After initially postponing History Camp Boston, we have now come to the realization that we just can’t hold it this year and create the History Camp experience people love. As a result, we’re canceling History Camp Boston and our other History Camps this year.
We are optimistic about next year and will work to put together the kind of History Camp experience in 2021 that draws folks from all walks of life to these unique events every year.
Until then, check out History Camp Online for live streamed and archived sessions with presenters from this and other History Camps across the country.
Lee and Carrie
. . .
History Camp Boston 2020
July 11, 2020
Suffolk University Law School at 120 Tremont Street in Boston
9 am – 5:30 pm + Evening event after the last session
Check-in begins at 8 am and opening remarks start at 9 am
Important updates for people attending History Camp Boston:
- Immediately after the last session we have a get together in the first floor room open to everyone. It will include games, a trivia contest, and the opportunity get better acquainted with people you’ve met during the day. There will also be food (pizza, salad, brownies, soft drinks). Register here so we know how much to order. (Your $10 will just cover the cost of the food.)
- Preliminary schedule as of March 4 at 9 pm (Download here)
- For those attending, you do not need to register for individual sessions.
- We are looking for additional volunteers who wish to help with setup or serve as room monitors. Scroll down this page and click the green “Sign up” button. Your help is greatly appreciated.
- Parking information is here.
- Come early. Doors open at 8 am. There will be breakfast things to snack on and tables to browse.
- Seating is very limited on the first floor, so we’re opening rooms 235 and 285 and will stream opening remarks to these rooms, too.
- Immediately after the last session we have a get together in the first floor room open to everyone. It will include games, a trivia contest, and the opportunity get better acquainted with people you’ve met during the day. There will also be food (pizza, salad, brownies, soft drinks). Register here so we know how much to order. (Your $10 will just cover the cost of the food.)
- Updated January 22 for people interested in presenting: We’ve had a great response from people who want to present in Boston and we’ve reached capacity. New session submissions are being added to a waiting list list. We will let you know if a time slot becomes available. (We have already had a few cancellations.) Sign up here to be added to the waitlist.
Do you want a table for your organization? Select that option when you register. (Very limited.)These have all been claimed.
- Would your organization like to offer a special program or tour to people who are attending History Camp Boston? Please send us a description and we will add it below and include it in the session guide.
What is History Camp?
History Camp brings together people from all walks of life who are passionate about history—and they come from throughout the Northeast and beyond. We’ve had people from Maryland, Texas, Michigan, Colorado, South Carolina, and elsewhere come to History Camp Boston.
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.”
This is a good overview, and especially helpful if you are curious about what makes History Camp different than any other conference or gathering you’ve ever attended. And if you’re still wondering if you should attend, last year we published this list of reasons.
History Camp Boston 2020 sessions
Sessions are added to the bottom of this list as they are submitted. Subscribe for occasional updates. (Infrequent now; more frequent as we get closer to March 14.)
We had 65 sessions at History Camp 2019, and as a result, folks had seven sessions to choose from in nearly every time slot. (View the History Camp 2019 schedule and browse the list of sessions, with speakers and session descriptions, here.)
Want to present? Great! Two things to know up front: First, we will endeavor to record all sessions, including the slides shown, and to post them online. Sharing this information as broadly and openly as possible is one of the fundamental principles of History Camp. If you have things that you don’t want to appear online (on YouTube or elsewhere), don’t include them in your slides or consider a different presentation. Second, speakers will need to register, just like everyone else.
If History Camp still sounds like it’s for you, and we hope it does, please sign up here.
Salem’s Great Age of Sail
Salem begins in 1626 as a fishing village and grows into a dominant seaport after the American Revolution. By the early 1800s, Salem is arguably the richest seaport in the United States with wealth in today’s dollars that exceed $150 Billion. Elias Hasket Derby Sr. becomes the country’s first millionaire in 1793 and his wealth today would be worth $30 Billion. Salem ships were sailing around the world and the logo of the city is “Divitis Indiae usque sinum,” which translates to “To the farthest port of the rich east. However, the city truly fails to recover after the War of 1812 with England. Tariffs, a self embargo, a shallow harbor and westward expansion of the US all contribute to a slow decline. By 1845, the Great Age of Sail was over. Oh, but what a ride it was.
Abraham Lincoln’s Struggle with Divine Providence
Mark Szymcik (firstname.lastname@example.org) teaches philosophy and religion at Quinsiganond Community College and Becker College. He was previously a history teacher of special needs high school students.
There is an anonymous saying “It is easy to see the hand of God in the world; the difficulty is to figure out which way His finger is pointing.” Lincoln rejected the hard shell Baptist religion of his parents, yet struggled with discerning God’s will throughout his life. His articulation of that struggle has led Spiritualists, Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians, atheists, and others to claim him as one of their own, while Jews refer to him as Rabbi Abraham.
What were the stages of Lincoln’s spiritual journey? How did his contemporaries view his religious beliefs? What was his religious stance at the end of his life? Why do so many denominations claim him as their own? How have biographers and others distorted his faith in Providence? This presentation provides the answers.
The April 19-21, 1775 Evacuations of Middlesex and Essex Counties
When Lexington’s alarm bell rang, panic set in. A hostile military force was marching directly towards the town. Plunder and destruction were feared. The Reverend William Gordon of Roxbury reported, “the inhabitants had quitted their houses in the general area upon the road, leaving almost everything behind them, and thinking themselves well off in escaping with their lives.” Some took a few belongings. Others hid or buried valuables. The roads were clogged with “women and children weeping.” Residents escaped to woods and fields or to nearby towns. While much attention has been paid to the shots fired that day, we’ll take a close look at what happened to those who weren’t engaged in combat.
Abigail Whitney and Family: Eye-Witness to the Events of April 19th 1775
Gail C. Hamel (email@example.com, on Facebook: @AbigailbyGail, on Instagram: @abi_gail84, and on Twitter: @bycolonial), a.k.a Abigail Whitney is the proprietor of Abigail by Gail: A Colonial Experience and has been teaching colonial history to audiences for over twenty-five years. She developed a persona portraying Abigail Whitney as an extension her work as an Educator for the Concord Museum.
Abigail Whitney and her family witnessed British soldiers march by their home on the Bay Road in Concord, Massachusetts, in search of ammunition and supplies early in the morning on the 19th of April 1775. Learn how the men, women, militia, and fife and drum of Concord and surrounding towns played a key role that infamous day. Abigail remained strong but worried as her husband was with fellow patriots at Concord’s North Bridge and one of her children went missing. Learn how Abigail kept her children safe, why the soldiers searched her home, and what the outcome was for the family, the town of Concord, and the nation.
The British in West Africa During the Regency
Bliss Bennet (firstname.lastname@example.org and blissbennet.com) writes novels for readers who love history as much as they love romance, including her series, The Penningtons, set in the Regency period.Her latest book is A Sinner without a Saint.
When most people think about the British in Africa, it’s the Victorian or Edwardian period that comes to mind. But the English had a presence in Africa far earlier than Victoria’s reign. What were they doing in Africa during the Regency period? And how did the Africans they encountered respond to their presence?
This presentation focuses on the British settlement, “Province of Freedom,” which later became Sierra Leone. The only British colony founded with an explicit anti-slavery mandate, Sierra Leone was settled by formerly-enslaved American Africans who had fought on the British side during the American Revolution, men and women who had been re-settled in England and Nova Scotia, but who were unhappy with the racism and prejudice they experienced there. Later, Sierra Leone served as a place to exile blacks expelled from Jamaica, as well as “Liberated Africans,” people rescued from slave ships interdicted by Royal British Navy after the abolition of the slave trade in 1807.
Black Britons were never allowed full autonomy over Sierra Leone; white British administrators and missionaries sought to civilize “savage” Africans by schooling them in both Christianity and western ideals of cash commerce. Anti-slavery rhetoric laid the groundwork for later British imperialism in the “dark continent.”
45 Presidencies in 45 Minutes
Alan Fishel (email@example.com; On Instagram: @learningplunge; on Twitter: @geoplunge) created the educational games GeoPlunge and HistoryPlunge. He is the founder and President of LearningPlunge, a nonprofit organization with a focus on increasing proficiency in U.S. history and geography through educational games and tournaments. Alan is also a lawyer with Arent Fox, where he leads the firm’s Communications & Technology group and its Technology Transactions group.
Which President was kicked out of his party during his Presidency? Which President never had a First Lady or Vice President? Which President served a full term yet never appointed a Supreme Court Justice? Which President was in office during the First Era of Good Feelings, and which four Presidents were assassinated and why were they assassinated? Which President got married in what is now known as the White House, and which had a war named after him by his detractors. We all know about the famous Presidents and you will learn even more about them in this session, but what about the others, such as Millard Fillmore or Chester Arthur? Knowing a little bit about each President helps create a framework that brings history alive and creates a foundation for deeper dives. Join us for a fun and interactive journey through fun facts about forty-five presidencies in forty-five minutes.
Five Themes in the Legacy of African Americans in Massachusetts
Rosalyn Elder (firstname.lastname@example.org and africanamericanheritagemassachusetts.com) author of a tourist guide to African American sites in Massachusetts, Exploring the Legacy: People and Places of Significance, is a registered architect and urban designer with a passion for the arts, architecture and cities, and history.
In Massachusetts, African Americans contributed to every aspect of the legacy of this state, but unfortunately, that legacy has not been woven into the fabric of our history as it should be. This session explores five themes that highlight the importance of that legacy:
- A Defiance to Slavery
- A Persistent Struggle for Civil Rights Justice
- Exemplary Military Service
- A Fight for Equal Access to Education
- A Fight for Employment Fairness
These themes illustrate how the vision, faith, and determination of this community contributed to the legacy of Massachusetts.
Raiders of New York: The British Wilderness Raids in Revolutionary New York
Marie Williams (email@example.com and on Instagram: @mariedaniellewilliams) is a teacher and independent historian from Upstate New York and the author of The Revolutionary War in the Adirondacks: Raids in the Wilderness (The History Press, spring 2020). She is a member of the Saratoga Country History Roundtable, a contributing writer for The New York History Blog and The Adirondack Almanack, and is the blogger behind The Half-Pint Historian Blog. She has a BA in adolescent education and an MA in American history.
After the American victory at Saratoga in the fall of 1777, the British refused to give up on conquering the middle colony. Several British officers were tasked with leading a series of raids in the frontier wilderness lands of Upstate New York, focusing on key areas such as the Hudson Valley and Mohawk Valley, as well as small settlements in and around the Adirondack Mountain region. This presentation will cover the raids carried out by Sir Christopher Carleton, Edward and Ebenezer Jessup, Sir John Johnson, and Joseph Brant, as well as cover the effects these raids had on the war and on society.
Armed Young Women of the Dutch Resistance: Hannie Schaft and Truus and Freddie Oversteegen
Samantha Garrity (firstname.lastname@example.org, On Twitter: @LadySamofDunans) is the Office Coordinator for the Center for Writing at the College of the Holy Cross. She is also a professional tutor at the Center for Writing.
Few have heard of Hannie Schaft, Truus Oversteegen, and Freddie Oversteegen. They were assassins in the Dutch resistance during World War II. They became assassins as young women, some only in their teens, when they first began seducing and liquidating Nazis. Come learn about these brave young women and their resistance tactics.
Joining us will be the one of the foremost experts on Hannie Schaft, Truus Oversteegen, and Freddie Oversteegen – Sophie Poldermans. She is a best selling author, public speaker, lecturer, and consultant on women and war and human rights-related issues from a legal, historical, and sociological perspective. Sophie will join us via Skype during the Q&A part of the session. Sophie is the author of the New York Post & Amazon bestseller “Seducing and Killing Nazis. Hannie, Truus and Freddie: Dutch Resistance Heroines of WWII,” USA, 2019. She personally knew Truus and Freddie Oversteegen from this book for 20 years and worked closely with them for over a decade as a board member of the National Hannie Schaft Foundation.
The Capital Crime of Witchcraft: What the Primary Sources Tell Us
Margo Burns (email@example.com and salemwitchhunt.org) is the Project Manager and Associate Editor of Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt, published in 2009 by the Cambridge University Press, the definitive comprehensive record of all legal documents pertaining to the Salem witchcraft trials, organized in chronological order.
On first impression, the witchcraft trials of the Colonial era may seem to have been nothing but a free-for-all, fraught with hysterics. This presentation explores an array of primary sources demonstrating how we know what we know about witchcraft prosecutions in seventeenth century New England. Documents from the Salem witchcraft trials and other cases in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut detail the sequence of events in witchcraft prosecutions, from initial formal complaints to warrants for execution, and reveal the methodical process and legal logic used by courts trying these capital crimes. Facsimiles of the original legal manuscripts from cases against Rebecca Nurse, Sarah Good, Martha Corey, John Willard, Bridget Bishop, Martha Carrier, Samuel Wardwell, Eunice Cole, Rachel Fuller, Mercy Desborough, and Elizabeth Clawson will be shown.
From Migration to Discrimination: African American Workers at the Charlestown Navy Yard
Megan Woods (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Student Conservation Association Public History Intern with the National Parks of Boston. She recently graduated from Northeastern University with a Master of Arts in Public History.
During the Great Migration, thousands of African Americans traveled north with the hope of finding new economic opportunities and leaving behind Jim Crow. A small number made their way to Boston, and gained employment at the Charlestown Navy Yard. Although Southern blacks found job opportunities at the Navy Yard, did they still face discrimination in their new positions? And in what ways did they fight back against this discrimination? In this session, we will explore the connections between the Great Migration and the Charlestown Navy Yard and uncover the discrimination black workers faced at the Navy Yard.
Skeletons in the Closet: The Memorialization of George Jacobs Sr. and Rebecca Nurse after the 1692 Witch-Hunt
Daniel A. Gagnon (spectersofsalemvillage.com) serves on the board of the Rebecca Nurse Homestead Museum in Danvers, Mass. (formerly known as Salem Village). He is a high school history teacher, and writes a series of local history articles in the Danvers Herald.
Almost two centuries after the 1692 Witch-Hunt, an impressive memorial was constructed near the purported grave of Rebecca Nurse, one of the nineteen innocents executed for witchcraft. However, across town the well-known (but unmarked) grave of George Jacobs Sr., another executed “witch,” was left bare, with no memorial or even a headstone erected to mark the spot.
Worse still, after Jacobs’ body was accidentally exhumed in the 1950s, it spent decades traveling around Danvers, including being kept under a dining room table, in a resident’s bedroom, and as the centerpiece of a display in a high school cafeteria. Jacobs finally received a proper burial in 1992 near the monument to Rebecca Nurse.
This presentation will examine why one witch-hunt victim was memorialized while another in the same town was left in an unmarked grave. What can be learned about how the local community confronted its legacy of the witch-hunt in the centuries after 1692, and why did the remains of a man executed in 1692 do so much traveling?
Desert Storm Memories from Two Marine Corps Combat Veterans
Ross H. Schwalm (email@example.com, Linkedin, Facebook) is President of Johannes Schwalm Historical Association (www.jsha.org) and serves the Marine Corps as a support contractor. Sean T. Coughlin (Linkedin, Facebook) is an Adjunct Professor of English and Film in Boston and is a volunteer on the JSHA Editorial Committee.
The experiences of the First Gulf War from US Marine Corps Officers who served in the 1st Marine Division and 3rd Marine Air Wing. Ross H. Schwalm was Headquarters Battery Commander of 3rd Battalion 12th Marines and Sean T. Coughlin served as a Logistics Officer with Marine Wing Support Squadron 37. Both have published their experiences and provide this briefing in remembrance of the 30th Anniversary of the campaign that liberated Kuwait.
Inconvenient Founders: Thomas Young and the Forgotten Disrupters of the Revolution
For all we study of “the Founders,” we overlook some of the most interesting, and maybe most important, people: The disruptors, the organizers, the agitators who tore down British rule and created the openings for the Founders. By looking at one agitator in particular, Thomas Young, maybe the Zelig of the Revolution, we get a tour of the Revolution from the bottom up, a tale that connects Ethan Allen, the Boston Massacre, the Tea Party, and the Declaration of Independence, and ends in censure!
Fascination with this topic came from the disconnect between what university history taught about the Revolution and what hands-on experience in political organizing showed.
The Woman’s Era Club of Boston: A Story of Black Women’s Activism
Katie Woods (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Student Conservation Association Public History Intern with the National Parks of Boston. She graduated from Northeastern University in 2019 with a Master of Arts degree in Public History.
In 1893, a group of Boston women founded the Woman’s Era Club, one of the first women’s clubs in the country led by African American women. With its journal, The Woman’s Era, this club’s mission of social activism reached national audiences. What causes were these women fighting for, and how did they view their roles as activists in their communities? In this session, we will explore the stories of three women behind this little-known, yet influential club and publication.
His Master’s Voice: Racism in Material Culture through 1900s Discography
Bernard Rosenthal Trubowitz (BernardRTrubowitz@outlook.com, on LinkedIn) has worked in the public history field in Massachusetts for over a decade at the the Old North Church, USS Constitution Museum, the National Park Service in Lowell, and other historic sites. He also teaches at the Tsongas Industrial History Center, a collaborative between the Park Service and University of Massachusetts Lowell.
Which is more pervasive, a stone monument or a shellac record?
Using a period gramophone, explore the influence of material culture in shaping and encoding racism in the United States. Discuss the responsibility of museums and institutions to address “problematic” collections items and amplify marginalized narratives.
A note from the presenter: This session uses original recordings from the early 1900s which have offensive dialogue
Abolitionists and Pacifists: Hopedale’s Moral Dilemma during the American Civil War
Mark Mello (email@example.com, www.nps.gov/blrv, and on Facebook) is a Park Ranger and Public Historian with the National Park Service at Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park. He is completing an M.A. in US History from Providence College and a B.A. in History from Bridgewater State University.
It is 1861 and the American Civil War has just begun. You are a worker in Hopedale, Massachusetts working for the Draper Company. Your community is torn. Many community members are “non-resisters” or pacifists. These same people are also abolitionists. What do you do? We will discuss this moral predicament, which many members of the Hopedale community faced during the Civil War. We will engage in a vibrant discussion about the war, the pacifist movement, and the abolition of slavery in the U.S.
Gamifying History: Roleplaying the Revolution
Mary Morris is a Museum Educator and Chief Purveyor of Big Ideas at the New Hampshire Historical Society A tour guide at age 18 who guided all over the world, she now trains tour guides.
Kirsten Hildonen (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the Digital Productions Coordinator for the New Hampshire Historical Society, using cameras and computers to share the joy of history. she received her MA in History from the Ohio State University.
The New Hampshire Historical Society has been very successful using a roleplaying format to guide students through New Hampshire’s role in the American Revolution. This model can be used by schools, clubs, organizations, museums, and public history sites, as well as or home education.
In this session you will experience the beginning of revolution in New Hampshire by playing a character involved in one of the earliest acts of insurrection against the King. Will you support the king’s sheriff or will you side with the patriots? You choose!
Josiah Quincy Junior, Forgotten Patriot – cancelled
Nina Sankovitch (email@example.com, readallday.org, on Medium, and on Facebook) is a historian and author of several books, including The Lowells of Massachusetts: An American Family, and the upcoming American Rebels: How the Hancock, Adams, and Quincy Families Fanned the Flames of Revolution (March 2020).
Josiah Quincy Junior, born in 1744 in Braintree, was one of the most important voices in pre-Revolution Massachusetts. His passion and intelligence were vital in rallying colonists of all classes to rise up against the British and fight for liberty. Called a Cicero by his fans, and a mad man by his enemies, he laid the groundwork for the Continental Congress and its path toward declaring independence from England.
Because of his untimely death in 1775 at the age of 29— he died while on a secret mission carrying vital messages from supporters in Britain to the colonies—he has been largely forgotten. As passionate in his personal life as in his legal and political endeavors, and as devoted to truth and honor as he was to life itself, it is time to reacquaint ourselves with Josiah Quincy Junior.
Following the Threads: the Hopedale Women’s Sewing Circle
Linda Hixon (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the lead historian of the Hopedale Women’s History Project (hopedalewomen.org, email@example.com, on Facebook: @hopedalewomen). She holds a Master’s Degree in history, with degrees in English, writing, media, and paralegal studies. Linda grew up in Hopedale with family roots going back through the Draper years to Adin Ballou. Her project, which includes volunteer researchers and writers from around the area, will produce a book, Following the Threads: Hopedale and the Fight for Women’s Rights, in spring 2020.
In the 1840s, the Hopedale Community was cutting edge. The principles of the members were a litany of the latest progressive views like abolition and temperance. But women’s rights led the way, and the town’s women voted on and served in local government, wrote in the newspaper, and even doctored the residents. Following the Threads is the story of the next generation, the daughters and granddaughters of those early members who had struggled to survive in their own community and live according to their own views. By 1874, when the Hopedale Sewing Circle reformed, the original community had been swallowed up by the prosperous and growing Draper Company. And by the turn of the century, Hopedale could boast two women’s suffrage groups and at least one anti-suffrage group, with the factions led by cousins – two daughters of two members of the original Hopedale Sewing Circle. How did it come to this?
The Bloody Flux of 1775, Looking at the Little Picture
Judy Cataldo (firstname.lastname@example.org, colonialspinningbee.blogspot.com) is a lover of historical events both great and small. Judy is an independent researcher, spinner and long time volunteer interpreter.
That summer of 1775 was a sad time in many Massachusetts towns when they experienced an epidemic of dysentery known as the Bloody Flux. As historians, we spend a lot of time looking at the big picture of how we got from Lexington to Yorktown, this will look at the little one and how it would have effected communities.
Ghosts and Shadows of Automobile Row: Commonwealth Avenue in Boston & Brookline
Ken Liss (email@example.com, brooklinehistory.blogspot.com, on Twitter: @brooklinepast) is president of the Brookline Historical Society and Head of Instruction at the Boston University Libraries.
The stretch of Commonwealth Avenue from Kenmore Square to Packard’s Corner in Allston was once home to more than a hundred auto dealerships and other auto-related enterprises. The businesses that made up the former Automobile Row are, with just a few exceptions, long gone. But reminders of this former mecca of the Motor Age – from street names to tire icons to gargoyle-like figures of auto mechanics — remain, many of them hidden in plain sight. Learn about the 20th century growth and decline of Boston’s Automobile Row and the modern reuse of its historic infrastructure, much of it as part of Boston University.
The Puritans: Who they were, who they are
Lori Rogers-Stokes (firstname.lastname@example.org) received her Ph.D. from Stony Brook University. She studies the founding decades of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, focusing on the period from 1630-80 when the forms of church and state were put in place that would shape Massachusetts and American history for centuries to come. She has a book forthcoming in 2021 on the puritan women of Cambridge, Massachusetts Bay Colony, called Heroic Souls.
When we talk to people about the history we love, we find our listeners are generally fans or critics. When it comes to the puritans, most people are critics. This means that I often find myself labeled a de facto “puritan defender” because my talks are often about clearing up negative myths about the puritans.
But my main purpose in making puritan theology, government, and society understandable is to present with unflinching acceptance the gulf that stands between their beliefs and the beliefs of most Americans in 2019 on the other. I would never say that we, today, should be “like the puritans”. Nor is my goal to sell you on the vague and generally useless proposition that “the puritans weren’t so bad.”
What I want to do is offer more value to you, as people living in the United States in 2020, than to while away an hour with anecdotes and explanations that you will have little reason to remember or refer to a week from now. I’d like to leave you with ideas generated in puritan New England, 400 years ago, that I believe we might use to help construct our reality today, in 2020. I’d like to do the precision work of history—locating ideas in the past, and finding ways to bring those that we can admire forward in new forms for new uses. I invite you to do that work with me in this session.
You Can’t Keep A Good Mill Down: Preservation and Perseverance of Industrial Spaces in a Post-Industrial World
Mark Kenneth Gardner (email@example.com) is a public historian and educator. He is currently the president of the Rhode Island Social Studies Association and is also the archivist for the Western Rhode Island Civic Historical Society. Follow Mark on Twitter @HistoryGardner and visit his LinkedIn page.
This presentation examines the variety of ways that nineteenth and twentieth-century textile mills and the communities that formed around them have repurposed themselves to be economically relevant in the twenty-first century, as well as the options and resources available to individuals and neighborhoods seeking to keep their local mill buildings intact.
Around the World on Old Ironsides
Robert Allison (firstname.lastname@example.org, robertallisonhistory.com) is a professor of history at Suffolk University, and has written about the Barbary Wars and Stephen Decatur. He is a life trustee of the USS CONSTITUTION Museum, vice president of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, and chairs the Revolution 250 Advisory Committee.
The USS CONSTITUTION, already a legendary and aged ship in the U.S. Navy, in 1844 cruised around the world. Under the command of the cantankerous Captain John “Mad Jack” Percival, the ship with its crew of five hundred men sailed from New York and stopped in Brazil, Madagascar, Zanzibar, Vietnam, China, the Philippines, Hawaii, and Mexico. What was the world like in this era? What was CONSTITUTION’s mission, and why was it send around the world?
Carrying the Declaration of Independence
Karen A. Chase (email@example.com, karenachase.com, on Twitter: @karenachase, on Facebook: @karenachaseauthor, on Instagram: @karenachase, on Pinterest: @kachase_author, on Goodreads: @karenachase) is the award-winning author of Carrying Independence (carryingindependence.com), a Founding-Documents novel about the signing of the Declaration. A 2019-20 Virginia Humanities fellow, she is an independent scholar specializing in the American Revolutionary and United States Founding eras. Carrying Independence was awarded No. 12 on the Shelf Unbound Best 100 Indie Books of 2019.
Why was there just one “copy” of the Declaration with the signatures? Which Continental Congress delegates did not attend the formal signing on August 2, 1776? How were their signatures acquired? Once it was signed, where was the Declaration kept and how was it cared for? Learn the history of the Declaration of Independence from 1776 until now, as discovered by Virginia Humanities 2019-2020 fellow and author of the Founding-Documents novel, Carrying Independence.
Benjamin Franklin’s Influence on Jewish Thought and Practice
Shai Afsai (shaiafsai.com) lives in Providence. His recent research has focused on the works of Thomas Paine, Zionist historiography, Jews and Freemasonry, the religious traditions of the Beta Yisrael Jewish community from Ethiopia, emerging Judaism in Nigeria, aliyah to Israel from Rhode Island, Jewish pilgrimage to Ukraine, and Jews and Irish literature.
As a young man in his twenties, Benjamin Franklin resolved to perfect his character, devising a unique self-improvement method to aid him in this challenging task of becoming virtuous. He also intended to compose a book elaborating on its use that would be suitable for members of different faiths, and that would form the basis of a new international secret fraternity.
Franklin’s method, described in his famous posthumously-published autobiography, was incorporated into the practical Jewish ethical tradition of mussar when Rabbi Mendel Lefin of Satanów, an adherent of the European Jewish Enlightenment movement, published The Book of Spiritual Accounting (1808), which re-contextualized Franklin’s approach and made it available to Hebrew-reading audiences.
Though Rabbi Lefin’s Franklin-based work continues to be studied in Jewish religious academies and underpins Jewish ideals of character-development and Jewish self-improvement programs, Judaic scholars have often been confused by or uncomfortable acknowledging this unusual historical development, while Franklin specialists and enthusiasts have remained largely unaware of it.
Reinventing the Historic House Museum
Ken Turino (firstname.lastname@example.org) is manager of community partnerships and resource development at Historic New England. He oversees community engagement projects throughout New England and is responsible for exhibition partnerships at the Eustis Estate, Langdon House Museum, and the Sarah Orne Jewett Museum and Visitor Center. Ken consults on interpretive planning and community engagement projects at historic sites including Madam John’s Legacy, New Orleans, Louisiana on best practices of community engagement, James Madison’s Montpellier, Orange, Virginia where he was part of a charrette to rethink the visitor experience, and recently with the Connecticut Landmarks’ Palmer Warner House on interpreting LGBTQ history. Ken holds a MA in Teaching, Museum Education, from the George Washington University and is an adjunct professor in the Tufts University Museum Studies Program where he teaches courses on historic houses. Mr. Turino is also Vice President of the board of the House of Seven Gables in Salem, Massachusetts. Along with Max van Balgooy he is an instructor of AASLH‘s Reinventing the Historic House workshop and co-editor of the recent Reinventing the Historic House Museum: New Approaches and Proven Solutions.
Ken Turino profiles historic sites using new models to engage with their communities, to become more relevant, and are adopting creative forms of interpretation and programming, while earning income to become more financially sustainable. This well illustrated presentation will give a variety of mini case studies from the United States and abroad on sites that are succeeding in getting the public involved with history.
Using New Media to Present History
Michael Troy (email@example.com), host of American Revolution Podcast (pod.amrevpodcast.com and blog.amrevpodcast.com)
Susan Otchere Stevenson (firstname.lastname@example.org), host of American Epistles podcast ( american-epistles.blubrry.net)
Jason Mandresh (email@example.com), host of Founder of the Day (founderoftheday.com)
Jake Sconyers ( jake@HUBhistory.com) host of HUB History podcast (www.hubhistory.com)
J.L. Bell, (firstname.lastname@example.org) author of the Boston 1775 blog, (boston1775.blogspot.com) and the book “The Road to Concord”
Liz Covart (email@example.com) host of Ben Franklin’s World podcast (www.benfranklinsworld.com)
Ed O’Donnell (firstname.lastname@example.org) host of In The Past Lane podcast (inthepastlane.com)
A panel of podcasters, bloggers, and video bloggers discuss how new forms of media are transforming the presentation of History. We will discuss how podcasting or other internet presentations differ from traditional media, why they reach new audiences, and trend in how presenting new media is continuing to change.
Public History Along Boston’s Waterfront
Liz Nelson Weaver, MEd, (bostonharbornow.org/get-involved/fohw/, www.boshw.us/) is the author of two collections of historic stories, “Newburyport: Stories from the Waterside” and “Concord: Stories to be Told” as well as a travel guide, “52 Places North of Boston.” She is the editor of “Making Freedom: African Americans in U. S. History,” a five-volume high school curriculum set, and two teaching guides about China: “The Enduring Legacy of Ancient China” and “China in the World.” She contributed many entries toMassMoments.org. After a dozen years spent writing for two Boston hospitals, Liz returned to her first love—history—spearheading the team effort to add dozens of interpretive signs along Boston’s 43-mile Harborwalk.
How to create interpretive signs that are engaging, inclusive, and historically accurate. Where does our team find information and discover terrific images? Who do we turn to for help? We’ll share an overview of our process—applicable to many projects—discuss challenges, and show examples of our Harborwalk signs.
The Final Farewell: Five Women Pay Tribute to Abigail Adams
Cheryl Browne-Greene, a BPS teacher for over 30 years, received a Boston Educator of the Year Award. She is a member of the Roxbury Collaborative, which has supported the Patriots’ Day reenactment and scholarship activities at the First Church in Roxbury for more than 19 years.
Karyn Greene, a lifelong lover of women’s history, studied Classics and Women’s Studies at Denison University and UMass Boston. Karyn teaches at John D. O’Bryant School for Mathematics and Science.
Ferna L. Phillips, Ph.D. is currently the Interim Director of the Office of Student Accessibility Services at Fisher College. She has held administrative positions in higher education for over 30 years. She is an ordained Deacon in her church, Massachusetts Avenue Baptist, located in Cambridge, MA.
Mary Rudder, author of the presentation, has teamed with her colleague, Maria D’Itria, on many BHWT projects including the Charlestown and the East Boston Women’s History Trails. Mary taught in the Boston Public Schools for 46 years.
Mary Smoyer (Howsmoyer@gmail.com, bwht.org, and on Facebook: @BostonWHT) is a co-author of the BWHT guidebook as well as editor and co-author of the BWHT publication Twenty-One Notable Women. Mary worked as a librarian and classroom teacher in public and private schools for over 30 years.
Dressed in period costumes, Boston Women’s Heritage Trail (BWHT) board members portray five influential women in the life of Abigail Adams: her mother, Elizabeth Smith; her older sister, Mary Cranch; her daughter, Nabby Adams Smith; her daughter-in-law, Louisa Johnson Adams; and her friend, Mercy Otis Warren. Based on correspondence between the women and Abigail, the presentation brings to life the woman who exhorted her husband to “Remember the Ladies”.
“No Good Man Can be Silent & Inactive in the Cause of Liberty”—Your Town in the American Revolution
Jonathan C. Lane – Revolution 250 Coordinator. Revolution 250 (www.revolution250.org) is a consortium of more than 60 organizations planning for the 250th Anniversary of the events leading to American independence.
A keystone to the development of Revolution 250 is the understanding that the “Revolution” was not restricted to the seaport of Boston alone, nor even to the immediate surrounding communities. The American Revolution took place in every town, village and hamlet throughout New England in a fascinating variety of ways. This session will discuss the multiplicity of events, declarations and communications that occurred across Massachusetts on the road to independence.
Battle of the Steam Titans: Leavitt vs. Reynolds
Eric Peterson (EPeterson753@gmail.com, is currently the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Waterworks Museum (www.waterworksmuseum.org) in Chestnut Hill. He also serves on the Board of the Mass History Alliance (www.masshistoryalliance.org).
Size mattered to the 19th century steam engineers E. D. Leavitt and Edwin Reynolds. In fact, they competed to build the largest Prime Power equipment on the planet. This session will explore the remarkably similar lives of these now forgotten master makers and show how their work impacted cities and shaped the future of American manufacturing. Find out who won the title of world’s steam titan. And learn how a site in Boston is the only place where their behemoth machines still go mano-a-mano!
Backwards and in High Heels: Boston Women Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Greatness
Michele Steinberg is a volunteer tour guide with Boston By Foot (www.bostonbyfoot.org, on Twitter: @Bostonbyfoot, and on Facebook: @bostonbyfoot) . Since 2007, she’s given tours and narrated cruises covering the city’s architecture, Revolutionary War history, and the social history of immigrants, abolitionists, women in the labor and suffrage movements, and more. Her day job involves fire safety at the National Fire Protection Association.
Gretchen Grozier (email@example.com) started volunteering to give tours in Boston in 1995 and has become more than a bit obsessed with this activity over the years. In recent years, she’s been helping Boston By Foot and the Boston Women’s Heritage Trail (bwht.org, on Facebook: @BostonWHT) highlight the stories of unsung heroines on tours in Beacon Hill, Jamaica Plain and Downtown Boston.
We all know that quote about Fred Astaire – that he was a great dancer, but Ginger Rogers had to do everything he did backwards…and in high heels. Women played a huge role in Boston’s history and made their contributions while not having full citizenship and often not even having what we think of as basic human rights. Let us tell you about activists, artists, scientists and others who changed the course not only of our City’s history but the history of our country as well. We’ll also spend some time talking about suffragists whose road to the vote spanned more than 100 years. They overcame the obstacles in their path and achieved amazing things.
Why attend? The stories of women are generally not as well known as those of men, but we hope to change that by giving you a glimpse into this hidden history. Participants will hear about a range of women who achieved great things in many different areas and whose contributions should be recognized and honored.
The Historic National Road
Lorna Hainesworth (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an Ambassador and National Traveler, Lifetime member of the Surveyors Historical Society and the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, Associate member of the Department of the Geographer and the District of Columbia Association of Land Surveyors, Founding member of the Lewis and Clark Trust and Organizational member of several American Revolution Round Tables.
Transportation was critical to the development of the United States as a nation. This session will tell the story of one of the most significant roads in our country’s history: The Historic National Road, commonly referred to as the first federally-funded road or the nation’s first interstate highway or “the road that built America.”
Why was it built? When and where was it built? Who was involved in building it? What became of it? How can it be traveled today?
Lorna’s paper, Open a wide door . . . make a smooth way: Historic National Road, which provides the history of the National Road, can be downloaded at Academia.edu.
The Fort Devens Black Wac Strike
On March 9, 1945, 54 black privates in the Women’s Army Corps at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, went on strike to protest the racism they had endured on the base. Ten days later, four of the women stood trial in one of the most publicized courts-martial of World War II. Their act of insubordination carried the maximum penalty of “death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct.”
The Black Wac Strike is a now-obscure chapter in the long history of African American women’s resistance and resilience in the struggle for civil rights and equality. It also starkly displays an equally long American tradition: the purposefully obtuse preservation of systematic racism. The trial and its outcome tell the story of the women’s conflicted acts of courage and compliance as well as the Army’s (and by extension, America’s) determination to uphold its racist and sexist status quo before it would eventually begin to make slow and grudging movements toward effecting racial equity.
This session will focus specifically on the court-martial and the dispositions of the Wac’s during WWII and the era immediately after.
Rx, Religion, and Recipes: Early Colonial Women and Their Responsibilities
Lori Lyn Price has been enamored with medical recipes since using a 17th century cookbook for her thesis. She is particularly interested in the role of women in keeping their family healthy. In her free time she runs BridgingThePast.com, a speaking and writing business geared towards helping people understand the social and historical context in which their ancestors lived.
Roxanne Reddington-Wilde, Ph.D. (email@example.com), professor of Cambridge College where she teaches Anthropology, Art History, Geography and more. She has a strong interest in linking anthropological avenues of inquiry to social history, especially the roles and activities of women in the Early Modern Scottish Highlands and beyond. She likes to try her hand interpreting 17th & 18th century recipes in the kitchen.
Lori Rogers-Stokes (firstname.lastname@example.org) has so many new ideas about the puritan women of Cambridge that she wrote a book about it, which will be published late this year called Heroic Souls.
The “Three Rs” of colonial American womanhood arguably did as much or more to shape life in what would become the United States than politics or commerce. Of course, women’s work was inextricably connected with men’s work, and the line between work in the domestic and public spheres was blurry. Colonial New England’s churches were dominated by female members, whose role in raising up new generations of Congregationalists was praised explicitly by many Founders for its eventual political impact. Colonial medicine was dominated by female practitioners–the housewife provided much of the family’s medical care, and the midwife did much more than deliver babies. Colonial women fed both body and soul; recipes and cooking practices were tied to women’s medical knowledge.
Bring your questions to three women whose study of colonial women has inspired them! The majority of this session will be devoted to Q&A about the role colonial New England’s women played in medicine, religion, and food culture.
Boston By Map
Dennis McCarthy (email@example.com) does volunteer work in public history as a tour guide for Boston By Foot, as a docent at the Boston Public Library, and as a workshop leader for the Leventhal Map and Education Center.
Interested in Boston history? Like old maps of the city? This class will show you how to use historic maps to illustrate Boston’s history. You will learn how to use free online tools to overlay maps from different years, to depict changes in the city over time. The session also includes a brief survey of historic maps of Boston, and where to find them online.
Safe Harbor: The History of Boston’s Maritime Underground Railroad
Shawn Quigley (firstname.lastname@example.org), Ranger with the National Parks of Boston
During the years preceding the American Civil War, Boston served as one of the most important stops on the Underground Railroad. Did you know that many of the freedom seekers escaping from enslavement came to Boston by stowing away on ships from southern ports? Join NPS Ranger Shawn Quigley as we explore the little known stories of men and women making daring escapes to freedom through Boston Harbor.
Beyond Suffrage: Women’s Activism in the 1920s
Barbara Berenson (www.barbarafberenson.com and on Facebook: @authorbarbaraberenson) is the author of Massachusetts in the Woman Suffrage Movement: Revolutionary Reformers (2018), Boston in the Civil War: Hub of the Second Revolution (2014), and Walking Tours of Civil War Boston: Hub of Abolitionism (2011, 2d ed. 2014). She is the co-editor of Breaking Barriers: The Unfinished Story of Women Lawyers and Judges in Massachusetts (2012). She serves on the boards of Boston By Foot and the Royall House & Slave Quarters. Her next book will explore the history of the Equal Rights Amendment.
This session will consider women’s political engagement in the years following adoption of the 19th Amendment. What was the impact of the 19th Amendment? Did women vote as a bloc? What new items were on the agenda of women activists during the 1920s? We will focus on the new schism among activists over the Equal Rights Amendment, which was first proposed in the early 1920s. The ERA was favored by Alice Paul and her National Woman’s Party, but opposed by the new League of Women Voters, among others. We’ll also consider the groundbreaking Sheppard-Towner Act that provided federal funding for maternity and child care. Closer to home, we will explore the 30-year campaign Massachusetts women waged to be permitted to serve on juries.
Yours at Power: Knowing One’s Place in the Early Modern Scottish Highlands (16th-18th C.)
Roxanne Reddington-Wilde, Ph.D. (email@example.com), professor of Cambridge College
Equality was not a social ideal in the Early Modern Scottish Highlands of the 16th—18th C.
“Be yours assurit at his command;”(#26) “Your is assuritly att his power;”(#27) “Your Ladyship is to command at service”(#40): Cranky Colin Campbell—Laird of Glenorchy; his universally beloved wife, Kait Ruthven; their Campbell friends… and MacGregor enemies closed letters to each other with these and similar statements. Each knew their place in society’s hierarchy as they manipulated social relationships to their own, personal and clan ends.
The mid-16th C. Campbell of Glenorchy letter collection becomes a springboard to explore how Highlanders understood and expressed their place. Gaelic poetry; Highland architecture and Scottish painting; legal contracts and English travel writings…all expand on the relationship clues found in letters. Why did Highlanders insist on maintaining inequality? Was it ever set aside —within family, between friends or husband & wife? Without an understanding of and appreciation for the role of unequal power relations between people, one cannot begin to understand Highland society of the period… or the Campbell/MacGregor feud.
The Forgotten Adams
Moriah Illsley (firstname.lastname@example.org) received her master’s in public history at UMass Boston. She has been working for the National Park Service since 2014, spending three seasons at Lowell National Historical Park and three seasons at Adams National Historical Park.
Louisa Catherine Adams, the wife of John Quincy, our sixth President, is generally overshadowed by her domineering mother-in-law. Although she is not as prolific in her writing as her husband or other members of the family, Louisa was equally influential in her own ways and methods. She was incredibly charismatic and quickly became a favored member of the various European and American social circles in which she was engaged throughout her husband’s political career. Louisa is the daughter-in-law of a president, the wife of a president, the mother of an ambassador to England, and a forgotten Adams.
Madison v. Hamilton
Bil Lewis (Bil@LambdaCS.com and presidentmadison.weebly.com) is a Computer Scientist and has worked in research and taught most of his life, most recently doing Genetics Research at the Broad Institute of MIT. He has taught at Stanford and Tufts Universities, subbed in Somerville, and worked in R&D at Sun Microsystems, FMC, and Nokia.
Bil is a Past District Governor for Toastmasters, an Eagle Scout, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and a Concerned Citizen.
James Madison and Alexander Hamilton worked closely together to build a nation. They are the two primarily responsible for the Constitutional Convention. They wrote the Federalist in close cooperation. They walked down Maiden Lane together day after day, talking about the nature on man and politics.
Yet they came to be strong political adversaries.
Bil Lewis (in costume as James Madison) would like to discuss this interesting division with the members of the audience. He shall speak for some time on his memories and concerns regarding his old friend, then turn to the audience for their thoughts.
Digging and Debunking: Using Online Tools to Investigate the Myths of American History
J.L. Bell (@boston1775 on Twitter) maintains the Boston1775.net website, offering daily helpings of history, analysis, and unabashed gossip about Revolutionary New England. He is the author of “The Road to Concord: How Four Stolen Cannon Ignited the Revolutionary War” and numerous articles.
From Founders’ quotes to inspirational legends to details that historians have repeated for so long that nobody considers where they came from, our history abounds with assertions that we should be skeptical about. This workshop discusses how to assess such historical tales and tidbits. It will share tactics for using Google Books and other free resources to pinpoint when and where stories arose, and lay out the dynamic of “grandmother’s tales,” “memory creep,” and other ways legends spread. And every so often these techniques reveal that a story almost too good to be true is supported by solid evidence.
Hidden in Plain Sight: the 1639 Mother Brook Canal and the Mills of East Dedham
Judy Neiswander a member of the Dedham Historical Commission and a board member of the Dedham Historical Society, is supervising the East Dedham – Mother Brook Corridor Historic Properties Survey for the Town of Dedham. A former museum curator, she has a Ph.D. in art history from the University of London and is the author of two books on the decorative arts.
Now the oldest canal in North America, Mother Brook was excavated just after the first settlers arrived in Dedham in 1635. The canal connected the Charles and Neponset Rivers via an inland stream, creating a modified waterway that powered five mill privileges and nearly 400 years of the town’s industrial history. Although historic mill buildings, industrial infrastructure, and early residences (including company-built housing) survive in abundance, the history of the area has been largely forgotten. This session will explore this vibrant chapter of one of New England’s forgotten mill towns.
“Thrown into pits”: how were the bodies of the nineteen hanged Salem “witches” really treated?
Marilynne K. Roach (email@example.com, marilynnekroach.com) independent researcher, is the author of The Salem Witch Trials: A Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege, and Six Women of Salem, and is a member of the Gallows Hill Group that verified the site of the 1692 hangings.
Nineteenth century historian Charles Upham stated that the deceased were “undoubtedly all thrown into pits dug among the rocks” after the hangings. In addition, more recent popular accounts and all too many walking tours of Salem tend to enlarge on the more gruesome aspects of the 1692 witch trials tragedy with tales of bodies carelessly disposed of far from consecrated ground. But what really happened? Does contemporary evidence prove a different fate? Family lore strongly suggests that at least three of the dead were removed to home ground under cover of night for proper burial, but family lore isn’t always dependable. A closer examination of the court records may disprove the usual assumptions.
Daylight Saving Time: Its Long, Colorful, Controversial, and Often Surprising History
Dr. David Prerau (firstname.lastname@example.org, seizethedayllight.com) is an internationally-known expert on Daylight Saving Time and author of “Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time,” which The Economist called “The definitive book on DST.” He co-authored three major U.S. government studies on DST and was a DST consultant for the U.S. Congress and the British Parliament. As a recognized DST authority, he has had numerous media appearances in TV, radio, and newspapers.
Daylight Saving Time (DST)—the seemingly simple act of moving your clock twice a year—has impacted the lives of billions of people throughout the world for many years. Its history has been an amalgam of colorful happenings and serious technical issues, supporters extoling its many benefits and detractors pointing out its disadvantages, interest group pressures and government policymaking, and a lot of contention along the way. How much DST to have each year has been a continuing issue of debate in jurisdictions around the world, and it is becoming of growing controversy today.
DST has had many champions and detractors throughout the years—well-known names such as Benjamin Franklin, Winston Churchill, Kaiser Wilhelm, Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, and Harry Truman and some lesser knowns, such as William Willett and George Vernon Hudson. There have been numerous extraordinary episodes, such as the confusing situation when St. Paul, Minnesota had DST while twin city Minneapolis did not, and the years when Iowa towns used 23 different sets of DST starting and ending dates. We’ll discuss all of these and much more.
Imagination, Innovation, and Invention: The Connecticut River Valley Engine of Prosperity
Robert Forrant (Robert_Forrant@uml.edu), professor of history, University of Massachusetts Lowell
Once upon a time, a 200-mile industrial corridor along the Connecticut River through Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont prospered. Now, it represents the scourge of deindustrialization common to many parts of the U.S. A 19th and early 20th-century hub of innovation and invention, what explains the region’s spectacular rise and equally stunning fall? Learn what happened with Robert Forrant, professor of history at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and former machinist in that very corridor.
The Historic 1620 Mayflower Voyage
Peter Arenstam (email@example.com, peterarenstam.com, and on Facebook: @TheMightyMastiffOfTheMayflower) For over two decades Peter managed, sailed, and exhibited the reproduction ship Mayflower II for the living History Museum, Plimoth Plantation. Author of “The Mighty mastiff of the Mayflower”, and “Mayflower 1620: A New look at a Pilgrim Voyage”. Currently, Executive Director of the Pilgrim John Howland Society (pilgrimjohnhowlandsociety.org).
The story of Mayflower’s 1620 voyage was anything but calm, the stormy weather was the least of it. Did you know there was going to be a second ship sailing when Mayflower made her famous voyage in 1620? Some suspect the captain of the smaller ship, the Speedwell, worked out a scheme to avoid making the long and possibly deadly voyage to the new world. Even as the ships were poised to leave England there were ongoing arguments among the competing factions on the ship about the terms the Merchant Adventurer required to release their funding for the precarious undertaking. Surly sailors, passengers falling overboard in storms and an aging ship breaking up as they traveled added to their worries. Sighting land didn’t end the discord. The unexpected end of their voyage required a new plan for keeping the disparate groups together. Not everyone was on board with the improvised solution. Now on the edge of a world the Pilgrim’s knew little about they would have to face unknown challenges, learn knew skills, and attempt to forge a friendship with Wampanoags, whose land they were about to inhabit.
A Ghost, A Girl Gallops, and Washington’s Spectacles – Three Revolutionary tales showing how the Hudson Valley shaped American Independence
Jonathan Kruk, (firstname.lastname@example.org, www.jonathankruk.com, and on Youtube: @jonatales) MA.Edu. is a professional storyteller and author known for Hudson River history and solo shows of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” He’s been featured on The Travel Channel, The Today Show, and CBS Sunday Morning.
History often gets made through strange, small, yet significant events. Indeed, the Hudson River was as Washington, Adams and “Gentleman Johnny” Burgoyne agreed, “key” to the American Revolution. The Battle of Saratoga, stands out as the “turning point.” Benedict Arnold’s turn-coating at West Point remains the “treason of the blackest dye.” The Hudson Valley’s role in the Revolution, however, rings out in a trio of curious vignettes.
Listen to three engaging stories revealing what happened on the Hudson helped make the new nation. The Origins of the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow, Sybil Luddington’s revered ride, and George Washington’s spectacles all show the region’s unique history.
Atlascope: Exploring Boston’s Past Geographies with New Technologies
Do you love maps and history? If you’ve ever found yourself wandering around Boston wondering what once stood where you stand, this session is for you!
See how the city and surrounding towns have changed over time with the Leventhal Map & Education Center’s newest discovery tool, Atlascope. Atlascope is a new (free!) app built by the Map Center that allows anyone to easily access, explore, and compare dozens of Sanborn, Bromely and other historical urban atlases from the BPL’s collection. With the swipe of a finger, you can digitally pan across the Greater Boston Area and easily explore layers and layers historical data showing churches, bodies of water, and pieces of urban infrastructure going back 150 years.
In this session, we’ll show you all the ins and outs of researching with Atlascope for genealogical, urban historical, or other purposes, and teach you about the completely open-source geospatial process by which this data was created.
Telling Stories About the Past with Women at the Center
Peggy Bendroth (email@example.com, www.congregationallibrary.org) is a historian of American religion who has been looking for women’s stories for many years, in all kinds of settings. She is currently in the process of retiring as executive director of the Congregational Library and Archives on Beacon Hill–and seeking out the next adventure.
Finding women’s stories from the past can require a lot of ingenuity and persistence. So many of our records have been written by and about men–it’s not surprising that women are often invisible. This session provides some research tips and strategies, as well as practical ideas for including women in meaningful ways. I’ll draw on my own experiences in researching and writing about American religion and as director of a historical library and archives, but the session is designed for all types of people interested in all kinds of areas.
Salem: The Greatest Witch-Hunt of All Time
Emerson W. Baker (On Twitter:@EmersonWBaker) is Vice Provost and a Professor of History at Salem State University and is the author of “A Storm of Witchcraft: The Salem Trials and the American Experience” as well as other books on the history and archaeology of early New England.
For more than 300 years Salem and its infamous witch hunt has been cited as the standard for extremism, rushing to judgment, and miscarriages of justice by people all political views. For example, during the American Revolution, Massachusetts loyalists accused patriots of engaging in witch hunts, and in the antebellum era southern slave holders compared Massachusetts abolitionists to their ancestors who “burned witches.”
This presentation will explore what actually happened in the Salem witch trials, why it happened, and how the tragic injustices of 1692 have been used by people ever since. It will also consider the nature of witch hunts, and the factors that trigger them, particularly political instability and historically bad weather.
Printing Paul Revere’s Boston Massacre
Andy Volpe (firstname.lastname@example.org, andyvolpe.com, and bostongazette.org) is an Artist, Living History Presenter, Historical Printer, and Bird-nerd in Worcester, MA. Since 2010 he has worked with Gary Gregory at the Printing Office of Edes & Gill in Faneuil Hall, replicating engravings from the 18th century including works by Paul Revere, using the same techniques he did. Andy is also known for his Roman Legionary presentations, which he developed at the former Higgins Armory Museum, now at Worcester Art Museum, which he also brings to area schools and colleges. He is also active with other living history groups, spanning ancient Rome, 15th, 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
Andy recently completed a full size replica of Revere’s infamous “Bloody Massacre” copperplate, entirely by hand, and on March 7, 2020, he printed off of the wooden rolling press at the Printing Office of Edes & Gill, doing everything that Revere did with the same kinds of materials for the first time in 250 years! Andy will talk about intaglio printmaking in 18th century Boston, the many copies of Revere and Pelham, why he refers to it as a “full-size” replica, and how he went about researching and engraving it.
The Villainous Pirates of America
Eric Jay Dolin (email@example.com, On Twitter:@ericjaydolin) is the author of fourteen books, including Leviathan and Black Flags, Blue Waters. His next book — A Furious Sky: The Five-Hundred-Year History of America’s Hurricanes — publishes on August 4. He lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts
Set against the backdrop of the Age of Exploration, Black Flags, Blue Waters: The Epic History of America’s Most Notorious Pirates reveals the dramatic and surprising history of American piracy’s “Golden Age”—spanning the late 1600s through the early 1700s—when lawless pirates plied the coastal waters of North America and beyond. In a dramatic slide show and presentation, Eric Jay Dolin illustrates how American colonists at first supported these outrageous pirates in an early display of colonial solidarity against the Crown, and then violently opposed them. Through engrossing episodes of roguish glamour and extreme brutality, Dolin depicts the star pirates of this period, including towering Blackbeard, as well as pirates whose stories are are less familiar, but whose despicable deeds are often just as riveting. Upending popular misconceptions and cartoonish stereotypes, Dolin provides this wholly original account of the seafaring outlaws whose raids reflect the precarious nature of American colonial life. Anyone interested in American history and/or pirates should enjoy the talk.
What to Do with a Ruined Historical Site?
Liz Loveland (adventuresingenealogy.wordpress.com, On Twitter:@lizl_genealogy, History Camp Archives) is a local historian and professional genealogist passionate about documenting those marginalized in surviving historical records. She spoke at HistoryCamp 2016 on “Researching Enslaved & Recently Free Northerners.”
Many historical sites have not stood the test of time, especially ones where a portion of society has done terrible things to others. We will take an informal look at the differing choices that a variety of global sites that were partially or completely in ruins have made in advance of opening to the public, focusing primarily on sites regarding societally touchy issues such as genocide and slavery, like Dachau in Germany and Jasenovac death camp in Croatia. We will also briefly look at some options if a societally sensitive site remains only partially restored or the community is divided on what to do with it, and some ways to memorialize past horrors in the wider landscape.
- Location: Suffolk University Law School at 120 Tremont Street in Boston.
- Parking: Two good, very affordable options within a few minutes of our location.
- Mass transit: The closest subway stop is Park Street (Red and Green lines).
- Lodging: We have a block of rooms available at $209 per night at the Sheraton Boston Hotel. You can reserve a room here. Deadline for the discount, based on availability, is February 21, 2020.
Detailed information on all of this and more is on our Location, Transportation, and Lodging page.
History Camp Boston is a project of the non-profit organization, The Pursuit of History.