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Colonial America

One of my undergraduate mentors once described Thanksgiving as an "onion."  The onion metaphor is most commonly associated with social penetration theory.  In essence, it is used by psychologists to describe relationships between individuals.  With apologies to Altman and Taylor, we are going to co-opt the term here to analyze the complex meanings of Thanksgiving. While [...]

Guest Post by Kevin Q. Doyle Today is November 5 (the Fifth of November), a date that much of the Anglophone world (including much of the British Empire) celebrated for centuries, in commemoration of the failure of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 – a conspiracy to assassinate James I, king of England (1603-25); detonate Westminster [...]

By Dr. Deena Parmelee There’s an old adage in the world of retail business that success depends on three things: location; location; and location. The study of history – at any level – relies to a similar extent on three things: perspective; perspective; and perspective! [1] Sometimes it’s hard to remember that perspective changes over [...]

On Thursday night (if not before), little goblins and ghouls will take to the streets in search of the ultimate prize - the sugar high mother lode!  Between candy, costumes, and decorations, Americans spend roughly $5 billion dollars on these October festivities.  Candy sales represent approximately one half of that total. (Comparatively, candy sales are [...]

On October 19, 1778, Phillis Wheatley was emancipated from slavery, following the death of her master, John Wheatley.  Wheatley is an important figure in religious history, African-American history, as well as literature.  Born sometime in 1753 in either Senegal or Gambia, Wheatley arrived in Boston aboard the slave ship Phillis (from which she got her [...]

During the past year, I have been working on creating an on-line map and database of the Old Burial Ground, located on Academy Road in North Andover, Massachusetts. The Old Burial Ground was established around 1650 and the site holds the remains of the founding families of Andover, as well as their descendants. This means [...]

On October 2, 1656, the colony of Connecticut passed a law against Quakers.  The fall of 1656 was particularly difficult for Quakers, who faced widespread persecution in both Old England and New England.  The Massachusetts Bay Colony passed an anti-Quaker law of its own, just 12 days later. The persecution faced by Quakers was directly [...]

In October, the American College of History and Legal Studies and the Massachusetts School of Law will welcome two award-winning historians to the Massachusetts School of Law campus. The first talk will be given by Dr. J. William Harris (Ph.D. Johns Hopkins), who specializes in African-American and Southern History.  His book, The Hanging of Thomas Jeremiah, [...]

Pauline Maier, 1938-2013

I was saddened to learn today, of the passing of Pauline Maier, following a brief illness.  Professor Maier was a highly-respected historian and longtime member of the History faculty at M.I.T.  She was perhaps best known for her work on the American Revolution, although her scholarship also covered the Colonial period.  She was also an [...]

Is the resurgence of interest in John Adams a sign of our country's political maturity? Is John Adams a hero for OUR times? Pulitzer Prize winning historian Joseph Ellis joins Lawrence R. Velvel, Dean of ACHLS's founding school The Massachusetts School of Law, to discuss his book First Family. Ellis and Velvel discuss the enormous [...]