on how the Hub has shaped American culinary culture through cookbooks and changing perceptions of the city.


Cooking Boston: How the Hub Shaped the American Diet 

This series of programs will explore the culinary history of Boston and the impact the city has had on the American diet. In the first half of the 19th century, Boston had a reputation as the center for European taste and refinement. By the end of the 19th century, the Colonial Revival movement nationally popularized foods like Boston baked beans and Yankee pot-roast shifting Boston’s image from refined to rustic. In the 20th century, Boston clung to two identities: that of thrifty Puritans and of cosmopolitanism through education. This created some remarkably bland food but also made the city fertile ground for a culinary revolution. In the 1960s, chefs like Julia Child and Joyce Chen brought the flavors of the world to America through Boston.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 18 March 2017.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 90-minute docent-led ...

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: The Irish Atlantic: A Story of Famine Migration and Opportunity.

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Politics of Taste series - Mary Otis Gray Public Program, Author Talk, Politics of Taste Politics of Taste: Republic of Taste 20 March 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Catherine E. Kelly, University of Oklahoma Program 1: Republic of TasteWhether Americans believed that taste was innate ...

Program 1: Republic of Taste
Republic of TasteWhether Americans believed that taste was innate or acquired, it was widely believed that shared aesthetic sensibilities connected like-minded individuals and that shared affinities advanced the public good and held great promise for the American republic. Catherine E. Kelly demonstrates how American thinkers acknowledged the similarities between aesthetics and politics in order to wrestle with questions about power and authority. In the years following independence, ordinary women and men reassured themselves that taste revealed larger truths about an individual's character and potential for republican citizenship.

 

 


Politics of Taste

Three authors will explore how the development of manners and taste in colonial America and the early republic were not just a statement of aesthetics but were also ways to define political identity and create shared affinities. This journey through the study of material culture with show how the politics of politeness helped define American thought. 

Other programs in the series 

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Brown Bag Love in the Time of Mutual Assured Destruction: Rethinking Cold War Rationality 22 March 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Marie Burks, MIT The nuclear strategy of mutual assured destruction has come to symbolize the prevailing rationality ...

The nuclear strategy of mutual assured destruction has come to symbolize the prevailing rationality of the atomic age. This talk will highlight the work of intellectuals who deployed alternative rationalities to challenge the assumptions underlying not only nuclear strategy but also U.S. Cold War policy more broadly. These thinkers argued that, alongside familiar tools of Cold War rationality such as game theory, love and empathy were just as critical to a full understanding of social conflict.

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Public Program, Author Talk, Politics of Taste Portrait of a Woman in Silk: Hidden Histories of the British Atlantic World 23 March 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Zara Anishanslin, University of Delaware Program 2: Portrait of a Woman in Silk Through the story of a portrait of a woman ...

Program 2: Portrait of a Woman in Silk

Through the story of a portrait of a woman in a silk dress, historian Zara Anishanslin embarks on a journey, exploring and refining debates about the cultural history of the eighteenth-century British Atlantic world. She examines the worlds of four people who produced, wore, and represented this object: a London weaver, one of early modern Britain’s few women silk designers, a Philadelphia merchant’s wife, and a New England painter. Anishanslin shows how making, buying, and using goods in the British Atlantic created an object-based community that tied its inhabitants together, while also allowing for different views of the Empire.

Politics of Taste

Three authors will explore how the development of manners and taste in colonial America and the early republic were not just a statement of aesthetics but were also ways to define political identity and create shared affinities. This journey through the study of material culture with show how the politics of politeness helped define American thought. 

Other programs in the series 

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Public Program, Conversation Begin at the Beginning: Slavery in Early Boston 25 March 2017.Saturday, 1:00PM - 3:00PM Kerri Greenidge, Tufts University and the University of Massachusetts, Boston "Slavery in Early Boston" is the first of three Partnership of Historic Bostons discussions this ...

"Slavery in Early Boston" is the first of three Partnership of Historic Bostons discussions this spring about slavery and servitude in early Massachusetts. 

This discussion will explore Samuel Sewall's forceful and controversial pamphlet, The Selling of Joseph; notwithstanding his reputation as a Salem witch trial judge, Sewall advocated abolition (although he did not believe black and white people could live together) and entered into a fierce pamphlet war with his slaveowning neighbor John Saffin. We will also examine the "uncommon sufferings" of Briton Hammon, abducted into slavery for many years before returning home to Boston.

Led by Prof. Kerri Greenidge of Tufts and UMass-Boston, this open group discussion will be about our responses to readings of primary texts about slavery in early Boston (17th and 18th centuries), including Samuel Sewall's The Selling of Joseph, and A Narrative of Uncommon Sufferings by Briton Hammon.

Please note that this is a reaing discussion group, not a lecture. All participants are expected to have read the following two primary texts for this discussion:

The Selling of Joseph, by Samuel Sewell

A Narrative of the Uncommon Sufferings, and Surprizing Deliverance of Briton Hammon

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Public Program, The Irish Atlantic The Mission of the Jamestown 27 March 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. William Fowler, Jr., Northeastern University; Christine Kinealy, Director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute, Quinnipiac University; Catherine Shannon, Professor Emerita of History, Westfield State University The Irish Atlantic Series As news of the Irish Famine made its way across ...

The Irish Atlantic Series

As news of the Irish Famine made its way across the Atlantic, the citizens of Boston rallied to help. In 1847, a relief mission was organized and authorized by Congress, allowing the Secretary of the Navy to place two Naval ships—the Jamestown from Boston and the Macedonian from NYC—under civilian command to bring relief to Ireland. Capt. Robert Bennet Forbes, the head of Russell and Co, the largest American trading house in China, led the mission from Boston. He mobilized the city's citizens and merchants and amassed tons of food relief. William Fowler, guest curator for The Irish Atlantic, will lead a discussion with Catherine Shannon and Christine Kinealy on the relief efforts of the Jamestown on the eve of the 170th anniversary of its voyage.

Panelists:
Catherine Shannon - Professor Emerita of History, Westfield State University
Christine Kinealy - Director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute, Quinnipiac University
William Fowler, Jr. - Distinguished Professor of History, Northeastern University

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar, The Irish Atlantic Moving News, Affecting Relief: The Irish Famine’s Trans-Atlantic Circulations 28 March 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Anelise H. Shrout, California State University, Fullerton Comment: Kevin Kenny, Boston College The ships that carried Irish famine victims across the Atlantic also carried tragic accounts of ...

The ships that carried Irish famine victims across the Atlantic also carried tragic accounts of those left behind; in response, North Americans sent millions of dollars to relieve rural suffering. This paper argues that exploring the interactions between these various circulations reveals a tension between aiding strangers overseas and welcoming them in American cities. Further, it demonstrates that Americans’ decisions to send funds overseas were deeply conditioned by the political utility of those donations at home.

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Brown Bag An Actor’s Tale: Theater, Culture, and Everyday Life in Nineteenth-Century U.S. America 29 March 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Amy Hughes, Brooklyn College, CUNY Hughes will discuss her monograph-in-progress, inspired by the diary of U.S. actor Harry Watkins ...

Hughes will discuss her monograph-in-progress, inspired by the diary of U.S. actor Harry Watkins (1825-1894). In “An Actor’s Tale,” she deploys Watkins’s diary in order to offer an “alternative theater history” focusing on workaday laborers in the antebellum entertainment industry. She draws on the voluminous details in the manuscript to expose heretofore neglected or misunderstood aspects of U.S. theater culture during the 1800s while also shedding light on the trials and tribulations of everyday life during the tumultuous years leading up to the Civil War.

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Public Program, Author Talk, Politics of Taste Tea Sets and Tyranny: The Politics of Politeness in Early America 29 March 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Steven C. Bullock, Worcester Polytechnic University Even as eighteenth-century thinkers from John Locke to Thomas Jefferson struggled to find effective ...

Even as eighteenth-century thinkers from John Locke to Thomas Jefferson struggled to find effective means to restrain power, contemporary discussions of society gave increasing attention to ideals of refinement, moderation, and polished self-presentation. These two sets of ideas have long seemed separate, one dignified as political theory, the other primarily concerned with manners and material culture. Tea Sets and Tyranny challenges that division. In its original context, Steven C. Bullock suggests, politeness also raised important issues of power, leadership, and human relationships. This politics of politeness helped make opposition to overbearing power central to early American thought and practice.

 

Politics of Taste

Three authors will explore how the development of manners and taste in colonial America and the early republic were not just a statement of aesthetics but were also ways to define political identity and create shared affinities. This journey through the study of material culture with show how the politics of politeness helped define American thought. 

Other programs in the series 

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April
MHS Tour CANCELLED: The History and Collections of the MHS 1 April 2017.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 90-minute docent-led ...

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: The Irish Atlantic: A Story of Famine Migration and Opportunity.

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Library Closed Due to inclement weather the MHS library and galleries will be closed 1 April 2017.Saturday, all day Due to weather conditions on Friday night and predictions for Saturday, the library is CLOSED on ...

Due to weather conditions on Friday night and predictions for Saturday, the library is CLOSED on Saturday, 4/1. 

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Early American History Seminar Promotional Literature and Identity in Colonial Massachusetts 4 April 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Agnès Delahaye, Université Lumière Lyon II Comment: Conrad E. Wright, Massachusetts Historical Society This essay will examine the institutional and cultural factors behind promotional literature, the ...

This essay will examine the institutional and cultural factors behind promotional literature, the body of colonial sources written for metropolitan audiences. All share the common intent of promoting, or defending, the political or economic choices made by the colonists as their communities were taking shape. The essay will detail the tropes and expressions of the commonality of purpose that Delahaye sees in most New England historiography. It will also explore the relationship between colonial historiography and exceptionalism in the New England tradition.

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Brown Bag A Fear of Foreigners and of Freedom: Ideological Exclusion and Deportation in America 5 April 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Julia Rose Kraut, Historical Society of the New York Courts This talk will examine the history of the exclusion and deportation of foreigners from the United ...

This talk will examine the history of the exclusion and deportation of foreigners from the United States based on their beliefs, associations, and/or expressions, from the Alien Act of 1798 to the War on Terror.  It will illustrate that this history reflects a perennial fear of subversion in America, and that during moments of national insecurity, the United States has consistently and continuously depicted foreigners as the source of subversion and has used ideological exclusion and deportation as tools to suppress the free expression of radicalism and dissent.     

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 8 April 2017.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 90-minute docent-led ...

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: The Irish Atlantic: A Story of Famine Migration and Opportunity.

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Public Program, Author Talk Creating Acadia National Park: The Biography of George Bucknam Dorr 10 April 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Ronald Epp Although he is known as the “Father of Acadia,” George Bucknam Dorr’s seminal ...

Although he is known as the “Father of Acadia,” George Bucknam Dorr’s seminal contributions to the American environmental movement have gone largely unacknowledged. This biography is the story of Dorr’s pioneering role. Raised in Boston, Dorr adopted Maine’s Mount Desert Island as his home and the setting to apply the practical lessons of “Boston Brahmin” philanthropy. Through his finest work—the creation and management of Acadia National Park—and through his collaborations with park co-founders Charles W. Eliot, John D. Rockefeller Jr., and others—Dorr transformed an elitist social inheritance into an all-consuming commitment to conservation.

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Environmental History Seminar Panel: Fishing the Commons 11 April 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Erik Reardon, University of Maine at Orono, and Stacy Roberts, University of California, Davis Comment: Matthew McKenzie, University of Connecticut at Avery Point Reardon’s paper, “New England’s Pre-Industrial River Commons: Culture and Economy ...

Reardon’s paper, “New England’s Pre-Industrial River Commons: Culture and Economy,” argues for the persistence of a river commons long after population growth and market pressures undermined the prospects for shared lands. Roberts’s essay, “The Private Commons: Oyster Planting in 19th-century Connecticut,” explain why Connecticut developed a dual system of public and private oyster production over the course of the 19th century by weaving together a history of the environment, law, and capitalism.

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Brown Bag Radical Enlightenment in the Struggle over Slavery 12 April 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Matthew Stewart, author of Nature's God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic Frederick Douglass owed a substantial intellectual debt to the controversial German philosopher ...

Frederick Douglass owed a substantial intellectual debt to the controversial German philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach. The militant abolitionist Theodore Parker relied on a wide range of philosophers hailing from the radical edges of the European Enlightenment. Abraham Lincoln’s political thought reflects in part the influence of Parker, Douglass, and their philosophical sources. This talk will draw material from a work in progress to lead a discussion about the role of Enlightenment ideas in shaping abolitionism, anti-slavery politics, and the Civil War.

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Public Program, The Irish Atlantic The Rise and Fall of the American Party 12 April 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Peter Drummey, Stephen T. Riley Librarian, Massachusetts Historical Society The Irish Atlantic Series Secretive nativist societies began to form in ...

The Irish Atlantic Series

Secretive nativist societies began to form in the 1840s in response to large-scale immigration of Irish and German Catholics. By the 1850s, these organizations coalesced into the American Party—commonly referred to as the “Know Nothings” because members would not reveal any information about their movement. The American Party advocated for severe restrictions on immigration and citizenship and in 1854 swept the Massachusetts election, winning all state offices and all but four seats in the legislature. In seven years the state had gone from launching an Irish relief mission with the sailing of the Jamestown to strident nativist sentiment. Peter Drummey will look at the meteoric rise of the American Party as well as its rapid decline with the approach of the Civil War.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 15 April 2017.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 90-minute docent-led ...

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: The Irish Atlantic: A Story of Famine Migration and Opportunity.

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Building Closed Patriots' Day 17 April 2017.Monday, all day The MHS is CLOSED for Patriots' Day. 

The MHS is CLOSED for Patriots' Day. 

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The Irish Atlantic, Public Program Make Your Own Comic: The Jamestown Relief Mission to Ireland 18 April 2017.Tuesday, 2:00PM - 3:30PM Come to MHS during the school vacation week for a hands-on history program. Historians will tell ...

Come to MHS during the school vacation week for a hands-on history program. Historians will tell participants a story related to Irish immigration: the famine relief mission from Boston to Ireland led by Robert Bennet Forbes aboard the Jamestown.  After the talk, local comic book artists will help the young historians make their own historical comic depicting stories of Irish immigration.

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Teacher Workshop, The Irish Atlantic Boston to the Rescue: Robert B. Forbes & Irish Famine Relief 20 April 2017.Thursday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM Registration fee: $25 (free for students) On April 12, 1847, Boston merchant Robert Bennet Forbes arrived in Ireland aboard the USS Jamestown. ...

On April 12, 1847, Boston merchant Robert Bennet Forbes arrived in Ireland aboard the USS Jamestown. The ship carried more than 8,000 barrels of food and provisions to the island’s inhabitants at the height of the Great Famine. We will explore the history of early Irish immigration to Boston and the tensions that divided Catholic immigrants and Protestant New Englanders in the 1830s and 1840s. Despite their differences, private citizens and local organizations rallied to provide indispensable humanitarian aid to a nation in need.

This program is open to K-12 educators. Teachers can earn 22.5 PDPs and 1 graduate credit (for an additional fee).

Please email education@masshist.org or call 617-646-0557 for more information or to register.

Image: The USS Jamestown, by George M. Atkinson, Forbes House Museum.

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History of Women and Gender Seminar Sadie Alexander, Black Women’s Work, and Economic Citizenship during the New Deal Era 20 April 2017.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM Lauren Meyer, Yale University Comment: Martin Summers, Boston College This essay argues that Sadie Alexander, the first black woman to earn a Ph.D. in economics and a ...

This essay argues that Sadie Alexander, the first black woman to earn a Ph.D. in economics and a successful practicing lawyer, offered an alternative, black feminist definition of economic citizenship that shifted discourses on the relationship between race, gender, labor, and the meaning of citizenship. Alexander positioned black women’s paid labor as a potential source of strength: for black women themselves, for national economic wellbeing, and for the movement for black first-class citizenship.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 22 April 2017.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 90-minute docent-led ...

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: The Irish Atlantic: A Story of Famine Migration and Opportunity.

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Interreligious Responses to the Settlement House Movement, 1880-1924 25 April 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Anne M. Blankenship, North Dakota State University Comment: Kristen Petersen, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences By 1913, over 400 settlement houses catered to immigrants and laborers across the United States. ...

By 1913, over 400 settlement houses catered to immigrants and laborers across the United States. This paper analyzes how Catholic and Jewish immigrant communities in New York City responded to the Protestant origins and agenda of their benefactors prior to the 1920s, when many houses secularized activities in order to receive money from the Community Chest. Parties concerned about evangelism generally responded in one of two ways: public denouncement of specific houses and/or the development of alternative community centers to promote non-Protestant traditions.

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Library Closed Library Closed 26 April 2017.Wednesday, all day The library is closed all day for a staff development event.

The library is closed all day for a staff development event.

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Public Program, Author Talk John Quincy Adams and the Politics of Slavery: Selections from the Diary 26 April 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. David Waldstreicher and Matthew Mason In the final years of his political career, President John Quincy Adams was known for his objections ...

In the final years of his political career, President John Quincy Adams was known for his objections to slavery. As a young statesman, however, he supported slavery. What changed? Entries from Adams's personal diary reveal a highly dynamic and accomplished politician in engagement with one of his generation's most challenging national dilemmas. David Waldstreicher and Matthew Mason offer an unusual perspective on the dramatic and shifting politics of slavery in the early republic. By juxtaposing Adams's personal reflections on slavery with what he said-and did not say-publicly on the issue, the editors offer a nuanced portrait of how he interacted with prevailing ideologies during his consequential career and life.

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Public Program, Cooking Boston Cooking Boston: Eating Other People's Food 27 April 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Alex Prud'homme, Laura Shapiro, Stephen Chen and Moderator Megan Sniffin-Marinoff Program 2: Eating Other People's FoodIn the second half of the 20th century, ...

Program 2: Eating Other People's Food
In the second half of the 20th century, Americans were re-introduced to the food of the world. Most famously, Julia Child in Cambridge and James Beard in New York brought fine cooking into American living rooms. They were not alone in pushing the culinary envelope. In Cambridge, Design Research was making cookware fashionable and Joyce Chen was convincing Americans they could cook Mandarin cuisine. The expansion of the American palate that began with television chefs continued with restaurants across greater Boston and helped reshape the idea of dinner.


Cooking Boston: How the Hub Shaped the American Diet 

This six program series will explore the culinary history of Boston and the impact the city has had on the American diet. In the first half of the 19th century, Boston had a reputation as the center for European taste and refinement. By the end of the 19th century, the Colonial Revival movement nationally popularized foods like Boston baked beans and Yankee pot-roast shifting Boston’s image from refined to rustic. In the 20th century, Boston clung to two identities: that of thrifty Puritans and of cosmopolitanism through education. This created some remarkably bland food but also made the city fertile ground for a culinary revolution. In the 1960s, chefs like Julia Child and Joyce Chen brought the flavors of the world to America through Boston.

The series will run from March through June of 2017. See the other programs in the series

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Teacher Workshop Civil Rights in America 29 April 2017.Saturday, 9:00AM - 2:15PM This program is SOLD OUT. The Civil Rights Movement in America has endured a difficult and tumultuous path. The Emancipation ...

The Civil Rights Movement in America has endured a difficult and tumultuous path. The Emancipation Proclamation ended the institution of slavery. The Fourteenth Amendment should have guaranteed freedoms, equality and civil rights for all men, however it would take many generations of hardships and court cases for that reality to be achieved. This seminar addresses the complicated road endured by African Americans. Dr. Peter Myers, Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, will serve as discussion leader.

This event is sponsored by the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University, and is made possible thanks to a grant from the Lincoln and Theresa Filene Foundation.

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Brown Bag "Leaving their callings": Retirement in the Early Republic 1 February 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Andrea Gray, George Mason University and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation

This project looks at elderly men in the early national period who voluntarily left their public careers—including prominent politicians as well as those in fields such as commerce, law, and medicine—and permanently returned to domestic life. By examining their motives, how they spent their retired years, and the impression they made on their fellow Americans, we gain important insights into the relationships between aging, work and public service, gender, and republican civic virtue.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 4 February 2017.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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Early American History Seminar The Coromantee War in Jamaica: Charting the Course of an Atlantic Slave Revolt 7 February 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Vincent Brown, Harvard University Comment: Malick Ghachem, MIT

Drawn from Brown’s current book project, this essay will discuss African diasporic warfare in the Americas. It puts the Jamaican Revolt of 1760-61 in the context of a dramatic series of 17th- and 18th-century revolts and conspiracies that were staged by enslaved Africans from the Gold Coast, known widely as “Coromantees."

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Public Program Collecting the World at War, 1919-1946 8 February 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Kenneth Rendell, Museum of World War II

Kenneth Rendell, a noted collector and dealer of historical documents and artifacts, has amassed the most comprehensive collection of material related to World War II anywhere. This collection is open to the public through the Museum of World War II, a research and educational institution devoted to preserving and exhibiting the reality of the war. With over 7,000 artifacts on display and more than 500,000 documents and photographs in the research archives, it is a remarkable resource. Rendell will discuss the challenges he’s faced in the past 58 years of collecting, globally, the most cataclysmic event of modern times.

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Building Closed MHS Closed 9 February 2017.Thursday, all day

Due to inclement weather, the MHS library and galleries will be closed on Thursday, February 9.

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Building Closed MHS Closed 10 February 2017.Friday, all day

Due to inclement weather, the MHS library and galleries will be closed on Friday, February 10.

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Building Closed MHS Closed 13 February 2017.Monday, all day

Due to inclement weather the MHS library and galleries will be closed on Monday, 13 February 2016.

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Public Program, Author Talk Of Arms and Artists: The American Revolution Through Painters' Eyes 16 February 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Paul Staiti, Mount Holyoke College

The lives of the five great American artists of the Revolutionary period--Charles Willson Peale, John Singleton Copley, John Trumbull, Benjamin West, and Gilbert Stuart--were every bit as eventful as those of the Founders with whom they continually interacted. Living in a time of breathtaking change, each in his own way came to grips with the history being made by turning to brushes and canvases. The stories of these five artists open a fresh window on the Revolutionary era, making more human the figures we have long honored as our Founders, and deepening our understanding of the whirlwind out of which the United States emerged.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 18 February 2017.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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Building Closed Presidents' Day 20 February 2017.Monday, all day

The Society is CLOSED for President's Day

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Environmental History Seminar Postponed:
Harvest for War: Fruits, Nuts, Imperialism, and Gas Mask Manufacture in the United States During World War I
21 February 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Gerard Fitzgerald, George Mason University Comment: Nicoletta Gullace, University of New Hampshire

This session has been POSTPONED to Tuesday, May 9, at 5:15 PM.

Part of a larger book length study, this essay examines the use of seemingly exotic foodstuffs and industrial waste in the form of fruit pits for the manufacture of a high-density carbon filter critical for defense against chemical weapons. It involves not only environmental and military history but also the history of science and biology. The essay includes analysis of transportation networks within the context of 19th-century US imperialism, especially from a resource allocation perspective.

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Teacher Workshop Women in the Era of the American Revolution 22 February 2017 to 23 February 2017 Registration fee: $40 (free for students)

Study the revolution through the words and artifacts of the women who lived it. Women were vital consumers (and boycotters) of imported goods, and they functioned as heads of household while their male family members served in the military or traveled on political missions. We will explore the daily lives of these revolutionary women, including those who served as soldiers and secret agents, or followed the army as cooks and laundresses. The program fee includes a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts.

This program is open to K-12 educators. Teachers can earn 45 PDPs and 2 graduate credits (for an additional fee).

Please email education@masshist.org or call 617-646-0557 for more information or to register.

Image: The Female Review: or, Memoirs of an American Young Lady ...  Frontispiece including an engraved portrait of Deborah Sampson. Dedham, [MA]: printed by Nathaniel and Benjamin Heaton, 1797.

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Brown Bag Constructing American Belatedness: The Archives of American Artists in Late Nineteenth-Century Paris 22 February 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Emily C. Burns, Auburn University

Thousands of US artists traveled to Paris between 1865 and 1914, at various stages of their careers and for various lengths of time. This project culls archival materials to understand  how American culture collectively became defined through international mobility as belated and innocent.

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Public Program MIT: History and Architecture 22 February 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Douglass Shand-Tucci

 

 

 

This talk arises out of a two part guide -- a history of MIT and a series of walking tours of its present campus on the Charles River Basin -- which has been called "Boston's Central Park" -- the first result of "The Gods of Copley Square," a multi-year project and Shand-Tucci's next book, the subject of which is the Boston Brahmin Ascendancy. A high-point of that ascendancy was the development of Copley Square in 1860-1915 as a great New World Acropolis of Faith and Learning, Arts and Sciences, the cornerstone of which was MIT, founded as a notable scientific university, a companion Brahmin school to modern Harvard. This talk focuses on the way the schools, now universally ranked among the top five seats of higher learning in the world, reflected Boston 19th century Unitarian tradition and framed its Brahmin Ascendancy.

Shand-Tucci's recent publication, MIT: The Campus Guide, will be available for purchase.

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History of Women and Gender Seminar Conversation: Sexuality of History, History of Sexuality 23 February 2017.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM Location: Radcliffe, Fay House, Sheerr Room, 10 Garden St. in Cambridge Sue Lanser, Brandeis University, and Jim Downs, Connecticut College Moderator: Jen Manion, Amherst College

Please join us for a conversation with the authors of two important new books in the history of sexuality.  This wide-ranging discussion will explore the relationship between lesbian and gay male histories, literary and historical methods, representation and political mobilization of people and communities. We will explore the following questions: How do such vastly different works advance the ongoing project of queer historicism and/or LGBTQ history and to what end? What scholarly fields and trends have enabled and inspired this new work? Who is the audience for LGBTQ history and queer scholarship, the LGBTQ community or the academy? How do we make theoretical insights legible and relevant to the community? How do we articulate the urgency to make the history of sexuality and LGBTQ communities central part of curricula, graduate training, and our professional organizations?" - Please note that there are no precirculated essays for this session.

Sue Lanser is author of The Sexuality of History: Modernity and the Sapphic, 1565-1830 (Chicago, 2014) which explores the ways in which a historically specific interest in lesbians intersected with and stimulated systemic concerns that would seem to have little to do with sexuality. Departing from the prevailing trend of queer reading whereby scholars ferret out hidden content in “closeted” texts, Lanser situates overtly erotic representations within wider spheres of interest. In so doing, she demonstrates that just as one can understand sexuality by studying the past, so too can one understand the past by studying sexuality. Jim Downs is author of Stand by Me (Basic, 2016) which rewrites the history of gay life in the 1970s, arguing that the decade was about much more than sex and marching in the streets. Drawing on a vast trove of untapped records at LGBT community centers in Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia, Downs tells moving, revelatory stories of gay people who stood together—as friends, fellow believers, and colleagues—to create a sense of community among people who felt alienated from mainstream American life.

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Exhibition Turning Points in American History 25 February 2017.Saturday, 10:00AM - 4:00PM 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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Teacher Workshop Abraham Lincoln & Emancipation 25 February 2017.Saturday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM

“I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races….”  Abraham Lincoln, 1858

Investigate Abraham Lincoln’s evolving thoughts on social and political equality for African Americans. How do we reconcile Lincoln’s words from his September 18, 1858, debate with Stephen A. Douglas with the man who signed the Emancipation Proclamation? Together MHS staff, participants will discuss Lincoln’s grounds for opposing slavery and his thoughts on colonization, abolition, and gradual emancipation. Using primary sources from the Society’s collection, participants can debate Lincoln’s rationale for singing the Emancipation Proclamation, as well as public reaction to the edict. We will be joined by Kevin M .Levin, author of Civil War Memory.

This program is open to K-12 educators. Teachers can earn 22.5 PDPs and 1 graduate credit (for an additional fee).

Please email education@masshist.org or call 617-646-0557 for more information or to register.

Image: By the President of the United States: A Proclamation. [Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation]. Washington, D.C.: 1862.

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MHS Tour Canceled:
The History and Collections of the MHS
25 February 2017.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: Mapping New England - a visual story 25 February 2017.Saturday, 1:00PM - 3:00PM Peter Drummey, Stephen T. Riley Librarian

The first English explorers to reach the northeastern corner of the New World were left with a conundrum: how to explain the new land to people who had never - and probably would never - see it? John Smith wrote his extravagantly promotional A Description of New England (1616) and William Wood New Englands Prospect (1634). But nothing succeeded in reaching a broad public like a picture.

Join MHS librarian Peter Drummey in investigating the world of early New England maps: how they were created; what they included and what they omitted; the images their creators choose and the messages they conveyed. Were early maps designed to encourage emigrants, or aids to navigation? Did they chart colonial-Native American conflict or paint an idyllic garden scene? Find out how these non-textual artifacts communicated the world of 17th-century New England.

NOTE: This meeting is a discussion, not a lecture. Come prepared to examine maps, raise questions, and make your points! No expertise required, just a willingness to engage with primary material, talk to fellow attendees, and enjoy yourself.

Map above selection from: 

A map of New-England : being the first that ever was here cut, and done by the best pattern that could be had, which being in some places defective, it made the other less exact: Yet doth it sufficiently show the situation of the country & conveniently well the distances of places.

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Public Program, Author Talk Self-Evident Truths: Contesting Equal Rights from the Revolution to the Civil War 27 February 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Richard Brown, University of Connecticut

Despite our country’s founding statement that “all men are created equal,” the early Republic struggled with social inequality. While people paid homage to the ideal of equal rights, this ideal came up against entrenched social and political practices. Brown will discuss how the ideal was tested in struggles over race and ethnicity, religious freedom, gender and social class, voting rights and citizenship. He shows how high principles fared in criminal trials and divorce cases when minorities, women, and people from different social classes faced judgment. This book offers a much-needed exploration of the ways revolutionary political ideas penetrated popular thinking and everyday practice.

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Vietnamese Political Prisoners and the Politics of Family, 1975-1996 28 February 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Amanda C. Demmer, University of New Hampshire Comment: Arissa Oh, Boston College

This project dispels the myths that American involvement in Vietnam ended abruptly after the fall of Saigon and that U.S. servicemen listed as prisoner of war/missing in action were the only exception to American disengagement. It explores the American response to Hanoi's incarceration of Vietnamese political prisoners in so-called “reeducation” camps, whose last prisoner was not released until 1992. More specifically, it argues that Vietnamese Americans successfully made the prisoners' release and resettlement a major objective of U.S. foreign policy.

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Brown Bag Ask Carol Lane!: Imaginaries of Safe Travel in the 1950s 1 March 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Renée Blackburn, MIT

As post-war traffic fatalities rose, so did the concern to create safe communities and roads. Some of the work done by organizations involved creating imaginary personas, mostly of women, to perpetuate the rules of safe travel and normalize traffic and travel safety during a period of increased vehicle use, recreational travel, and fatality risk on the roads. This talk examines these personas and their place in the larger safety context of the 1950s.

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Public Program A Child's Photo Album 2 March 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Ken Liss, Boston University Libraries

In 2014, the Brookline Historical Society was given a tiny photo album with postage stamp-sized photos of 48 Brookline and Boston children. Written inside the front cover were the name Mamie Williams and the date March 16, 1882. Who was Mamie Williams? Who were the children pictured in her album? What became of them as adults? Months of research by Liss led to answers to these questions and to some fascinating stories about the offspring of Edward Atkinson, H.H. Richardson, Moorefield Storey, as well as stories of Brookline and Boston society. In this presentation, Liss tells the tale of this album and the people inside it.

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Early American History Seminar A History of Violence: The Harpe Murders and the Legacies of the American Revolution 7 March 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Kate Grandjean, Wellesley College Comment: Eliga Gould, University of New Hampshire

This paper looks at a series of murders in Appalachia in the 1790s, committed by former loyalists. By following the lives of the Harpe brothers, who left a trail of blood through early Tennessee and Kentucky, it explores the violent legacies of the American Revolution—especially in the southern borderlands. 

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Brown Bag Inventing Citizens: Patents, Inventors, and Civil Rights 8 March 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Kara Swanson, Northeastern University

Beginning with the Constitutional Convention, Americans created the world's most accessible patent system. As the system and the republic grew together, Americans came to consider issued patents both a measurement of their national progress and proof of the desirable qualities possessed by the wide swath of Americans who obtained patents. This project examines this foundational relationship by demonstrating how the patent system became a resource for marginalized groups making claims to full civil rights, particularly women and African Americans.  

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Member Event, Special Event SOLD OUT: The Irish Atlantic Fellows & Members Preview Reception 9 March 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM Please note that this event is sold out. This event is open only to MHS Fellows and Members. William M. Fowler, Northeastern University The Irish Atlantic

Watch the recording of this event, embedded below:

Please note that this event is sold out.To put your name on a waiting list, please call our RSVP line at 617-646-0578.

MHS Fellows and Members are invited to a special program, reception, and chance to preview The Irish Atlantic. The exhibition explores 175 years of the Irish in Boston. Guest curator William Fowler will give an overview, beginning with a look at the Irish community in Massachusetts stretching back into the 18th century, through famine relief efforts led by Capt. Robert Bennet Forbes at the helm of the Jamestown, to a mass migration movement, decades of community and institutional building, and a rise in political power.

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Exhibition The Irish Atlantic this event is free 10 March 2017 to 22 September 2017 Open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM

Explore 175 years of the Irish in Boston from the founding of the Charitable Irish Society in 1737, through famine relief efforts led by Capt. Robert Bennet Forbes at the helm of the Jamestown, to a mass migration movement, decades of community and institutional building, and a rise in political power. The exhibition is co-sponsored by the MHS and the Forbes House Museum.

See the exhibit’s companion website for an overview, timeline, and more videos about the Irish in Boston.

Watch this video for an overview of the exhibit by guest curator William M. Fowler, Distinguished Professor of History at Northeastern University.

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Brown Bag A Constitutional Lost Cause: The Fifteenth Amendment in American Memory and Political Culture, 1870-1920 10 March 2017.Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Stephen A. West, The Catholic University of America

Initially hailed by supporters as the fulfillment of America’s democratic promise, the Fifteenth Amendment would, within a few decades, be nullified in the southern states and regarded by many white Americans as a constitutional mistake. This talk examines how Americans—across lines of race, region, and party—placed the voting rights amendment at the center of their memories of Reconstruction, and how those memories shaped their debates about citizenship and the very nature of the Constitution.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 11 March 2017.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: The Irish Atlantic: A Story of Famine Migration and Opportunity.

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Building Closed Due to inclement weather the MHS will be closed on 14 March 2017.Tuesday, all day

Due to inclement weather the MHS library and galleries will be closed on Tuesday, 14 March.  

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Environmental History Seminar, Postponed Postponed:
The Winter Workscape: Weather and the Meaning of Industrial Capitalism in the Northern Forest, 1850-1950
14 March 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Jason L. Newton, Syracuse University Comment: Richard W. Judd, University of Maine

POSTPONED: This program has been rescheduled for May 16, 2017.

Industrial logging operators used the winter weather, wood, simple machines, and muscle power alone to increase the production and transportation of saw logs to reach industrial scale and efficiency. Drawing on methods from environmental and labor history and the history of slavery and capitalism, this essay characterizes industrial capitalism as a force that will sustain seemingly anachronistic modes of production as long as they remain profitable. It shows that increased efficiency and scale need not always lead to massive carbon emissions.

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Public Program, Conversation, Cooking Boston Cooking Boston: Refined to Rustic 15 March 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Keith Stavely, Kelly Erby and moderator Barbara Wheaton Boston Codfish Balls ad - Cooking Boston series

Watch the recording of this event, embedded below:

Program 1: Refined to Rustic
Keith Stavely will explore the role Boston has played from being the home of early European refinement to the rise of the Colonial Revival rustic dishes. Kelly Erby will explore the role of restaurants and the rise of commercial dining in the increasingly urban landscape of nineteenth century Boston. Barbara Wheaton will lead a discussion on how the Hub has shaped American culinary culture through cookbooks and changing perceptions of the city.


Cooking Boston: How the Hub Shaped the American Diet 

This series of programs will explore the culinary history of Boston and the impact the city has had on the American diet. In the first half of the 19th century, Boston had a reputation as the center for European taste and refinement. By the end of the 19th century, the Colonial Revival movement nationally popularized foods like Boston baked beans and Yankee pot-roast shifting Boston’s image from refined to rustic. In the 20th century, Boston clung to two identities: that of thrifty Puritans and of cosmopolitanism through education. This created some remarkably bland food but also made the city fertile ground for a culinary revolution. In the 1960s, chefs like Julia Child and Joyce Chen brought the flavors of the world to America through Boston.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 18 March 2017.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: The Irish Atlantic: A Story of Famine Migration and Opportunity.

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Public Program, Author Talk, Politics of Taste Politics of Taste: Republic of Taste 20 March 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Catherine E. Kelly, University of Oklahoma Politics of Taste series - Mary Otis Gray

Program 1: Republic of Taste
Republic of TasteWhether Americans believed that taste was innate or acquired, it was widely believed that shared aesthetic sensibilities connected like-minded individuals and that shared affinities advanced the public good and held great promise for the American republic. Catherine E. Kelly demonstrates how American thinkers acknowledged the similarities between aesthetics and politics in order to wrestle with questions about power and authority. In the years following independence, ordinary women and men reassured themselves that taste revealed larger truths about an individual's character and potential for republican citizenship.

 

 


Politics of Taste

Three authors will explore how the development of manners and taste in colonial America and the early republic were not just a statement of aesthetics but were also ways to define political identity and create shared affinities. This journey through the study of material culture with show how the politics of politeness helped define American thought. 

Other programs in the series 

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Brown Bag Love in the Time of Mutual Assured Destruction: Rethinking Cold War Rationality 22 March 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Marie Burks, MIT

The nuclear strategy of mutual assured destruction has come to symbolize the prevailing rationality of the atomic age. This talk will highlight the work of intellectuals who deployed alternative rationalities to challenge the assumptions underlying not only nuclear strategy but also U.S. Cold War policy more broadly. These thinkers argued that, alongside familiar tools of Cold War rationality such as game theory, love and empathy were just as critical to a full understanding of social conflict.

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Public Program, Author Talk, Politics of Taste Portrait of a Woman in Silk: Hidden Histories of the British Atlantic World 23 March 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Zara Anishanslin, University of Delaware

Program 2: Portrait of a Woman in Silk

Through the story of a portrait of a woman in a silk dress, historian Zara Anishanslin embarks on a journey, exploring and refining debates about the cultural history of the eighteenth-century British Atlantic world. She examines the worlds of four people who produced, wore, and represented this object: a London weaver, one of early modern Britain’s few women silk designers, a Philadelphia merchant’s wife, and a New England painter. Anishanslin shows how making, buying, and using goods in the British Atlantic created an object-based community that tied its inhabitants together, while also allowing for different views of the Empire.

Politics of Taste

Three authors will explore how the development of manners and taste in colonial America and the early republic were not just a statement of aesthetics but were also ways to define political identity and create shared affinities. This journey through the study of material culture with show how the politics of politeness helped define American thought. 

Other programs in the series 

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Public Program, Conversation Begin at the Beginning: Slavery in Early Boston 25 March 2017.Saturday, 1:00PM - 3:00PM Kerri Greenidge, Tufts University and the University of Massachusetts, Boston

"Slavery in Early Boston" is the first of three Partnership of Historic Bostons discussions this spring about slavery and servitude in early Massachusetts. 

This discussion will explore Samuel Sewall's forceful and controversial pamphlet, The Selling of Joseph; notwithstanding his reputation as a Salem witch trial judge, Sewall advocated abolition (although he did not believe black and white people could live together) and entered into a fierce pamphlet war with his slaveowning neighbor John Saffin. We will also examine the "uncommon sufferings" of Briton Hammon, abducted into slavery for many years before returning home to Boston.

Led by Prof. Kerri Greenidge of Tufts and UMass-Boston, this open group discussion will be about our responses to readings of primary texts about slavery in early Boston (17th and 18th centuries), including Samuel Sewall's The Selling of Joseph, and A Narrative of Uncommon Sufferings by Briton Hammon.

Please note that this is a reaing discussion group, not a lecture. All participants are expected to have read the following two primary texts for this discussion:

The Selling of Joseph, by Samuel Sewell

A Narrative of the Uncommon Sufferings, and Surprizing Deliverance of Briton Hammon

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Public Program, The Irish Atlantic The Mission of the Jamestown 27 March 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. William Fowler, Jr., Northeastern University; Christine Kinealy, Director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute, Quinnipiac University; Catherine Shannon, Professor Emerita of History, Westfield State University

The Irish Atlantic Series

As news of the Irish Famine made its way across the Atlantic, the citizens of Boston rallied to help. In 1847, a relief mission was organized and authorized by Congress, allowing the Secretary of the Navy to place two Naval ships—the Jamestown from Boston and the Macedonian from NYC—under civilian command to bring relief to Ireland. Capt. Robert Bennet Forbes, the head of Russell and Co, the largest American trading house in China, led the mission from Boston. He mobilized the city's citizens and merchants and amassed tons of food relief. William Fowler, guest curator for The Irish Atlantic, will lead a discussion with Catherine Shannon and Christine Kinealy on the relief efforts of the Jamestown on the eve of the 170th anniversary of its voyage.

Panelists:
Catherine Shannon - Professor Emerita of History, Westfield State University
Christine Kinealy - Director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute, Quinnipiac University
William Fowler, Jr. - Distinguished Professor of History, Northeastern University

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar, The Irish Atlantic Moving News, Affecting Relief: The Irish Famine’s Trans-Atlantic Circulations 28 March 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Anelise H. Shrout, California State University, Fullerton Comment: Kevin Kenny, Boston College

The ships that carried Irish famine victims across the Atlantic also carried tragic accounts of those left behind; in response, North Americans sent millions of dollars to relieve rural suffering. This paper argues that exploring the interactions between these various circulations reveals a tension between aiding strangers overseas and welcoming them in American cities. Further, it demonstrates that Americans’ decisions to send funds overseas were deeply conditioned by the political utility of those donations at home.

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Brown Bag An Actor’s Tale: Theater, Culture, and Everyday Life in Nineteenth-Century U.S. America 29 March 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Amy Hughes, Brooklyn College, CUNY

Hughes will discuss her monograph-in-progress, inspired by the diary of U.S. actor Harry Watkins (1825-1894). In “An Actor’s Tale,” she deploys Watkins’s diary in order to offer an “alternative theater history” focusing on workaday laborers in the antebellum entertainment industry. She draws on the voluminous details in the manuscript to expose heretofore neglected or misunderstood aspects of U.S. theater culture during the 1800s while also shedding light on the trials and tribulations of everyday life during the tumultuous years leading up to the Civil War.

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Public Program, Author Talk, Politics of Taste Tea Sets and Tyranny: The Politics of Politeness in Early America 29 March 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Steven C. Bullock, Worcester Polytechnic University

Even as eighteenth-century thinkers from John Locke to Thomas Jefferson struggled to find effective means to restrain power, contemporary discussions of society gave increasing attention to ideals of refinement, moderation, and polished self-presentation. These two sets of ideas have long seemed separate, one dignified as political theory, the other primarily concerned with manners and material culture. Tea Sets and Tyranny challenges that division. In its original context, Steven C. Bullock suggests, politeness also raised important issues of power, leadership, and human relationships. This politics of politeness helped make opposition to overbearing power central to early American thought and practice.

 

Politics of Taste

Three authors will explore how the development of manners and taste in colonial America and the early republic were not just a statement of aesthetics but were also ways to define political identity and create shared affinities. This journey through the study of material culture with show how the politics of politeness helped define American thought. 

Other programs in the series 

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MHS Tour CANCELLED: The History and Collections of the MHS 1 April 2017.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: The Irish Atlantic: A Story of Famine Migration and Opportunity.

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Library Closed Due to inclement weather the MHS library and galleries will be closed 1 April 2017.Saturday, all day

Due to weather conditions on Friday night and predictions for Saturday, the library is CLOSED on Saturday, 4/1. 

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Early American History Seminar Promotional Literature and Identity in Colonial Massachusetts 4 April 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Agnès Delahaye, Université Lumière Lyon II Comment: Conrad E. Wright, Massachusetts Historical Society

This essay will examine the institutional and cultural factors behind promotional literature, the body of colonial sources written for metropolitan audiences. All share the common intent of promoting, or defending, the political or economic choices made by the colonists as their communities were taking shape. The essay will detail the tropes and expressions of the commonality of purpose that Delahaye sees in most New England historiography. It will also explore the relationship between colonial historiography and exceptionalism in the New England tradition.

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Brown Bag A Fear of Foreigners and of Freedom: Ideological Exclusion and Deportation in America 5 April 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Julia Rose Kraut, Historical Society of the New York Courts

This talk will examine the history of the exclusion and deportation of foreigners from the United States based on their beliefs, associations, and/or expressions, from the Alien Act of 1798 to the War on Terror.  It will illustrate that this history reflects a perennial fear of subversion in America, and that during moments of national insecurity, the United States has consistently and continuously depicted foreigners as the source of subversion and has used ideological exclusion and deportation as tools to suppress the free expression of radicalism and dissent.     

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 8 April 2017.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: The Irish Atlantic: A Story of Famine Migration and Opportunity.

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Public Program, Author Talk Creating Acadia National Park: The Biography of George Bucknam Dorr 10 April 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Ronald Epp

Although he is known as the “Father of Acadia,” George Bucknam Dorr’s seminal contributions to the American environmental movement have gone largely unacknowledged. This biography is the story of Dorr’s pioneering role. Raised in Boston, Dorr adopted Maine’s Mount Desert Island as his home and the setting to apply the practical lessons of “Boston Brahmin” philanthropy. Through his finest work—the creation and management of Acadia National Park—and through his collaborations with park co-founders Charles W. Eliot, John D. Rockefeller Jr., and others—Dorr transformed an elitist social inheritance into an all-consuming commitment to conservation.

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Environmental History Seminar Panel: Fishing the Commons 11 April 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Erik Reardon, University of Maine at Orono, and Stacy Roberts, University of California, Davis Comment: Matthew McKenzie, University of Connecticut at Avery Point

Reardon’s paper, “New England’s Pre-Industrial River Commons: Culture and Economy,” argues for the persistence of a river commons long after population growth and market pressures undermined the prospects for shared lands. Roberts’s essay, “The Private Commons: Oyster Planting in 19th-century Connecticut,” explain why Connecticut developed a dual system of public and private oyster production over the course of the 19th century by weaving together a history of the environment, law, and capitalism.

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Brown Bag Radical Enlightenment in the Struggle over Slavery 12 April 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Matthew Stewart, author of Nature's God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic

Frederick Douglass owed a substantial intellectual debt to the controversial German philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach. The militant abolitionist Theodore Parker relied on a wide range of philosophers hailing from the radical edges of the European Enlightenment. Abraham Lincoln’s political thought reflects in part the influence of Parker, Douglass, and their philosophical sources. This talk will draw material from a work in progress to lead a discussion about the role of Enlightenment ideas in shaping abolitionism, anti-slavery politics, and the Civil War.

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Public Program, The Irish Atlantic The Rise and Fall of the American Party 12 April 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Peter Drummey, Stephen T. Riley Librarian, Massachusetts Historical Society

The Irish Atlantic Series

Secretive nativist societies began to form in the 1840s in response to large-scale immigration of Irish and German Catholics. By the 1850s, these organizations coalesced into the American Party—commonly referred to as the “Know Nothings” because members would not reveal any information about their movement. The American Party advocated for severe restrictions on immigration and citizenship and in 1854 swept the Massachusetts election, winning all state offices and all but four seats in the legislature. In seven years the state had gone from launching an Irish relief mission with the sailing of the Jamestown to strident nativist sentiment. Peter Drummey will look at the meteoric rise of the American Party as well as its rapid decline with the approach of the Civil War.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 15 April 2017.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: The Irish Atlantic: A Story of Famine Migration and Opportunity.

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Building Closed Patriots' Day 17 April 2017.Monday, all day

The MHS is CLOSED for Patriots' Day. 

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The Irish Atlantic, Public Program Make Your Own Comic: The Jamestown Relief Mission to Ireland 18 April 2017.Tuesday, 2:00PM - 3:30PM

Come to MHS during the school vacation week for a hands-on history program. Historians will tell participants a story related to Irish immigration: the famine relief mission from Boston to Ireland led by Robert Bennet Forbes aboard the Jamestown.  After the talk, local comic book artists will help the young historians make their own historical comic depicting stories of Irish immigration.

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Teacher Workshop, The Irish Atlantic Boston to the Rescue: Robert B. Forbes & Irish Famine Relief 20 April 2017.Thursday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM Registration fee: $25 (free for students)

On April 12, 1847, Boston merchant Robert Bennet Forbes arrived in Ireland aboard the USS Jamestown. The ship carried more than 8,000 barrels of food and provisions to the island’s inhabitants at the height of the Great Famine. We will explore the history of early Irish immigration to Boston and the tensions that divided Catholic immigrants and Protestant New Englanders in the 1830s and 1840s. Despite their differences, private citizens and local organizations rallied to provide indispensable humanitarian aid to a nation in need.

This program is open to K-12 educators. Teachers can earn 22.5 PDPs and 1 graduate credit (for an additional fee).

Please email education@masshist.org or call 617-646-0557 for more information or to register.

Image: The USS Jamestown, by George M. Atkinson, Forbes House Museum.

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History of Women and Gender Seminar Sadie Alexander, Black Women’s Work, and Economic Citizenship during the New Deal Era 20 April 2017.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:30PM Lauren Meyer, Yale University Comment: Martin Summers, Boston College

This essay argues that Sadie Alexander, the first black woman to earn a Ph.D. in economics and a successful practicing lawyer, offered an alternative, black feminist definition of economic citizenship that shifted discourses on the relationship between race, gender, labor, and the meaning of citizenship. Alexander positioned black women’s paid labor as a potential source of strength: for black women themselves, for national economic wellbeing, and for the movement for black first-class citizenship.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 22 April 2017.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: The Irish Atlantic: A Story of Famine Migration and Opportunity.

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Interreligious Responses to the Settlement House Movement, 1880-1924 25 April 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Anne M. Blankenship, North Dakota State University Comment: Kristen Petersen, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

By 1913, over 400 settlement houses catered to immigrants and laborers across the United States. This paper analyzes how Catholic and Jewish immigrant communities in New York City responded to the Protestant origins and agenda of their benefactors prior to the 1920s, when many houses secularized activities in order to receive money from the Community Chest. Parties concerned about evangelism generally responded in one of two ways: public denouncement of specific houses and/or the development of alternative community centers to promote non-Protestant traditions.

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Library Closed Library Closed 26 April 2017.Wednesday, all day

The library is closed all day for a staff development event.

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Public Program, Author Talk John Quincy Adams and the Politics of Slavery: Selections from the Diary 26 April 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. David Waldstreicher and Matthew Mason

In the final years of his political career, President John Quincy Adams was known for his objections to slavery. As a young statesman, however, he supported slavery. What changed? Entries from Adams's personal diary reveal a highly dynamic and accomplished politician in engagement with one of his generation's most challenging national dilemmas. David Waldstreicher and Matthew Mason offer an unusual perspective on the dramatic and shifting politics of slavery in the early republic. By juxtaposing Adams's personal reflections on slavery with what he said-and did not say-publicly on the issue, the editors offer a nuanced portrait of how he interacted with prevailing ideologies during his consequential career and life.

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Public Program, Cooking Boston Cooking Boston: Eating Other People's Food 27 April 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Alex Prud'homme, Laura Shapiro, Stephen Chen and Moderator Megan Sniffin-Marinoff

Program 2: Eating Other People's Food
In the second half of the 20th century, Americans were re-introduced to the food of the world. Most famously, Julia Child in Cambridge and James Beard in New York brought fine cooking into American living rooms. They were not alone in pushing the culinary envelope. In Cambridge, Design Research was making cookware fashionable and Joyce Chen was convincing Americans they could cook Mandarin cuisine. The expansion of the American palate that began with television chefs continued with restaurants across greater Boston and helped reshape the idea of dinner.


Cooking Boston: How the Hub Shaped the American Diet 

This six program series will explore the culinary history of Boston and the impact the city has had on the American diet. In the first half of the 19th century, Boston had a reputation as the center for European taste and refinement. By the end of the 19th century, the Colonial Revival movement nationally popularized foods like Boston baked beans and Yankee pot-roast shifting Boston’s image from refined to rustic. In the 20th century, Boston clung to two identities: that of thrifty Puritans and of cosmopolitanism through education. This created some remarkably bland food but also made the city fertile ground for a culinary revolution. In the 1960s, chefs like Julia Child and Joyce Chen brought the flavors of the world to America through Boston.

The series will run from March through June of 2017. See the other programs in the series

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Teacher Workshop Civil Rights in America 29 April 2017.Saturday, 9:00AM - 2:15PM This program is SOLD OUT.

The Civil Rights Movement in America has endured a difficult and tumultuous path. The Emancipation Proclamation ended the institution of slavery. The Fourteenth Amendment should have guaranteed freedoms, equality and civil rights for all men, however it would take many generations of hardships and court cases for that reality to be achieved. This seminar addresses the complicated road endured by African Americans. Dr. Peter Myers, Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, will serve as discussion leader.

This event is sponsored by the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University, and is made possible thanks to a grant from the Lincoln and Theresa Filene Foundation.

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