History Camp Boston 2024 Weekend

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History Camp Boston 2024—Speakers and Sessions

1774: The Year the Revolution Began

Robert J. Allison, Ph.D. (robertallisonhistory.com), is a Professor of History at Suffolk University in Boston. He chairs Revolution 250 (revolution250.org), a consortium of organizations and individuals exploring the history of the American Revolution and the ways that this story still resonates in society two and a half centuries later. Allison is also the President of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts. His books include short histories of the American Revolution, Boston, the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, and the debates over the U.S. Constitution, as well as longer books on Stephen Decatur and Olaudah Equiano and The Crescent Obscured: The United States and the Muslim World 1776–1815 (University of Chicago Press). His lecture series on the Age of Franklin and on Colonial America are available through Great Courses.

We know that in 1773 Bostonians destroyed three cargoes of tea. What happened next? Find out how Parliament’s attempts to tame the rebellion instead turned it into a Revolution, not isolated in Boston but bringing together Americans from throughout the colonies.

An American Revolution Christmas Night: Washington Crossing

Salina B. Baker (Twitter and Instagram: @salinabbaker, salina.beth.baker@gmail.com, salina_baker@yahoo.com) is the author of a historical fantasy series about the American Revolution, Angels and Patriots. She has also written and published a biographical novel about Major General Nathanael Greene titled The Line of Splendor: A Novel of Nathanael Greene and the American Revolution. Salina holds a degree in Computer Science.

1776, the first full year of the American Revolutionary War, began with General George Washington and the Continental Army breaking the ten month Siege of Boston and driving the British out. Suspecting that the British were headed for New York, Washington moved his army to confront them. In June 1776, a British armada dropped anchor in New York Harbor; thus, the battle for New York where the Continental Army lost every important engagement began. In November 1776, after the fall of American held Fort Lee on the Hudson River, the ragged Continental Army retreated through New Jersey and crossed the Delaware River into Pennsylvania. It seemed that the fight for the American cause was lost. But on Christmas night, 1776, after much sacrifice, suffering, and planning, George Washington and his unbroken army performed a miracle that saved the American Revolution. This is the story of that miracle.

Beyond the Thirteen: The American Colonies That Stayed with Britain

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 General George Washington in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and numerous articles and book chapters.

As Americans we speak of “the thirteen colonies,” but that includes only those colonies that rebelled in 1775. Britain’s empire in the western hemisphere included up to three dozen more colonies, depending on how one counts. Some were small islands while others were older, larger, and wealthier than the colonies that sent delegates to the Continental Congress. Most of those places were subject to the same new taxes that caused such problems along the north Atlantic coast. This talk will map the full boundaries of the British Empire in 1775, look at the Congress’s fraught relations with those other colonies, and explore why they didn’t join the move toward independence.

1942: The Year Women Joined The Military

Mel Bloom, M.S., is an Air Force veteran and educational speaker with several years of experience in public history focusing on women’s topics. She has a B.S. in Architecture, an M.Arch, and a M.S. in Historic Preservation. She launched 3-5-0 Girls in 2022 to tell the stories of women who served in the military, stories that had previously gone unknown. In addition to public speaking, Bloom provides interpretive services at many local museums as well as research, feedback, and exhibit design for displays featuring women who served in the military.

When Pearl Harbor happened in December 1941, women were not allowed to serve in the military. Yet, by December 1942, over 100,000 women were serving in the Army, the Coast Guard, and the Navy, with the Marines putting plans in place to introduce women into their ranks. Women were serving as civilian contractors ferrying planes and Army and Navy nurses were gradually being moved closer to the frontlines in Europe, Africa, and the Pacific. In the span of twelve months, tremendous social and political changes carved out a new role for women in the military amongst a growing need for men to be in combat around the globe. This presentation will take a look at what happened in 1942 that changed women’s roles permanently.

The Debatable Lands – the History of Georgia 1733-1750

Wheeler Bryan, Jr is the Historian for the Sea Island Company. Prior to joining Sea Island, Bryan was the Vice President of Sales and Managing Director for Chappell Bryan. A seventh generation Georgia native, Bryan received his undergraduate degree from Limestone College and completed a Masters Certificate in Hospitality Management from Cornell University School of Hospitality Management. Bryan previously served on the Boards of the Lower Altamaha Historical Society, the National Park Travelers Club and as a trustee at Limestone College.

The Georgia coast, consisting of 100 miles, was once known as the “Debatable Lands.” In the early 1700’s the English, French and Spanish all tried to claim this territory. This presentation aims to tell the story of how James Edward Oglethorpe founded Georgia in 1733 and how the founding laid the groundwork to protect the colonies from Spanish coming out of St. Augustine. The conflicts and hostilities between the English and Spanish had been going on for nearly two centuries, but only 6 years after Georgia’s founding they came to a head with the beginning of the War of Jenkins Ear. This presentation will discuss Georgia’s founding as a Trustee Colony, the activities around the coast during the War, including the battles on St Simons Island and St. Augustine and wrapping up with the treaty that ultimately led to the Georgia /Florida line.

From Daughters of Liberty to Republican Mothers: How Women Evolved From the Eve of the Revolution to the Foundations of the Early Republic

Melissa Bryson is a Ph.D. student at the University of Missouri and her research focuses on the Early American Republic in the Atlantic World. Her undergraduate degree is in History from Rutgers University-Camden and her master’s degree in American History is from Millersville University. She worked as an independent historical consultant at the National Museum of Bermuda where she helped to research topics on enslaved history in Bermuda and then created age-appropriate content for grade school teachers.

This presentation will examine how the roles of women evolved from their days as ‘Daughters of Liberty’ to becoming ‘Republican Mothers.’ The influence that Mercy Otis Warren, Abigail Adams, and Elizabeth Willing Powel had exemplifies this change following the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. Before the war, women aligned their solidarity with the men through their boycott of British goods and their stance on gaining independence from England, but women were expected to remain in the private sphere. In the Early Republic, however, the roles of women became vital to ensuring the survival of that new republic. Women were given the opportunity to become educated, which allowed them to shift their role to being ‘good republican mothers’ and passing good moral values onto their children.

The Coercion of False Confessions at the Salem Witchcraft Trials

Margo Burns, M.A., is the Project Manager and Associate Editor of Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt (salemwitchhunt.org), 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.

Over a third of the people formally accused of witchcraft in the Salem witchcraft trials in 1692-93 confessed falsely — but why? The conventional explanation is that no one who confessed was executed, so when people realized that the Court was sparing confessors, they chose to do so as a legal strategy to save themselves. But this falls apart on closer scrutiny — one of the confessors actually was executed. The timeline of who confessed and when further discounts this as a “strategy.” This presentation will show how the false confessions in Salem fit with present-day sociological research on coercive interrogation techniques used in criminal investigations.

The Chocolate Girl and Drinking Chocolate in the 18th Century

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. She hand sews clothing in the period-correct manner and dresses in period clothing for all talks. Buttaro has been studying tea and 18th century beverages for over 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.

Meet The Chocolate Girl as she steps out of Liotard’s mid 18th Century painting and into the classroom to discuss the painting, what makes it so unique for that time period, and the enduring fascination with The Chocolate Girl through the centuries. Learn about the history of drinking chocolate in the 18th century, who drank it, and how it differs from chocolate beverages of today. Also learn about cacao tea, another chocolate tasting beverage popular in the 18th century, and a favorite of Martha Washington. The audience can then sample an 18th century style drinking chocolate and cacao tea to see for themselves why they were so popular.

Civilians Trapped Behind the Lines During the Siege of Boston

Alexander R. Cain, JD – Merrimack College, 1993, economics; New England School of Law, 1996, juris doctorate. He currently serves as the academic dean at a vocational college in Massachusetts. Cain has published multiple research articles on the Battles of Lexington and Concord, privateer operations during the Siege of Boston, and the loyalist refugee experience during the American Revolution. He has also published We Stood Our Ground: Lexington in the First Year of the American Revolution and I See Nothing but the Horrors of a Civil War, and is the author of the blog and podcast “Historical Nerdery.”

In the aftermath of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, hundreds of civilians found themselves trapped inside Boston, surrounded by the forces of the Massachusetts Grand Army. Regardless of their political allegiance, these non-combatants faced a daily struggle to secure supplies to support their families, avoid the abuses of His Majesty’s forces and protect their personal and real property from roving bands of thieves. As the siege progressed, the continuous fear of an American attack on the town, combined with bouts of lawlessness, deprivation of civil rights, and disease, led to the collapse of society. While much attention has been given to the Battle of Bunker Hill and the Evacuation of Boston, we’ll take a closer look at the struggles of those trapped behind enemy lines and their efforts to merely survive.

Selling Air Power: How Popular Culture was Used to Promote Land-Based Air Power, 1903-1965

Steve Call, Ph. D., is a professor at SUNY Broome Community College. He holds a Ph.D. in Military History from Ohio State University as well as an M.A. in Military History from the University of Nebraska and an M.S. in Systems Management from the University of Southern California. He has published several books and articles on military history, including the forthcoming “Popular Culture Depictions of Air Power in the Pacific,” Establishing Hegemony: The American Military in the Pacific Basin and East Asia, 1940-1950. His current research is focused on how warfare and western civilization have shaped each other.

From the dawn of human flight through the mid-sixties, a significant number of influential people, the “air power advocates,” used popular culture to “sell” the American public on air power. Some military figures, especially Billy Mitchell, played important roles in this campaign; but, by far, the campaign was dominated by civilians, most of whom had no connection with military aviation. The vast majority were motivated simply by the conviction that human flight had revolutionized warfare, and they were determined to convince the American public of their “Truth.” Throughout the period, magazines, movies, Broadway plays, novels, personal memoirs, advocacy books, radio, and even comic strips served to advocate for contemporary air power theories in popular interest. Before World War II, a mostly generalized approach was that air power had rendered armies and navies obsolete, and that the only way for air power to fully develop and achieve its full potential was to free it from the “hidebound” generals and admirals of the ground and naval services. After WWII, there was an even stronger and more focused press that argued specifically for strategic bombing as the only hope for defending the West from the “Communist Menace” during the Cold War.

The Cocoanut Grove Fire and the Law of Manslaughter

Thomas J. Carey, Jr., J.D., LLM, (https:/www.tjcarey-appellatelaw.com) has an AB degree in Government from Boston College, a Juris Doctor degree from Boston College Law School, and a Master of Laws degree from Harvard Law School. His legal career includes law teaching, government service, and private practice in criminal and civil matters.

This historic fire in 1942 led to a landmark decision by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, which has greatly influenced the development of the laws surrounding manslaughter in the United States. The session will discuss the event, still the largest loss of life in a nightclub fire in United States history, the resulting prosecution, and its influence on the development and application of the law of manslaughter in later fire cases.

Using “Neighbor History” to Fill Gaps and Solve Mysteries

John Cass has been a family historian since the 1980s, researching history in the UK, the west coast, and New England. He has presented at Boston National History Camp.

Scott Nadler (nadlerhistory@gmail.com, http://nadlerstrategy.com/, https://practical-sustainable-strategy.ghost.io) has had a fifty-year career in politics, government, industry, consulting, and academics, working in North America, South America, Africa, Asia and Europe. He has presented at Boston, Denver and National History Camps. He is also a docent in the Walking Tours of Historic Downtown Santa Fe.

Cass and Nadler solved decades-old family mysteries that genealogy alone couldn’t solve. Their presentation follows a family using an innovative approach to fill gaps from Eastern Europe to East 9th Street in New York City, with touch-points ranging from rural “shtetls” to the Holland America ship line to Napoleon and two world wars. They will then turn to the emerging “neighbor history” methodology that makes this kind of approach widely accessible. “Neighbor History” goes beyond genealogy as a mere compilation of names and dates; instead, to understand an individual from the past, it explores their motivations, examines the historical context surrounding them, and analyzes the significance of the emerging data. Finally, they will look at how “Neighbor History” is revealing insights into a very different family story, involving slave-holders and abolitionists in 19th century Kentucky and Illinois.

Garden History and L.M. Montgomery: “All the Flowers I Want”

Abby Chandler is Associate Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Her second book, “Seized with the Temper of the Times”: Identity and Rebellion in Pre-Revolutionary America, was published by Westholme in 2023. She is also a gardener and a life-long reader of L.M. Montgomery, and is working on a book which considers Montgomery’s writings about gardens in context with the cottage garden movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Canadian writer L.M. Montgomery is best known as the author of multiple novels including Anne of Green Gables. The plots of these novels are underscored by gardens which are described in enough detail to allow readers to mentally trace the paths leading from one plant to the next. Her letters and journals document her own life as a gardener from flowering pots on windowsills in the 1890s to the gardens she created at her homes in the early 1900s. Montgomery’s gardens, whether the fictional ones she gave her characters, or her own, directly reflected the emergence of new gardening styles at the turn of the twentieth century. By using Montgomery’s writings as source material for studying early twentieth century gardens, this presentation will offer a new look at a beloved writer and the worlds she created.

Civil War Letters to Dedham from the Lathrop Brothers

Stuart R. Christie (stuartchristie76@gmail.com) worked as a docent at the Fairbanks House in Dedham for 10 years and has served on the Boards of the Dedham Museum and Archive (formerly the Dedham Historical Society) and the Partnership of Historic Bostons. He is a member of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts and the Olde Colony Civil War Roundtable. Stuart is currently working on a book based on his experiences in the Vietnam War.

During the American Civil War, scores of Dedham men proudly answered the call to serve in the Union cause. They sent numerous letters back to Dedham describing their lives in camp and in battle. Fortunately, hundreds of these letters were kept and subsequently donated to the Dedham Museum and Archive for preservation. One set of these letters, from the three Lathrop brothers, have been compiled into a book entitled My Dear Mother: Civil War Letters to Dedham from the Lathrop Brothers. Stuart Christie, who transcribed these letters, will talk about this amazing family, whose members were the descendants of the first Puritan minister in Situate and some of whom continued to live in Dedham into the mid-20th century. He will also discuss the letters themselves and will read some of the highlights of these letters and share the findings he made while going through these letters.

The True Story Behind the Lincoln Assassination

Justice Dennis J. Curran (http://www.judgedenniscurran.com) was a Massachusetts trial judge for over 15 years, and presided over 450 civil and criminal trials. Justice Curran graduated from Boston Latin School, and received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and his law degree from the University of Virginia. His lifelong passion has been history. He has served as a Professor of the Practice at Tufts University, teaches at Brown University’s summer program, and lectures widely before historical groups, public libraries, senior groups, trial attorneys and fellow judges.

Many of the commonly-held myths about the murder of our 16th President are utterly false. Although assassin John Wilkes Booth fired the gun that killed the President, the Confederate Secret Service, foreign bank accounts, multiple assassins and an orchestrated underground plot to decapitate the Union government were involved in a plan set in motion many months before the evening of April 14, 1865. The trials of the assassin-conspirators are both riveting and revelatory, and shed light on the use of military tribunals versus civilian trials, a debate that continues today.

John Quincy Adams, Reluctant Abolitionist

Jeff Denman, M.A., (https://www.jeffreyadenman.com, Instagram: @jeffreyadenman, X: @JeffDenman3) is the author of John Quincy Adams, Reluctant Abolitionistand co-author of Greene and Cornwallis in the Carolinas: The Pivotal Struggle of the American Revolution, 1780-1781. He is a retired US History and World Geography teacher from the Brookline Public Schools as well as a historian and the author of seven journal articles dealing with subjects ranging from the American Revolution to World War II.

This presentation is an examination of John Quincy Adams’s life through the lens of slavery, covering his interactions with the institution of slavery throughout his life, including his great successes and his missteps, and, in some cases, his inactions. Events include intense scenes on the floor of the House of Representatives in which Adams excoriated Southern slaveholders, and the two times the House tried to censure him. Historical context will provide the social and political conditions under which Adams operated and some of the key movers and shakers of the time with which Adams interacted.

The Spanish Empire and Emerging United States in North America

Samuel A. Forman is a historian and Harvard University faculty member. He is educated in the history of the American Revolution as well as the practice of medicine. ​Throughout his successful careers as a physician, military officer, and businessman, he has published and lectured on historical topics that inform current issues. Sam is the author of the award-winning biography Dr. Joseph Warren: The Boston Tea Party, Bunker Hill, and the Birth of American Liberty (Pelican, 2012). His latest book is Ill – Fated Frontier: Peril and Possibilities in the Early American West (Lyons Press of Rowman and Littlefield, 2021).

In the Colonial and Revolutionary Eras, Spanish land claims in North America far exceeded the area of the thirteen original states. Spanish influence, dominion, and contests with both Native Americans and competing European imperial powers shaped the agendas from Florida, through modern-day Alabama, Mississippi, the Mississippi Valley, and the Louisiana Territory, up into the Southwest and Alta California in the Far West. This survey will place in context the notable people and events of the Spanish Dominion in North America. This presentation will start before European contact and include Conquistadors, establishment of Spanish missions and settlements, Spain’s pivotal support of American Independence, and post-war competition shaping the American Western and Southern frontiers. Attendees will appreciate the legacy of the Spanish presence in today’s United States. History Campers considering attending The Pursuit Of History’s immersive Weekend in Santa Fe this Autumn, and those rounding out their knowledge of American and European history, will find this presentation particularly interesting.

Mercy Otis Warren and the Writings of a Revolutionary: American Calliope

Michele Gabrielson, M.A Ed., is a local history teacher and historic interpreter of the 18th century and was recently acknowledged with a Rising Star Award by the Massachusetts History Alliance for public history programming. She specializes in interpreting the history of colonial women printers, 18th century chocolate production, and of course, the revolutionary playwright and poet Mercy Otis Warren. Gabrielson additionally serves on several historical committees dedicated to helping preserve the history of colonial America, is a member of the Authenticity Standards Committee for Minuteman National Historic Park, and is the coordinator for the Battle Road Guides for the annual reenactment of the Battle of Lexington and Concord.

Step back in time and converse with founding mother Mercy Otis Warren! Often described as the “muse of the revolution,” Mercy brilliantly used her passion for poetry and prose to persuade others to join in the revolutionary cause. Listen to and discuss with Mercy as she tells the story of how she rejected the conventional expectations of women in the 18th century and became the first historian of the American Revolution.

General Washington’s Spymaster: Major Benjamin Tallmadge

Sam Garrity, M.Ed., M. Sc. (https://ladysamofdunans.wordpress.com, Instagram: @sammstormborn, svgarrity@gmail.com), is a library assistant and academic and athletic support specialist. They have presented on topics including genocide of America’s Indigenous Peoples through boarding schools and sterilizations, as well as young women of the armed Dutch Resistance during WWII. Garrity is an independent researcher and educator and is passionate about giving voice to those history has previously overlooked.

You may have heard of Benjamin Tallmadge through the AMC show Turn: Washington’s Spies. While that show was based on historical facts, it did have its hands in fiction, too. But without that show, many of us would never have heard the names associated with the Culper Spy Ring, America’s first espionage cabal that operated during the Revolutionary War. In this session, Garrity will largely focus on Washington’s appointed spymaster – Major Benjamin Tallmadge. Participants will learn about his upbringing in Setauket, Long Island, his entrance into the Continental Army, how he rose to become spymaster general, and his entrance into politics.

The Confederates’ Strike on the Great Lakes: Taking the Civil War North

John Grady, M.S., is the author of Matthew Fontaine Maury: Father of Oceanography. He has contributed to Sea History Magazine, Naval History Magazine, the New York Times “Disunion” series, Civil War Monitor, Civil War Navy – The Magazine, and Journal of the American Revolution. He continues writing on national security and defense. He holds a master of science degree from the University Of Illinois – Urbana.

In Navy Department offices in 1863, Confederate Navy Lieutenant William Murdaugh was spelling out in detail in text manpower requirements, illustrated with railroad maps and navigation charts, and ledger book costs on how the war could be carried successfully to the Great Lakes. In the words of his close friend, Lieutenant Robert Minor, what the grievously wounded Murdaugh was committing to paper was nothing less than “brilliant and inviting.” The catch to all of Murdaugh’s planning, though, was Great Britain’s neutrality. But as weeks passed and casualties mounted, Confederate interest – from the War and Navy Departments increasingly focused on one spot in a bay off Lake Erie. Halfway between Cleveland and Toledo, on Johnson’s Island, 2,000 Confederate officers and political prisoners were confined. Turn those freed prisoners loose on unsuspecting Ohioans and the impact on Union willpower could only be imagined. Yet the November 1863 attack President Jefferson Davis approved to free the POWs failed – miserably. Less than a year later, with Confederate Commissioner Jacob Thompson operating from a Toronto hotel, a more desperate Richmond turned its eyes again on Johnson’s Island. To succeed, land and water attacks must be timed to a prisoner revolt. This presentation examines that new daring plan.

The Great Bengal Famine of 1770 and the Boston Tea Party

Chris Hall a historical interpreter at Boston National Historical Park. He is also the caretaker at the 1694 Parker Tavern in Reading, MA. Previously, he has worked at the Massachusetts Historical Society, Old North Church, and Adams National Historical Park.

There was far more behind the Boston Tea Party than just anger over taxes. Starting in 1769, the East India Company fomented a famine which led to the death of millions of Bengalese. News of this famine traveled across the Atlantic World, from Bengal to Boston, fostering distrust and outrage amongst Bostonians towards the East India Company and Parliament. This presentation will examine colonial Boston’s reaction to the Bengal famine of 1769-1773, and the role that this reaction played in escalating tensions, culminating in the Boston Tea Party in December 1773.

They Tore Down the King’s Colours

Cynthia Hatch, Ph.D., has researched the pre-Revolutionary Era for both her M.A. and Ph.D.. Her Master’s Thesis is entitled “Baptists in the Revolutionary War,” which focused on the retaliation of Royal Governor Tryon against the Baptists, who were part of the Regulator Movement. The Ph.D. dissertation is entitled “They Tore Down the King’s Colours: How the Colonial Legal System Emboldened Resistance,” focusing on how the Colonial legal system unwittingly aided resistance to the Revolutionary War. Currently, she is working on an adaptation of her dissertation to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the manuscripts’ events.

This presentation will cover the lead-up to the seizure of Fort William and Mary off the coast of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. These events include the Pine Tree Riot in 1772, the Gaspee Affair in 1772, the Tea Act of 1773, and the Coercive Acts of 1774. The complexity of the colonial legal system will be discussed as it unintentionally aided in Colonial resistance in the years leading to the “Shot Heard Round the World” in 1775. In addition to the changing political landscape, a few of the Patriot participants were John Langdon, who later went on to lead a regiment at the Battle of Saratoga; John Sullivan, who was later appointed as Major General by George Washington and fought at the Battle of Trenton; and finally, Paul Revere, who rode to Portsmouth to warn of the impending British hostilities months before his more infamous Midnight Ride before the Battle of Lexington and Concord in 1775.

James Madison and the War of 1812: “Should we fight Great Britain—or Great Britain and France?

Kyle Jenks (Jaktar773@aol.com, Instagram: @madisonportrayer, http://facebook.com/PresidentMadisonhttps://leagueofmostinterestinggentlemen.com) is a native of upstate New York. The groundwork he laid for portraying James Madison was as a reenactor of the French and Indian War and American Revolution. In between, he produced an outdoor historical drama, wrote two other plays and collaborated on a third. Kyle moved to Philadelphia in 2017 to portray James Madison as a career and gives a tour in character as Congressman Madison in Philadelphia. He also works for Bow Tie Tours, conducts the Revolution and Founding Fathers Tour for Grim Philly, and is a tour guide aboard Battleship New Jersey. You can support his work at Patreon.com/PresidentMadison.

“The war was necessary to protect our economy and secure and vindicate our independence.” This is what President Madison said to summarize the necessity of what became known as the War of 1812. How and why did we enter another war? President Madison had many conflicting issues to manage. Partisan politics, sectional divisions, internal cabinet strife, military incompetence, war with Algiers, threats of secession, an invasion of the Capital City . . . Oh, and lest we forget, Napoleon! Kyle Jenks, portraying President Madison, will speak to these matters during his session about the War of 1812.

Pups of Liberty: Animating the Revolution

Jennifer C. Klein, director/animator, started in the industry as an animator at Warner Bros. and went on to animate at Dreamworks, Disney, and Universal on such films as Iron Giant, El Dorado, and The Emperor’s New Groove. She then made her own short films, which have been nominated for 3 “Best Short Film” Annie Awards, including one from her Pups of Liberty series. Recently, she has also worked on the Peabody award winning series Stillwater in animation. Pups of Liberty combines her love of animation, history, and animals, and fulfills her passion to educate through endearing characters on screen.

Bert Klein, director/animator, began his professional animation career at Film Roman where he worked as an animator on the acclaimed fourth season of The Simpsons. He later joined Walt Disney Feature Animation in 1993 as a trainee on The Lion King and then worked as an assistant animator on A Goofy Movie and Pocahontas. He was promoted to full animator status on Hercules and subsequently was an animator on Mulan, Tarzan, Fantasia 2000, The Emperor’s New Groove, and Treasure Planet. He left Disney in 2002 to work as a CGI animator at WETA digital on Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. After also working as the lead animator on The Simpsons Movie, he returned to Disney in 2008 as an animator on Princess and the Frog in 2008, followed by Winnie the Pooh in 2010. Bert then animated on many Disney features including Wreck it Ralph, Frozen, Big Hero 6, Zootopia, Moana, Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, Wreck it Ralph 2, Frozen 2, Raya and the Last Dragon, Encanto, Strange World, and Wish.

Dogs, Cats, and Tricorn hats? Yes, please! Pups of Liberty is a series of animated shorts that interpret the American Revolution and its founding figures into animated counterparts. Join Spaniel Adams, Bonejamin Franklin, Muttsy Otis Warren, George Woofington and many more as they take on complicated concepts and make them relatable and understandable for a young audience. The films, produced as non-profit and entirely non-politically biased, present the subjects as well researched representations of our founders that will encourage further curiosity and foster a love for history. For the last 15 years, the Pups of Liberty films have been used by thousands of teachers and parents across the country to teach their students. This session would involve a visual presentation of the animation process involved in making the films. Some examples of what will be discussed are the steps they take for research and visual development, character design, voice actors, and animation.

Two Avid Readers and the Books They Read in 1850s Brookline

Ken Liss (kenlissbrookline@gmail.com, https://kenliss.com) is a public historian and president of the Brookline Historical Society. A retired librarian who worked at Harvard, Boston College, Boston University, and the Boston Public Library, he leads walking tours of different Brookline neighborhoods and researches and writes on local history, baseball terminology, and word and phrase origins.

Mary Wild (1799-1883) and Adeline Faxon (1834-1853) lived near each other in 1850s Brookline. There were, of course, many differences then – as there are now – between a teenage girl and a woman running a family and a household. One thing they had in common is that both were avid readers who wrote in their diaries about the books they read. Join Brookline Historical Society president Ken Liss for a look at these women, the books they read, and what that tells us about mid-19th century literature, Boston booksellers, and two people who made books such an important part of their lives.

Nineteenth Century Medicine: Discovery, Denial & the Death of President Garfield

Dale Magee, MD, is a retired Obstetrician-Gynecologist with a long interest in the history of medicine. He collects antique medical books and instruments and is the curator of the Worcester District Medical Society where he helps design displays, organize medical history tours and record spoken histories of senior physicians.

President James Garfield died while in the care of physicians whose prestige was based on outdated approaches, and an assassin was hanged as a result of a death that the doctors may have caused. The nineteenth century witnessed a transformation in the practice of medicine from poorly educated physicians practicing traditional but unproven treatments to one based on science practiced by educated physicians. But when are discoveries accepted, and who decides?

How American Rebels Blocked British Control of the Hudson River: Iron in the Water

Kiersten Marcil is the author of a fantastical ride through the hidden deer paths of the American Revolutionary War through her book series, The Enlightened. While pursuing her doctorate, she was a research assistant for a professor exploring James Madison’s contribution to the Constitutional Convention of 1787. Today, she is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and the Schenectady Historical Society.

Before the echoes of gunfire at Lexington and Concord had faded, American rebels and the Crown were plotting and vying for control of the Hudson River. This crucial passageway was considered key to transporting men, weapons, food, and morale from the Canadian and Northern Departments to the South. We will delve into primary sources describing the construction of the Montgomery Chain in 1777, plus the Great Chain and its home at West Point in 1778. No such exploration would be complete without a glimpse into the people and politics of such a weighty endeavor.

Slavery’s Legacy in a New England Town

Elizabeth Matelski, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of History at Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts where she teaches classes on race, gender, and sexuality in American history. Matelski received her AB from Ripon College and her Ph.D. from Loyola University Chicago. Her teaching interests include incorporating digital technologies into the history classroom. In addition to teaching American history, she also created Endicott’s Public History concentration. Matelski is a past director of two NEH summer institutes about the Salem Witch Trials. Her current research is centered on Robin Mingo, a formerly enslaved Black man who lived in Beverly in the 1700s.

Abby Battis, A.L.M., is the Associate Director for Collections at Historic Beverly. Battis holds a Master of Liberal Arts in Museum Studies from the Harvard Extension School where she has been an adjunct instructor for 9 years teaching classes on the future of historic house museums and museum exhibition design fundamentals. Battis is also an adjunct faculty member at Endicott College where she is a professor of Art History and Arts Administration. She has served as a consultant for various museums, including the Wenham Museum, and an exhibition consultant for the Southold Historical Society and the Issaquah History Museum.

In 2019, Historic Beverly launched its first free online exhibit, Set at Liberty: Stories of the Enslaved People in a New England Town. The exhibit tells the story of almost 100 years of enslaved history in the city of Beverly – stories of citizens, black and white, battling against the unjust system of slavery; of enslaved men fighting for the freedom for our nation, though not free themselves; of a woman using the law to emancipate her family; and of the racism that affected the lives of Beverly’s black population, long after they were freed from bondage. One such story is that of Robin Mingo (c.1661-1748) who lived with his wife, a free indigenous woman named Deborah Tailer, on a small plot of land that overlooked the ocean. A legend describes that Mingo’s enslaver, Thomas Woodbury, promised Mingo his freedom if the tides recessed enough for him to walk from the shore out to a rocky passage known as ‘Aunt Becky’s Ledge’—a rare phenomenon. Rather than bury, silence, or ignore these stories, our task as historians is to bring that history to light and to draw attention to the under-examined lives of enslaved and indigenous people on Boston’s North Shore.

How John Batchelder Molded the Story of Gettysburg

Albert Mattin is an avid reader, researcher, and lover of Civil War History.

Mary Adams has worked in public history for her entire adult life, first as an interpreter for the National Park Service in both Glacier National Park and on the National Mall. She is currently the homeschool program developer for the New Hampshire Historical Society as well as serving as Director and co-host of History Camp Author Discussions.

In 1863, John Batchelder received word that Lee’s troops were advancing into Union territory. As an artist, he had painted some battlefield scenes but was looking for the one moment that would define his career, and he found it at Gettysburg! Batchelder’s acquired knowledge of the battlefield and the troop movements secured him the spot as the official historian of the battle. The masterpiece he designed and commissioned, The Repulse of Longstreet’s Assault, toured the country while Batchelder delivered thousands of lectures accompanied by an extensive product catalog related to the battle. This presentation will examine how Batchelder created commercial success and shaped the story of Gettysburg in measurable ways into the present day.

Captain Slarrow, Major Montague, and the 1774 North Leverett Sawmill

Will Melton retired in 2015 after four decades in university and museum fundraising to devote time to gardening, his mandolin ensemble, and history studies and writing. Liberty’s War, An Engineer’s Memoir of the Merchant Marine 1942-45, which he published in 2017, is available from U.S. Naval Institute Press.

The 1774 Slarrow’s Sawmill was built by Captain Joseph Slarrow, the son of some of the earliest Presbyterian Irish immigrants to Massachusetts. Slarrow’s business, political, and military partner was Major Richard Montague, who adopted the radical principles of the 18th century Baptists. These two religious dissenters were critical as early leaders of Leverett, one of the last two towns established under the colonial government of Massachusetts Bay. The passion Slarrow and Montague developed for the Revolutionary cause ensured that their fellow citizens attending a January 1777 Town Meeting “voted unanimously to risque our lives & fortunes in defence of our rights & liberties wherewith God & nature hath made us free.” In an 18th century version of multi-tasking, the sawyers/soldiers simultaneously developed a productive lumber enterprise while also participating in Gen. Washington’s military operations in MA and NY. Slarrow’s Sawmill helped to launch an enduring, water-powered industrial corridor along the five miles of the Sawmill River’s fall from Lake Wyola to the Connecticut River, and helped found a new Massachusetts community by creating jobs, and producing lumber for industry, bridges, churches, and homes.

Researching Revolutionary War Patriots: The Challenge, the Results, and Tips Based on Our Project in Hingham

Ellen Stine Miller (oldordinary@hinghamhistorical.org) is the volunteer manager of The Old Ordinary, an historic house museum owned by the Hingham Historical Society and built by her 7th great granduncle in 1686. She teaches genealogy at the Weymouth Senior Center and conducts historical research in support of the historical society.

Susan Garret Wetzel is past regent of the Colonel Thomas Lothrop-Old Colony Chapter of the DAR and a member of the Mayflower Society. Membership in Hingham’s historic New North Church has prompted her immersion in Hingham research.

Hingham, a historic town on the south shore, has a rich and well-documented history and a wealth of 17th and 18th century homes, including that of Maj. Gen. Benjamin Lincoln of Revolutionary War fame. Despite this, many are unaware of the deep sacrifices that the town made in support of that war. In The History of Hingham, Massachusetts (1893), historian Walter Bouve estimated that Hingham supplied an astonishing 600 to 750 soldiers to the war effort. Amateur researchers Miller and Wetzel undertook a journey to identify those individuals, which culminated in a published book including over 850 names and sketches, and illustrated with photos of many homes, gravesites, and portraits. This presentation will cover challenges (including limitations of lineage societies), changing objectives, sources, efforts at inclusion, early analysis of the data, and interesting stories which brought our subjects to life. As Americans celebrate the 250th anniversary of the “War of the Revolution,” they hope this session will spark new discoveries about participants’ own towns.

Top Secret Recipes of the Manhattan Project

Sarah Morgan (@cookingwiththefirstladies) 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 in 2019. After cooking through all of the First Ladies, Sarah started providing virtual content for the National First Ladies Library in 2020 and continues with quarterly live programs. Cooking with the First Ladies offers a crash course in First Lady History including biography, accomplishments, and culture of the time period and a cooking demonstration of one the First Lady’s favorite recipes.

Most may associate the Manhattan Project with Oppenheimer and Los Alamos, but a small town in Tennessee was pivotal in the creation of the atomic bomb. Oak Ridge was home to thousands of women of all different backgrounds who were working on a secretive project while also fueling their families with their cooking. This session will cover the amazing stories of the women involved in the Manhattan Project, especially focusing on those who lived in the “Secret City” of Oak Ridge. Although this session will not feature live cooking, participants will receive a link to several recipes from the personal arsenal of the women who helped win World War II, including some from the official 1940s Oak Ridge cookbook, Cooking Behind The Fence.

Santa Fe, NM: A Window into the History of the West

Scott Nadler (nadlerhistory@gmail.com, http://nadlerstrategy.com/, https://practical-sustainable-strategy.ghost.io) has had a fifty-year career in politics, government, industry, consulting, and academics, working in North America, South America, Africa, Asia and Europe. He has presented at Boston, Denver and National History Camps. He is also a docent in the Walking Tours of Historic Downtown Santa Fe.

The story of Santa Fe provides a unique window into the history of the West, covering over 500 years of complex history as indigenous, Spanish, Mexican, and US forces competed (and sometimes cooperated) for survival and success in a beautiful but harsh environment. Follow as the Spanish carve out their colonial base in Santa Fe, only to be expelled by successful Native resistance, and return in a violent reconquest. Watch as the Santa Fe Trail (under Mexican, then American, rule) turns the city into a bustling continental commercial crossroads – until the Santa Fe Railroad bypasses Santa Fe, setting off a three-decade-long decline. Learn how a unique historic preservation and redevelopment model revived the city by honoring both Native and Spanish heritages, creating a unique venue for appreciating the complex history of the West. This session is also a preview of this fall’s The Pursuit of History: Santa Fe, our first Pursuit of History weekend in the west.

A Connecticut Yankee in Uncle Sam’s Army

Ben Powers served 24 years in the United States Army. He is a Life Member of the 82nd Airborne Association, an Honorary Member of the 80th AAA Battalion Association, and active in the American Battlefield Trust. Ben hosts “The Commander’s Voice,” a YouTube channel and podcast devoted to military subjects. He holds an M.A. in Military Studies and authored “Never a Dull Moment: A History of the 80th Airborne Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion in World War Two”.

William “Bill” Pratt grew up in Plymouth, Connecticut, and graduated from the University of Connecticut in 1936. While at UCONN, Bill participated in the Reserve Officers Training Corps and was commissioned into the Army Reserve upon graduation. Within a few years, he would be at war. Pratt was called to active duty before Pearl Harbor as part of America’s preparedness movement in response to events in Europe and the Far East. After America entered the war, Pratt was assigned to the 82nd Infantry Division at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana. He commanded a battery of anti-tank troops, taking them through the 82nd’s transformation to an airborne division and leading them across two continents and ten countries as they fought and defeated Axis forces. From forming and training as a team before going overseas, through learning from experience and adapting to the environment of combat, to achieving and maintaining a high professional standard, the record they established is an example of how the American Army came of age. The story of William Pratt’s service with the 82nd Airborne Division is the story of the United States Army in World War Two II in microcosm.

Genealogical Lessons from the 1692 Salem Witch Trials

Marilynne K. Roach, 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. Roach was one of the sub-editors contributing to the definitive Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt, a member of the Gallows Hill Group that verified Proctor’s Ledge as the true location of the 1692 hangings (hailed by Archaeology Magazine as one of the top ten discoveries of 2016), and has authored several books about the Salem Witch Trials.

The Salem Witch Trials can teach a researcher many and varied lessons running from the obvious (don’t accuse your neighbor of witchcraft on spectral evidence alone), to the importance of geography, neighborhood dynamics, and handwriting, among other potential clues when identifying specific individuals. Using examples from the events of 1692, Roach’s presentation will discuss several techniques that can help genealogists unravel more ordinary (and less tragic) historical questions in their own family history.

Maria Weston Chapman: Yours in the Cause

Laura Rocklyn, MFA (http://www.LauraRocklyn.com), has performed with theaters across the country and worked as an historical interpreter at museums throughout the East Coast. She has authored several articles in Brontë Studies and The Revere Express, a short story “The Woman on the Point,” and several plays including “Charlotte Brontë: To Do More & Better Things” (2021), “Clover” (co-written with Ty Hallmark, 2017), and “Emma is Presented in Washington City” (2016). She is a Museum Educator at the Paul Revere House Museum, a Member of the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, and an Acting Troupe Member with History At Play.

In this living history program, the year is 1855 and Maria Weston Chapman is preparing to return to her home in Weymouth, MA after seven years in Europe. During those years abroad, she has seen her children complete their education and marry, and she has found powerful new international allies for the cause that is so dear to her heart: the Abolition of Slavery. The preparations prompt memories of her childhood, and of the turbulent early days of her involvement in the Abolition Movement in Boston. Maria revisits the triumphs and fears that came with her work with the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society. She reflects on how her strength in the face of violence, and her passion for the cause to which she has devoted her life, took her from Boston to New York and Philadelphia and, eventually, to the capitals of Europe in pursuit of justice.

Why Do We Still Learn about Anne Hutchinson?

Lori Rogers-Stokes is an independent scholar, public historian, and contributing editor for New England’s Hidden Histories, a digital history project making thousands of pages of colonizing-era 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. Lori studies the history of Woodland New England, particularly the founding decades of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, when Indigenous people and English colonizers took actions that continue to shape our lives today.

Feminist? Rebel? Victim? Visionary? This puritan woman who was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1638 is one of the few puritans that Americans learn about in school. Who was she to her peers in Boston? Who is she to us today? Come and help answer these questions in this interactive session.

The Reputation of the Roman Merchant

Jane Sancinito is Assistant Professor of Ancient History at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. She is a specialist in Roman social and economic history with a focus on stereotypes, ancient business strategies, and numismatics.

Entrepreneur is a dirty word, at least if you are an ancient Roman. A broad brush, wielded by slave-owning elites, was used to paint freed and freeborn artisans, retailers, and service providers as a grubby, greedy underclass who threatened the moral fabric of Roman society. Without state or public support, merchants struggled to run their businesses under these conditions and found themselves marginalized, often through no fault of their own. This presentation will explore the strategies that ancient workers developed to get by and get ahead in the Roman world, and argues that the methods they employed to build and maintain personal reputations were among the most useful, not only for themselves, but also to make the Roman economy more legible and functional over time.

Salem History Without Witches

Donna A. Seger, Ph.D., is the past chair of the History Department at Salem State University, where she is professor of medieval and early modern European History. She is the author of The Practical Renaissance: the Quest for Information in Early Modern England, and maintains the long-running blog on Salem history, “Streets of Salem.”

Brad Austin, Ph.D., is the current chair of the History Department at Salem State University, where he also serves as a professor of American history and coordinator of teacher education. He is an editor for the Harvey Goldberg Series for Understanding and Teaching History at the University of Wisconsin Press, for which he has also authored several titles, and the author of Democratic Sports: Men’s and Women’s College Athletics During the Great Depression.

In advance of the 400th anniversary of the European settlement of Salem, Massachusetts, Seger and Austin have co-edited a collection of essays which will be published by Temple University Press under the title: Salem’s Centuries: New Perspectives on the History of an Old American City, 1626-2026. This presentation will discuss the conception of the book and the challenges of presenting multiple narratives of Salem’s history with a dominant discourse focused overwhelmingly on the Witch Trials of 1692. Salem’s “other” history is the general history of less storied places, and its experience of peace and war includes essential stories which simply have not been told. They will examine the rise and evolution of Salem’s “Witch City” identity, and how that identity has informed its historical representations.

Whale Watching on Washington Street

Jake Sconyers founded the HUB History podcast in 2016 and has written and produced over 300 episodes that explore fascinating stories from Boston’s history. HUB History was honored with a Preservation Achievement Award from the Boston Preservation Alliance in 2020. For his work on HUB History, Jake was honored with a 2022 Massachusetts History Alliance Star Award for innovation in communications in public history. Outside of HUB History, has been a Boston tour guide, a volunteer docent at Roxbury’s Shirley-Eustis House, and an organizer of History Camp Boston. He is also a runner and an avid photographer.

In the 1860s, Bostonians could pay 20 cents to watch a captive whale swim in a custom built aquarium on Washington Street in Boston’s Downtown Crossing. Today, there’s no Sea World near Boston, and our New England Aquarium doesn’t hold any whales or dolphins. Perhaps that’s for the best, as we now realize how intelligent these giants of the sea are. However, things were different 160 years ago, when an entrepreneurial inventor did the impossible, bringing a beluga whale alive from the Arctic Ocean to Boston and keeping it alive here for at least eighteen months, before being betrayed by the greatest showman, PT Barnum himself.

What’s new at 250?: Interpreting the Revolution for Today’s Audiences

Jake Sconyers founded the HUB History podcast in 2016 and has written and produced over 300 episodes that explore fascinating stories from Boston’s history. HUB History was honored with a Preservation Achievement Award from the Boston Preservation Alliance in 2020. For his work on HUB History, Jake was honored with a 2022 Massachusetts History Alliance Star Award for innovation in communications in public history. Outside of HUB History, has been a Boston tour guide, a volunteer docent at Roxbury’s Shirley-Eustis House, and an organizer of History Camp Boston. He is also a runner and an avid photographer.

Nikki Stewart is the Executive Director of Old North Illuminated, the nonprofit organization that manages interpretation, education, and preservation at Old North Church & Historic Site. Nikki joined ONI at the start of the pandemic and led the organization through a transformative recovery effort that included a new mission statement and interpretive plan. She has secured funding for and managed projects that include a year-long research fellowship, new permanent exhibit, and an original play, produced by Plays in Place.

With the nation’s semiquincentennial on the horizon in 2026, some of Boston’s most known historic sites are already celebrating their 250th anniversaries. Celebrating, commemorating, and interpreting the American Revolution requires a thoughtful approach, and has the potential to build unity during a time of cultural and political division. Jake Sconyers, founder and host of the HUB History podcast, will moderate a panel discussion with leaders from local historic sites to learn how each is bringing new research, interpretation, and strategies for public engagement to these historic milestones. Other panelists will be listed as information becomes available.

Opium: The Business of Addiction

Barbara Silberman, MHA, works as an independent consultant for arts and culture organizations. She founded and directed the Heritage Philadelphia Program, making grants and providing technical assistance to over 300 historic house museums. She taught “Revitalizing Historic Houses” and “Fundraising and Philanthropy” at Tufts University. Silberman served as Board Chair for the Sargent House Museum, President of Historic Germantown, Chair of the Historic House Committee and Council member for the American Association of State and Local History (AASLH). She received regional and national recognition for her work on the Forbes House Museum exhibition, “Opium: The Business of Addiction.”

This presentation will look at the Forbes family’s involvement in opium smuggling and the China trade of the 1800s, the trade’s impact on US-Sino relations today and its lasting consequences in relation to the current opioid epidemic.

Water Wheels and Water Wars on Spot Pond Brook

Alison Simcox, Ph.D, is an environmental scientist, local historian, and author. She received a doctorate from Tufts University in environmental engineering (the second woman to do so) and works at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) specializing in air quality, both in the US and Southeast Asia. She and Douglas Heath have written five books on the history of Boston’s North Shore, published by Arcadia Publishing and The History Press. In 2022, the Friends of Lake Quannapowitt awarded Simcox and Heath their prestigious “Gertrude Spaulding Award” for their contributions to educating the public on local history and the environment.

Douglas Heath, M.S., is a hydrogeologist and local historian who formerly worked at EPA specializing in drinking water in New England. He is Vice President of the Saugus River Watershed Council and a certified Interpretive Guide for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). He and Alison have co-authored five books and are working on a sixth. They have been public speakers for 13 years at historical societies, museums, libraries, and book stores throughout the Boston area.

One of the earliest mill villages in the Massachusetts Bay Colony formed along Spot Pond Brook, a few miles north of Boston. Thomas Coytmore, a sea captain, built the first mill in 1640 at the brook’s downstream end in “Mistick Side” (Malden). Over time, other mills sprang up along the brook in Charlestown End (Stoneham). From 1696 to about 1800, there were legal battles and even armed conflicts over water rights, many of which involved generations of the Sprague family, who controlled the dam at the head of Spot Pond Brook. In this session, Alison Simcox and Douglas Heath will bring to life the settings and characters involved in some of the first battles over water rights in the United States.

Why We Love Pirates: The Hunt for Captain Kidd and How He Changed Piracy Forever

Rebecca Simon, Ph.D., FRHistS, is a historian of early modern piracy in the Atlantic World. She received her Ph.D. from King’s College London in 2017 and is a professor of History at Santa Monica College and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Rebecca is the author of three books about piracy, including Why We Love Pirates: The Hunt for Captain Kidd and How He Changed Piracy Forever. She has appeared on numerous podcasts, such as You’re Dead To Me and History Hit with Dan Snow, and documentaries such as Beyond Oak Island and The UnXplained.

Piracy has captured people’s imagination for hundreds of years. The vast majority of pirates were sailors who were forced into that life or people who wanted to amass wealth quickly. This presentation thus asks the question: How did realities of piracy evolve from perceived criminal behavior in the 18th century to Jack Sparrow in the 21st? To answer this question, one must look to the legacy of the pirate that spawned the myths and legends that have taken hold in the collective imagination: Captain William Kidd, who met his end in May of 1701 in Wapping, London. He only committed acts of piracy between 1696 and 1698, yet his activities would change the way British officials cracked down on piracy. Even though Kidd was executed for his crimes, his life had a direct impact on the rise of myths about piracy. Using Captain Kidd as a case study, this presentation will examine how his life became a legacy that blurred fact from fiction. Questions will be answered, such as: Did pirates really bury treasure? Were women actually bad luck on ships? Did they wear eyepatches and carry parrots on their shoulders? And more!

How an Unsung Hero Reshaped the Fine Arts in Boston

Deborah Harty Stein, Ph.D., holds a doctoral degree in History of Art & Architecture from Boston University. She is a Visiting Lecturer at the College of the Holy Cross, and has also taught at Boston College, Boston University, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She researches transatlantic nineteenth and early twentieth-century collecting of Italian Renaissance art.

In 1869, the fine arts in Boston were in a bit of a slump. Enter Charles Callahan Perkins (1823-86), who, fresh from 25 years steeped in European museums, led an all-out assault to shake the fine arts institutions of his hometown out of their lethargy. Little recognized, let alone championed today, Perkins was particularly focused on jumpstarting the formation of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, now world-class, but at the time not much beyond the idea stage.

The Untold Story of an American Reporter in Nazi Germany: The Dragon From Chicago

Pamela D. Toler, Ph.D., is the author of ten works of historical non-fiction, for both adults and children, including, most recently, The Dragon From Chicago: The Untold Story of An American Reporter in Nazi Germany. Toler holds a Ph.D. in History and writes unexpected history for smart adults and curious kids.

Sigrid Schultz was the Chicago Tribune’s Berlin bureau chief from 1925 to January 1941. She was one of the first reporters—male or female—to warn American readers of the growing dangers of Nazism, and was one of the last to leave Berlin before it was too late. At a time when women reporters rarely wrote front-page stories, Schultz regularly reported the truth about Nazi Germany in the face of censorship and the threat of expulsion, internment, or death. The Nazis called Schultz “that dragon from Chicago.” One of her fellow correspondents called her “Adolph Hitler’s greatest enemy.” Her story is a powerful account of one woman standing up for truth in an era marked by the spread of disinformation and propaganda spawned by hate.

The British Are Here

Richard O. Tucker, MMH (https://www.linkedin.com/in/richard-tucker-ab6ba429/) is a Marine Corps veteran, life long reenactor of various eras, and accredited historian. Richard holds a B.A. in US History from Keene State College, and a Master’s in Military History from Norwich University. He is currently the commanding officer of Baker Company, 21st Marine Regiment (reenacted), and has recently launched the Grenadier Company, of His Majesty’s 47th Regiment of Foot (reenacted). He has presented to a diverse audience including school groups, senior citizens programs, museums and historical societies.

The British redcoat is often depicted as a mindless soldier throwing people out of their homes, and marching in a straight line while getting fired at. Films like The Patriot do little to change this narrative, but with the 250th Anniversary of the American Revolution starting here in Boston in 2025, Tucker will challenge audiences to familiarize themselves with the lives and tactics of the British Army at the outset of the American Revolution. Drawing from primary sources and other experts on the subject, this presentation will illustrate how diverse and adaptive the British were, as well as the challenges they faced garrisoning a city on the brink of war.

The Fall of South Vietnam: How Hanoi’s Final Military Campaign Won the War, March-April 1975

George J. Veith, Ph.D., is a former U.S. Army Captain who served in armor units in the United States and Germany from 1979–1986. He earned his Ph.D. in History from Monash University and is the author of several books on the Vietnam War including, most recently, Drawn Swords in a Distant Land: South Vietnam’s Shattered Dreams (Encounter Press, 2021). He has testified before Congress on the POW/MIA accounting mission, and presented numerous papers at scholarly conferences on the Vietnam War.

This presentation will outline Hanoi’s plans for its 1975 offensive, and then discuss SVN President Nguyen Van Thieu’s tactical mistakes that led to the military collapse of South Vietnam. It will include information from published North Vietnamese primary sources that provides critical insights into how they adjusted their plans as the campaign unfolded, including directives from General Vo Nguyen Giap in Hanoi to the southern commanders and decisions made by the Politburo. Ultimately, Veith will demonstrate that the South Vietnamese did not collapse and flee, but stood and fought in many battles. The session will help inform the attendees in advance of the upcoming 50th Anniversary of the fall of Saigon in 2025.

Exploring the Klein Collection of Prints: Morals and Morality

Andy Volpe studies and works in the graphic printing methods of the Old Masters, covering 1450s to 1800, and is perhaps best known for his Paul Revere replica copperplate engraving work with the Printing Office of Edes & Gill Boston, and researching and curating the Klein collection of Prints at the Museum of Printing in Haverhill MA. He also presents on Roman armor and archaeology with the Higgins Armory Collection at Worcester Art Museum and to area schools.

This presentation will take a look at examples of Morals, Aesop’s Fables, Emblem Books, and Biblical illustrations and how they relate to Morals and Virtues within the Klein Collection of Prints at the Museum of Printing, a massive collection of prints dating from 1493 to 1973 comprising examples of graphics, images, and illustrations processes such as woodblock, engraving, and lithography.

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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.