Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Please know that I am grateful for your readership, support, and friendship during this season of thanks.

I hope you and your family enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving.





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Boston Historical Events for the Week of November 24, 2014

Boston Historical EventsBoston Historical Events: A list of history-related events taking place in Boston between Monday November 24 and Sunday November 30, 2014.


MHS-150x150.gifMassachusetts Historical Society

Tuesday, November 25, 5:15-7:30pm, Immigration and Urban History Seminar, Free, RSVP Requested

Theresa McCulla (Harvard University) will explore the histories of labor and leisure among the New Orleanian working poor and the white tourists who came to observe them in “‘Greetings from the Levee!: Labor and Leisure on the Streets and Docks of Postbellum New Orleans.” McCulla will reveal the constructed nature of the food and culture industries of New Orleans. She will also excavate the origins of the longstanding racial distinctions between those who produced and those who consumed in the New South.  Lynnell Thomas (UMass-Boston) will comment.

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Additional Highlights from the Fear in the Revolutionary Americas Conference

FearWhat role did fear play in the revolutions of North and South America between 1776 and 1865?

On Tuesday, November 18, 2014, I contributed a post to The Junto: A Group Blog on Early American History that offered some  highlights from “‘Fear in the Revolutionary Americas Conference,'” a one-day conference hosted by Tufts University on Halloween.

In this post I offer you recaps of two more of the papers presented at “Fear in the Revolutionary Americas, 1776-1865.”


“Republics of Saints? Fear and Virtue in the Age of Revolutions”

Nicole Eustace (New York University) believes that we need to study the language and contents of the Federalist Papers to understand the absence of fear in American constitutionalism.

Eustace posited that emotional language provides a key metric that historians can use to assess contemporary perceptions of fear and power. She explored the language of fear and virtue as used by Maximilien de Robespierre and Simón Bolívar to illustrate her point.

Equality, fear, and virtue played important roles in Robespierre’s republicanism.

Robespierre believed that a virtuous society would develop when its members submerged their self-interest in favor of the entire society. The power of self-interest ensured that societies were hard to create.

Robespierre believed that a populace must experience fear in order to become virtuous because only fear had enough power to overcome self-interest.


Robespierre and Bolivar Read More

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Are You Prepared for an Emergency Evacuation?

Fire Truck in the Back

Are you prepared to make an emergency evacuation?

At about 7:15am on Sunday, November 16, 2014, Tim and I awoke to the sounds of sirens and shouting men.

I put on my glasses, got out of bed, and opened the blinds: Imagine my surprise when I saw Ladder 26 of the Boston Fire Department begin to raise its ladder just underneath my window.

The row house two doors down was involved in a 3-alarm fire.

It took our brains a few seconds to wake up and realize what was happening. As we did, we began to smell the fire and smoke.

Immediately, our adrenaline kicked in.

We got dressed and spent 2-3 minutes grabbing important items: cellphones, laptops, anything around our laptops that seemed important, and our emergency “go-bag” for the dogs. We then raced to put on our shoes and winter coats, harness, leash, and coat our dogs, and exit our building.

Our whole dash took no more than 5-6 minutes. It was amazing how fast we moved.

Front of FireAfter we exited our building and made sure our neighbors were okay, Tim and I talked about what to do next. We had no idea if the fire would spread or how long the firefighters would need to extinguish the flames and give us the “okay” to go back inside.

What we did know was that it was cold. With temperatures hovering between the upper 20s and low 30s, we needed to find someplace warm we could go with our dogs.

Immediately, we decided to go to my parents’ house. Unfortunately, the firemen had our car blocked in. Quick thinking told us to book a rental car, which we did, and we drove to my parents’ home to wait until the coast was clear.

As we drove to my parents’ house we discussed the pros and cons of our emergency preparedness.

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Boston Historical Events for the Week of November 17, 2014

Boston Historical Events: A list of history-related events taking place in Boston between Monday November 17 and Sunday November 23, 2014.


Boston-Athenaeum.gifBoston Athenaeum

Wednesday, November 19, 12-1pm, Author Talk, Free

Amazon ImageNicholas Wapshott will discuss information from his new book, The Sphinx: Franklin Roosevelt, the Isolationists, and the Road to World War II. Wapshott provides a lively narrative of the great political duel between Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Joseph Kennedy, and the isolationist movement prior to the United States’ entry into World War II. FDR used cryptic and varied strategies to contain and ultimately neutralize the most powerful voices encouraging American skepticism about the European war. Roosevelt employed tactics such as sidelining his friend and aspiring political rival Joseph Kennedy by appointing him ambassador to London and coaxing Charles Lindbergh into uniform so he could better control the content of his anti-war speeches.


BPL.gifBoston Public Library

Thursday, November 20, 7-8pm, Author Talk, East Boston Branch, Free

Amazon ImagePhotojournalist Michael Philip Manheim will be on hand to discuss his experiences covering Logan Airport and its impact on East Boston during the turbulent 1970s. The Environmental Protection Agency hired Manheim, along with approximately 100 other photojournalists, to document the state of the environment. Manheim chose to cover the impact of Logan Airport on East Boston. Manheim will sign copies of his book Last House Standing: How Once We Were: Photographs of the Past, which presents his photographs of East Boston and the effect the airport had on the neighborhood.


Historic-New-England-300x272.jpgHistoric New England

Tuesday, November 18, 6-8pm, Lecture, Otis House, $5 Admission, Tickets Required

This lecture will take place in two parts. First, Historic New England museum historian Jennifer Pustz will explore the experiences of African Americans across New England from the 18th to the early 20th centuries. Pustz will reveal how the labor and contributions of free and enslaved African Americans contributed to the history of many of Historic New England’s properties. In the second part of the lecture, genealogist David Allen Lambert will disclose the primary and secondary sources in the possession of the New England Historic Genealogical Society that you can use to research African Americans in New England. He will highlight how you can use materials such as vital statistics, probates, deeds, and newspapers to expand your knowledge of African-American history and ancestry.

Program co-sponsored by the New England Historic Genealogical Society.


MHS-150x150.gifMassachusetts Historical Society

Tuesday, November 18, 5:15-7:30PM, Environmental History Seminar, Free, RSVP Requested

Derek Lee Nelson (University of New Hampshire) will explore “The Ravages of Teredo: The Historical Impacts of Marine Wood-Boring Worms on American Society, Geography, and Culture, 1865-1930.” Toredo, or shipworm, caused millions of dollars’ worth of damage in American ports by destroying the structural integrity of wharves and ships. In addition to invading marine wood, these wood-boring mullusks also bored their way into the consiousness of Americans through congressional reports, newspapers, and popular culture. Robert Martello (Olin College of Engineering) will comment.


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