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March 2017

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  • Public ProgramA Child's Photo Album
    Public ProgramA Child's Photo Album
    6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Ken Liss, Boston University Libraries More
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          • Member Event, Special EventSOLD OUT: The Irish Atlantic Fellows & Members Preview Reception
            Member Event, Special EventSOLD OUT: The Irish Atlantic Fellows & Members Preview Reception
            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 More
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              • Public Program, Conversation, Cooking BostonCooking Boston: Refined to Rustic
                Public Program, Conversation, Cooking BostonCooking Boston: Refined to Rustic
                6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Keith Stavely, Kelly Erby and moderator Barbara Wheaton More
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                    • Public Program, Author Talk, Politics of TastePolitics of Taste: Republic of Taste
                      Public Program, Author Talk, Politics of TastePolitics of Taste: Republic of Taste
                      6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Catherine E. Kelly, University of Oklahoma More
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                          • Public Program, The Irish AtlanticThe Mission of the Jamestown
                            Public Program, The Irish AtlanticThe Mission of the Jamestown
                            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 Please RSVP   registration required at no cost More
                          • Modern American Society and Culture Seminar, The Irish AtlanticMoving News, Affecting Relief: The Irish Famine’s Trans-Atlantic ...
                            Modern American Society and Culture Seminar, The Irish AtlanticMoving News, Affecting Relief: The Irish Famine’s Trans-Atlantic Circulations
                            5:15PM - 7:30PM Anelise H. Shrout, California State University, Fullerton Comment: Kevin Kenny, Boston College Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
                            Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
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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

                              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 Please RSVP   registration required at no cost 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 Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
                              Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
                              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 this event is free 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 Please RSVP   registration required 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 

                              close

                                Key to event colors:
                              • MHS Tours
                              • Seminars
                              • Public Programs
                              • Brown Bags
                              • Special Events