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Massachusetts History Society

Founded in 1791, the Massachusetts Historical Society, an independent research library, is an invaluable resource for American history, life, and culture. Its extraordinary collections tell the story of America through millions of rare and unique documents, artifacts, and irreplaceable national treasures.


  • What was love like in New England during Colonial America? The surviving letters between John and Abigail Adams reveal the unconditional love they had for each other, but they also divulge long periods of separation, scandals and personal tragedies during their 54-year old romance. This true story for the ages that proves that love conquers all.

    GBH is joined by Sara Martin, the editor-in-chief of The Adams Papers at the Massachusetts Historical Society to discuss this swoon-worthy love story.

    Since it was established in 1954, The Adams Papers has published letterpress volumes of the diaries, letters and other writings of the Adams family of Massachusetts. Recently, they published two letterpress series, Adams Family Correspondence and the Papers of John Adams, and two digital editions, the Adams Papers Digital Edition and the John Quincy Adams Digital Diary.

    Sara participates in a number of outreach activities at the MHS, including educational workshops and public lectures on the Adams family and the craft of historical editing.

    Her previous experience in public history includes partnerships with archaeologists and cultural heritage managers and work with local historical societies and community groups on public engagement projects and in-house exhibit development.

    This event is hosted and moderated by Associate Producer of GBH News' Art & Culture, Haley Lerner.

    This event is presented in partnership with Massachusetts Historical Society.

    photo credit: portraits by Benjamin Blyth, ca. 1766

    In partnership with:
    Ye Olde Tavern Tour logo of a minuteman carrying a keg of beer with old style writing.
    GBH Events
    Massachusetts History Society
  • The approach of the 250th anniversary of American independence has led scholars to reexamine the British Empire and the events of the imperial crisis that are generally understood to have led to the American Revolution.   The panelists of the keynote session  “Could the Empire Have Been Saved?”  engage this issue by discussing the problems in the empire revealed by resistance to imperial authority in British America between 1764 and 1774.  What kind of empire was it?  What was the character of British policy in the colonies?   Was the imperial crisis really a general crisis that touched all colonies and all members of British American society?  What was driving events forward?  Was the American Revolution really inevitable?  And might better decisions have avoided it?   In engaging  these questions, the panelists aim to reveal the broader implications of new thinking about the British empire and the coming of the American Revolution.

    This keynote is part of the conference on the theme "Empire and Its Discontent" hosted by The David Center for the American Revolution at the American Philosophical Society and the Massachusetts Historical Society
    Massachusetts History Society