January

Biography Seminar Writing Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom 24 January 2019.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM RSVP required David Blight, Yale University Carol Bundy, author of The Nature of Sacrifice (host) Join us for a conversation with David Blight about the challenges of writing his biography of ...

Join us for a conversation with David Blight about the challenges of writing his biography of Frederick Douglass, the fugitive slave who became America's greatest orator of the nineteenth century. Blight, a prolific author and winner of the Bancroft Prize among other awards, has spent a career preparing himself for this biography, which has been praised as “a stunning achievement,” “brilliant and compassionate,” and “incandescent.” Carol Bundy, author of The Nature of Sacrifice, will host.

THIS SESSION IS NOW CLOSED!

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Public Program People before Highways Day Rally: 1969 + 50! 25 January 2019.Friday, 1:30PM - 2:45PM Please RSVP   Join activists, residents and our allies on the State House steps to mark the 50th anniversary of ...

Join activists, residents and our allies on the State House steps to mark the 50th anniversary of the successful movement to stop the Interstate-95 highway from tearing through greater Boston. Come remember this historic day and offer bold wishes for the future of the Commonwealth. We rally to honor our shared legacy of tireless grassroots activism and to reflect on the urgent work that remains unfinished. RAIN or SHINE

 

1:30 pm Assemble on State House steps

 

2:00 pm Enter State House

 

Collaborating Partners

Historic Boston, Inc.

MIT CoLab

Mel King Institute/Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations

Massachusetts Historical Society

Northeastern University Archives & Special Collections

Haymarket People’s Fund

Massachusetts Communities Action Network

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Better Teaching through Technology, 1945-1969 29 January 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Victoria Cain, Northeastern University Comment: Heather Hendershot, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Uncertainty about media technology’s affective and political power plagued post-World War II ...

Uncertainty about media technology’s affective and political power plagued post-World War II efforts to expand media use in schools around the nation. Would foundations or federal agencies use screen media to strengthen participatory democracy and local control or to undermine it? Was screen media a neutral technology? This paper argues that educational technology foundered or flourished not solely on the merits of its pedagogical utility, but also as a result of changing ideas about the relationship between citizenship and pictorial screen media.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Brown Bag Superannuated: Old Age and Slavery’s Economy 30 January 2019.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Nathaniel Windon, Pennsylvania State University Plantation owners demarcated elderly enslaved laborers as “superannuated” in their ...

Plantation owners demarcated elderly enslaved laborers as “superannuated” in their logbooks. This talk examines some of the implications of locating the origin of old age on the antebellum American plantation

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Public Program, Conversation The Great Molasses Flood Revisited: Misremembered Molasses 31 January 2019.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Stephen Puleo; Allison Lange, Wentworth Institute of Technology; Gavin Kleespies, MHS; and moderator Rev. Stephen T. Ayres Please note: This program will be held at Old South Meeting House. The Great Molasses Flood of 1919, when remembered, is often interpreted in a dismissive, comical ...

The Great Molasses Flood of 1919, when remembered, is often interpreted in a dismissive, comical manner. How does this case compare with other incidences of historical events that are interpreted or "curated" at the expense of accuracy and respect for human experience? How can we bring complexity back to events that have long been relegated to the realm of local folklore? Local scholars will discuss the question of misunderstood history by looking at the Great Molasses Flood, the fight for women's suffrage and Leif Erickson.

This program is a collaboration between the MHS and Old South Meeting House. It will be held at Old South Meeting House at 310 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02108.

This program is made possible with funding from the Lowell Institute.

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February
MHS Tour Canceled: The History and Collections of the MHS 2 February 2019.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.

 

 

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Public Program Mentioning Unmentionables: An Exploration of Victorian Underclothes 4 February 2019.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Astrida Schaeffer There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders). Nineteenth century fashion shaped and added to the body in a variety of ways. This inside tour of ...

Nineteenth century fashion shaped and added to the body in a variety of ways. This inside tour of the myths and realities of Victorian corsets, crinolines, bustles and more introduces ladies who challenge our stereotype of the tiny-waisted, fainting Victorian woman, shares what critics thought of these fashion trends, and reveals the clever illusions that made waists seem smaller than they really were.

 

 

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Early American History Seminar Colonial Mints and the Rise of Technocratic Expertise in the British Atlantic, 1650-1715 5 February 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Mara Caden, MHS-NEH Fellow Comment: Penelope Ismay, Boston College (Previously titled: Making Money in the Massachusetts Bay Colony: the Boston Mint, 1652-1686) ...

(Previously titled: Making Money in the Massachusetts Bay Colony: the Boston Mint, 1652-1686)

Governors, assemblies, and inhabitants of Britain’s American colonies routinely tried to set up mints to coin money during the seventeenth century, including in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. This paper explains why every effort to establish a mint in British America failed, with the exception of the Boston mint, and why the mint in Boston was shut down in the 1680s. It explores the ways in which the Officers of the Royal Mint employed technical knowledge to curtail monetary autonomy in Britain’s overseas dominions. Finally, it examines the rise and fall of a strategy that colonial governments used to try to attract foreign coins to their shores in lieu of minting their own money.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Brown Bag To Make a Breathing Picture: John Singleton Copley’s Disturbingly Vital Portraits in Enlightened Boston 6 February 2019.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Caroline Culp, Stanford University This talk uncovers a peculiar desire of mid-18th century art: to make pictures so realistic they ...

This talk uncovers a peculiar desire of mid-18th century art: to make pictures so realistic they seemed to live and breathe. Focusing on Boston artist John Singleton Copley (1738-1815) and poet Phillis Wheatley (c. 1753-1784), among other cultural figures, it explores superstitious beliefs that lingered in an enlightened, empirical, and rational citizenry.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 9 February 2019.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.

 

 

 

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Public Program, Author Talk Lincoln & the Jews: A History 11 February 2019.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Jonathan D. Sarna, Brandeis University There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders). Historian Jonathan D. Sarna reveals how Lincoln’s remarkable relationship with American Jews ...

Historian Jonathan D. Sarna reveals how Lincoln’s remarkable relationship with American Jews impacted both his path to the presidency and his policy decisions as president. Expressing a uniquely deep knowledge of the Old Testament, employing its language and concepts in some of his most important writings, Lincoln also befriended Jews from a young age, promoted Jewish equality, and appointed numerous Jews to public office.

 

 

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Environmental History Seminar Amputated from the Land: Black Refugees from America and the Neglected Voices of Environmental History 12 February 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Bryon Williams, Academy at Penguin Hall Comment: John Stauffer, Harvard University This paper focuses on dictated narratives from the 1840s and ‘50s, accounts delivered by ...

This paper focuses on dictated narratives from the 1840s and ‘50s, accounts delivered by blacks who fled the U.S. to settle in the wilds of Ontario. These first-person accounts of environmental encounter and expertise are unrivaled in depth, breadth, and detail among black ecological writing of any era. New environmental histories need such accounts that not only counter dominant American environmental and political myths, but offer black-lived stories of environmental belonging and agency.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Public Program, Conversation Peter J. Gomes Memorial Book Prize Ceremony 13 February 2019.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Douglas L. Winiarski and Stephen Marini Registration is required at no cost. Please join us for a special evening in which Douglas L. Winiarski will receive the 2018 Gomes Prize ...

Please join us for a special evening in which Douglas L. Winiarski will receive the 2018 Gomes Prize for Darkness Falls on the Land of Light: Experiencing Religious Awakenings in 18th-Century New England. Winiarski will join historian Stephen Marini in a conversation about religious revivalism and the shaping influence of religious awakenings on faith and culture in eighteenth-century New England.

 

 

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 16 February 2019.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.

 

 

 

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Library Closed Library Closed 18 February 2019.Monday, all day The Library and Exhibition Galleries are CLOSED for Presidents' Day. The building opens at 5:00PM ...

The Library and Exhibition Galleries are CLOSED for Presidents' Day. The building opens at 5:00PM for visitors attending the evening program.

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Public Program, Author Talk Separate: The Story of Plessy v. Ferguson & America’s Journey from Slavery to Segregation 18 February 2019.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Steve Luxenberg, Washington Post Associate Editor There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders). Steve Luxenberg presents a myth-shattering narrative of how a nation embraced &ldquo ...

Steve Luxenberg presents a myth-shattering narrative of how a nation embraced “separation” and its pernicious consequences. Plessy v. Ferguson, the Supreme Court case synonymous with “separate but equal,” created remarkably little stir when the justices announced their near-unanimous decision on May 18, 1896. Yet it is one of the most compelling and dramatic stories of the nineteenth century, whose outcome embraced and protected segregation, and whose reverberations are still felt into the twenty-first.

 

 

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History of Women and Gender Seminar Panel: Feminist Economics 19 February 2019.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM RSVP required Location: Knafel Center, Radcliffe Institute Danielle L. Dumaine, University of Connecticut, and Julie R. Enszer, University of Mississippi Comment: Juliet Schor, Boston College These papers begin a conversation on the intersection of the study of the women’s liberation ...

These papers begin a conversation on the intersection of the study of the women’s liberation movement with the history of capitalism. Danielle Dumaine’s paper, “Sisterhood of Debt: Feminist Credit Unions, Community, and Women’s Liberation,” examines the role of Feminist Credit Unions in the women’s liberation movement. Julie Enszer’s paper, “‘a feminist understanding of economics based on a revolutionary set of values’: Feminist Economic Theories and Practices,” looks at the feminist organizations that created the Feminist Economic Network.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Teacher Workshop Teaching the Industrial Revolution in Massachusetts 20 February 2019.Wednesday, 9:30AM - 4:00PM Please RSVP   Registration fee: $25 per person Lowell’s water-powered textile mills catapulted the nation – including immigrant ...

Lowell’s water-powered textile mills catapulted the nation – including immigrant families and early female factory workers – into an uncertain new industrial era. Nearly 200 years later, the changes that began here still reverberate in our shifting global economy. Hosted in partnership with the Tsongas Industrial History Center, this workshop will explore the history of industrial growth in New England and its impact on immigration, labor movements, women’s rights, and communities in New England and beyond.

Note: This workshop will be taking place off-site at the Tsongas Industrial History Center in Lowell, MA.

This program is open to all K-12 educators. Teachers can earn 22.5 Professional Development Points or 1 graduate credit (for an additional fee).

If you have any questions, please contact Kate Melchior at education@masshist.org or 617-646-0588.

 

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African American History Seminar Mourning in America: Black Men in a White House 21 February 2019.Thursday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Leah Wright Rigueur, Harvard Kennedy School Comment: Elizabeth Hinton, Harvard University This paper focuses on the 1980s HUD Scandal, wherein contractors, developers, lobbyists, HUD ...

This paper focuses on the 1980s HUD Scandal, wherein contractors, developers, lobbyists, HUD officials, and others misappropriated billions in federal monies set aside for low-income housing. Of particular interest are the intertwined stories of two African Americans: Samuel R. Pierce, Ronald Reagan’s HUD Secretary, and Kimi Gray, a Washington, D.C. public housing activist. In exploring these narratives, this paper aims to complicate our understanding of the “Black 1980s,” the Ronald Reagan-led White House, and democracy in post-civil rights America.

 

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Public Program, Conversation Uncivil Society 21 February 2019.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Julian E. Zelizer, Princeton University; Michael Tomasky, Democracy; and Robin Young, WBUR and NPR There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders). American political discourse has become so dysfunctional it is hard to imagine reaching a national ...

American political discourse has become so dysfunctional it is hard to imagine reaching a national consensus on almost anything. Longstanding historical fault lines over income inequality, racial division, gender roles, and sexual norms coupled with starkly different senses of economic opportunity in rural and urban America have fueled a polarized political landscape. Julian E. Zelizer, Fault Lines: A History of the United States Since 1974, and Michael Tomasky, If We Can Keep It: How the Republic Collapsed and How it Might Be Saved, and Robin Young, co-host of Here & Now on WBUR and NPR, will discuss how we got here and if there is a way back.

 

 

 

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 23 February 2019.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.

 

 

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Our Own Orient: Mecca, California, and Dates 26 February 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Eleanor Daly Finnegan, Harvard University Comment: Laura Barraclough, Yale University Residents changed the name of Walters, California to Mecca in 1904. They were trying to use the ...

Residents changed the name of Walters, California to Mecca in 1904. They were trying to use the exoticism of the Middle East to sell dates. This paper will focus on Mecca, California and the Indio Date Festival, looking at the complicated ways in which Orientalism has changed in the United States, its relationship to consumerism, and the economic connections made to the Middle East.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Public Program You Are What You Wear? Navigating Fashion & Politics in New England, 1760s–1770s 27 February 2019.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception 5:30. Kimberly Alexander, University of New Hampshire There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders). Our guest curator will explore the social values placed on luxury and thrift in New England in the ...

Our guest curator will explore the social values placed on luxury and thrift in New England in the late 18th century. What messages were telegraphed by a person’s clothing and how were these understood? Did everyone in society read these messages the same way or were there statements only meant to be understood by a select few?

 

 

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Public Program, Conversation The Great Molasses Flood Revisited: Labor and the Molasses Flood 28 February 2019.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-program reception at 5:30. Stephen Puleo; Robert Forrant, UMass Lowell; and moderator Karilyn Crockett Please note: This program will be held at Old South Meeting House. After the collapse of an industrial tank of molasses left a North End neighborhood devastated, a ...

After the collapse of an industrial tank of molasses left a North End neighborhood devastated, a legal battle for reparations ensued, prompting questions about the role and responsibilities of businesses within a community. Using the Molasses Flood as an historical backdrop, this panel will explore questions around labor rights and safety, the function of government regulations and the relationship between the public and big business interests; issues that still resonate today as modern Bostonians grapple with a changing corporate landscape and city-wide gentrification.

This program is a collaboration between the MHS and Old South Meeting House. It will be held at Old South Meeting House at 310 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02108.

This program is made possible with funding from the Lowell Institute.

 

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March
MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 2 March 2019.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.

 

 

 

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Early American History Seminar Parson Weems: Maker and Remaker 5 March 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Steven C. Bullock, Worcester Polytechnic Institute Comment: Elizabeth Maddock-Dillon, Northeastern University This paper argues that Mason Locke Weems’s biography of George Washington built a bridge ...

This paper argues that Mason Locke Weems’s biography of George Washington built a bridge between Washington and the world of Abraham Lincoln and Ellen Montgomery. Weems’s stories were not just expressing early-19th century cultural commonplaces, but helping to create them. The paper connects these transformations with Weems’s work to recover Weems’s importance within his own time.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Brown Bag A Meaningful Subjection: Coercive Inequality and Indigenous Political Economy in the Colonial Northeast 6 March 2019.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Peter Olsen-Harbich, College of William and Mary This talk presents archaeological and documentary evidence of indigenous authority structures and ...

This talk presents archaeological and documentary evidence of indigenous authority structures and law enforcement in northeastern North America in the period immediately prior to European settlement. It then evaluates European comprehension of indigenous mechanisms of rule enforcement, and the degree to which awareness of them factored into designs for colonization.

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Public Program, Author Talk Household Gods: The Religious Lives of the Adams Family 6 March 2019.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception 5:30. Sara Georgini, MHS There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders). Reflecting on his past, President John Adams mused that it was religion that had shaped his ...

Reflecting on his past, President John Adams mused that it was religion that had shaped his family’s fortunes and young America’s future. Globetrotters who chronicled their religious journeys extensively, the Adamses ultimately developed a cosmopolitan Christianity that blended discovery and criticism, faith and doubt. Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/abigail_adams_1764_image.jpgSara Georgini demonstrates how pivotal Christianity—as the different generations understood it—was in shaping the family’s decisions, great and small.

This event is part of our Remember Abigail programming.

 

 

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 9 March 2019.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.

 

 

 

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Environmental History Seminar Biological Exchange in the Pacific World in the Age of Industrial Sugarcane Plantations 12 March 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Lawrence Kessler, Consortium for the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine Comment: Nancy Shoemaker, University of Connecticut This paper traces how sugarcane planters directed circulations of plant and animal species in the ...

This paper traces how sugarcane planters directed circulations of plant and animal species in the Pacific World. This new biological exchange served the political and economic interests of the plantation owners and their allies. Planters, however, were unable to control the biological exchange processes they created. This paper thus argues that through the creation of new patterns of biological exchange, sugarcane plantations induced ecological changes throughout the Pacific World.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Brown Bag Beyond the Boundaries of Childhood: Black Children's Cultural and Political Resistance 13 March 2019.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Crystal Webster, University of Texas at San Antonio This talk examines the lives of African American children in Philadelphia, New York, and Boston ...

This talk examines the lives of African American children in Philadelphia, New York, and Boston during the late-18th to early-20th centuries by focusing on Black children's labor, play, and schooling. It argues that northern Black children intersected shifting constructions of race and childhood, as a group upon which society experimented with treatments of the newly recognized social category of the child, and came to terms with the social and economic place of the nascent free Black community.

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Public Program, Conversation The Great Molasses Flood Revisited: Immigrants in an Industrial Accident 14 March 2019.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Stephen Puleo; Marilynn Johnson, Boston College; Jim Vrabel; and moderator Peter Drummey This program will be held at MHS. Nearly 60 percent of Italian immigrants living in the North End in the early 20th century lacked ...

Nearly 60 percent of Italian immigrants living in the North End in the early 20th century lacked legal citizenship, diminishing their political voice when the Purity Distilling Company erected a shoddily built molasses tank in their densely populated neighborhood. The tragedy that followed is a central event in Boston’s urban and immigrant history and still elicits questions as to the rights of non-citizen residents and the responsibilities of city governments to protect vulnerable communities. The final panel in our Molasses Flood Series will explore the social and political dimensions of immigration in Boston’s past, present and future.

The program is a collaboration between MHS and Old South Meeting House.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 16 March 2019.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.

 

 

 

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Public Program Primary Sources for Fashion & Costume History Research 16 March 2019.Saturday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Kimberly Alexander, University of New Hampshire, and Sara Georgini, MHS Registration is required at no cost. Antique textiles, images of historical figures, and material culture hold a wealth of information ...

Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/abigail_adams_1764_image.jpgAntique textiles, images of historical figures, and material culture hold a wealth of information that can enrich personal stories, explain relationships, and contextualize the world that people occupied. However, these sources can seem daunting to explore. Two experts on fashion and material culture will guide you through unraveling the stories woven into history’s fabric.

This workshop is part of our Remember Abigail programming.

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Public Program, Author Talk Ike’s Mystery Man: The Secret Lives of Robert Cutler 20 March 2019.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Peter Shinkle There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders). This Cold War narrative brings a new dimension to our understanding of the inner-workings of the ...

This Cold War narrative brings a new dimension to our understanding of the inner-workings of the Eisenhower White House. It also shines a bright light on the indispensable contributions and sacrifices made by patriotic gay Americans in an era when Executive Order 10450 banned anyone suspected of “sexual perversion”, i.e. homosexuality, from any government job, and gays in the government were persecuted by the likes of Joseph McCarthy and Roy Cohn in the Senate, and J. Edgar Hoover and Clyde Tolson at the FBI.

 

 

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Biography Seminar Reckless Youth: Three Writers on their Youthful (Biographical) Passions 21 March 2019.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM John Kaag, University of Massachusetts Lowell; Abigail Santamaria; Holly Van Leuven Moderator: Megan Marshall, Emerson College Who are the new biographers shaping the future of the genre? What drove them to take up life writing ...

Who are the new biographers shaping the future of the genre? What drove them to take up life writing at a young age? And what does a “youthful passion” for a biographical subject mean to a writer in retrospect? We’ve borrowed the title of Nigel Hamilton’s vivid narrative of JFK’s early years for this panel which features Holly Van Leuven, Ray Bolger: More than a Scarecrow; Abigail Santamaria, Joy: Poet, Seeker, and the Woman Who Captivated C.S. Lewis; and John Kaag, Hiking with Nietzsche: On Becoming Who You Are, three writers who started in on their respective books in college or soon after—with the exception of Kaag, who looks back on his student infatuation from the perspective of a thirty-something father. Megan Marshall, whose Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast tells the life of her poetry professor, moderates.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 23 March 2019.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.

 

 

 

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Panel: Carceral Culture 26 March 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Melanie D. Newport, University of Connecticut—Hartford, and Morgan Jane Shahan, Johns Hopkins University Comment: Elizabeth Hinton, Harvard University This panel examines carceral culture in the twentieth century. Morgan Jane Shahan’s paper, ...

This panel examines carceral culture in the twentieth century. Morgan Jane Shahan’s paper, “‘Making Good’: On Parole in Early 20th Century Illinois,” traces the experience of ex-prisoners, and exposes the negotiations between employers, voluntary organizations, prisons, and parolees. Melanie Newport’s chapter, “‘I’m Afraid of Cook County Jail’: Making Space for Women in Chicago’s Jails,” addresses how women both inside and outside Cook County jail contested the plan to double the jail’s capacity in the 1970s.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Public Program, Conversation Reuse, Recycling, & Refashioning: Past, Present, & Future in Fashion 27 March 2019.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Linzy Brekke-Aloise, Stonehill College; Jay Calderin, Boston Fashion Week; Michelle Finamore, Museum of Fine Arts; and Pete Lankford, Timberland; moderated by Kimberly Alexander There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders). Throughout history, garments have been handed down to be worn in different contexts or to be used as ...

Throughout history, garments have been handed down to be worn in different contexts or to be used as material to create something new. Our panel will talk about the history of reuse and refashioning as well as how designers today are using secondhand clothing or previously disposed of material in new ways. This panel will be the first in an annual lecture series in honor of President Emeritus Dennis Fiori in recognition of his leadership. The lecture series is made possible by gifts from friends of the Society.

 

 

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 30 March 2019.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.

 

 

 

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April
Early American History Seminar Naming Plantations in the 17th-Century English Atlantic 2 April 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Paul Musselwhite, Dartmouth College Comment: Cynthia Van Zandt, University of New Hampshire The language of “plantation” in early Virginia and New England described a providential, ...

The language of “plantation” in early Virginia and New England described a providential, public process intended to serve the interests of god and the commonwealth. How and why did this civic language become transformed into a place for the private pursuit of agricultural wealth? This paper uncovers the ways ordinary men and women grappled with the definition of plantation by systematically investigating the names they gave to the places they termed “plantations.”

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Brown Bag The Shade of Private Life: The Right to Privacy and the Press in Turn-of-the-Century American Art 3 April 2019.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Nicole Williams, Yale University This talk considers how American artists shaped the modern concept of "the right to privacy" in ...

This talk considers how American artists shaped the modern concept of "the right to privacy" in response to the increasingly invasive mass media of the Gilded Age. It examines diverse artworks by John White Alexander, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and others in relation to period critiques of the press and the emerging legal discourse on privacy protections.

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Fashioning the New England Family Exhibitionends Fashioning the New England Family 6 April 2019.Saturday, 10:00AM - 4:00PM Open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM Fashioning the New England Family explores the ways in which the multiple meanings of ...

Fashioning the New England Family explores the ways in which the multiple meanings of fashion and fashionable goods are reflected in patterns of consumption and refashioning, recycling, and retaining favorite family pieces. Many of the items that will be featured have been out of sight, having never been exhibited for the public or seen in living memory. The exhibition will give scholars, students, and professionals in fields such as fashion, material culture, and history the chance to see these items for the first time; encourage research; and, provide the possibility for new discoveries. For the public, it is an opportunity to view in detail painstaking craftsmanship, discover how examples of material culture relate to significant moments in our history, and learn how garments were used as political statements, projecting an individual’s religion, loyalties, and social status. It may allow some to recognize and appreciate family keepsakes but it will certainly help us all to better understand the messages we may have previously missed in American art and literature. 

The exhibition is organized as part of MASS Fashion, a consortium of eight cultural institutions set up to explore and celebrate the many facets of the culture of fashion in Massachusetts. 

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 6 April 2019.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.

 

 

 

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Environmental History Seminar Environmental Racism and Environmental Justice in Boston 9 April 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Michael Brennan, University of Maine Comment: Daniel Faber, Northeastern University When environmental justice became a widely understood framework for action in the 1990s, the core ...

When environmental justice became a widely understood framework for action in the 1990s, the core tenets of owning land, developing the built environment, and sustaining existing social institutions had long been a practice for Boston’s minorities. To this end, members of Roxbury’s Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) worked to create an urban village in Dudley Square. The story of the DSNI demonstrates the utility of examining a topic in both a social and environmental sense.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Public Program, Author Talk Canceled: Young Benjamin Franklin: The Birth of Ingenuity 11 April 2019.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM This program has been canceled. Nick Bunker There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders). In this new account of Benjamin Franklin’s early life, Nick Bunker portrays him as a complex, ...

In this new account of Benjamin Franklin’s early life, Nick Bunker portrays him as a complex, driven young man who elbows his way to success. From his early career as a printer and journalist, to his scientific work and his role as a founder of a new republic, Benjamin Franklin has always seemed the inevitable embodiment of American ingenuity. But in his youth he had to make his way through a harsh colonial world where he fought many battles: with his rivals, but also with his wayward emotions.

 

 

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Teacher Workshop The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919 13 April 2019.Saturday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM Please RSVP   Registration fee: $25 per person On January 15, 1919, Boston suffered one of history’s most unusual disasters: a devastating ...

On January 15, 1919, Boston suffered one of history’s most unusual disasters: a devastating flood of molasses. The “Great Molasses Flood” tore through the city's North End at upwards of 35 miles per hour, killing 21 and injuring 150 while causing horrendous property damage. With historian and author Stephen Puleo, we will explore how the flood is more than a bizarre moment in Boston history: it offers a lens into Boston and World War I, Prohibition, the anarchist movement, immigration, and the expanding role of big business in society.

This program is open to all K-12 educators. Teachers can earn 22.5 Professional Development Points or 1 graduate credit (for an additional fee).

If you have any questions, please contact Kate Melchior at education@masshist.org or 617-646-0588.

 

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Building Closed Patriots' Day 15 April 2019.Monday, all day The MHS is CLOSED in observance of Patriots' Day.

The MHS is CLOSED in observance of Patriots' Day.

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History of Women and Gender Seminar The Long 19th Amendment 16 April 2019.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM RSVP required Location: Massachusetts Historical Society Corinne Field, University of Virginia, and Katherine Turk, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Moderator: Susan Ware, Schlesinger Library With popular and scholarly attention focusing on the August 2020 centennial of the ratification of ...

With popular and scholarly attention focusing on the August 2020 centennial of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, this session will explore "the long Nineteenth Amendment" stretching from the woman’s suffrage movement to second-wave feminism and beyond, with an eye toward continuities, challenges, and unfinished business.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Public Program, Author Talk The City-State of Boston: The Rise & Fall of an Atlantic Power, 1630–1865 17 April 2019.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Mark Peterson, Yale University There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders). In the vaunted annals of America’s founding, Boston has long been held up as an exemplary ...

In the vaunted annals of America’s founding, Boston has long been held up as an exemplary “city upon a hill” and the “cradle of liberty” for an independent United States. Wresting this iconic urban center from these misleading, tired clichés, Mark Peterson highlights Boston’s overlooked past as an autonomous city-state, and in doing so, offers a path-breaking and brilliant new history of early America.

 

 

 

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African American History Seminar Historians and Ethics: The Case of Anne Moody 18 April 2019.Thursday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM RSVP required Francoise Hamlin, Brown University Comment: Chad Williams, Brandeis University In the process of conducting research for her book project, Hamlin encountered an ethical conundrum ...

In the process of conducting research for her book project, Hamlin encountered an ethical conundrum regarding the papers of Anne Moody, author of the iconic autobiography, Coming of Age in Mississippi. This paper explores this case in depth and probes how historians should record the lives of those who might not have wanted to be found.

 

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 20 April 2019.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.

 

 

 

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Biography Seminar Writing Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
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24 January 2019.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM David Blight, Yale University Carol Bundy, author of The Nature of Sacrifice (host)

Join us for a conversation with David Blight about the challenges of writing his biography of Frederick Douglass, the fugitive slave who became America's greatest orator of the nineteenth century. Blight, a prolific author and winner of the Bancroft Prize among other awards, has spent a career preparing himself for this biography, which has been praised as “a stunning achievement,” “brilliant and compassionate,” and “incandescent.” Carol Bundy, author of The Nature of Sacrifice, will host.

THIS SESSION IS NOW CLOSED!

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Public Program People before Highways Day Rally: 1969 + 50! Please RSVP   registration required at no cost 25 January 2019.Friday, 1:30PM - 2:45PM

Join activists, residents and our allies on the State House steps to mark the 50th anniversary of the successful movement to stop the Interstate-95 highway from tearing through greater Boston. Come remember this historic day and offer bold wishes for the future of the Commonwealth. We rally to honor our shared legacy of tireless grassroots activism and to reflect on the urgent work that remains unfinished. RAIN or SHINE

 

1:30 pm Assemble on State House steps

 

2:00 pm Enter State House

 

Collaborating Partners

Historic Boston, Inc.

MIT CoLab

Mel King Institute/Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations

Massachusetts Historical Society

Northeastern University Archives & Special Collections

Haymarket People’s Fund

Massachusetts Communities Action Network

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Better Teaching through Technology, 1945-1969 Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
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29 January 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Victoria Cain, Northeastern University Comment: Heather Hendershot, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Uncertainty about media technology’s affective and political power plagued post-World War II efforts to expand media use in schools around the nation. Would foundations or federal agencies use screen media to strengthen participatory democracy and local control or to undermine it? Was screen media a neutral technology? This paper argues that educational technology foundered or flourished not solely on the merits of its pedagogical utility, but also as a result of changing ideas about the relationship between citizenship and pictorial screen media.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Brown Bag Superannuated: Old Age and Slavery’s Economy this event is free 30 January 2019.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Nathaniel Windon, Pennsylvania State University

Plantation owners demarcated elderly enslaved laborers as “superannuated” in their logbooks. This talk examines some of the implications of locating the origin of old age on the antebellum American plantation

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Public Program, Conversation The Great Molasses Flood Revisited: Misremembered Molasses registration required at no cost 31 January 2019.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Stephen Puleo; Allison Lange, Wentworth Institute of Technology; Gavin Kleespies, MHS; and moderator Rev. Stephen T. Ayres Please note: This program will be held at Old South Meeting House.

The Great Molasses Flood of 1919, when remembered, is often interpreted in a dismissive, comical manner. How does this case compare with other incidences of historical events that are interpreted or "curated" at the expense of accuracy and respect for human experience? How can we bring complexity back to events that have long been relegated to the realm of local folklore? Local scholars will discuss the question of misunderstood history by looking at the Great Molasses Flood, the fight for women's suffrage and Leif Erickson.

This program is a collaboration between the MHS and Old South Meeting House. It will be held at Old South Meeting House at 310 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02108.

This program is made possible with funding from the Lowell Institute.

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MHS Tour Canceled:
The History and Collections of the MHS
2 February 2019.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.

 

 

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Public Program Mentioning Unmentionables: An Exploration of Victorian Underclothes registration required 4 February 2019.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Astrida Schaeffer There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders).

Nineteenth century fashion shaped and added to the body in a variety of ways. This inside tour of the myths and realities of Victorian corsets, crinolines, bustles and more introduces ladies who challenge our stereotype of the tiny-waisted, fainting Victorian woman, shares what critics thought of these fashion trends, and reveals the clever illusions that made waists seem smaller than they really were.

 

 

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Early American History Seminar Colonial Mints and the Rise of Technocratic Expertise in the British Atlantic, 1650-1715 Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
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5 February 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Mara Caden, MHS-NEH Fellow Comment: Penelope Ismay, Boston College

(Previously titled: Making Money in the Massachusetts Bay Colony: the Boston Mint, 1652-1686)

Governors, assemblies, and inhabitants of Britain’s American colonies routinely tried to set up mints to coin money during the seventeenth century, including in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. This paper explains why every effort to establish a mint in British America failed, with the exception of the Boston mint, and why the mint in Boston was shut down in the 1680s. It explores the ways in which the Officers of the Royal Mint employed technical knowledge to curtail monetary autonomy in Britain’s overseas dominions. Finally, it examines the rise and fall of a strategy that colonial governments used to try to attract foreign coins to their shores in lieu of minting their own money.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Brown Bag To Make a Breathing Picture: John Singleton Copley’s Disturbingly Vital Portraits in Enlightened Boston this event is free 6 February 2019.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Caroline Culp, Stanford University

This talk uncovers a peculiar desire of mid-18th century art: to make pictures so realistic they seemed to live and breathe. Focusing on Boston artist John Singleton Copley (1738-1815) and poet Phillis Wheatley (c. 1753-1784), among other cultural figures, it explores superstitious beliefs that lingered in an enlightened, empirical, and rational citizenry.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 9 February 2019.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.

 

 

 

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Public Program, Author Talk Lincoln & the Jews: A History registration required 11 February 2019.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Jonathan D. Sarna, Brandeis University There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders).

Historian Jonathan D. Sarna reveals how Lincoln’s remarkable relationship with American Jews impacted both his path to the presidency and his policy decisions as president. Expressing a uniquely deep knowledge of the Old Testament, employing its language and concepts in some of his most important writings, Lincoln also befriended Jews from a young age, promoted Jewish equality, and appointed numerous Jews to public office.

 

 

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Environmental History Seminar Amputated from the Land: Black Refugees from America and the Neglected Voices of Environmental History Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
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12 February 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Bryon Williams, Academy at Penguin Hall Comment: John Stauffer, Harvard University

This paper focuses on dictated narratives from the 1840s and ‘50s, accounts delivered by blacks who fled the U.S. to settle in the wilds of Ontario. These first-person accounts of environmental encounter and expertise are unrivaled in depth, breadth, and detail among black ecological writing of any era. New environmental histories need such accounts that not only counter dominant American environmental and political myths, but offer black-lived stories of environmental belonging and agency.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Public Program, Conversation Peter J. Gomes Memorial Book Prize Ceremony registration required at no cost 13 February 2019.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Douglas L. Winiarski and Stephen Marini Registration is required at no cost.

Please join us for a special evening in which Douglas L. Winiarski will receive the 2018 Gomes Prize for Darkness Falls on the Land of Light: Experiencing Religious Awakenings in 18th-Century New England. Winiarski will join historian Stephen Marini in a conversation about religious revivalism and the shaping influence of religious awakenings on faith and culture in eighteenth-century New England.

 

 

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 16 February 2019.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.

 

 

 

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Library Closed Library Closed 18 February 2019.Monday, all day

The Library and Exhibition Galleries are CLOSED for Presidents' Day. The building opens at 5:00PM for visitors attending the evening program.

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Public Program, Author Talk Separate: The Story of Plessy v. Ferguson & America’s Journey from Slavery to Segregation registration required 18 February 2019.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Steve Luxenberg, Washington Post Associate Editor There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders).

Steve Luxenberg presents a myth-shattering narrative of how a nation embraced “separation” and its pernicious consequences. Plessy v. Ferguson, the Supreme Court case synonymous with “separate but equal,” created remarkably little stir when the justices announced their near-unanimous decision on May 18, 1896. Yet it is one of the most compelling and dramatic stories of the nineteenth century, whose outcome embraced and protected segregation, and whose reverberations are still felt into the twenty-first.

 

 

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History of Women and Gender Seminar Panel: Feminist Economics Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
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19 February 2019.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM Location: Knafel Center, Radcliffe Institute Danielle L. Dumaine, University of Connecticut, and Julie R. Enszer, University of Mississippi Comment: Juliet Schor, Boston College

These papers begin a conversation on the intersection of the study of the women’s liberation movement with the history of capitalism. Danielle Dumaine’s paper, “Sisterhood of Debt: Feminist Credit Unions, Community, and Women’s Liberation,” examines the role of Feminist Credit Unions in the women’s liberation movement. Julie Enszer’s paper, “‘a feminist understanding of economics based on a revolutionary set of values’: Feminist Economic Theories and Practices,” looks at the feminist organizations that created the Feminist Economic Network.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Teacher Workshop Teaching the Industrial Revolution in Massachusetts Please RSVP   registration required 20 February 2019.Wednesday, 9:30AM - 4:00PM Registration fee: $25 per person

Lowell’s water-powered textile mills catapulted the nation – including immigrant families and early female factory workers – into an uncertain new industrial era. Nearly 200 years later, the changes that began here still reverberate in our shifting global economy. Hosted in partnership with the Tsongas Industrial History Center, this workshop will explore the history of industrial growth in New England and its impact on immigration, labor movements, women’s rights, and communities in New England and beyond.

Note: This workshop will be taking place off-site at the Tsongas Industrial History Center in Lowell, MA.

This program is open to all K-12 educators. Teachers can earn 22.5 Professional Development Points or 1 graduate credit (for an additional fee).

If you have any questions, please contact Kate Melchior at education@masshist.org or 617-646-0588.

 

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African American History Seminar Mourning in America: Black Men in a White House Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
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21 February 2019.Thursday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Leah Wright Rigueur, Harvard Kennedy School Comment: Elizabeth Hinton, Harvard University

This paper focuses on the 1980s HUD Scandal, wherein contractors, developers, lobbyists, HUD officials, and others misappropriated billions in federal monies set aside for low-income housing. Of particular interest are the intertwined stories of two African Americans: Samuel R. Pierce, Ronald Reagan’s HUD Secretary, and Kimi Gray, a Washington, D.C. public housing activist. In exploring these narratives, this paper aims to complicate our understanding of the “Black 1980s,” the Ronald Reagan-led White House, and democracy in post-civil rights America.

 

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Public Program, Conversation Uncivil Society registration required 21 February 2019.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Julian E. Zelizer, Princeton University; Michael Tomasky, Democracy; and Robin Young, WBUR and NPR There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders).

American political discourse has become so dysfunctional it is hard to imagine reaching a national consensus on almost anything. Longstanding historical fault lines over income inequality, racial division, gender roles, and sexual norms coupled with starkly different senses of economic opportunity in rural and urban America have fueled a polarized political landscape. Julian E. Zelizer, Fault Lines: A History of the United States Since 1974, and Michael Tomasky, If We Can Keep It: How the Republic Collapsed and How it Might Be Saved, and Robin Young, co-host of Here & Now on WBUR and NPR, will discuss how we got here and if there is a way back.

 

 

 

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 23 February 2019.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.

 

 

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Our Own Orient: Mecca, California, and Dates Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
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26 February 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Eleanor Daly Finnegan, Harvard University Comment: Laura Barraclough, Yale University

Residents changed the name of Walters, California to Mecca in 1904. They were trying to use the exoticism of the Middle East to sell dates. This paper will focus on Mecca, California and the Indio Date Festival, looking at the complicated ways in which Orientalism has changed in the United States, its relationship to consumerism, and the economic connections made to the Middle East.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Public Program You Are What You Wear? Navigating Fashion & Politics in New England, 1760s–1770s registration required 27 February 2019.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception 5:30. Kimberly Alexander, University of New Hampshire There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders).

Our guest curator will explore the social values placed on luxury and thrift in New England in the late 18th century. What messages were telegraphed by a person’s clothing and how were these understood? Did everyone in society read these messages the same way or were there statements only meant to be understood by a select few?

 

 

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Public Program, Conversation The Great Molasses Flood Revisited: Labor and the Molasses Flood registration required at no cost 28 February 2019.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-program reception at 5:30. Stephen Puleo; Robert Forrant, UMass Lowell; and moderator Karilyn Crockett Please note: This program will be held at Old South Meeting House.

After the collapse of an industrial tank of molasses left a North End neighborhood devastated, a legal battle for reparations ensued, prompting questions about the role and responsibilities of businesses within a community. Using the Molasses Flood as an historical backdrop, this panel will explore questions around labor rights and safety, the function of government regulations and the relationship between the public and big business interests; issues that still resonate today as modern Bostonians grapple with a changing corporate landscape and city-wide gentrification.

This program is a collaboration between the MHS and Old South Meeting House. It will be held at Old South Meeting House at 310 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02108.

This program is made possible with funding from the Lowell Institute.

 

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 2 March 2019.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.

 

 

 

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Early American History Seminar Parson Weems: Maker and Remaker Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
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5 March 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Steven C. Bullock, Worcester Polytechnic Institute Comment: Elizabeth Maddock-Dillon, Northeastern University

This paper argues that Mason Locke Weems’s biography of George Washington built a bridge between Washington and the world of Abraham Lincoln and Ellen Montgomery. Weems’s stories were not just expressing early-19th century cultural commonplaces, but helping to create them. The paper connects these transformations with Weems’s work to recover Weems’s importance within his own time.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Brown Bag A Meaningful Subjection: Coercive Inequality and Indigenous Political Economy in the Colonial Northeast this event is free 6 March 2019.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Peter Olsen-Harbich, College of William and Mary

This talk presents archaeological and documentary evidence of indigenous authority structures and law enforcement in northeastern North America in the period immediately prior to European settlement. It then evaluates European comprehension of indigenous mechanisms of rule enforcement, and the degree to which awareness of them factored into designs for colonization.

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Public Program, Author Talk Household Gods: The Religious Lives of the Adams Family registration required 6 March 2019.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception 5:30. Sara Georgini, MHS There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders).

Reflecting on his past, President John Adams mused that it was religion that had shaped his family’s fortunes and young America’s future. Globetrotters who chronicled their religious journeys extensively, the Adamses ultimately developed a cosmopolitan Christianity that blended discovery and criticism, faith and doubt. Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/abigail_adams_1764_image.jpgSara Georgini demonstrates how pivotal Christianity—as the different generations understood it—was in shaping the family’s decisions, great and small.

This event is part of our Remember Abigail programming.

 

 

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 9 March 2019.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.

 

 

 

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Environmental History Seminar Biological Exchange in the Pacific World in the Age of Industrial Sugarcane Plantations Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
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12 March 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Lawrence Kessler, Consortium for the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine Comment: Nancy Shoemaker, University of Connecticut

This paper traces how sugarcane planters directed circulations of plant and animal species in the Pacific World. This new biological exchange served the political and economic interests of the plantation owners and their allies. Planters, however, were unable to control the biological exchange processes they created. This paper thus argues that through the creation of new patterns of biological exchange, sugarcane plantations induced ecological changes throughout the Pacific World.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Brown Bag Beyond the Boundaries of Childhood: Black Children's Cultural and Political Resistance this event is free 13 March 2019.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Crystal Webster, University of Texas at San Antonio

This talk examines the lives of African American children in Philadelphia, New York, and Boston during the late-18th to early-20th centuries by focusing on Black children's labor, play, and schooling. It argues that northern Black children intersected shifting constructions of race and childhood, as a group upon which society experimented with treatments of the newly recognized social category of the child, and came to terms with the social and economic place of the nascent free Black community.

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Public Program, Conversation The Great Molasses Flood Revisited: Immigrants in an Industrial Accident registration required at no cost 14 March 2019.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Stephen Puleo; Marilynn Johnson, Boston College; Jim Vrabel; and moderator Peter Drummey This program will be held at MHS.

Nearly 60 percent of Italian immigrants living in the North End in the early 20th century lacked legal citizenship, diminishing their political voice when the Purity Distilling Company erected a shoddily built molasses tank in their densely populated neighborhood. The tragedy that followed is a central event in Boston’s urban and immigrant history and still elicits questions as to the rights of non-citizen residents and the responsibilities of city governments to protect vulnerable communities. The final panel in our Molasses Flood Series will explore the social and political dimensions of immigration in Boston’s past, present and future.

The program is a collaboration between MHS and Old South Meeting House.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 16 March 2019.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.

 

 

 

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Public Program Primary Sources for Fashion & Costume History Research registration required at no cost 16 March 2019.Saturday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Kimberly Alexander, University of New Hampshire, and Sara Georgini, MHS Registration is required at no cost.

Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/abigail_adams_1764_image.jpgAntique textiles, images of historical figures, and material culture hold a wealth of information that can enrich personal stories, explain relationships, and contextualize the world that people occupied. However, these sources can seem daunting to explore. Two experts on fashion and material culture will guide you through unraveling the stories woven into history’s fabric.

This workshop is part of our Remember Abigail programming.

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Public Program, Author Talk Ike’s Mystery Man: The Secret Lives of Robert Cutler registration required 20 March 2019.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Peter Shinkle There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders).

This Cold War narrative brings a new dimension to our understanding of the inner-workings of the Eisenhower White House. It also shines a bright light on the indispensable contributions and sacrifices made by patriotic gay Americans in an era when Executive Order 10450 banned anyone suspected of “sexual perversion”, i.e. homosexuality, from any government job, and gays in the government were persecuted by the likes of Joseph McCarthy and Roy Cohn in the Senate, and J. Edgar Hoover and Clyde Tolson at the FBI.

 

 

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Biography Seminar Reckless Youth: Three Writers on their Youthful (Biographical) Passions this event is free 21 March 2019.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM John Kaag, University of Massachusetts Lowell; Abigail Santamaria; Holly Van Leuven Moderator: Megan Marshall, Emerson College

Who are the new biographers shaping the future of the genre? What drove them to take up life writing at a young age? And what does a “youthful passion” for a biographical subject mean to a writer in retrospect? We’ve borrowed the title of Nigel Hamilton’s vivid narrative of JFK’s early years for this panel which features Holly Van Leuven, Ray Bolger: More than a Scarecrow; Abigail Santamaria, Joy: Poet, Seeker, and the Woman Who Captivated C.S. Lewis; and John Kaag, Hiking with Nietzsche: On Becoming Who You Are, three writers who started in on their respective books in college or soon after—with the exception of Kaag, who looks back on his student infatuation from the perspective of a thirty-something father. Megan Marshall, whose Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast tells the life of her poetry professor, moderates.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 23 March 2019.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.

 

 

 

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Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Panel: Carceral Culture Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
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26 March 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Melanie D. Newport, University of Connecticut—Hartford, and Morgan Jane Shahan, Johns Hopkins University Comment: Elizabeth Hinton, Harvard University

This panel examines carceral culture in the twentieth century. Morgan Jane Shahan’s paper, “‘Making Good’: On Parole in Early 20th Century Illinois,” traces the experience of ex-prisoners, and exposes the negotiations between employers, voluntary organizations, prisons, and parolees. Melanie Newport’s chapter, “‘I’m Afraid of Cook County Jail’: Making Space for Women in Chicago’s Jails,” addresses how women both inside and outside Cook County jail contested the plan to double the jail’s capacity in the 1970s.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Public Program, Conversation Reuse, Recycling, & Refashioning: Past, Present, & Future in Fashion registration required 27 March 2019.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Linzy Brekke-Aloise, Stonehill College; Jay Calderin, Boston Fashion Week; Michelle Finamore, Museum of Fine Arts; and Pete Lankford, Timberland; moderated by Kimberly Alexander There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders).

Throughout history, garments have been handed down to be worn in different contexts or to be used as material to create something new. Our panel will talk about the history of reuse and refashioning as well as how designers today are using secondhand clothing or previously disposed of material in new ways. This panel will be the first in an annual lecture series in honor of President Emeritus Dennis Fiori in recognition of his leadership. The lecture series is made possible by gifts from friends of the Society.

 

 

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 30 March 2019.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.

 

 

 

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Early American History Seminar Naming Plantations in the 17th-Century English Atlantic Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
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2 April 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Paul Musselwhite, Dartmouth College Comment: Cynthia Van Zandt, University of New Hampshire

The language of “plantation” in early Virginia and New England described a providential, public process intended to serve the interests of god and the commonwealth. How and why did this civic language become transformed into a place for the private pursuit of agricultural wealth? This paper uncovers the ways ordinary men and women grappled with the definition of plantation by systematically investigating the names they gave to the places they termed “plantations.”

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Brown Bag The Shade of Private Life: The Right to Privacy and the Press in Turn-of-the-Century American Art this event is free 3 April 2019.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Nicole Williams, Yale University

This talk considers how American artists shaped the modern concept of "the right to privacy" in response to the increasingly invasive mass media of the Gilded Age. It examines diverse artworks by John White Alexander, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and others in relation to period critiques of the press and the emerging legal discourse on privacy protections.

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Exhibition Fashioning the New England Family this event is free 6 April 2019.Saturday, 10:00AM - 4:00PM Open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM Fashioning the New England Family

Fashioning the New England Family explores the ways in which the multiple meanings of fashion and fashionable goods are reflected in patterns of consumption and refashioning, recycling, and retaining favorite family pieces. Many of the items that will be featured have been out of sight, having never been exhibited for the public or seen in living memory. The exhibition will give scholars, students, and professionals in fields such as fashion, material culture, and history the chance to see these items for the first time; encourage research; and, provide the possibility for new discoveries. For the public, it is an opportunity to view in detail painstaking craftsmanship, discover how examples of material culture relate to significant moments in our history, and learn how garments were used as political statements, projecting an individual’s religion, loyalties, and social status. It may allow some to recognize and appreciate family keepsakes but it will certainly help us all to better understand the messages we may have previously missed in American art and literature. 

The exhibition is organized as part of MASS Fashion, a consortium of eight cultural institutions set up to explore and celebrate the many facets of the culture of fashion in Massachusetts. 

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 6 April 2019.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.

 

 

 

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Environmental History Seminar Environmental Racism and Environmental Justice in Boston Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
9 April 2019.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Michael Brennan, University of Maine Comment: Daniel Faber, Northeastern University

When environmental justice became a widely understood framework for action in the 1990s, the core tenets of owning land, developing the built environment, and sustaining existing social institutions had long been a practice for Boston’s minorities. To this end, members of Roxbury’s Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) worked to create an urban village in Dudley Square. The story of the DSNI demonstrates the utility of examining a topic in both a social and environmental sense.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Public Program, Author Talk Canceled:
Young Benjamin Franklin: The Birth of Ingenuity
11 April 2019.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM This program has been canceled. Nick Bunker There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders).

In this new account of Benjamin Franklin’s early life, Nick Bunker portrays him as a complex, driven young man who elbows his way to success. From his early career as a printer and journalist, to his scientific work and his role as a founder of a new republic, Benjamin Franklin has always seemed the inevitable embodiment of American ingenuity. But in his youth he had to make his way through a harsh colonial world where he fought many battles: with his rivals, but also with his wayward emotions.

 

 

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Teacher Workshop The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919 Please RSVP   registration required 13 April 2019.Saturday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM Registration fee: $25 per person

On January 15, 1919, Boston suffered one of history’s most unusual disasters: a devastating flood of molasses. The “Great Molasses Flood” tore through the city's North End at upwards of 35 miles per hour, killing 21 and injuring 150 while causing horrendous property damage. With historian and author Stephen Puleo, we will explore how the flood is more than a bizarre moment in Boston history: it offers a lens into Boston and World War I, Prohibition, the anarchist movement, immigration, and the expanding role of big business in society.

This program is open to all K-12 educators. Teachers can earn 22.5 Professional Development Points or 1 graduate credit (for an additional fee).

If you have any questions, please contact Kate Melchior at education@masshist.org or 617-646-0588.

 

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Building Closed Patriots' Day 15 April 2019.Monday, all day

The MHS is CLOSED in observance of Patriots' Day.

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History of Women and Gender Seminar The Long 19th Amendment Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
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16 April 2019.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM Location: Massachusetts Historical Society Corinne Field, University of Virginia, and Katherine Turk, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Moderator: Susan Ware, Schlesinger Library

With popular and scholarly attention focusing on the August 2020 centennial of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, this session will explore "the long Nineteenth Amendment" stretching from the woman’s suffrage movement to second-wave feminism and beyond, with an eye toward continuities, challenges, and unfinished business.

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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Public Program, Author Talk The City-State of Boston: The Rise & Fall of an Atlantic Power, 1630–1865 registration required 17 April 2019.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Mark Peterson, Yale University There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders).

In the vaunted annals of America’s founding, Boston has long been held up as an exemplary “city upon a hill” and the “cradle of liberty” for an independent United States. Wresting this iconic urban center from these misleading, tired clichés, Mark Peterson highlights Boston’s overlooked past as an autonomous city-state, and in doing so, offers a path-breaking and brilliant new history of early America.

 

 

 

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African American History Seminar Historians and Ethics: The Case of Anne Moody Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
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18 April 2019.Thursday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Francoise Hamlin, Brown University Comment: Chad Williams, Brandeis University

In the process of conducting research for her book project, Hamlin encountered an ethical conundrum regarding the papers of Anne Moody, author of the iconic autobiography, Coming of Age in Mississippi. This paper explores this case in depth and probes how historians should record the lives of those who might not have wanted to be found.

 

To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 20 April 2019.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.

 

 

 

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