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Massachusetts Historical Society

Since 1791 the mission of the Massachusetts Historical Society has been to collect, preserve, and communicate historical information to the widest possible audience. The holdings of the Society comprise over 3,500 separate collections of personal, family, and institutional papers, including more than 2,000 diaries; rare books; photographs; paintings; engravings; maps; and artifacts. Since 1792 the Society has been issuing publications, including scholarly journals, historical monographs, collections of essays, editions of documents, and reference works. The Society also runs seminar series, conferences, lectures, research and educational fellowship programs, and a growing outreach program to K-12 teachers.

http://www.masshist.org

Past Events

  • The long practice of ignoring Indigenous history is changing, with a new generation of scholars insisting that any full American history address the struggle, survival, and resurgence of American Indian nations. Ned Blackhawk interweaves five centuries of Native and non‑Native histories, from Spanish colonial exploration to the rise of Native American self-determination in the late 20th-century. He argues that European colonization in the 1600s was never a predetermined success; Native nations helped shape England’s crisis of empire; the first shots of the American Revolution were prompted by Indian affairs in the interior; California’s Indians targeted by federally funded militias were among the first casualties of the Civil War; the Union victory forever recalibrated Native communities across the West; and 20th-century reservation activists refashioned American law and policy. Blackhawk’s retelling of US history acknowledges the enduring power, agency, and survival of Indigenous peoples, yielding a truer account of the United States and revealing anew the varied meanings of America.
    Partner:
    Massachusetts Historical Society
  • GBH's Emily Rooney talks with historian and writer Jon Meacham about his book, ["The Soul of America"](https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/554220/the-soul-of-america-by-jon-meacham/). Listen to their conversation covering the importance of researching history and how understanding past events can illuminate and help solve issues of today. This discussion was recorded as part of the virtual 2020 [Making History Gala ](https://www.masshist.org/gala) organized by the Massachusetts Historical Society.
    Partner:
    Massachusetts Historical Society
  • Massachusetts is home to more world changing innovations than almost anywhere else on the planet: the first use of anesthesia, the first phone call, the first venture capital firm, and the first same-sex marriage. Why has Boston been the key center of social and technological innovations? Can it maintain this momentum? What can community and business leaders and local governments do to nurture the factors that promote innovation? Local innovators, investors and influencers share their insights and perspectives on the history and future of innovation in this region. Photo by Unknown; film commissioned by AT&T. (Early Office Museum.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
    Partner:
    Massachusetts Historical Society
  • For 16 years Andrew Buckley has been following the story of the Columbia Expedition, the first American voyage around the world. Buckley and his team investigate this trek in *Hit and Run History*, an episodic documentary series that is now the centerpiece of WGBH-Boston’s History site. Learn about how their research brought the film crew to the Massachusetts Historical Society in this talk featuring clips from the series.
    Partner:
    Massachusetts Historical Society
  • MIT History Professor Pauline Maier discusses her book, *Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788*, which tells the dramatic story of the two-year debate over the ratification of the Constitution, filled with chicanery and statesmanship, drawing on the speeches and letters of founding fathers on both sides of the debate--the first new account of this seminal moment in American history in decades. Pauline Maier has devoted over a decade to studying the immense documentation of the ratification of the Constitution. *Ratification* tells the dramatic story of the yearlong battle to ratify it. When the delegates left the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in September 1787, the new Constitution they had written was no more than a proposal. Elected conventions in at least nine of the 13 states would have to ratify it before it could take effect. There was reason to doubt whether that would happen. In both cities and small towns across the country people read the document carefully and debated it passionately.
    Partner:
    Massachusetts Historical Society
  • For more than 40 years, Hubie Jones has played a key role in the formation, rebuilding, and leadership of at least 30 organizations within the black community and across Boston. While at UMass Boston, Jones has worked to build the City to City Program, an initiative in which Boston's corporate, government, and nonprofit leaders visit cities in the U.S. and abroad to learn how their urban leaders solve problems. He is dean emeritus of the Boston University School of Social Work, where he served as professor and dean from 1977 to 1993. He was BU's first African-American dean. For eight months in 1992, he was acting president of Roxbury Community College. Jones has served on numerous nonprofit boards in the Greater Boston area. He is the founder of the Massachusetts Advocacy Center, where he served as board president for ten years. He is a trustee of the Foley, Hoag and Eliot Foundation, and has served on the boards of City Year and the Conservation Law Foundation.
    Partner:
    Massachusetts Historical Society