Daily Picks: Week Two

Welcome to week two of our 2015 Seminar! Hopefully you all had a restorative weekend and are ready to dive back into the archive.

June 8, 2015

Our research teams from Kenyon College and the College of Wooster have been hard at work in the Massachusetts Historical Society’s reading room.

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Patrick shared the following from an 1822 address by Nicholas Biddle:

Who is there even on this side of the Atlantic, who does not read with more pleasure the accounts of the agricultural meetings at Holkham, than of coronation at Westminster, or the assemblage of sovereigns at Troppau? Who did not feel more satisfaction at the exhibitions of Massachusetts or Maryland, than in the gaudiest displays of military power?

“May we all be as excited for agriculture as Nicholas Biddle was in 1822,” observes Patrick in his email.

Sam was hard at work Monday, watched from the corner by the portrait of Charles Sumner by Darius Cobb, 1877.

Katie has been working with a lot of personal diaries during her residency at both the MHS and the Schlesinger Library.

June 9, 2015

Can you believe we’re halfway through the three-week Seminar residency? Time flies when you’re lost in the archive!

McKim Building, Boston Public Library, 9 June 2015. Photograph by Genevieve Janvrin.

McKim Building, Boston Public Library, 9 June 2015. Photograph by Genevieve Janvrin.

While the BSS has five official partner institutions — the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Center for the History of Medicine (Countway Library), Houghton Library, Northeastern University Archives & Special Collections, and the Schlesinger Library — participants are welcome to branch out to other locations in the Boston area as their research demands. Julia Randel and Genevieve Janvrin (Hope College) spent some time at the Boston Public Library.

In the evening, we hosted the energetic writer John Stauffer (Harvard University) who spoke at length about the craft of historical storytelling.

Coming up, we still have Megan Marshall, Karilyn Crockett, and our final celebration showcasing the fine work being done by our 2015 teams. Stay tuned!

June 10, 2015

Our participants are hard at work in the archives, where Katie Walker has discovered the secret identity of the historian:

June 11, 2015

Today was a big day for BSS, as we had the Massachusetts Historical Society’s annual Strawberry Festival, a visit from the GLCA Director of Program Development, Greg Wegner, and an evening presentation by Megan Marshall, author of The Peabody Sisters (2005) and Margaret Fuller (2013).

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After Marshall’s talk, we gathered around some primary source materials that she used in piecing together the lives of the Peabody sisters.

June 12, 2015

Today, BSS students got a tour of the Houghton Library from Administrative Officer Dennis Marnon.

We were introduced to the history of Houghton Library, shown the Samuel Johnson collection, Emily Dickinson collection, and John Keats collection.  We also got a chance to look at their current exhibit on Alice in Wonderland before the formal tour began.

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Daily Picks: Week One

As our first Seminar residency gets underway here in Boston, welcome to the “daily picks” series! Each week, between June 3-19, we will be sharing a few daily snapshots of what our program participants are doing and finding here in the archives.

You can also follow along in real time at the #bss15 hashtag on Twitter.

June 3, 2015

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Following orientation on Monday, our teams got directly to work. Jared Berg (Wooster College) found a pamphlet arguing that “a man who likes to teach women is in real danger of infatuation.”

On Tuesday, across the river in Cambridge, the research team from Hope College got started at Houghton Library.  Later that evening, we hosted our first speaker, Laura Prieto (History, Simmons College), who shared her experiences working with visual sources in historical context.

June 4, 2015

It’s fun to see our program participants getting around Boston on public transit – they’ll be locals in no time!

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June 5, 2015

Only four days into the seminar, our participants have already reviewed an impressive range of archival material! At our Thursday evening gathering we got to hear from each of the researchers about what they have been working with and some of their preliminary observations.

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Katie Walker (College of Wooster) shared her experience working with the diaries of schoolteacher Elizabeth Dorr at the Massachusetts Historical Society.  Others spoke about deciphering 18th-century account books, making sense of undated photographs, pouring over 19th-century lithographic advertisements, considering the connections between utopianism and abolitionism, and documenting the relationship between national identity and food production.

The guest at our second evening seminar was history communicator Liz Covart, who shared her experience becoming a history pirate (seeking the treasure of historical stories) and the importance of communicating your discoveries with the wider world.

June 6, 2015

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On Friday morning, the group gathered at the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, for a tour of the Center for the History of Medicine with Jack Eckert (Public Services Librarian) and Dominic Hall (Curator, Warren Anatomical Museum). The Center is one of our five 2015 partner institutions, and we were excited to introduce the participants to their rich medical history collections.

Eckert introduced us to the research collections at the Center related to the assassination of President Garfield and the subsequent trial of Charles Guiteau. Hall took us up to the exhibition area for a small fraction of the Warren Anatomical Museum’s collection where we discussed using museum collections for historical research.

You can explore material from the Center online at OnView. The history of science and medicine is a growing field, and we look forward to continuing to partner with the Center for the History of Medicine on future Seminars.


Guest Speakers for 2015

The Boston Summer Seminar team is pleased to announce its guest speaker line-up for the inaugural June 2015 season. We are excited to be showcasing the work of five scholars from the Boston area who have made substantial use of a wide array of archival sources. We invite you to check out their work below.

Liz Covart is a historian, writer, and master of a variety of online media platforms. She focuses on the history of early America. In her podcast Ben Franklin’s World, Covart sits down on Tuesdays for conversations with historians to discuss their craft and the world of the Colonial, Revolutionary, and Early Republican eras. You can catch up with her online at her website or on Twitter.

Karilyn Crockett is Director of Economic Policy and Research for the City of Boston. She holds a PhD in American Studies from Yale. In 1995 she founded MYTOWN, a youth organization that trains teens to lead historic walking tours of Boston neighborhoods.

Megan Marshall is an Associate Professor in the Department of Writing, Literature, and Publishing in Emerson College’s Master of Fine Arts program. She won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in Biography for Margaret Fuller: A New American Life.

Laura Prieto is a Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and Chair of the History Department at Simmons College. Professor Prieto teaches courses across a range of topics, including American cultural history, women and gender, and historical methodology. She recently contributed an essay to the anthology volume _subjecting history_.

John Stauffer is Professor of English and American Literature and African-American Studies and Chair of the History of American Civilization program at Harvard University. He is the author of numerous books and teaches courses on protest literature, southern literature, the Civil War, and Herman Melville, among other subjects. He is currently a MHS-NEH Long-term Fellow at the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Click the links above for more information on each of our speakers!