Emma Futhey of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences University will present a virtual seminar, “‘For the entertainment of her friends’: Working Actresses, Society & Performance in Boston 1790-1830,” on Wednesday, December 6, 2023, from 5 until 6:15 pm. Elizabeth Maddock Dillon of Northeastern University will provide comment. [Read more…] about Working Actresses in Boston 1790-1830
Massachusetts Historical Society
Deborah Sampson was born in Plympton, Massachusetts, in 1760. She was hired out as an indentured servant to a family in Middleborough, MA. Upon gaining independence at age 18, she worked as a weaver and briefly as a schoolteacher.
In 1782, Sampson disguised herself in men’s clothing and enlisted in the Continental Army under the name “Robert Shurtliff.” [Read more…] about Call Me Robert: Deborah Sampson, Continental Army Soldier
The latest episode of the Massachusetts Historical Society’s “The Object of History” podcast features a story about the cultural significance of teeth in the 18th century. In this episode, experts examine a portrait of George Washington in which he does not resemble the familiar face on the one-dollar bill. [Read more…] about The Culture of Teeth in the 18th Century
Southern secession was a disaster for American nationalists with a pro-slavery vision. Few were as virulent as John Van Evrie (1814–1896), a Canadian educated as a physician, who spent the 1850s building a publishing company that churned out pro-slavery works, including the notorious New York Weekly Day Book newspaper.
Van Evrie’s pseudoscience theories, which lacked evidence even for the time, claimed black people were inferior to white people, defended slavery as practiced in the United States, and attacked abolitionism. [Read more…] about Professional Racist John Van Evrie & The New York Weekly Day Book
By late August 1945, the Second World War had ended with victory over Japan. Millions of United States soldiers hoped to quickly return to their lives at home, hopefully before Christmas. It had however, taken four years to get the more than 7.5 million troops overseas.
United States soldiers, believing that the U.S. government violated its promise of rapid demobilization, rose up to protest the War Department’s plans. [Read more…] about ‘Bring Daddy Home’: The January 1946 Army Mutinies
During the first quarter-century after its founding, the United States was swept by a wave of land speculation so unprecedented in intensity and scale that contemporaries and historians alike have dubbed it a “mania.”
In Speculation Nation: Land Mania in the Revolutionary American Republic (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2023) Michael A. Blaakman uncovers the revolutionary origins of this real-estate bonanza ― a story of ambition, corruption, capitalism, and statecraft that stretched across millions of acres from Maine to the Mississippi and Georgia to the Great Lakes. [Read more…] about Speculation Nation: Land Mania in the Revolutionary American Republic
Henry David Thoreau was a leading figure in the American Transcendentalist movement and the era of US literary emergence. He achieved worldwide renown as an essayist, social thinker, naturalist, environmentalist, and sage.
Thoreau’s Walden; or, Life in the Woods (1854), an autobiographical narrative of his two-year sojourn in a self-built lakeside cabin, is one of the most widely studied works of American literature. [Read more…] about Henry David Thoreau: Thinking Disobediently
Mary Mildred Botts Williams (1847–1921) was a light-skinned Black child born into enslavement in Virginia. She became identified in the popular imagination with the character Ida May, the fictional kidnapped white child in Mary Hayden Pike’s novel, Ida May: A Story of Things Actual and Possible (1854). Mary was used as an example of a “white slave” in the years before the Civil War. [Read more…] about Slavery & Race: Mary Mildred Botts Williams, 1847–1921
While Theodore Roosevelt employed his abilities to rise from unknown New York legislator to the youngest man to assume the U.S. presidency in 1901, in his book The Rough Rider & the Professor: Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Cabot Lodge, & the Friendship that Changed American History (Pegasus Books, 2023), Laurence Jurdem argues that this rapid success would not have occurred without the assistance of the powerful New Englander, Henry Cabot Lodge. [Read more…] about TR & Henry Cabot Lodge: A Friendship that Changed History
In her new book Revolutionary Things: Material Culture & Politics in the Late Eighteenth- Century Atlantic World (Yale University Press, 2023), Ashli White of the University of Miami, explores the circulation of material culture during the America, French, and Haitian revolutions.
[Read more…] about Revolutionary Things: Material Culture & Politics in the Atlantic World