J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Living History in Quincy, 18 Aug.

On Saturday, 18 August, the Dorothy Quincy Homestead in Quincy is hosting a living-history event highlighting the Quincy, Hancock, and Adams families. The title for this event is Lydia, Liberty, and Loyality.”

Those three families had a lot to talk about 250 years ago. In June, as I related back here, in the spring the Customs service tried to get Massachusetts attorney general Jonathan Sewall to prosecute John Hancock for interfering with their personnel aboard his ship Lydia. Sewall refused, saying the law was on Hancock’s side.

In June top Customs officers, with the help of the Royal Navy, seized Hancock’s ship Liberty for smuggling. This time they got Sewall to prosecute the case. Hancock retained John Adams as his lawyer.

Hancock and Adams had known each other since they were boys; Adams was a Braintree selectman’s son, and Hancock’s father was a minister in that town before his early death. Adams was also good friends with his fellow lawyer Sewall, though they were drifting apart because of political differences.

Even more fraught with drama, Sewall’s wife was the former Esther Quincy, part of the family that had owned that mansion earlier in the 1760s. Hancock would eventually marry Esther’s younger sister Dolly. And John Adams’s wife Abigail was cousin to the Quincys.

Also present at this event will be John Singleton Copley, portrait painter for the wealthy. In the 1760s he painted John Hancock and yet another Quincy cousin, attorney Samuel, and his wife. Eventually Copley would paint John Adams, but only after almost two decades had swelled Adams from a country lawyer to the American minister to the Court of St. James. For the Adamses and Sewalls in 1768, Copley was too expensive.

The Dorothy Quincy Homestead is co-owned by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. That organization is co-sponsoring this event with Discover Quincy, Revolution250, and the Guild of Historic Interpreters South. Guides will also offer tours of the mansion.

This event is scheduled to run from 11:00 A.M. to 3:30 P.M. at the Dorothy Quincy Homestead, 34 Butler Road in Quincy. It is free to all, but donations will be gladly accepted.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

News of the Revolution in Vienna

Back in February, the Age of Revolutions blog featured Jonathan Singerton’s interesting analysis of how the American Revolution was reported in the Holy Roman Empire.

As the article’s headline notes, the Empire was an “Absolutist State” with strict censorship of the news. As in authoritarian regimes today, the rulers feared that any critique of other rulers could be interpreted as critique of themselves and inspire the local opposition.

Singerton focuses on the news reported in the Wienerisches Diarium, Vienna’s newspaper, and the behind-the-scenes arguments over that reporting. About the Declaration of Independence, he writes:
First news of an announcement arrived in Vienna in mid-August 1776, but on 17th August, the Diarium proclaimed, “We have news from America, which reports that the General Congress has finally declared itself independent with a small majority.”[12] The fact that Congress’s adoption was unanimous and only New York abstained was lost on the Diarium and the Declaration was not immediately reproduced. On August 31st, only the concluding paragraph of the Declaration appeared, and several weeks later, the immortal lines of the preamble featured in the September 11th edition.[13] The body of the Declaration, however, parts of which enumerated the grievances against King George III, were omitted – the Diarium’s managers could not risk disseminating such anti-monarchical writing.

When this edition reached the Queen-Regent Maria Theresa (1717-1780) [shown above] and her co-regent son Joseph II (1741-1790), they were incensed that such an article had passed the censors. Count Christian August von Seilern (1717-1801), the Governor of Lower Austria and previously Ambassador in London (1766-1770), sympathised with the article and futilely attempted to reason with the monarchs, insisting that their authority had not been questioned.[14] The newspaper’s perceived transgressions brought an even higher level of scrutiny.

This reporting created a hotbed of pro-American sentiment in Habsburg territories, which influenced the first diplomatic mission between the United States and the Habsburgs in 1778, when the American representative William Lee arrived in Vienna hoping to procure an alliance with the monarchs. Though he failed to get access to the court, the fervor for the American cause stoked by newspaper coverage created a welcoming environment outside of the court for Lee. He remarked to his brother about his amazement of such interest, “Some of distinction here are warm for the part of America.”[15]
That William Lee was a brother of Richard Henry, Francis Lightfoot, and Arthur Lee—a Virginia dynasty not quite as controlling as the Hapsburgs.

Monday, August 13, 2018

More Linguistic Analysis of the Second Amendment

In June I discussed one scholar’s recent conclusions about how people of the Founding Era used the phrase “bear arms.”

On the Panorama blog Alison L. LaCroix just shared her own findings in an essay headed “Historical Semantics and the Meaning of the Second Amendment.” Summarizing work she’s down with Jason Merchant of the University of Chicago’s linguistics department, LaCroix writes:

Much of originalism’s appeal lies in its reliance on a specific type of historical authority, and in the fact that it portrays historical meaning as an objective fact capable of being ascertained by a non-specialist reader. According to originalism’s “fixed-meaning canon” as articulated by Justice [Antonin] Scalia and Bryan A. Garner, “Words must be given the meaning they had when the text was adopted.” The words of the Constitution are, for the most part, recognizable to a modern speaker of English. The canon therefore rests on two premises: first, that there was a single meaning of the words at the time the text was adopted (for the Second Amendment, 1791); second, that this meaning is accessible to modern readers.

Originalism’s version of a historical approach stands in stark contrast to the rigorous empirical research that Chief Justice [John] Roberts dismissed as “sociological gobbledygook” in last term’s partisan gerrymandering case, Gill v. Whitford.[1] Any informed modern speaker of English can read an old text and determine what it means, the theory implies. Moreover, the theory relies on a tool that most historians, as well as linguists, treat with caution: the dictionary. In particular, the justices tend to reach for Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language, first published in 1755. . . .

In our work, we have asked two questions: (1) Does the subject of “bear arms” always have to denote a collectivity? (2) Does the subject always have to be plural?

Using the Google Books corpus, we searched a range of published materials dating from the period between 1760 and 1795 for the phrase “bear arms.” We then classified by hand each of the 181 texts that our search produced according to the following categories: the use or sense in which the phrase “bear arms” was employed (collective, individual, or undeterminable), and the type of subject that accompanied the phrase (plural, singular, or undeterminable). A last category was for heraldic uses. . . .

According to our research, then, in 67.4 percent of the instances in which the phrase “bear arms” was used in books published between 1760 and 1795, the phrase was being employed in a collective sense. (The results for newspapers are even more dramatic.) For most ordinary citizens in the founding generation, then, the phrase “bear arms” referred to an activity undertaken by groups of people, not only by individuals. 
Which fits perfectly with what the Second Amendment states as the right that it preserves: “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms.”

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Stedman in Suriname

At the online magazine OZY, Kristina Gaddy wrote about John Gabriel Stedman’s memoir of life in Suriname in the 1770s.

Stedman was born into a military family, his father a Scotsman who had joined the army of the Dutch Republic and his mother reportedly a Dutch noblewoman.

At twenty-seven years old, feeling the need for both money and adventure, Stedman volunteered to command a corps fighting “Maroons,” or people of African descent who had freed themselves from slavery and were challenging the white colonial society.

Stedman arrived in Suriname, a South American colony that really functioned as part of the West Indies, in February 1773. He stayed for four years, fighting Maroons and his boss with equal fervor.

Gaddy explained:
In his diary, Stedman described the Maroons, the armed tribes he was fighting, the lush landscape and the indigenous Arawaks who lived in the dense tropical jungle. He also wrote about his relationship with an enslaved woman named Joanna, the many sexual encounters he had and the lives of both masters and the enslaved. What he did, the music he heard, the unusual foods he ate and the indigenous plants he saw — everything was recorded in his journal. In addition, he collected “curiosities” — now part of the collection at the Museum Volkenkunde (the National Museum of Ethnology) in Leiden, the Netherlands — and painted vivid watercolors of scenes from Suriname.

When he returned to the Netherlands in 1777, Stedman set to crafting a story from his diary entries, eventually selling the rights to Joseph Johnson, a London publisher. Starting in 1790, Johnson devoted six years to transforming Stedman’s watercolors into engravings — he commissioned William Blake to produce several plates — that could be reproduced for the book.

That book — Narrative of a Five Years’ Expedition, Against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam, in Guiana, on the Wild Coast of South America — came out in 1796 and became an immediate popular success. While slavery existed in Europe, large plantations did not, and Stedman’s evocative, at times graphic account of both free and enslaved lives was richly illuminating to people across the Continent. “[Stedman’s book] was fundamental to people’s understanding of slavery” in the late 18th and early 19th century, says Karwan Fatah-Black, assistant professor of history at Leiden University in the Netherlands. Narrative was quickly translated into Dutch, Swedish, Italian, French and German, and became an international best-seller that would ultimately appear in 25 editions.

It was the kind of overnight success that would have thrilled most authors. But Stedman was enraged. It turned out that Joseph Johnson had secretly hired an editor to revise the original text and then published a version Stedman condemned as an outright distortion. “My book was printed full of lies and nonsense,” he wrote to his sister-in-law, and he claimed to have burned 2,000 copies.
In 1988 Richard and Sally Price finally created an edition that compared Stedman’s manuscript diary, which ended up at the University of Minnesota, against the published version. The original had a lot more sex, it seems.

Interestingly, the editing also made Stedman out to be more supportive of slavery than he really was. (It sounds like he was a bit cynical about everything.) Nonetheless, Stedman’s account of the slave society—perhaps because it wasn’t about a British colony—became one of the foundational texts of the British anti-slavery movement.

The Wikipedia article on Stedman is impressively detailed and worth reading alongside Gaddy’s.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

When Did Susanna Rowson First Come to America?

Susanna Rowson’s biographers, from Elias Nason to R. W. G. Vail in the Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society in 1932, state that she first arrived in America in January 1767. That reflects a date stated in her novel Rebecca, or The Fille de Chambre.

Many of the details in that book chapter do match contemporaneous accounts of Rowson’s passage across the Atlantic Ocean as a young girl. As dramatic as the hardships described in Rebecca are, they closely echo what the Boston press reported in early 1768.

The first reports appeared on 1 Feb 1768, saying that the brig Abigail under Capt. James Harding Stevens had reached Boston harbor the preceding Thursday, 28 January. “Capt. Stevens left England the 9th November,” said the Boston Chronicle; “he met with contrary winds the whole passage.” The Boston Evening-Post added: “He has been from London 14 weeks, but last from the Downs [off the English coast] in 10 Weeks; they had very bad Weather on the Coast, and most the People on board, (35 in Number) are more or less Frost-bitten.”

The 4 February Boston News-Letter agreed: “most of the People belonging to the Vessel had their Hands and Feet froze.” Also, “the Ship’s Company were at a short Allowance for 5 Weeks before their Arrival, being 36 Persons in Number Passengers included.” That confirms Rowson’s memory of the food shortage, though the newspapers didn’t prints anecdotes about her own family.

And then the Abigail ran aground. It was “in a snow storm, drove ashore on Lovel’s-island, and can’t be got off without unloading part of her cargo,” said the Chronicle. The Evening-Post was optimistic, saying, “’tis thought [it] will be got off without much Damage.”

By 4 February, the News-Letter could say, “they are taking out the Goods.” And on 8 February the Evening-Post updated its readers: “The Brig Abigail, Capt. Stevens, from London, mentioned in our last to be drove ashore at Lovell’s island, is since got off and is come up to Town.”

Newspapers and Boston town records confirm that Lt. William Haswell, late of the Royal Navy (and known to Bostonians since he’d helped to patrol their harbor in the early 1760s), and his family were aboard the Abigail. They don’t describe how he lowered his little daughter over the ship’s rail on a rope so a sailor could carry her to shore, but it seems certain that Susanna Rowson didn’t invent that experience.

When Rowson set the landing of the ship in Rebecca in January 1767, she might have been quietly fictionalizing her experience. Or she might have been genuinely confused about what year she arrived in Boston—after all, she was only five years old at the time. But because her ship’s passage was so awful, we have the documentation to say for certain that Rowson first touched land in America on the morning of 29 Jan 1768.

(In the image above, Lovell’s Island isn’t labeled but lies to the right of the words “Ship Channel.”)

Friday, August 10, 2018

A Stormy Voyage from Fiction to Biography

Susanna Rowson died in 1824, having spent the last half of her life writing and teaching in greater Boston. Her novel Charlotte Temple was still selling, and her sequel Charlotte’s Daughter, or The Three Orphans came out posthumously in 1828.

In 1870 the Rev. Elias Nason wrote a biography of Rowson. He took up her invitation to read passages from Rebecca as first-hand accounts of her own experiences. Thus, Nason described the author’s passage to America this way, citing the novel:
The voyage was long and perilous. The brig encountered the fearful storms and contrary winds of that inclement season, and the provisions failing, each passenger was finally put upon an allowance of a single biscuit, and a half a pint of water per day. Mrs. Rowson often spoke in after life of the intense thirst she then experienced, and of her bitter disappointment, when her father, with a tearful eye, presented her a cup of wine instead of water. Her faithful nurse subsisted many days on half of her own scanty allowance, affectionately reserving the other portion for her beloved Susanna, should they be reduced to a more terrible necessity.

Having thus been driven to and fro by wintry storms for many weeks, and having endured the pangs of famine to the last extremity, their hearts were overwhelmed with joy when the sweet cry of “Land ahead!” was heard late in the afternoon of the 28th of January, 1767. They were approaching Boston harbor, and anticipating quick relief from their protracted sufferings; but a severer trial yet awaited them. The wind rose suddenly; the night fell darkling over the ill-fated vessel; the sleet encased the ropes in ice; the sailors were benumbed with cold; the brig became unmanageable; and to add to their dismay, they lost sight of the beacon at the entrance of the harbor, and were drifting hopelessly in amongst the rocks and breakers.

At ten o’clock that dreadful night, their fears were realized. Suddenly the vessel struck a rock. It proved to be upon that long, low point running out north-westwardly from Lovell’s island, opposite Ram’s head, in Boston harbor. The floods came beating violently over deck, and there, all through that long, cold, dreary, stormy night, the little weather-beaten company remained in agony, anticipating instant death.

But the good brig held together; and when the tide receded in the morning, the kind people of the island wading into the sea and placing a ladder against the side of the vessel, received the passengers and conducted them safely to the land; the rounds of the ladder, however, being soon covered with ice, Lieut. [William] Haswell did not dare to risk his little daughter on them; and so, fastening a strong cord round her waist, he swung her out over the bulwarks of the brig into the arms of a stout old sailor, standing up to his waist in the water to receive her.
Nason recognized that not every detail in the novel applied to little Susanna Haswell. The young girl in the novel was seven years old; Susanna was only five. The girl traveled with two older brothers as well as her widowed father; Susanna’s only family at this time was her father, a retired naval lieutenant.

In other details, however, Nason was too quick to accept the novel’s details. Rebecca describes the girl traveling with a “nurse,” and that word also appears in the biography. But in Boston’s records of who came ashore, the Haswells are listed as bringing a “Maid,” which isn’t quite so genteel.

Most significant, Mason adopted the date that appeared in Rebecca. The novel stated that its heroine reached mainland Boston on “the thirtieth of January, 1767.” Nason therefore calculated that the crew had sighted land “late in the afternoon of the 28th of January, 1767.” But both dates were off.

TOMORROW: When the Haswells really arrived.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

“In a situation similar to the one described here”

In 1814 Susanna Rowson had her novel The Fille de Chambre republished in Boston, giving it the new title Rebecca. She added an introductory chapter and footnotes that highlighted the autobiographical aspects of the story because she, like every good fiction writer, had stolen from real life.

In the chapter relating Rebecca’s passage to America, Rowson’s notes make clear that she was the model not of the heroine but of a young girl along for the ride. Describing how provisions ran low while the ship was at sea, she wrote:
Mr. Seward had on board the ship with him, besides two fine boys, the one fourteen, the other twelve years old, a charming little girl scarcely seven. Mrs Seward had been dead some years, and the child was accompanied by her nurse. The chief anguish this faithful servant felt was in contemplating her little charge, and thinking how she was to be preserved; indeed, to such a height did her affection rise, that she voluntarily deprived herself of part of the very small portion allotted her, that she might lay it by against a time of more eminent necessity for this darling of her heart.
The footnote to that paragraph stated:
This was a fact, the dear woman who accompanied the author in her first voyage across the Atlantic actually lived, for many days, on half a biscuit a day, to reserve the other moiety [half] for her.
After describing a similar kindness from a seaman, the third-person narration breaks into this paean:
Exalted humanity, noble, disinterested sailor, may you ever experience from your fellow creatures the same benevolence that expands and elevates your own heart. May your days be many, and your prosperity equal to your deserts.
And as if that didn’t break the spell of the fictional world enough, a footnote added:
This apostrophe is the genuine emotion of gratitude, the author having, in a situation similar to the one described here, experienced relief bestowed in the same disinterested manner.
Rowson thus argued for the genuineness of her fiction—even if not all the details were accurate.

TOMORROW: When did Susanna Rowson actually come to America?

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

“A new world was now opened to Rebecca…”

Susanna Rowson was America’s first blockbuster novelist, achieving lasting success with her fourth fiction, Charlotte: a Tale of Truth (1790), later retitled Charlotte Temple.

In 1792 Rowson published The Fille de Chambre (chambermaid), later retitled Rebecca, or The Fille de Chambre. It features a detailed and dramatic description of a voyage to America in the 1760s:

The day after Rebecca entered Miss Abthorpe’s service she set off for London, where she was to join Mr Seward’s family, who were to embark on board the same ship with her, and under whose protection she was to proceed to New-England. It was late in September when they arrived in town, and a variety of incidents detained them till the middle of October, so that they had but an untoward prospect before them, when so late in the season they embarked at Deal, on board a brig bound for Boston.

A fair wind presently took them out of the channel, and they flattered themselves with a prosperous voyage; but these flattering appearances were soon reversed, for the wind suddenly changed, rising almost to a hurricane, so that it was impossible to pursue their intended course, or return to port, and they continued tossing about in the Atlantic till the latter end of December, and then had not half made their passage, though their provisions
were so exhausted that they were obliged to live on a very small allowance of bread; of the water and salt meat which they had, together with a few pease, they were extremely careful.
After some anecdotes about the crossing (which I’ll return to), the ship finally reaches Massachusetts Bay. But by now it’s in the middle of winter.
The port of Boston is situated in such a manner, that, after having made land, six or seven hours good sailing will take a vessel into safe harbor, so that our weary voyagers began to think of landing that evening, however late it might be when they arrived;—but as the night came on, the wind increased, accompanied by snow and sleet; the cold at the same time being intense, it froze as it fell, and in a very short period the ropes about the ship were so incased in ice that they became immovable; the darkness increased, and to add to their distress, they lost sight of the light-house at the entrance of the harbor.

Their situation now was imminently dangerous; driving before the wind, among a multitude of rocks and breakers, without the least chance of avoiding them; to be shipwrecked in the very sight of home, was a painful trial indeed, yet this was what all expected, and for which all endeavored to prepare themselves with patient resignation.

About ten o’clock all their fears were realized, and a sudden shock convinced them they had struck on some rocks. The ensuing scene from that time till seven the next morning is better imagined than described, for till that time they had no prospect of relief, but continued beating on the rocks, the waves washing over them, and expecting momentary dissolution.

As the day-light advanced they discovered the island, from which the reef ran, to be inhabited. Several muskets were immediately discharged, and signals hung out, and about eight o’clock they discovered people coming to their assistance. It was impossible to bring a boat near the vessel, but the tide beginning to leave her, the men waded into the water, and placed a ladder against her side, down which the fear of immediate death gave Miss Abthorpe and Rebecca courage to descend; but what were the feelings of Mr. Seward, when he found the impossibility of his little daughter’s going down, so dangerous was it rendered by the ice that enveloped the steps of the ladder, and whence, if she fell, she must have been dashed to pieces, or lost among the rocks; nor did he dare to venture to descend himself with her in his arms, lest a false step or slip might destroy them both. But there was not time for much deliberation, as it was absolutely necessary to leave the ship before the tide returned.

At length an old sailor offered an expedient which was thought feasible; and the agitated parent fastened a strong cord round the waist of his child, by which he lowered her down the side of the vessel; the old sailor caught her in his arms, and bore her exultingly to the shore.

A new world was now opened to Rebecca, who, when she was a little recovered, beheld with astonishment how every object was bound in the frigid chains of winter.—The harbor which she could see from the house on the island, was one continued sheet of ice. The face of the country was entirely covered with snow, and from the appearance of all around she could form no probable hope of getting to colonel Abthorpe’s till the genial influence of spring should unbind their fetters; but in this she was agreeably mistaken, for the inhabitants of those cold climes being accustomed to the weather, were quick in expedients to facilitate their conveyance from one place to another.

The very next morning a boat was procured, and men placed at the head to break the ice as they proceeded. By two o’clock on the thirtieth of January, 1767, our heroine found herself once more on terra firma, comfortably seated at a large fire, in colonel Abthorpe’s parlor; for during the voyage Miss Abthorpe had conceived such an esteem for her, that she insisted on her being considered as a friend and sister, and her parents had too high a respect for their daughter, to wish to contradict so laudable a desire.
The Abthorpe family was no doubt inspired by the Apthorps, probably the wealthiest family in pre-Revolutionary Boston.

The Apthorps were even more an inspiration for America’s very first fiction blockbuster, William Hill Brown’s one-off The Power of Sympathy (1789). The young lawyer Perez Morton married Susan Wentworth Apthorp in 1781, then seduced her younger sister Frances. After becoming pregnant, Frances Apthorp committed suicide in 1788. That situation just cried out for a roman à clef. But unlike Rowson, Brown never published another novel.

TOMORROW: How Rowson drew on her own memories.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Interesting Podcasts of Late

I’ve listened to some particularly interesting podcast episodes in the last few days, so I thought I’d share pointers to them.

At the top of the list, Conversations at the Washington Library featured Joe Stoltz speaking with Brenda Parker, a character interpreter at Mount Vernon. As an African-American woman, Parker portrays the roles of several workers enslaved to George and Martha Washington. Those women are documented through their work and families but their own voices were never recorded.

This interview reveals how Parker came to that job and the sensitivities she needs to do it well. Parker explains that, even with her theatrical training and experience, she started work at Mount Vernon as a waitress in the restaurant. She and her husband had kids to feed and send to college, and food service provided a steadier income than character interpretation, at least at the starting level.

It struck me how the life experiences Parker describes bringing to her roles, particularly being a mother, make her a better interpreter than a recent college graduate would have been. (The photo above shows Parker in character, from this profile.)

At New Books Network, Rebekah Buchanan interviewed M. J. Rymsza-Pawlowska, author of History Comes Alive: Public History and Popular Culture in the 1970s. Their conversation isn’t about Revolutionary history but about how the nation remembered that Revolutionary history in a particular time. I have vivid memories of the Bicentennial, and I’m now involved in Revolution 250’s activities for the Sestercentennial, so I was drawn into the backstage nuances of this topic. Wish there were more about fire hydrants, though.

I haven’t listened to the Age of Jackson podcast before because that’s not Revolutionary America. (I might even argue that’s when the American Founding was decisively over and a new reshaping began.) But my ear was caught by Daniel Gullotta talking to Gregory D. Smithers about his book The Cherokee Diaspora: An Indigenous History of Migration, Resettlement, and Identity. The story begins when the the Cherokee were an Iroquoian-speaking people in the midst of suspicious tribes from other cultures, then extends well beyond the “Trail of Tears,” as the Cherokee nations are one of the largest Native American ethnic groupings today. Also interesting is that both Smithers and Gullotta are Australian—they even share an alma mater.

Finally, on Ben Franklin’s World, Liz Covart spoke to Garrett Cloer, Supervisory Park Ranger at the Longfellow House–Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site. Liz was once an National Park Service ranger while Garrett has been with the agency for nine years, including service at Minute Man and Independence parks before he came to Cambridge. They could thus talk about the place of smaller urban parks in the N.P.S. I knew most of the history here already, but Garrett did a masterful job of summing it up and making the case for a visit this summer.

Monday, August 06, 2018

Videos from History Camp Boston 2018

The History List has just posted a video of my session at History Camp Boston last month on the arrival of British soldiers in 1768.

Before we get to my talk, though, the video shows a History Camp tradition of going around the room so all the attendees can introduce themselves and their interests in history. In earlier years, we did this in a plenary session with everyone. This year’s Boston convention was too large for that, so we did it after dispersing to the lecture halls for the opening sessions. That part of the video is a useful answer to the question “What sort of people do you meet at History Camp?”

The History List has also posted videos of several other sessions made throughout that day. Those that might be of particular interest for Boston 1775 readers include:
Here’s the playlist of all the 2018 sessions on YouTube, including those about other historical periods.