History Camp Boston 2023
History Camp Boston 2023 Tee Celebrating the 250th Anniversary of the Boston Tea Party Featuring an Illustration from 1873

History Camp Boston 2023 Tee Celebrating the 250th Anniversary of the Boston Tea Party with an Illustration from 1873

©2023 The Pursuit of History. Reference Image Courtesy of the Brookline Public Library Manuscript Collection. Design by mnd.nyc. Made in USA,

Saturday, August 12, 2023, 9:00am–5:30pm

History Camp Boston 2023

History Camp Boston 2024 Dates Announced History Camp Boston 2024 will be on Saturday, August 10, 2024. The 2024 Friends of History Camp reception will be Friday and tours will be Sunday.  To present, see the key dates and other information here.
History Camp Boston 2023  History Camp is a casual conference that brings together adults from all walks of life. This year at History Camp Boston 2023 there were 50 sessions scheduled, tables from authors and history organizations, and historical re-enactors. If you’re a history buff, History Camp is for you! Come to a future History Camp and see why we say, “spend a Saturday with some of the most interesting people in history.”
Updated 9/12/23 38 session videos posted. Links appear in the session descriptions below when a video is available.
Updated 9/18/23 350+ photos posted
Date Saturday, August 12, 2023
Location Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont Street, Boston, Massachusetts
Directions, transportation, and lodging information
Doors Open 8:00 am, light welcome breakfast served
Exhibit Hall and Vendors Opens at 8:00 am
History Camp Sessions 9:00 am–5:15 pm        Schedule preview as of July 29: Page 1Page 2
Lunch 12:15 pm–1:30 pm – On your own or join us for a catered lunch (additional ticket fee)
Friday Evening 2023 Friends of History Camp Reception — Can sign up when you register.
Saturday Evening “Revolution’s Edge” at The Old North Church — Starts at 6:30 pm and requires a separate ticket. More details at bottom.
Sunday Tours See the Sunday Tours page for details. Sign up when you register.
For Presenters Information for presenters
For Students Limited number of scholarships available to students aged 16 – 25 >

Speakers and Sessions

If you are interested in presenting at the next History Camp, you’ll find more information on our Call for Presentations page.

William Dawes, Before and After His Ride

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J. L. Bell (boston1775.blogspot.com) is the proprietor of the Boston 1775 website, providing 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, a book-length study for the National Park Service about Gen. George Washington in Cambridge, and numerous articles and book chapters.

William Dawes, Jr., is known today only as the other rider who carried news of the British army march to Lexington in April 1775. In fact, like his famous colleague Paul Revere, Dawes was active throughout Massachusetts’s Revolution. Before April 1775 he was a militia organizer, a political fashion icon, and even an arms smuggler whose secret mission for the Patriots’ Committee of Safety helped bring on the same march to Concord he helped to warn about. During the war he took on responsibilities administering and supplying the state’s armed forces. And afterwards he was active in reestablishing one of Boston’s oldest military institutions. Hear all about one of the hands-on figures who made the Revolution happen.

Creating Tactile and Emotional Connections to Make History Relevant

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Sandy Spector (marthawashington1775@gmail.com, themrswashington.com, Instagram @martha_washington_visits) has been a Revolutionary War reenactor since 2000, but now finds herself in her favorite role, Martha Washington. She now spends most of her time researching and interpreting Mrs. Washington and has been portraying Martha—alone or with George (John Koopman, III)—in multiple states and venues for the past 8 years, including the National Park Service’s Washington’s Headquarters in Cambridge, MA and Washington’s Headquarters, in Newburgh, NY. As well, she works with classrooms, libraries, historical societies, and various associations virtually and in person throughout the US. She is currently writing a book about Martha Washington—in Martha’s voice!

How does one bring history to life? As most of our audience knows, it is not just about names, dates, and places. It is about the connection between a person of that time and the modern day visitor. This is created through emotions, relatable feelings and experiences that transcend time, and tactile interactions that make time travel possible. Visitors need to recognize themselves in the interpreter, so that they may easily relate to them and retain the information being imparted.

In this session, Sandy Spector, or Martha Washington, will share how her audiences end up nodding their heads in agreement, or shaking their heads in commiseration, through her visits with them. She will share what elements connect her to her guests—both in a physical and in an emotional fashion.

“Curs’d Prudence and Designing Politicians”: The Stamp Act Crisis in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and North Carolina

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Abby Chandler, PhD, is Associate Professor of Early American History at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Her book, Seized with the Temper of the Times: Identity and Rebellion in Pre-Revolutionary America, will be published by Westholme in the fall of 2023. She also serves on the 250th American Revolution Historical Commission for Massachusetts.

The passing of the “Duties in American Colonies Act” by the British Parliament in 1765 set off the barrage of colonial responses known as the “Stamp Act Crisis.” Today, we’ll examine the role that pre-existing political systems played in shaping responses to the Stamp Act in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and North Carolina.

Massachusetts experienced the Stamp Act Crisis as a battle between a locally elected colonial legislature and government officials appointed by the British crown. Rhode Island experienced this period as a battle between a locally elected government and the Rhode Island colonists who wanted to shift the balance of power towards the British crown. Riots in both colonies targeted the bodies and houses of the men who advocated for the interests of the British Empire, but the Rhode Island attacks were on civilians rather than government representatives. The Stamp Act Crisis in North Carolina was also a dispute between a locally elected colonial legislature and a royal governor, but Governor William Tryon struggled, however unsuccessfully, to reach common ground with his rebelling colonists.

By highlighting the diverging experiences of colonists in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and North Carolina during the Stamp Act crisis, this panel tells a broader story about political connections and divisions in British North America on the eve of the American Revolution.

Cooking with the Suffragettes: The Battle for the 19th Amendment

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Armed with a bachelor’s degree in history and a passion for the First Ladies, Sarah Morgan launched her Cooking with the First Ladies Instagram account after finding a copy of The First Ladies Cook Book: Favorite Recipes of all the Presidents of the United States at a thrift store back in 2019. After cooking through all of the First Ladies, Sarah started providing virtual content that offered a crash course in First Lady History covering biographies, accomplishments, and culture of the time period as well as a cooking demonstration of selections of the First Lady’s favorite recipes for the National First Ladies Library. Sarah has also extensively researched the 1920s, with a focus on the ratification of the 19th Amendment, the “First Ladies” of the Women’s Suffrage movement, and the tools used to get the right to vote, such as the Suffrage Cookbooks.

The path to ratification of the 19th amendment is marked by well over 100 years of a sisterhood of women working toward equal rights. Long before the movement began, Abigail Adams wrote a letter to her husband saying, “Remember the Ladies” as they were drafting the Declaration of Independence. This program will feature “First Ladies” of the Suffrage Movement, including Anita Pollitzer, the Jewish woman who swayed one Tennessean to change his vote. Although this will not feature live cooking, participants will receive recipe booklets with some of the recipes used in the fight for the right to vote, such as the Lady Baltimore Cake.

Where Have the Salem Witchcraft Documents Been Since 1692? A Story of Fascination and Preservation

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Margo Burns, MA, (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 legal documents pertaining to the Salem witchcraft trials, organized in chronological order.

In April 1952, playwright Arthur Miller went to Salem to do research for his play “The Crucible,” set during the witchcraft trials of 1692. He described the experience of seeing the original manuscripts at the Essex County Courthouse this way: “I wanted to study the actual words of the interrogations… often spelled phonetically in the improvised shorthand of the court clerks or the ministers who kept the record as the trials proceeded… Reading the testimony here beside the bay was an experience different from reading about the trials in New York. Here, it could have happened.” He is not alone: many people over the centuries have felt that same intensity about seeing the originals. In the early 1980s, that Court transferred the manuscripts of the Court of Oyer & Terminer into the care of the Phillips Library of the Essex Institute, the predecessor of the Peabody Essex Museum. In 2018, the Museum announced that it was moving them to its new state-of-the-art Collection Center in Rowley, despite public uproar that they were being moved out of Salem, where many people felt strongly that they belonged. Recently, the manuscripts were moved again, this time to where they actually do belong: the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives at Columbia Point in Boston, joining another cache of original records of the episode. This is the story of where they have all been over the years, why some have been moved, and what the story is of the fascination with and preservation of the original manuscripts of this unique event in Massachusetts history.

Cake, Madeira, and Portraits: John Hancock’s Hospitable Diplomacy during the Revolutionary War

Brooke Barbier, PhD, (yeoldetaverntours.com) received her PhD in American history from Boston College. Author of the forthcoming King Hancock: The Radical Influence of a Moderate Founding Father from Harvard University Press and Boston in the American Revolution: A Town versus an Empire, she founded and operates Ye Olde Tavern Tours, a popular guided outing along Boston’s Freedom Trail.

France became a critical partner of the United States during the Revolutionary War but distrust and trouble brewed between the two sides in the early days of the alliance. John Hancock, the most popular man in Massachusetts, helped solidify the relationship in the most unlikely way: sumptuous entertainment. From the Marquis de Lafayette to Admiral D’Estaing, Hancock (and his wife and household staff) tended to the whims and needs of hundreds of French troops. The officers had outrageous asks and Hancock delivered on nearly all of them, eventually being adopted as an honorary citizen of France and establishing an important bond between the two countries.

Synagogues, Stores, and Community: The Early Development and Growth of Jewish Brookline

Ken Liss (kenlissbrookline@gmail.com, brooklinehistory.blogspot.com, twibh.blogspot.com) has been president of the Brookline Historical Society since 2009. He worked as a librarian at the Boston Public Library, Harvard Business School, Boston College, and Boston Universty before retiring in 2021.

The first half of the 20th century saw dramatic growth in the Jewish population of Brookline and in the institutions, businesses, and activities that helped make the town a center of Jewish life in the Boston area. Join Brookline Historical Society president Ken Liss for a look at some of the people, places, and events that led to this growth and to some surprising connections between the Jewish community and local landmarks like the S.S. Pierce building, the Coolidge Corner Theatre, and some familiar Brookline storefronts and houses.

The Sea Witch: Telling the Stories of USS Salem

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Quinn R. Stuart, MA, is the Director of Cultural Resources at VHB and has been working in historic preservation throughout the country for the last 16 years. Quinn has a diverse professional and educational background in architectural history, cultural resource management, preservation carpentry, and masonry conservation. She received her MA in Historic Preservation from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2009 and graduated from Roger Williams University with a BS in Historic Preservation in 2006. She has a personal interest in Cold-War era history, both domestic and military, which has led to the documentation of several military installations of that era.

The US Naval Shipbuilding Museum was established in 1994 when the US Navy transferred USS Salem, a Cold War-era heavy cruiser, to the museum at the Fore River Shipyard in Quincy, Massachusetts. Salem, nicknamed the Sea Witch, was commissioned in 1949 and placed in reserve status in 1959, retaining its entire armament and nearly all its equipment. Since 2020, Quinn and her colleagues have been working on documenting the ship’s history and preparing the museum’s first strategic management plan. This presentation we will tell the stories USS Salem’s service and crew (with plenty of period photographs) and the ongoing work to evolve and expand a more dynamic visitor experience at the museum.

Abigail, Sarah, Elizabeth, and Esther: Nipmuc Women In and Out of the Congregational Church in Hassanamesit/Grafton

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Lori Rogers-Stokes, PhD, is an independent scholar, public historian, and former contributing editor for New England’s Hidden Histories, a digital history project making three centuries of Congregational church records available through digitization and transcription. She is the author of Records of Trial from Thomas Shepard’s Church in Cambridge, 1638-49: Heroic Souls (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020). Lori studies the history of Woodland New England, particularly the first century of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, where forms of church and state were created that are still shaping American history for better and for worse today.

Congregationalism, the religion the Puritans established in Woodland New England, was shaped by Indigenous worshippers as well as English. In this talk, Rogers-Stokes will use church records to tell the dynamic stories of four Nipmuc women—sisters and cousins—of Hassanamesit (Grafton) at the turn of the 18th century who made very different, very personal choices about church belonging. Their lives and experiences as described in church records give us a new and priceless window into the world of Indigenous women asserting agency and maintaining kinship despite the threats and pressures of colonization.

In Distemper She Died: The Victims of Boston’s Witch Trials

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Alyssa G. A. Conary, MA, is a freelance historian, writer, and museum professional. She completed a master’s degree in history at Salem State University in 2020 after working in interpretation, administration, and development in Salem’s heritage industry for several years. Her specific areas of historical interest include witchcraft and magic, the early modern Atlantic World, and seventeenth-century architecture. Alyssa lives in southern New Hampshire with her husband Ryan, their son and daughter William and Isabelle, and their two cats Jonah and Henry.

Massachusetts Bay began executing people for witchcraft in Boston almost fifty years before the Salem Witch Trials. These executions are much lesser-known, totaling fewer than half the number that took place in Salem in one year alone, but the stories behind them deserve to be told. Join Alyssa for an introduction to the women convicted and executed for witchcraft in seventeenth-century Boston. Learn their names and their stories, and how one case may have been a precursor to the events of 1692.

Eben Horsford and the Invention of Modern Baking Powder

Note: Michael was not able to participate. We look forward to him presenting at a future History Camp.

Michael Kuchta, BA, MArch, is an architect and campus planner from Cambridge, Massachusetts. He has an undergraduate degree in History and Sociology of Science and a graduate degree in architecture. With Karen Weintraub, he is the co-author of Born in Cambridge: 400 Years of Ideas and Innovators, published by The MIT Press in 2022.

In 1854, a Harvard University chemistry professor named Eben Norton Horsford (1818–1893) began the search for an inexpensive leavening agent that would reliably generate the bubbles of gas that make baked goods light and fluffy. Yeasts have been used for millennia in baking, but as living organisms, can be variable in their carbon dioxide output. Cream of tartar was used in baking in the 1850s—mixed with baking soda to create gas bubbles—but as a byproduct of winemaking was not then widely available in the United States. In 1856, Horsford patented a process to make calcium biphosphate, a weak acid, which served as a reliable leavening agent when combined with baking soda. Horsford added corn starch to keep the two main ingredients dry and packaged the results in a ready-to-use form. At Harvard, he held the title of Rumford Chair and Lectureship on the Application of Science to the Useful Arts, so he named his product Rumford Baking Powder. With a partner, he established the Rumford Chemical Works in Providence, Rhode Island. Baking powder was a commercial success and made Horsford a wealthy man. He was able to retire from his Harvard position in 1863.

Today, with the abundance of industrially produced foods available, Horsford’s concern for the humble loaf of bread may seem quaint. However, in the 19th century, hunger was widespread, and inadequate nutrition even more common. Food science promised to improve the health, robustness, and productivity of humankind. Horsford’s invention of modern baking powder was designated a National Historic Chemical Landmark in 2006.

In the 1880s, Horsford became convinced that a group of Norsemen led by Leif Erikson had established a walled city in Watertown, Massachusetts, in the 11th century. In 1887, he delivered an address at Faneuil Hall trumpeting the “Discovery of America by Northmen” and dedicating a statue of Erikson that now graces Commonwealth Avenue in Boston. He wrote a series of books and pamphlets to support his claims of Viking settlements in New England, though others were rightly skeptical. Evidence of his conviction endures on a busy stretch of Memorial Drive in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a stone monument reads “On This Spot in the Year 1000 Leif Erikson Built His House in Vinland.” Horsford lived in Cambridge until his death in 1893.

Suburbs of Hell: Jail Conditions During the 1692 Salem Witch Trials

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Marilynne K. Roach, an independent researcher, writer, and illustrator, has delved into the 1692 trials for nearly half a century and still finds new information cropping up in unexpected places. Author of The Salem Witch Trials: a Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege, Six Women of Salem: the Untold Story of the Accused and Their Accusers in the Salem Witch Trials, Roach was also one of the sub-editors contributing to the Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt.

Fiction has portrayed witch-suspects jailed in buildings ranging from castle-like prisons of dressed stone to flimsy chicken coops, but what was the reality for over 160 people accused of witchcraft and crowded into four jails in three counties during 1692? While conditions were obviously primitive in that era (jails weren’t called “suburbs of Hell” for nothing), what were the actual buildings like? In addition to scant references in court documents and other contemporary records, two early jails still exist that give clues to the reality experienced by the alleged “witches.”

The First American Revolution: Western Mass before Lexington & Concord

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Mark Szymcik has been a history buff since grade school. He taught high school history for special needs students for several years. As an adjunct professor at Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester, Mass, he works historical information and ideas into all his classes. He is a lifetime resident of Worcester county, and has a great interest in Massachusetts history, especially some of the state’s lesser known contributions to a growing America.

How did the towns of the three Western Massachusetts counties, Worcester, Hampshire and Berkshire become more democratic before “The shot heard around the world”? What steps did the farmers, yoemen and artisans take to repudiate British taxes? How did they deal with the elite who governed their communites? This session answers these questions and fills in a lesser known piece of American history.

Mary Sears and the Race to Solve the Ocean in World War II

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Catherine “Kate” Musemeche, MD, JD, is a graduate of the University of Texas McGovern Medical School in Houston, Texas and the University of Texas School of Law. Dr. Musemeche’s first book, Small, was longlisted for the E.O. Wilson/Pen American Literary Science Award and was awarded the Texas Writer’s League Discovery Prize for Nonfiction in 2015. Her second book, Hurt, was named one of the top ten EMS books of the decade. Her third book, Lethal Tides: Mary Sears and the Marine Scientists who Helped Win World War II was published by Harper Collins in August and named an Editor’s Pick for Best History on Amazon. She has also contributed to Smithsonian Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Creative Nonfiction magazine, and EMS World. She lives in Austin, Texas.

This session introduces Woods Hole oceanographer Mary Sears who joined the WAVES in World War II and went to work in the Naval Hydrographic Office researching and compiling oceanographic intelligence for the Pacific Campaign of World War II. Sears reports, compiled at a time when naval oceanography was just coming of age, provided valuable direction to the United States Navy at a time when the United States was engaging in large-scale amphibious warfare for the first time.

The Peasant Prince in America: Thaddeus Kosciuszko

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Kiersten Marcil is an author and adventurer into history. Kiersten is the ambassador of a fantastical ride through the hidden deer paths of the American Revolutionary War in her book series, The Enlightened. Growing up, the Battlefields of Saratoga were her backyard and tourist sites like Fort Ticonderoga were an easy day trip, and Kiersten couldn’t have cared less. It wasn’t until journeying into adulthood that she grew to love books, and even then, not until she became a museum educator, that she discovered the fascinating world of history. It was from working as a research assistant for a book about the Constitutional Convention of 1787, however, that her fascination with the Revolutionary War flourished. Today, Kiersten is President of the Board of Authors Congress, LLC, and chairs their annual “Authors of the American Revolution Congress” in Pennsylvania. She also hosts author and book editor interviews on a weekly program, “If These Pages Could Talk,” available on her YouTube channel.

Trained in both the visual and military arts in Paris, Polish-Lithuanian immigrant Thaddeus Koscuiszko spoke little English upon landing in America in 1776, but he immediately wowed our Founding Fathers and was welcomed to join the Cause for Liberty. With great success, he engineered the Turning Point of the Revolutionary War and designed America’s oldest (and continuously occupied) military base, West Point. Though he did get challenged to a duel by Angelica Schuyler’s husband… Come discover a little about this Yorktown soldier and true hero of Saratoga through drawings, stories, and letters from his lifetime.

Broken? The Ex-Governor, the Radicals, and the Hopedale Strike

Before her retirement from full-time teaching in 2008, Anita Danker, EdD (EdD in Curriculum and Teaching Social Studies, Boston University), was an associate professor of education at Assumption University. Currently she serves on the Framingham Cultural Council and as a member of the Boston Women’s Heritage Trail Advisory Board. She continues to teach a graduate course on diversity in education, present lectures on local history topics, and pursue her research interests, which include women’s history and the labor movement in Massachusetts. Her book, Multicultural Social Studies: Using Local History in the Classroom, was published by Teachers College Press. Dr. Danker has written numerous articles in the fields of local history and education that have been published in the Massachusetts Historical Review, Historical Journal of Massachusetts, and other journals. Her most recent presentations were Meta Warrick Fuller: Artist and Activist, for the Framingham Public Library, and The Forgotten Framingham Chautauqua, for the New England Heritage Program on Star Island.

After a stunning victory in the Bread and Roses strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts, in 1912, the IWW was involved in a number of less successful labor disputes in the region. One of these was the failed strike at the Draper Company in Hopedale, a prominent manufacturer of textile machinery. The event is noteworthy because it occurred in a town that originated as a utopian commune and involved a family business that prided itself on its benevolent approach towards its employees and its generosity in building the town’s infrastructure, including model housing for workers, parks, and public buildings. The hardline approach taken by management under the lead of former governor Eben Draper, who reportedly uttered that the company would spend a million dollars to break the strike, seemed to contradict this image. The involvement of the IWW, the leadership of a local socialist, and the peripheral support of a former Draper foundry worker, Ferdinando “Nicola” Sacco, added to the significance of the event. This presentation will examine the strike in light of the utopian origins of the community and company, the radical climate of the region, and the actions of Eben Draper, who died suddenly one year after his victory over the rebellious workers. Draper broke the strike, but ultimately it may have broken him.

Illuminating Our Patriots: A Program to Engage Your Community in its Revolutionary War History

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Judy Cataldo (judycat5@verizon.net, colonialspinningbee.blogspot.com) is a lover of historical events both great and small. Judy is an independent researcher, spinner, long time volunteer interpreter and on the board of the Westford Historical Society and Museum.

Now in its 2nd year the Patriot’s Day Candlelight Tribute, sponsored by the Westford Museum and Historical Society, invites the public into our historic burial grounds at sunset to see the illuminated graves of the patriots and learn about their lives and service. In this presentation you will hear the triumphs and pitfalls of putting this program together and hopefully be inspired to start a Patriot Illumination of your own for the upcoming 250th.

Colonial Tea Talk & Tasting

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Patricia A. Buttaro, JD, is currently semi-retired from the practice of law and is an 18th century living historian, member of the Southeastern Civilian Living Historians, and a tea educator. Buttaro hand sews clothing in period correct manners and dresses in period clothing for all talks. Buttaro has attended several 18th century sewing workshops, as well as Northeast Georgia History Center’s Living Historian Workshop. Buttaro has been studying tea for 25 years, has a Level 1 Certification from the Specialty Tea Institute, and has completed numerous tea courses and workshops—including training from James Norwood Pratt, John Harney, Bruce Richardson, and Jane Pettigrew. Buttaro has done presentations at the Camden Rev War Reenactment in Camden, SC; Fraser’s Ridge Homecoming in Franklin, NC; Wormsloe Historic Site in Savannah, GA; SCA Gulf Wars in Lumberton, MS; and various private groups. Buttaro tailors each presentation to the audience and incorporate applicable laws when appropriate.

Brief history of tea, with emphasis on how and when it got to England and then to Colonial America. How tea drinking affected what other items were imported into Colonial America. What it meant to be invited to tea in Colonial New England and what was consumed at a “tea.” What teas the colonists drank, when and how they drank it. How the seeds of revolution were planted by a law unrelated to tea long before the Boston Tea Party, this year being the 250th anniversary, with an overview of the tea related laws. Then we will sample several of the same types of teas that were enjoyed by the colonists. There will also be a display of 18th century tea wares & accoutrements that will be talked about.

Exploring New England’s Hidden Histories

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Tricia Peone, PhD, is the project director of New England’s Hidden Histories, a digital project of the Congregational Library & Archives in Boston. She holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of New Hampshire with a specialization in the early modern Atlantic world and history of science. Prior to joining the CLA in 2022, she was a research scholar at Historic New England for the Recovering New England’s Voices project and has previously worked as a lecturer and historical consultant. Dr. Peone’s scholarship focuses on early modern magic and witchcraft and her work on these subjects has appeared in journals, books, blogs, and on radio and television.

What can church records tell us about the everyday lives of early New Englanders? A surprising number of stories of love, loss, heartbreak, and revolution! New England’s Hidden Histories (congregationallibrary.org/nehh/main) is a digital project of the Congregational Library & Archives in Boston which digitizes and transcribes historic church records, including relations of faith, sermons, diaries, and disciplinary records from communities across the region. This presentation will explore some of the exciting new stories being uncovered from this unparalleled collection of records.

Amalia Kussner, Amazing And Daring Artist of the Gilded Age

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Kathleen Langone has been an avid historical researcher for a number of years, sharing fascinating profiles in her podcast series, People Hidden in History. She also has published numerous articles in New England periodicals, covering a broad range of topics (history, science, and culture). She has been public speaker for 15 years, at museums, libraries, and professional conferences. She has also maintained multiple careers over the years, including as a certified project manager, and performing historical research for state agencies.

Amalia Kussner was the sought after miniature portrait artist by the women of the Gilded Age. Though her skill was quite impressive, her meteoric rise to fame had much to do with her bold attitude and demanding equal commissions to her male counterparts. Her style displayed women in confident poses, usually suggestively draped in fabrics of silk and tuille, and wearing their finest pearls and gemstones. She connected all over the world with the Who’s Who of that era (Edward VII, Czar and Czarina of Russia and Consuelo Vanderbilt). Ms. Langone will share for the first time, recently found materials on Kussner, further illuminating this amazing yet complex artist.

Interpreting Historic Landscapes—the Stone Walls of our Agricultural Heritage

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Dr. Jeff Howry has combined a career in various areas of historic preservation including historic property inventories, record documentation, archaeology and environmental compliance with real estate finance. Over the span of five decades, his work has taken him to all regions of the U.S., Central America and the Near East. Jeff conducts research using remote sensing imagery of historic landscapes and structures to better interpret cultural heritage sites, particularly those no longer visible as the result of forestation. In the colony of Massachusetts Bay where he resides, he pursues several colonial history projects including the mapping and interpretation of 17th and 18th century agricultural landscapes. Jeff received his MA and PhD from the Dept. of Anthropology, Harvard University.

Stone walls are a signature feature of the historic landscape in New England. They represent one of the few remaining historic landscape features which provide definitive information which describes how Colonial era farmsteads were bounded and how land was divided into specific areas of agricultural production. The presentation will provide guidance on how to identify and interpret the walls that remain in so many of our towns. The walls provide keys to understanding the historic land uses that prevailed for more than 300 years. A new technique for identifying stone walls and related historic features will be demonstrated, as well as how to incorporate these historic in your local historic resource surveys.

Finding Your Family Through Neighbor History

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John Cass has been a family historian since the 1980s, researching history in the UK, the west coast, and New England.

Genealogical research focuses on following historical evidence about relatives; research about your family is an obvious line of inquiry. But, when a family historian focuses on lineage and then does not put family members in context, with their communities, or their society, the family history is only diminished in its extent and value. By exploring a historical person’s motivations, the historical context, and the meaning of the data that is discovered. There will be a better understanding of both who that person was and the meaning of the evidence. In doing so, those very same historical mysteries that drove initial research may be solved. In genealogy, the practice of research should not be reduced to a list of names and dates. Instead, researchers will gain more from adding color and detail into the recorded lives of their ancestors.

Focusing on the town of Hampton, New Hampshire. We’ll explore historic data between the 1640s and 1680s in Hampton to demonstrate how historical research about a community of neighbors can help answer mysteries from the past.

Understanding and Honoring America’s First Veterans: The Camden Burials

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Stacey L. Ferguson is the Operations Manager for the Historic Camden Foundation in Camden, South Carolina. Prior to working there, she served 24 years in the Air Force, enlisted and officer. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Professional Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and a Master of Science in Military Arts from Air Command and Staff College, Air University.

On August 16th, 1780 in Camden, South Carolina, the Continental Army suffered a crushing defeat under General Cornwallis. What could the rank-and-file soldier tell us about the battle? Learn about our nation’s first veterans through the eyes of archaeologists, anthropologists…and one lucky history nerd. Find out how the small town of Camden honored these brave men and laid them to rest.

Ben Franklin’s ‘Mystery of the Hutchinson Letters’

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Jeremy Bell is from the UK and lectures on the artist, William Hogarth. He has three artbooks to his name – his most recent was Editor’s Choice at the British Art Journal. His work on the Masonic symbolism hidden within the work of William Hogarth has been well received by Freemasons globally. He presents an annual lecture at the St. Botolph Club, here in Boston. Last year’s subject was ‘Swizzle sticks and nutmeg graters.’ He recently appeared on Professor Allison’s vlog/podcast, ‘Rev 250’, to present his recent discovery concerning the Hutchinson Letter Affair, which will be the subject of his lecture at History Camp.

It was the secret which Ben Franklin took to his grave. He never told anyone who gave him private letters from Governor Hutchinson which were pivotal to the revolution. Samuel Adams printed the letters in 1773, exactly 250 years ago.

In his Political Trial of Benjamin Franklin, Kenneth Penegar predicted that ‘The mystery over the identity of Franklin’s informant is likely to remain unsolved, barring discovery of some hitherto unknown letter.’ Well, that ‘hitherto’ letter has been found! It was written just five days after Franklin’s famous Ordeal in the Cockpit, and then printed in the Massachusetts Gazette in April 1774.

This newspaper notice identifies the source (Sir Francis Dashwood) and the exact location. They were handed to Franklin in a wooden structure atop a church which Dashwood had built on his estate. The church was connected by a shaft to the infamous Hellfire Caves that Dashwood had dug into the hill below the church.

Historians have welcomed the discovery: “It never occurred to me that anyone might adequately solve this enduring mystery.” -Stacy Schiff. “Such great detective work! A secret that has baffled us all—but perhaps now, the mystery has been solved.” Sheila Skemp.

Literature, Life, and Love at The Waterside Museum, Boston

Judith Kalaora (historyatplay.com, History at Play Vimeo, Judith@HistoryAtPlay.com, @HistoryAtPlay) founded History At Play, LLC (HAP) in 2010 to chronicle the lives of influential and often forgotten figures. Kalaora is a professional educator, award-winning playwright, and living historian. Graduating Syracuse University Magna cum Laude, Kalaora completed the Globe Education Program, at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre of London, UK.
Kalaora is internationally acclaimed for portrayals of Revolutionary War Heroine Deborah Sampson, Technological Phenom Hedy Lamarr, and Teacher in Space Christa McAuliffe.

Kalaora is a New England Foundation for the Arts Touring Artist; a recipient of MA Cultural Council awards; the 2019 recipient of the Dr. Bobby Gilmer Moss Lectureship Series Award, granted by the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution; and the 2021 winner of the Women in the Arts Award, granted by the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Mrs. Annie Adams Fields has incredible influence on literary decisions at Ticknor & Fields Publishing House (forerunner to Houghton Mifflin). Counting amongst her friends: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Annie witnessed Victorian revelry at the height of Transcendentalism, along with a nation’s despair, during the onslaught of Civil War–all from her home; The Waterside Museum at 148 Charles Street, Beacon Hill, Boston. Now Mrs. Fields offers her guests intimate secrets and extraordinary observations, including her years with Sarah Orne Jewett in a Boston Marriage. Join Mrs. Fields! She is a consummate hostess. There will be laughter, disbelief, awe, and even blushing cheeks, as you hear the tantalizing tales of this preeminent literary scout and accomplished writer! (Based on Authors and Friends (1896) and Memories of a Hostess (1922).)

Inside the Mysterious Case of the Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping Trial: The Case That Continues to Haunt

Justice Dennis J. Curran served as a Massachusetts trial judge for 15 years. Justice Curran has received a number of judicial awards for his leadership and deep commitment to the justice system, along with several state and civic awards. He was featured last year on a history panel broadcast on C-SPAN 2, and has lectured extensively before civic, educational and historical groups, and fellow judges. He was recently engaged by the luxury cruise line industry to be enrichment lecturer.

Justice Curran’s lifelong passion has been history. He was elected a Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society and is a member of the Board of Advisors of the nationally-respected Lincoln Forum. He has presented at History Camp Boston and History Camp America.

The trial of Bruno Richard Hauptmann, the accused kidnapper of the baby of the famed aviator Charles Lindbergh, stands with the O.J. Simpson case as among the most famous trials of the 20th century.

The trial features America’s greatest hero, ransom notes, voices in dark cemeteries, a German-born defendant who fought against the United States in World War I, and a crime that is every parent’s worst nightmare.

The many mysteries surrounding this case continue to haunt.

Did Hauptmann really do it?

You be the judge.

1773: What Else Happened besides the Tea Party?

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Robert J. Allison chairs Revolution 250, and is President of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, and a Professor of History at Suffolk University. His books include short histories of the American Revolution and the Boston Tea Party.

December 16, 1773, Bostonians destroyed three cargoes of East India Tea in one of the greatest acts of civil disobedience of all time, and the event that precipitated the Revolution. But why did this become such an important event? We will discuss the political background to the Destruction of the Tea, and why Massachusetts was already on the road to rebellion, and other events, related and not, to the drama of the Tea Party (as it would not be called for another half-century). Why was this such a big deal?

Remember me to all the friends, Civil War Letters

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Jan Drake (damianospublishing.com, rememberme36ma@gmail.com) has a lifelong interest in history and the stories which are found in family archives and genealogical research. A graduate of Needham High School, she has a Bachelor’s in Science degree from Hobart & William Smith Colleges and a Masters in Library Science from Simmons. In retirement she is enjoying travelling with a focus on historical places. She is also continuing the genealogical research begun by her parents. The letters from George W. Harwood are available in the book, “Remember me to all the friends, Civil War letters from George W. Harwood, Massachusetts 36th Regiment,” Damianos Publishing, 2022.

Follow the “Wandering Ninth Corps” with the Massachusetts 36th Regiment under General Ambrose E. Burnside. Using letters written by George W. Harwood, Jan Drake visited the places where he wrote the letters. She will take you on an illustrated tour to these sites with photos from then and now and maps to illustrate the journey across nine states from the east coast to the Mississippi river. Over 100 towns in Massachusetts had soldiers in this regiment.

The Adventures of Louisa Catherine Adams

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Laura Rocklyn (LauraRocklyn.com) is an actress, writer, and first person historical interpreter. In addition to performing with regional theater companies across the country, she writes and performs historic character portrayals for educational groups on both sides of the Atlantic, and has worked as an historical interpreter at museums up and down the East Coast. Laura is a Museum Educator at the Paul Revere House Museum and an Acting Troupe Member with History At Play. She has published articles in “Brontë Studies” and “The Revere Express,” and she was the winner of the “LitMag” 2021 Virginia Woolf Award for short fiction. Laura holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College, and an MFA from The Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Academy for Classical Acting at The George Washington University.

“The Adventures of Louisa Catherine Adams” is a living history performance, written and performed by actress, writer, and first person historical interpreter Laura Rocklyn. The audience meets Louisa Catherine Adams on March 4th, 1825, the morning of John Quincy Adams’ inauguration as the sixth President of the United States. In a rare moment of solitude, Louisa reflects on the events of her tumultuous life in the public eye. From her childhood in England and France, to her adventures as the wife of an American diplomat in Europe, where she charmed heads of state from Berlin to St. Petersburg, Louisa’s memories provide a glimpse into international politics during the Age of Revolutions.

Meet the First Female Cabinet Secretary: Frances Perkins’ Rocky Road to Washington

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Janet Parnes (women-history.com, LadiesTell@gmail.com) is the founder of Historical Portrayals by Lady J in Millis, MA where she has portrayed overlooked, influential American women for 20 years. Her portrayals transport audiences ages 7-adult into the Colonial, Federalist, Victorian, and World-War eras. She has performed at the Massachusetts State House, and John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum, as well as museums, libraries, senior centers, schools, and historical societies across New England. Janet’s media appearances include the Boston Globe, Metro West Daily News, Patriot Ledger, and Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

Her fingerprint lies in every workplace in the country. A relentless champion for exploited workers in the early-mid 1900s, Frances Perkins pushed through programs and policies we take for granted. These include the 40-hour workweek, Unemployment Insurance, and Social Security. She fought furiously to eliminate filthy workplace conditions, fire hazards, and child labor. Frances was the force behind FDR’s New Deal and at the root of OSHA.

As Frances tells her story, you will learn about her character as well as the people, quandaries, and decisions that prepared her for Washington politics. She will reveal her secrets to building alliances and staring down bullies to make government an ally for working adults, children, and retirees.

After Lizzie Borden: Hosea Knowlton’s sensational trial that gripped Boston’s North Shore

Alison Simcox received a doctorate in environmental engineering from Tufts University (the second woman to do so) and works at the US Environmental Protection Agency. She has an avid interest in writing and local history and, with Douglas Heath, is the author of five books on the history of Boston’s North Shore, published by Arcadia Publishing and The History Press. The books include “Middlesex Fells,” “The Lost Mill Village of Middlesex Fells,” and “Murder at Breakheart Hill Farm.” “The Lost Mill Village” won the 2018 Preservation Award from the New England Chapter of the Victorian Society in America. She has been a public speaker for 12 years at historical societies, museums, libraries, and book stores throughout the Boston area.

Douglas Heath is a certified Interpretive guide, VP of the Saugus River Watershed Council, and History Researcher. He has an undergraduate degree in Geology and a graduate degree in Hydrogeology. Since retiring from the US Environmental Protection Agency, he has written five books with co-author Alison Simcox, published by Arcadia Publishing and The History Press. These include Middlesex Fells, The Lost Mill Village of Middlesex Fells, and Murder at Breakheart Hill Farm. The Lost Mill Village won the 2018 Preservation Award from the New England Chapter of the Victorian Society in America. Doug has been a public speaker for 12 years at historical societies, museums, libraries, and book stores throughout the Boston area.

Hosea Knowlton is best known as the chief prosecutor of Lizzie Borden, whose 1893 trial for the murder of her parents created a national sensation. However, during his tenure as attorney general, Knowlton tried more murder cases than any other man who had ever held that office. As notorious as the Borden trial at the time, one of his last cases, the trial of John Courtney Best, also involved a horrific axe murder. In this session, Alison Simcox and Douglas Heath will reveal the facts and bizarre circumstances of this shocking murder and you can decide whether Knowlton’s famous ability to incisively question trial witnesses and present eloquent arguments ensured that justice was served.

Women in the Viking Age: Gender and Power in Ancient Scandinavia

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Ceilidh E. Burdick, MA/Mphil, (ceburd@outlook.com) is a historian and independent researcher . She received her MA degree in Viking and Medieval Norse studies from Háskóli Íslands (University of Iceland) and Universitetet I Oslo (University of Oslo). Ceilidh is also an alumna of Salem State University, earning a BA in Public History, and a BA in Art & Design. She is a Fellow of the Leifur Eiríksson Foundation, a member of two national honor societies, and a founding member of The Pursuit of History. Her interest in history spans throughout the European Iron Ages.

The popular image of the Viking Age centers around fearless warriors clad in armor traveling in powerful warships to raid foreign lands in the name of glory or a king; the spoils of their battles being treasure and maidens alike. When it comes to “Viking” women, the popular image leans towards buxom beauties left at home to raise children or scantily clad valkyries guiding dead warriors to Valhalla. While the inspiration for such romantic notions stem in part from reality, further emphasized by theatrical minds, the roles of women spanned much wider than housewives, mothers, and psychopomps. Women played several other essential roles which often go overlooked by mainstream depictions. They held unique power through their abilities and relationships in nearly all spheres of society: domestic, commericial, and spiritual. This discussion will cover the multitude of roles women held in Viking Age Scandinavia.

The Klein Collection and Highlights of the Museum of Printing

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Andy Volpe is a self-described Artist, Printer and Living History Presenter. He has been involved with the Museum of Printing in Haverhill MA since 2006, and it is where he met Gary Gregory and the Printing Office of Edes & Gill Boston where in 2020 Andy engraved a full-size replica of Paul Revere’s Boston Massacre. Andy has been studying and working in the printing techniques of the Old Masters, spanning 1400s to 1800 since the late 1990s holding a degree in Fine Arts from Westfield State University. His printing demonstrations have also been been seen at Old Sturbridge Village, Plimoth-Patuxet Museums, Pequot Museum, House of Seven Gables, Lafayette-Durfee House and Worcester Art Museum, and has lectured on Printing history in New England in Online sessions with area Libraries.

During the Dark Days of the Pandemic, the Museum of Printing in Haverhill MA recieved a donation of a large private collection of prints. Since then, Andy Volpe has been slowly cataloging and identifying these prints which has turned out to be on the order of some 5,000 prints dating from the 1490s to 1960s and encompasing examples of all types of Graphic and Illustrative methods in Printing, such as Woodcut, Engraving, Lithography. There are several themes presented in the collection as well, including Morals, Fables, Biblical, Science and Technology. The collection has turned out to include some substantial pieces in Printing history. Andy will also showcase highlights in the Museum’s collections that pair with the Klein collection.

Return to Normalcy: Redeeming Warren G. Harding

Ryan S. Walters is an independent historian who currently teaches American history at Collin College in North Texas. He is the author of The Last Jeffersonian: Grover Cleveland and the Path to Restoring the Republic, Remember Mississippi: How Chris McDaniel Exposed the GOP Establishment and Started a Revolution, Apollo 1: The Tragedy That Put Us On the Moon, and The Jazz Age President: Defending Warren G. Harding.

He has appeared on CSPAN, Breitbart Radio, the Dennis Prager Show, the Tom Woods Show, the Chris Stigall Show, the Mark Davis Show, the Bill Bunkley Show, the Michael Berry Show, the History Unplugged Podcast, and many others. He has written for Townhall.com, LewRockwell.com, AntiWar.com, Mises.org, Chronicles magazine, and the Foundation for Economic Education.

Warren Harding has been called the “Worst President Ever,” “Unfit,” and “Incompetent,” among many other unfortunate epithets. Historians have ranked him last on more presidential surveys than anyone in American history. But Harding, a humble man from Marion, Ohio, has been unfairly remembered. In 1920, the nation was in a state of turmoil but Harding, in a speech in Boston, vowed a “return to normalcy.” Soon after taking office, he quickly revived an economy in the throes of depression and started the boom of the Roaring Twenties, healed a nation in the grip of social disruption, and reversed America’s interventionist foreign policy.

Teaching Social Studies Through a Literary Lens

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Carl Hanson, MSEd, is an educator and poet currently works as a leadership specialist for The New York Edge, a summer and after school program, at Queens Gateway School, where he student taught social studies and completed his graduate practicum in literacy studies working primarily with middle school students. A recent graduate of St. John’s University five year masters degree program. He earned a BSEd in Adolescent Social Studies Education and a MSEd in Literacy Education. He recently received the Dean’s Convocation Award for Academic Excellence in Teaching Literacy Grades 5–12. He is currently a Phd candidate in Literacy Education at St Johns University. Prior to attending St Johns, Carl attended the prestigious Academy of American Studies, the flagship school of the Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History, where he received numerous academic honors including the prestigious Elaine Sherman Award for Excellence in American History. His primary areas of interests and expertise are the colonial, revolutionary and founding eras in early American History. Mr. Hanson believes, when history is viewed through a literary lens it becomes a story, a compelling docudrama with its comic and tragic moments, its characters, its heroes and anti-heroes, its plot twists. It is a story which can be told by multiple voices each representing distinct, though sometimes shared points of view.

My conceptualization of teaching social studies is shaped by my literacy studies. My teaching centers around what Judith Langer’s refers to as “envisionments” and “envisionment building”. Each of these terms denote the creation of meaning, units of thought which occur when students engage with multimodal media or print texts, making analytic, sometimes synergistic connections with past texts they have read, or remembered, as well as with any number of other pertinent past experiences. A process which sometimes involves truth and reconciliation, as well as analysis and synthesis and strives to provide my students with insights into past events illustrating and examining their relevance today as well as their possible impact on the future. In doing so students are taught to think like historians as they are taught discipline specific skills such as sourcing, contextualizing, using background knowledge to infer, corroborate and question. Students are taught HIPPO Analysis Skills and the importance of point of view, context, purpose and the intended audience.

When history is viewed through a literary lens it becomes a story, a compelling docudrama with comic and tragic moments, heroes, anti-heroes, and plot twists. It is a story which can be told by multiple voices each representing distinct, though sometimes shared points of view. I often employ well written researched historical documentaries-such as PBS’s The American Experience or Ken Burns Documentaries. I also use well written researched historical fiction, in addition to journalism written at the time of the event, eye witness accounts, oral histories, political cartoons, engravings, to supplement the class text book and aid in envisionment building and creating historical empathy. I seek to create spaces in my classroom where meaningful dialogues can occur, where sub literacies of historical empathy, social justice and inclusion are created and new understandings arrived upon. I strongly believe the purpose of teaching social studies centers around advocating self-awareness, the development of political consciousness and agency in young adults, preparing them to function as informed participants in a participatory democracy.

The Sacco and Vanzetti Case: An Enduring Lesson

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Thomas J. Carey, Jr., JD, LLM, is a member of the Massachusetts Bar, a former prosecutor, and an active private practitioner who frequently handles appellate matters. He has been on the law school faculties of Suffolk Law School and Boston College Law School and frequently lectures at Bar Association programs. A longtime resident of Hingham, he is a member of the Hingham Historical Society and has had a lifelong interest in History.

The trial of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti for the murder of two men during a payroll robbery on the afternoon of April 15, 1920, in Braintree, Massachusetts, was one of the most widely publicized cases in Massachusetts history. Indeed, it became an international sensation. Despite widespread belief that the trial had been unfair, Massachusetts executed Sacco and Vanzetti on August 23, 1927.

The Sacco and Vanzetti case has long been considered a blot on the reputation of our judicial system. The John Adams Courthouse, home of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, has an exhibit off its Great Hall devoted to the lack of a fair trial in the case and designed to show the “importance of our striving always to be, in the enduring and inspiring words of the Massachusetts Constitution, ‘a government of laws and not of men.’ ”

Drawing on History: How to use graphic design to connect your organization to your audience

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Larry Stuart (larrystuartstudio.com) is the owner/principal of Larry Stuart Studio, a graphic design and illustration studio in southwest Michigan. He has been a graphic designer for 40 years, working in advertising and publishing before becoming an independent designer and illustrator. He has also taught graphic design at the collegiate level. He is an avid student of history and has used this passion to create art about the American story. Through research of historic events and period art, he interprets American history through elegant hand lettering and intricate illustration.

Do you have a history project that needs art or design? Organizations need logos, authors need book covers, events need promo materials: how should you think about the art you need for your project? Join me as I discuss the art I create about American history. We’ll talk about how my interest in art and history started and how I began creating “gig” posters about historic events. I’ll talk about researching information about an event and resources I use to study typography and design styles throughout American history. Several case studies will be presented showing how an idea develops from a small scribble to a final print. Finally I’ll give you some tips on working with your designer/illustrator to help achieve your art goals for your project.

Colonial New York: Land of the Patroon and The Longhouse, 1666–1754

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William Matthews is a former APUSH Educator and History Department Chair in New York City. He holds an MSEd in Social Studies Secondary Education and is the host of the Podcast “New York, Quebec and The Water Route to The Center of The World.” Mr. Matthews is a current member of French Colonial Historical Society and The Society for Military History. He was a recipient of both Colonial Williamsburg Teaching Institute and Fort Ticonderoga War College Scholarship.

We’ll explore the foundational period of New York History, through the Dutch Patroon system of the Hudson Valley and the geopolitical developments of the Iroqouis league. Discover the amazing geospatial flexibility of Haudenosaunee peoples and their unique cultural qualities of assimilation. Witness the threads of Dutch influence through the cultural and geographic development of the Patroonships, as they transformed to a manor system under English rule. Follow these peoples on syncretic frontier and track their interwoven destiny, in a battle to control the water route to the center of the world.

General Nathanael Greene and the American Revolution

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Salina B. Baker is the author of a multiple award winning adult historical fantasy series about the American Revolution, “Angels and Patriots” Her novel in progress about General Nathanael Greene titled “The Line of Splendor, A Novel of Nathanael Greene and the American Revolution” is currently under edit and targeted for a late 2023 release. Salina holds a degree in Computer Science. She lives in Austin, Texas.

Major General Nathanael Greene was a Quaker with little education or military experience who rose to become one of George Washington’s best battlefield commanders and heir apparent if something happened to Washington during the war. Faced with the difficulties of quartermaster general that led to battles with the Continental Congress, his fortitude saved the Continental Army from starvation. Where other generals failed, he succeeded in commanding the Southern Army and with his brilliant strategy, drove the British from their outposts to their final surrender at Yorktown, Virginia. But what did it cost this general from Rhode Island?

A Redcoat’s Son Experiencing the American Revolution

Eugene “Gene” A. Procknow, MA in history and MBA, (researchingtheamericanrevolution.com) is a writer and a historian of the American Revolution and the Early Republic. His published research includes seven book chapters and a recent monograph, William Hunter, Finding Free Speech, The Son of a British Soldier Who Became an Early American. Other published research includes over twenty scholarly articles for the prestigious, peer-reviewed Journal of the American Revolution. Additionally, Gene curates a website, ResearchingTheAmericanRevolution.com, which aids scholars and students with Revolutionary Era historiography.

The presentation is based upon the discovery of the only extant journal or diary written by the child of a British soldier during the American Revolution. The child, William Hunter, accompanied his father, a Sergeant in the famed 26th Regiment of Foot, on three years of campaigning in Quebec, New York City, and Philadelphia. As a young boy, he witnessed the horrors of combat, including the grievous wounding of his father. In 1775, the American Rebels captured William’s father. William and his family suffered a year in Ft. Chambly and Lancaster, PA, POW camps. While a prisoner, William courageously contributed to the family income as a smallpox inoculation carrier. Once his Sergeant Hunter was exchanged, William again witnessed his father in horrific combat before being sent back to England. Near the English Channel, William and his family became captives again, this time by a French privateer. The family endured another year of captivity before returning to England. William’s remarkable story concerns facing danger, family resilience, and pride in his father’s service.

1775 Virginia—The Collapse of Royal Government, the Seizure of a Press, and the Lexington of the South

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Gerald Holland (twowheeledtimetravellers.com, gerald.d.holland@gmail.com, LinkedIn, Twitter – @Capt_Dutch) is a PhD candidate at Liberty University where he is presently working on his dissertation which will examine the life of James Otis. In 2014, he founded the Williamsburg-Yorktown American Revolution Round Table. Publications include contributions to the Journal of the American Revolution and the London based Trafalgar Chronicle. Recently, he was named a 2023-2024 Benjamin F. Stevens Fellow through the Massachusetts Historical Society. After a 20 year career in the United States Coast Guard, he retired in 2022 and now works as a high school history teacher.

This session will examine the collapse of the Royal government in Virginia beginning with the Gunpowder Incident in April 1775 and the fleeing of Governor Dunmore from Williamsburg in June 1775. Moving through the summer of 1775, the actions of Dunmore and the British navy raiding Tidewater plantations will be discussed. At the end of August a hurricane brings destruction to Tidewater Virginia and leads to a newspaper war between a British navy captain and the town of Hampton and a Norfolk printer funded in part by the Sons of Liberty. This newspaper war will lead to the seizure of the Norfolk Intelligencer and the first battle in Virginia, the Battle of Hampton, considered by some the Lexington of the South.

Tales of Traded Materials in the Ancient Near East

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Marjorie Hilton, MEd (Harvard) (linkedin/in/marjoriehilton, margiehill1@gmail.com) is a retired teacher and a museum, library, and historic society designer/exhibitor. She has worked with many museums in the Boston area and is now an archivist at the Old Schwamb Mill (Arlington, MA.). She has a strong sense of curiosity and has attended many sessions within the Near Eastern department of Harvard University. Her interest in the ancient Near East prompted her to write a book about trade in the ancient Near East for high-school and YA readers.

Traders were important agents for the transmission of ideas and materials in the ancient Near East. This session presents a short overview of the role of the trader. It will focus on interesting questions such as:

How could an ancient blue bead from the time of Pharaoh Tutankhamen be found in a 7000-year-old Danish woman’s grave? What role did the Abora IV play in the fleshing out of this ancient journey? What is that central stone in the famous pectoral of Pharaoh Tutankhamen? What were some of the games played in ancient times? What was the ancient trade of ostrich shell beads, How did the ostrich feather become an important part of the Egyptian religion?

Our Flag Was Still There: The story of the original Star-Spangled Banner

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Tom McMillan spent a lifetime in sports media and communications, but his true passion is history — and “Our Flag Was Still There” is his fourth book on American history. Tom has served on the board of directors of Pittsburgh’s Heinz History Center, the Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial, and the Antietam Institute. He also is a member of the marketing committee of the Gettysburg Foundation and, along with his wife, Colleen, is a volunteer ambassador at Antietam. He is retired after a 25-year stint as VP of Communications for the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins.

Learn about the improbable two-hundred year journey of the original Star-Spangled Banner—from Fort McHenry in 1814, when Francis Scott Key first saw it, to the Smithsonian today—and the enduring military family who defended, kept hid and ultimately donated the most famous flag in American history. It exists today in part because Lieutenant Colonel George Armistead, the hero of Fort McHenry, took it home as a souvenir after the battle, in violation of U.S. Army rules! Learn why the flag has 15 stripes; why it is eight feet shorter than its original length; and why it was once locked away in a vault in New York City for 27 years. But it’s still here!

Thomas Hutchinson and James Otis: The Political Rivalry that Sparked the American Revolution

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Note: Roberta was not able to  participate. We look forward to her presenting at a future History Camp.

Roberta DeCenzo (rdecenzo.hprs@gmail.com; Twitter- @royalgovernorma ) is a historian of the royal governors of Massachusetts and former Education Associate at the Old State House Museum. While her main focus has been the royal governors and the transition of power in Massachusetts to first state governor, John Hancock, she has also been an active member of the living history community around Boston and the Hudson Valley for eleven years. Roberta most notably portrayed Catherine (Caty) Littlefield Greene, wife of Major General Nathanael Greene, second general to Washington in the American Revolution, for three years at the Nathanael Greene Homestead in Rhode Island. She is also known for her personal research on the life of Major John André, his role in Benedict Arnold’s defection at West Point, and André’s subsequent capture, trial, and execution.

Gerald Holland (twowheeledtimetravellers.com, gerald.d.holland@gmail.com, LinkedIn, Twitter – @Capt_Dutch) is a PhD candidate at Liberty University where he is presently working on his dissertation which will examine the life of James Otis. In 2014, he founded the Williamsburg-Yorktown American Revolution Round Table. Publications include contributions to the Journal of the American Revolution and the London based Trafalgar Chronicle. Recently, he was named a 2023-2024 Benjamin F. Stevens Fellow through the Massachusetts Historical Society. After a 20 year career in the United States Coast Guard, he retired in 2022 and now works as a high school history teacher.

Influential patriot, James Otis Jr., and royal governor of Colonial Massachusetts, Thomas Hutchinson, started as political acquaintances. In 1760, they sparked a political and personal rivalry that unwittingly swept them up as leading forces in Boston’s revolutionary movement just before the Revolutionary War. This presentation examines the rivalry between James Otis Jr. and Thomas Hutchinson and how that rivalry led to the development of the revolutionary period in Boston.

A Most Uncommon Soldier: Edward Ashley Bowen Phelps and the Course of American Empire, 1814–1893

Note: Rick was not able to participate. We look forward to him presenting at a future History Camp.

Ricardo A. Herrera, PhD, is Visiting Professor at the US Army War College and an award-winning historian. He is the author of Feeding Washington’s Army: Surviving the Valley Forge Winter of 1778 (2022), For Liberty and the Republic: The American Citizen as Soldier, 1775–1861 (2015), and of numerous articles and chapters on US military history. He is now completing the tentatively titled book, A Most Uncommon Soldier: The Life, Letters, and Journal of Edward Ashley Bowen Phelps, 1814–1893, an edited collection, to be published by the University Press of Kansas. Previously, Herrera was Professor of Military History, School of Advanced Military Studies, and Team Chief, Staff Rides, US Army Combat Studies Institute. Rick Herrera has also taught at Texas Lutheran University and Mount Union College. He has also served as an armor and cavalry officer in the US Army.

Born in Marblehead, Massachusetts, in 1814, and descended from Old Stock Yankees, Edward Ashley Bowen Phelps entered the world in a time of war. He was a son of the Early American Republic. A well-read but restless man, Phelps dreamed of venturing west. In October 1846, he enlisted in the Regiment of Mounted Riflemen, today’s 3rd Cavalry Regiment, and went to war with his regiment in 1847, when the US Army invaded Mexico. Phelps left behind thirteen long letters addressed to his older brother Samuel. In them, Phelps reflected on life, spirituality, and more. He embraced Manifest Destiny with a vengeance yet was an “amalgamationist” who called for intermarriage. Phelps was a most uncommon soldier.

Over the course of his long life, 1814–1893, Phelps witnessed American territorial expansion, the conquest and dispossession of Indians from their lands, emigrant settlement, internal improvements, the boom-and-bust economy, the expansion of the franchise, religious disestablishment, the rumblings of feminism, the expansion of slavery and growth of the antislavery movement, the development of a distinctly American literary and intellectual voice, and civil war. Phelps was one of the most perceptive observers of the war with Mexico, yet historians have rarely examined his papers. This talk will introduce Phelps and the processes of reconstructing the life of a most unusual and little-known American soldier. Phelps’s edited letters and family microhistory will be published by the University Press of Kansas in 2026.

Quock Walker’s Journey from Enslavement to Employment to the Abolition of Slavery in Massachusetts

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Sean Osborne is a public historian who enjoys sharing his research through stories and exhibitions. He has performed in schools, houses of worship, and the workplace. He is the co-founder and Past President of the Association of Black Citizens of Lexington (ABCL) and was recognized as a 2021 Black Excellence on the Hill honoree by the Massachusetts Black & Latino Legislative Caucus. As ABCL Historian, he continues to research and create programs for the organization’s Black History Project of Lexington. As a board member of the Lexington Historical Society, he facilitates the interpretation of history to enlighten the public on the intertwining lives of the tax paying, indentured and enslaved Black residents of Colonial Lexington with those of the indentured and tax paying White residents.

Sean started the successful campaign to create Massachusetts Emancipation Day with letters to the editor which were printed in the Boston Herald and Lexington Minuteman in June 2020. An Act Designating July 8 as Massachusetts Emancipation Day also known as Quock Walker Day was signed by then-Governor Baker on November 1, 2022.

The true story of Quock Walker, a farmer, who in the middle of the Revolutionary War courageously pursued freedom from chattel slavery in central Massachusetts. As a young boy he was promised manumission. Those promises were not kept. As a young man, he walked from enslavement to employment and into a series of court cases that led to the abolition of slavery in Massachusetts.

The Boston Tea Party: Separating Myth from Reality after 250 Years

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Christopher S. Davis (teacrisis1773.blogspot.com, csherwooddavis@gmail.com, Twitter & Instagram: @TeaCrisis1773) is a former supervisor at the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, which is where he became obsessed with that iconic event. In addition to training the interpreters and managing daily tour operations, he helped research and develop a number of exhibits and presentations during his time there. He now explores the broader Tea Crisis independently and shares his insights through his blog and on social media. Christopher is also an actor/historical interpreter and a dialect coach. Look for his forthcoming service “Voicing the Past: Speech and Accent Coaching for Historical Performers.”

For 250 years the Boston Tea Party has captured our imagination, becoming one of the great American legends. In this session we will use primary sources and expert scholarship to dive deep into the details of the (in)famous destruction of the tea. We’ll examine the event itself and our memory of it by comparing artistic depictions to what really happened. Additionally, we’ll consider the broader crisis by watching resistance to the Tea Act first grow in the other colonies. We’ll then see Boston try to catch up and eventually go overboard (literally). We’ll look at the response to the destruction here and across the Atlantic. Then we’ll push on to the Second Boston Tea Party and the enactment of the Intolerable Acts.

By examining the details and dispelling the myths, we’ll strive to answer the question: What would it have been like to be standing on Griffin’s Wharf on the evening of December 16, 1773?

Our Favorite Things—A look at the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society through the favorite objects of the staff

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Gavin Kleespies is the Director of Programs, Exhibitions, and Community Partnerships for the Massachusetts Historical Society and has been with MHS since 2014. He has worked in public history for over twenty-five years including being the executive director of two historical societies, most recently in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He has been appointed to the Massachusetts 250th Commission, the Massachusetts Historical Commission and the Cambridge Historical Commission and serves as a board member for the Massachusetts History Alliance and the Fenway Alliance. He is a regional representative for the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) Leadership in History Awards and serves on the AASLH 250th Task Force. He is an elected member of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Historical Society. He did his undergraduate work at Bard College, where he majored in economics and then received a master’s degree from the University of Chicago with a concentration in American History.

The Massachusetts Historical Society is the first historical society in America, dating back to 1791. Over the past 232 years, MHS has assembled a remarkable collection, including the papers of three US presidents (John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and the personal papers of Thomas Jefferson). With close to 14 million manuscript pages in the collection, it can be daunting to begin to explore the collections. This presentation is an introduction to the resources of MHS from the perspective of the MHS staff. The presentation will feature highlights from the online exhibition “Our Favorite Things,” which was created during the height of the pandemic, when MHS was closed to the public. “Our Favorite Things” connects a selection of compelling, captivating, and amusing items from our collection to the backgrounds, interests, and memories of the MHS staff. The online exhibition featured 55 items picked by staff paired with 45 short videos and additional comments explaining why each item was picked and what it meant to the staff member who picked it.

Analyzing a Tall Tale: The 1737 Walking Purchase

Danny L. Younger (walkingpurchase.blogspot.com, babybows.com/home.htm, dannyyounger@yahoo.com) is an unpublished independent scholar engaged in Pennsylvania frontier research. His most recent efforts have focused on a transcription and analysis of the Nicholas Depue Indian trading post and general store ledger (1743–1793), which may be viewed online at babybows.com (listed above). His preliminary work on the 1737 Walking Purchase may be accessed at my Walking Purchase blog (listed above).

The Walking Purchase is typically portrayed as the most egregious case of land fraud ever perpetrated on a native population. It’s a tale replete with villains and victims, with scheming and cheating scoundrels, with sinister government officials that, in their effort to illicitly purloin from the hapless Indians as much territory as possible, transformed what should have been a leisurely Walk into a full-blown marathon run. It’s a tale that sees the recruitment of the fastest runners in the entire territory to race over a secretly blazed and marked trail in order to gain every possible distance-gathering advantage. It’s a tale universally taught in textbooks throughout the whole country, a truly remarkable story that thoroughly captures the spirited adventure and drama of the American frontier… and yet, this story, as presented, is almost entirely untrue. The session will primarily cover the actual route and speed of the Walking Purchase, and its hitherto unknown passage through a mountain gap location never yet specified in the topic’s extensive historiography.

America’s First Century and Why It Matters

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Tom Hand (AmericanaCorner.com, tom@americanacorner.com, and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube @americanacorner) is the visionary behind Americana Corner, an organization dedicated to sharing compelling narratives of significant events, influential leaders, and foundational documents that have shaped the United States. Since its establishment in 2020, Tom has written and produced over 150 enlightening articles and captivating videos, aiming to rekindle his fellow Americans’ patriotic spirit and remind them of the remarkable legacy of our nation.

Beyond his creative endeavors, Tom’s impact extends to the broader community. He established the Preserving America Grant program, which has donated over $1.2 million to over 200 organizations in 36 states. These funds support diverse projects across the nation that contribute to preserving and sharing the rich tapestry of early American history.

Tom’s unwavering dedication to promoting patriotism and preserving America’s heritage makes him an invaluable advocate for the Great American Story.

America’s first century—the period of its founding and early development—holds immense importance for the nation. By examining the struggles, triumphs, and principles that guided the nation’s founders, we gain a deeper appreciation for our country. Tom Hand, founder and creator of Americana Corner, captures the essence of the interplay between education and preservation in America. By educating individuals through a series of articles and videos about the significance of America’s first century and preserving its cultural and historical treasures through the Preserving America Grant program, Tom lays the groundwork for a future where the nation’s principles, values, and achievements continue to guide and inspire. Tom reminds us of the importance of understanding the past to build a brighter future and encourages active engagement in educating and preserving America for generations to come.

(Sessions are added as they are received. A preliminary schedule will be posted roughly a week before the event and a final schedule will be distributed that morning.)

Saturday Night Performance at Old North Church

Old North Illuminated is presenting Revolution’s Edge, a new play by Patrick Gabridge, Producing Artistic Director of Plays in Place, at Old North Church & Historic Site.

You may remember Patrick from his presentations at earlier History Camps, including two talks for which video is available, Mount Auburn and Hancock Door, and Blood on the Snow.

Information about his new play, including a short video, is on the main event page for Old North. You’ll find an AP review here.

In order to accommodate History Camp Boston 2023 guests, they have moved the start time on Saturday, August 12 to 6:30 pm, with the doors opening for seating beginning at 6 pm. (This is the only night that the play is starting at this time; the main page for the event has the earlier start time for the rest of the run.)

If you’re interested in attending, you’ll need to purchase a ticket. Use HCAMP2023 for $2 off per ticket.

A note on logistics for those not familiar with the area: Since History Camp Boston finishes at 5:30 pm and Old North is about a 20 minute walk or 15 minute ride from Suffolk, you’ll be able to attend the entire day of History Camp and have plenty of time to make it to the play. The play lasts 45 minutes. And since Old North is located in Boston’s North End, famous for its many Italian restaurants, after the performance you’ll have your choice of places to eat just steps away.

A special note of thanks to Nikki Stewart, the Executive Director of Old North Illuminated, who has helped accommodate this change. Nikki has been a big supporter of History Camp from the very first one.

2023 Grants

Americana Corner

Funded in part through a grant approved by the Americana Corner Preserving America Grant Program.

Massachusetts Cultural Council

Festivals and Projects Grant;
Cultural Sector Recovery Grant
In support of History Camp Boston 2023

2023 Sponsors

Ambassador Lorna Hainesworth

Founding member of The Pursuit of History

Scott Kirsner and Amy Traverso
Jocelyn Gilmartin

Student Scholarship Sponsors

Interested in becoming a Sponsor?

Learn more about sponsoring History Camp Boston 2023 or contact us to learn more about how you can support the mission of The Pursuit of History, the non-profit organization that is creating and presenting these three days in Boston, as well as weekly discussions and other annual programs that engage adults with history.

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History Camp is a project of The Pursuit of History, the national the non-profit organization founded in 2019 that creates innovative ways to bring people together around history.

Sign up for updates on our weekly History Camp Author Discussions, monthly History Camp Outings, annual History Camp, and our Pursuit of History Weekends, which are unparalleled opportunities for a small group of people to dive deep into history where it happened in order to understand not just what happened, but why it happened.