Boston 2019

History Camp Boston 2019

History Camp Boston 2019 will take place on Saturday, March 16, 2019 at Suffolk University Law School, across from the Old Granary Burying Ground in downtown Boston.  There will also be events that evening and on Sunday, so save both Saturday and Sunday, plus travel days for those coming from other regions. Sign up to be notified of updates, including when registration opens.

  • If you’ve not attended a History Camp before and would like to get an idea of what you can expect, browse 2018 and 2017  (and other years). More in the next section below.
  • Sign up to receive updates about History Camp Boston 2019, including notification that registration is open.
  • Want to present next year?  Send me a session description similar in style and content to what you see in the listings for prior History Camp Bostons. (I’ll do the final edit, but please get it as close as you can to the style we use every year.)
  • Would your organization like to offer a special program or tour Sunday or discounted admission to your site? Please send me a description with details similar to what you see at the bottom of last year’s page.

— Lee Wright  |  Founder  |  The History List  |  History Camp

What is History Camp?

History Camp brings together people from all walks of life who are passionate about history.  Last year people came from throughout the Northeast and beyond, including from Maryland, Texas, Michigan, Colorado, South Carolina, and other regions.

Here’s what one participant said:

“I’ve been to dozens of official academic conferences with big names where all submissions are thoroughly vetted by panels of experts, and none of those conferences were as fun and informative as History Camp. It really was the best set of speakers I’ve seen at a conference: relaxed and informed and direct.”

On Sunday there will be additional programming by local historic sites and history organizations.

Last year people came from throughout the Northeast and beyond, including from Maryland, Texas, Michigan, Colorado, South Carolina, and other regions.

This is a good overview. If you’re still wondering if you should attend, for our fifth anniversary we listed some of the reasons to attend.  We hope to you’ll join us.


Erasmus Darwin Leavitt, The Most Amazing Engineer You Never Heard Of

Eric Peterson, ( Director of Operations, Metropolitan Waterworks Museum.

Sure, everybody knows about the 19th century achievements of Tesla, Eiffel and Edison. But did you know that Erasmus Darwin Leavitt, a native son of Lowell, was equally famous in his day? And that his achievements had a direct impact on the growth of the city of Boston? This self-taught steam engineer designed and built the biggest and most powerful pumping engines the world had ever seen: one delivered water to a thirsty city that had experienced explosive growth in the latter part of the 1800’s. Another blasted the accumulated sewage of tens of thousands of these new residents out into the Bay!

Leavitt’s reticent personality no doubt contributed to his having been forgotten, but in his time, he was an international celebrity. Follow his life from Cambridge to the copper mines of Michigan, from Annapolis to Essen, Germany. Learn how the forgotten legacy of one of a select group of incredibly competent and driven individuals who propelled the nation forward into modernity, lives on in Chestnut Hill.

Eleanor Roosevelt – The First Lady of The World

Sheryl Faye is a professional actor member of SAG/AFTRA.

After suffering through an unhappy childhood, including losing her parents and one of her brothers. Eleanor figured out where she fit in and make a difference. She grew up and became an American politician, the longest-serving First Lady of the United States. She was the first presidential spouse to hold press conferences, write a syndicated newspaper column, and speak at a national convention. She advocated for expanded roles for women in the workplace, the civil rights of African Americans and Asian Americans, and the rights of World War II refugees. She became one of the first delegates to The United Nations and was one of the ten most admired people of the 20th century. “…as individuals we live cooperatively, and, to the best of our ability, serve the community in which we live…our own success, to be real, must contribute.” – Eleanor Roosevelt.

This performance is done in a multi media fashion all from first person, starting with Roosevelt as an adult, going to back to her childhood, and then back to an adult again.  With the help of slides, sounds, costumes and props, you will be immersed in her world.

Fugitive Slave Laws and Sanctuary Cities: What Does Lowell’s Pre-Civil War History Tell Us?

Robert Forrant (, professor of history, University of Massachusetts Lowell

Without cotton from the slave-holding South there’d be no Lowell mills. On the eve of the Civil War, its mills consumed 405 tons of cotton a week. Women mill workers and other women formed a female anti-slavery society in the 1830s. Lowell’s Sarah Bagley, editor of the Voice of Industry, wrote that the paper stood for “the abolition of Mental, Moral and Physical Servitude, in all their complicated forms.” Abolitionists William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass spoke in Lowell numerous times.

The city’s anti-slavery advocates counseled people to disobey the Fugitive Slave Law while its churches offered sanctuary. After the Law’s passage, several fugitives fled Lowell to Canada. An October 1850 article in the Lowell Advertiser reported on a meeting held to discuss this situation. Pledges to defy the federal government rang out. “No complicity with slavery!” became a rallying cry.

Puritans and Pilgrims – What’s the Difference?

Francis J. Bremer (, professor emeritus, Millersville University, author and coordinator, New England Beginnings (

Who were the Pilgrims, and if they were different from the puritans, then how were they distinct?  Did the puritans see America as a city on a hill that would be a model for all the world?  What did the puritans see as their obligation to the broader society?  How did congregational church government contribute to democracy?  Why did the puritans care so much about education?

Almost a hundred years ago the distinguished Harvard historian wrote an essay on “Those Misunderstood Puritans” in which he bemoaned that despite the extensive programs tied to the 1930 Tercentenary of the founding of Massachusetts the old Victorian stereotypes of New England puritans founding fathers still held their grip on the public.  Decades later, as we approach the four hundredth anniversary of the arrival of the Mayflower in 1620 and the Arbella in 1630, the situation is little changed.  Decades of historical and literary scholarship had failed to dislodge the stereotype of the early colonists as repressed, bigoted killjoys with little fashion sense who persecuted dissenters and executed witches.  We will draw on that scholarship to answer these basic questions about the English men and women who first settled the region and explore why the old stereotypes persist.


If you would like to present, send me a session description similar in style and content to what you see in the listings for prior History Camp Bostons. (I’ll do the final edit, but please get it as close as you can to the style we use every year.)  —  Lee Wright  |  Founder  |  The History List  |  History Camp