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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Monday, September 23, 2019

“I have many anxious hours for Charles”

In early 1789, as I’ve been chronicling, Charles Adams had a couple more run-ins with the authorities of Harvard College.

Even though those incidents didn’t appear on the official faculty minutes or Charles’s permanent record, word got back to his family. That prompted a new set of conversations and correspondence. Again, we have only hints of what they knew.

On 2 May 1789, John Quincy Adams’s diary says: “Wrote to my brother Charles.” That letter doesn’t survive, but on 27 May he told their cousin William Cranch:
[With respect?] to Charles the tender solicitude, which you feel in regard to his conduct is only an additional evidence of a disposition, which I have long known to be peculiarly yours. it adds to the number of obligations for which I feel myself indebted to you, but it cannot add any thing to the settled opinion which I have of the excellency of your heart.—

I wrote him a very serious Letter three weeks ago and conversed with him at Haverhill upon the subject in such a manner as must I think lead him to be more cautious. However I depend much more upon the alteration which is soon to take place in his situation, than upon any advice or counsel, that I can ever give him. I am well convinced that if any thing can keep him within the limits of regularity, it will be his knowlege of my fathers being [near him and the?] fear of being discovered by him.—
The “alteration” John Q. wrote about was Charles’s impending graduation that summer. The family had already planned for Charles to move to New York, where his father was serving as Vice President, and study the law there.

We might marvel at the idea that New York City would offer fewer temptations than Cambridge, but the Adams family consensus was clear—the problem wasn’t Charles so much as Charles’s companions at college.

Abigail Adams expressed her feelings to John Q. on 30 May:
I have many anxious hours for Charles, and not the fewer, for the new scene of life into which he is going, tho I think it will be of great service to have him with his Father, & more to take him intirely away from his acquaintance. I have written to him upon some late reports which have been circulated concerning him. I hope they are without foundation, but such is the company in which he is seen that he cannot fail to bear a part of the reproach even if he is innocent.
The letter that Abigail wrote to Charles doesn’t survive, either.

Abigail actually opened that topic by expressing concern for her youngest son, Thomas Boylston Adams. As I’ve written, his college disciplinary record was even cleaner than John Quincy’s—he hadn’t done anything! But still a mother worried:
I must request you in my absence to attend to your Brother Tom, to watch over his conduct & prevent by your advice & kind admonitions, his falling a prey to vicious Company. at present he seems desirious of persueing his studies preserving a character and avoiding dissipation, but no youth is secure whilst temptations surround him, and no age of Life but is influenced by habits & example, even when they think their Characters formed.
Even as Charles’s relatives wrote to him, however, he was getting in trouble again at the Blue Anchor Tavern.

TOMORROW: Naked in Harvard Yard.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

“A snow ball was sent against the chapel windows”

As I wrote back here, in December 1788 Harvard professor Eliphalet Pearson began to keep a “Journal of disorders &c.”

It’s possible Pearson had assembled a similar notebook previously and it just doesn’t survive. But I think internal evidence strongly suggests that this journal was a response to an extraordinary spate of student disturbances in the 1788-89 academic year.

The most prominent study of this document is Leon Jackson’s “The Rights of Man and the Rites of Youth: Fraternity and Riot at Eighteenth-Century Harvard,” published in the History of Higher Education Annual in 1995 and then slightly anachronistically in The American College in the Nineteenth Century. (Thanks to Boston 1775 reader Ed Bell for alerting me to the second, more easily read publication.) Jackson treats the record as an undifferentiated whole, documenting a “day after day” litany of drinking, vandalism, and rudeness.

I think it’s more striking that the disorder of the 1788-89 year tapered off abruptly. From June to December 1789, Prof. Pearson recorded only one more disciplinary item in his journal, and he added only one in all of 1790. (Both involved Benjamin Foisson Trapier, a younger brother of Paul, who ended up never graduating.) The journal has no entries for 1791 or all of 1792 until December.

Thus, while we can look at the overall nature of Harvard student disturbances as Jackson did, we should also ask why those events clustered and died off. What made 1788-89 such a troublesome time for the Harvard faculty?

The first incidents Pearson recorded involved a faculty member breaking up a party in a dormitory, the faculty punishing one of the students involved, then that entire class protesting at prayers or lecture by making noise or throwing things. This happened with the juniors, then the sophomores. But tutors had broken up such parties before without seeing such a backlash. Why was this winter different?

Historians have paid a lot of attention to Harvard student activism in the pre-Revolutionary decade: the vandalism of Gov. Francis Bernard’s portrait in 1765, the “Butter Rebellion” of 1766, the identification of a “rebellion tree” in 1768, and so on. The political atmosphere of that period seems to have made the students unusually militant about their own grievances.

Was the same dynamic at work in 1788-89? The economy was still pretty bad. The Shays Rebellion had occurred a couple of years before. The national government was changing. Did that social environment produce a more militant student body? One problem with that theory is that the Harvard student body came largely from the socioeconomic class opposed to popular resistance.

Another possible factor was individual dynamics. I noted yesterday how a couple of the troublemakers in early 1789 came from South Carolina. Before the Revolution, those boys might have gone to Britain for their college experience. Now they were in Cambridge. Were scholars from outside New England more apt to push back against the Harvard establishment?

Pearson named some particular troublemakers, but he also described entire classes protesting en masse. Even before this winter, John Quincy Adams had noted how the sophomore class disrupted the junior class recitations simply for the sake of rivalry. Such group behavior seems to have been a form of bonding among the boys.

Leon Jackson’s main finding concerned fraternal organizations such as Phi Beta Kappa, which came to Harvard in the early 1780s. Several other student social groups appeared at this time. Jackson said that students who were in fraternal societies were less prone to bad behavior. Looking over the names in Pearson’s journal and on the Phi Beta Kappa roll, I agree that there’s only a little overlap. One exception, appearing on both lists, was Charles Adams.

It’s also striking to me how much the disorder that Pearson chronicled focused on religious services. Classes started by “scraping” the floor to make noise when professors were speaking but soon escalated to throwing coins and pebbles. Professors came into the chapel to find the furnishings in a heap. Chapel windows were broken, in one case the glass striking a faculty member inside. Was there a theological dispute fueling the trouble? Or was attacking that building just the easiest way to target faculty?

That focus on religious services gives a more significant cast to an event that Prof. Pearson recorded on 26 Mar 1789:
Sunday at evening prayers, while the President was praying, a snow ball was sent against the chapel windows, by Adams 1, as by him confessed to Mr. Webber.
The president of the college was Joseph Willard (1738-1804). Samuel Webber (1759-1810) taught mathematics and natural philosophy; he would succeed Willard as president of the college. And “Adams 1” was Charles Adams.

Remarkably, this incident didn’t get into the faculty minutes. There was no official punishment for Adams. Maybe there would have been if the snowball had broken the window. Or if Adams hadn’t convinced Webber that he was sorry, or had been throwing at someone else. Or if Adams wasn’t doing well in his classes and close to graduating.

I must also note that in spring 1789, Adams’s father had become the second highest elected official in the U.S. of A.

TOMORROW: Back at the Blue Anchor Tavern.

(The picture above comes from the Museum of the American Revolution’s depiction of an earlier snowball thrown in Harvard Yard, in the winter of 1775-76, as recalled by Israel Trask.)

Saturday, September 21, 2019

“A company from Bradish’s caused disorders at College”

In discussing Charles Adams’s final semester at Harvard, I must now introduce the setting of the Blue Anchor Tavern in Cambridge.

Located at what’s now the intersection of Mount Auburn and J.F.K. Streets, the Anchor Tavern was run for decades by Ebenezer Bradish (1716-1785). It appears to have been a respectable public house, patronized by Massachusetts legislators when the General Court couldn’t meet in Boston because of smallpox or orders from London.

Because Bradish’s tavern was so close to Harvard Yard, however, it was also where the college students went when they wanted to dine beyond the direct reach of their tutors.

That may have created a conflict of interest for Ebenezer Bradish because, in addition to selling the students drink, he also had the contract for replacing window glass at the college. Here’s the account from the decade before the Revolutionary War. Prof. Eliphalet Pearson’s “Journal of disorders” records a lot of window-breaking during the winter of 1788-89.

By then the tavern had passed to the next generation of Ebenezer Bradish, who was the innkeeper the Adams brothers came to know. I don’t know if he was also a glazier, but his brother Isaac was the college blacksmith and, in these years, keeper of the town jail. So the family may still have had a financial temptation to let students get drunk and rowdy. (Town historian and genealogist Lucius Paige wrote of Isaac Bradish, “Like many of his relatives in different branches of the family, he was occasionally insane, and d. by suicide, May 1790, a. nearly 67.”)

In his journal Prof. Pearson recorded this disorder on Monday, 16 Mar 1789:
A company from Bradish’s caused disorders at College P.M.—In ye. evening the door of ye. Lecture room was burst in & thrown down, ye. table turned topsy turvy, & the chair placed in its frame; & squares of glass also was broken in one of the windows.
It’s not certain that the students coming home from Bradish’s were the same who vandalized the lecture room. There was a lot of uproar that season.

The faculty met the next day and again on 19 March to discuss the trouble. The official records discuss two students by name. The first was a junior named Paul Trapier (1772-1824), from South Carolina. Back on 24 February, the faculty had ordered him to sit out college for six months because he was leading “a dissipated and disorderly life.” The local gentleman who had “the care of him” was Thomas Russell, the same Boston merchant whose own son Daniel had been similarly suspended back in 1787.

On 16 March, Trapier had come back to Cambridge and dined with some classmates at Bradish’s tavern. In response to the trouble that followed, the faculty ordered him not to “visit the college yard or be in company with any student” until his rustication was over.

The faculty record give more attention to Francis Withers (1769-1847), another junior from South Carolina—eventually he settled in the handsome coastal town of Georgetown. The minutes say that Withers
returned to the College about half an hour after four o’clock, and in a noisy and tumultuous manner ran violently up the stairs in the west entry of Massachusetts Hall, by which an Officer of the College [Isaac Smith, the librarian, a cousin of Abigail Adams and a former Loyalist], while attending the exercises of a Class, was greatly disturbed; upon which the said Officer immediately ascended the stairs and overtook Withers at his chamber door; at which place, and also in another part of the entry a short time after this, Withers was guilty of insulting the said Officer by insolent & profane language, of disobedience to his orders, and of uttering a vile and impious imprecation against him; and it also appeared that the said Withers was guilty of behaving with irreverence at evening prayers of said day and of leaving the chapel, before divine worship was closed, with apparent insolence;…and Withers adducing no counter evidence, and making no other apology for his malconduct, but that he was too much heated by wine.
Withers was suspended for six months.

The official minutes don’t mention any other students, but Prof. Pearson named many. He wrote that Trapier sat down to dine with three classmates, and then four seniors and three juniors “called & drank wine with them.” Of that party, “most of them returned to College in a noisy manner.”

Among that group was “Adams 1,” or Charles Adams. (Another member was Daniel Russell.) Adams was in the drinking party, but there wasn’t enough evidence to say he was part of the rowdy return to campus, or the vandalism in the lecture hall. And he certainly hadn’t misbehaved as conspicuously as Withers. As a result, Charles not only suffered no punishment, but there’s not even an official notice of his conduct. Only Prof. Pearson’s journal shows that he was involved in this incident at all.

TOMORROW: An attack on a prayer service.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Climate Change Thinking, Then and Now

I decided to take a day off from Charles Adams’s school days today. Instead, here’s a repeat of some comments from eighteenth-century Boston‘s leading scientists on anthropogenic climate change.

Many Americans of that period were anxious to refute the European perception that North America’s climate was too extreme—too cold in winter and too hot in summer—to be healthy. Winter was changing, they declared, as the European population spread. For example, the Rev. Cotton Mather wrote in The Christian Philosopher in 1721:

our Cold is much moderated since the opening and clearing of our Woods, and the Winds do not blow such Razours, as in the Days of our Fathers, when Water, cast up into the Air, would commonly be turned into Ice e’er it came to the Ground.
Benjamin Franklin was more scientific in his approach, telling the Rev. Dr. Ezra Stiles in 1763 that Mather’s belief needed to be tested with systematic measurements over a range of time and space:
I doubt with you, that Observations have not been made with sufficient Accuracy, to ascertain the Truth of the common Opinion, that the Winters in America are grown milder; and yet I cannot but think that in time they may be so. Snow lying on the Earth must contribute to cool and keep cold the Wind blowing over it. When a Country is clear’d of Woods, the Sun acts more strongly on the Face of the Earth. It warms the Earth more before Snows fall, and small Snows may often be soon melted by that Warmth. It melts great Snows sooner than they could be melted if they were shaded by the Trees. And when the Snows are gone, the Air moving over the Earth is not so much chilled; &c. But whether enough of the Country is yet cleared to produce any sensible Effect, may yet be a Question: And I think it would require a regular and steady Course of Observations on a Number of Winters in the different Parts of the Country you mention, to obtain full Satisfaction on the Point.
Mather, Franklin, and their contemporaries inherited the seventeenth-century Scientific Revolution, but their view of time and space were still limited. Scientists of the nineteenth century made the crucial breakthrough of conceiving of Earth’s age in millions and then billions of years, not just thousands. We have the benefit of a much broader perspective and a whole lot more data. We should listen to the scientists of today.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

“Perswaded that Charles did not deserve the suspicions”

The Harvard College Thanksgiving banquet in November 1787 ended badly. By the evening, window glass and wooden benches were lying on the ground outside the hall. That might have had something to do with how every student had brought a bottle of wine.

The Harvard faculty levied a ten-shilling fine on each student who had gone to that dinner and couldn’t prove he'd left before the destruction started. The administration then relented in the case of the sophomores, but not the seniors or juniors—including Charles Adams, class of 1789.

The fines went out in the quarterly bills at the start of 1788. So there was no way Charles could keep the bad news from his family (as he would try to do with financial reverses in the late 1790s).

At the time, Charles’s parents, John and Abigail, were still on a diplomatic mission in Britain. The task of looking after their sons had fallen to relatives: Abigail’s older sister Mary Cranch in Braintree; her younger sister Elizabeth Shaw and her husband John in Haverhill; and John’s cousin Dr. Cotton Tufts of Medford, who managed the family money.

Eldest son John Quincy Adams (shown above) had graduated from Harvard the year before and gone to Newburyport to study law. On breaks he got together with both younger brothers. On 2 Feb 1788, after one such visit, John Q. wrote in his diary:

I had with Mr. Shaw some conversation upon the subject of the disorders which happened at College, in the course of the last quarter: his fears for my brothers are greater than mine: I am perswaded that Charles did not deserve the suspicions which were raised against him: and I have great hopes that his future conduct, will convince the governors of the University, that he was innocent.
The Rev. John Shaw had tutored both Charles and Thomas Boylston Adams to prepare them for college, as well as other boys. (Including Charles’s first roommate or “chum,” who’d gotten into worse trouble—but I’ll talk about that some other time.) Shaw was clearly worried about Charles’s behavior while John Q. tried to stand up for him.

Two weeks later John wrote to Dr. Tufts for some spending money, noting that he’d asked Charles to pass on the request but, well, “I am apprehensive he forgot to deliver my message.” Like many oldest sons, he seems to have felt both protective of his little brothers and convinced they were incurable idiots.

John Q. went on with more hopefuls comments about the situation:
The riotous ungovernable spirit, which appeared among the students at the university in the course of the last quarter gave me great anxiety; particularly as I understood, that one of my brothers, was suspected of having been active in exciting disturbances; but from his own declarations and from the opinion I have of his disposition, I hope those suspicions, were without foundation—I conversed with him largely upon the subject, and hope, his conduct in future, will be such as to remove, every unfavourable impression.
Others in the family were adding their voices, perhaps less optimistically. The next day, 17 February, Aunt Elizabeth wrote to Aunt Mary:
I long to hear from Charles & Thomas I charged them to write to me— I do not know that Mr Shaw & I could have given them better advice if they had been our own Sons— I hope they will conduct agreeable to it—& be wiser than they have been, & more cautious of abusing Government, for what they from choice suffer—the Ten shillings penalty, I mean—
As I wrote a couple of days ago, I think the record shows that only Charles had been fined the ten shillings and Tommy still had a near-spotless record at college. But he was the little brother, and the family didn’t want Charles to lead him astray.

Unfortunately, all those admonitions didn’t keep Charles out of trouble in his senior year.

TOMORROW: A rough winter in Cambridge.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

“Charles has been guilty of a trick”

On 26 May 1786, John Adams wrote from London to his eldest son, congratulating John Quincy Adams on getting into Harvard College:
Give me leave to congratulate you on your Admission into the Seat of the Muses, our dear Alma Mater, where I hope you will find a Pleasure and Improvements equal to your Expectations. You are now among Magistrates and Ministers, Legislators and Heroes, Ambassadors and Generals, I mean among Persons who will live to Act in all these Characters.

If you pursue your Studies and preserve your Health you will have as good a Chance as most of them, and I hope you will take Care to do nothing now which you will in any future Period have reason to recollect with shame or Pain.
In the same letter, the U.S. of A.’s minister to Great Britain urged John Quincy to continue to be an example and mentor for his two younger brothers:
If your Brother Thomas is fitted, I hope he will enter, this Summer: because, he will have an Advantage in being one Year with you. My love to Charles. I hope he loves his Book. I have great dependence on you to advise your younger Brothers, and assist them in their Studies. You talk french I hope, with Charles, and give him a taste for french Poetry: not however to the neglect of Greek and Roman, nor yet of English.
Charles Adams was just finishing his first year at Harvard, and Thomas Boylston Adams was preparing to take the entrance examination.

Around the same time John Quincy received that letter, he caught his brother Charles snooping in his private papers. It’s not clear what Charles saw. John Q. had written about some potentially sensitive subjects in his diary that month:
  • On 12 July he criticized the freshman class—Charles’s class—for feuding with the sophomores.
  • He made multiple comments about the beauty of a young lady the brothers had met in Braintree.
  • On 26 July he wrote crankily about not getting the dorm room he expected, blaming the change on a couple of other collegians. (John Q. went back to his diary and added a note, for himself and posterity, that those classmates weren’t to blame.)
Most likely Charles commented about one of those matters, and that alerted his older brother to his snooping.

On 27 July, John Q. started his diary entry this way:
I perceive Charles has been guilty of a trick which I thought he would despise; that of prying into, and meddling with things which are nothing to him: and ungenerously looking into Papers, (which he knew I wished to keep private,) because I could not keep them under lock and key. If he looks here, he will feel how contemptible a spy is to himself, and to others.
It looks like John Quincy never directly confronted his brother about the invasion of privacy. Instead, he left this passive-aggressive note for Charles to find the next time he went looking in the diary. That approach might suggest that John Quincy’s later admonitions to his brother about behaving better weren’t actually that direct.

John Adams returned to Massachusetts in 1788. On 16 July of that year, he wrote to his eldest child, Abigail Adams Smith:
I am happy to hear from all quarters a good character of all your brothers. The oldest has given decided proofs of great talents, and there is not a youth of his age whose reputation is higher for abilities, or whose character is fairer in point of morals or conduct. The youngest is as fine a youth as either of the three, if a spice of fun in his composition should not lead him astray. Charles wins the heart, as usual, and is the most of a gentleman of them all.
The returning diplomat wrote this letter after the Harvard Thanksgiving banquet of 1787, which ended with Charles being fined ten shillings. As we’ll see tomorrow, other members of the family had been discussing that event in person and in letters for months. Yet it appears John Adams didn’t know anything about it since he still heard “from all quarters a good character” of every son.

No one was telling Papa.

TOMORROW: “The riotous ungovernable spirit.”

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Sorting Out the Adams Boys at Harvard

I started my look at Charles Adams’s experience at Harvard College with a posting on how his aunts clustered around and made sure he had furniture for his dorm room. (His parents were far off in Britain.)

It’s only natural then to wonder how Charles’s extended family responded to his disciplinary problems at college, especially the ten-shilling fine levied at the end of 1787 after some disturbance at Thanksgiving dinner. (Windows were broken. Benches were thrown.)

In order to discuss that topic, I have to lay out how my reading of the Harvard University sources differs from the interpretation of the editors of the Adams Family Papers.

As I wrote back here, the college documents usually refer to undergraduates by last names. When there were two or more students with the same surname, they would be designated as Smith 1, Smith 2, and so on, in order of seniority.

In 1787 there were no fewer than five undergraduates named Adams at Harvard—the three sons of John and Abigail Adams of Braintree and then two more unrelated boys in the class of 1788, Solomon and Thomas. Just to make things more confusing, John Quincy Adams entered Harvard after Charles Adams, but he was admitted straight into the junior class and graduated before the middle brother in a little over a year.

I believe that means Charles was called “Adams 3d” as an entering freshman, “Adams 4th” as a sophomore (the year he hosted a noisy gathering in his dorm), “Adams 3d” again as a junior (when he was at that Thanksgiving banquet), and finally “Adams 1st” as a senior in 1788-89. That appears to be Bertha Illsey Tolman’s interpretation when she indexed the college documents.

The editors of the Adams papers read the record of that Thanksgiving disturbance to say that Charles Adams was “Adams 1st” and his little brother Thomas Boylston Adams (shown above) was “Adams 3d,” both fined ten shillings.

Since “Adams 1st” was a waiter in the senior class in 1787-88, I think that student had to be either Solomon or Thomas Adams. “Adams 3d” was a junior, thus Charles Adams (and not a waiter). Tommy B. Adams wasn’t there at all.

As noted back here, Thomas Boylston Adams’s disciplinary record shows only one minor infraction over four years—the same number that his brother John Q. amassed in a much shorter period. Nevertheless, the family worried about Tommy. I think that reflects their fear that Charles and other college boys would be a bad influence on him, not anything Tommy himself did.

If there’s one thing I can add to the Adams family historiography, it’s clearing Thomas Boylston Adams of accusations of serious misbehavior. He was just pulled into an eddy of family concern about his brother Charles.

TOMORROW: Serious talks with Charles.

Monday, September 16, 2019

“Required Reading” Exhibit at the Athenaeum

On Tuesday, 17 September, the Boston Athenaeum will open its new exhibit, “Required Reading: Reimagining a Colonial Library.”

This display will feature the King’s Chapel Library Collection, a 221-volume set of “necessary and useful” texts—everything that the minister of that Anglican church was expected to need to pastor his flock.

The Rev. Thomas Bray assembled this collection and brought it with him across the Atlantic Ocean on H.M.S. Deptford in 1698, twelve years after the church was founded. At the time and for decades afterward, the Church of England considered Puritan-founded Massachusetts to be missionary territory, so its rector needed all the support he could get.

The collection included:
  • A 1683 atlas of the world
  • Sir Walter Raleigh’s History of the World (1666)
  • A nine-language Bible, the “London Polyglot” (1657)
  • A Biblical concordance compiled by Massachusetts minister Samuel Newman in 1658
  • A complete mathematics textbook from 1690
This will be the first time that the King’s Chapel Library collection is on public view for all. The books will sit in a full-scale replica of the “massive, ark-like bookcase designed in 1883” to house them on the Athenaeum’s third floor.

The exhibit will also share the “dramatic and little-known story behind the unique collection’s compilation and its arrival in New England.” The war shut down King’s Chapel after the 1776 evacuation, so preserving this library in Boston was another feat. The new minister who reopened the church in the 1780s steered the congregation toward Unitarianism, quite different from the seventeenth-century theology reflected in those old books.

Having been custodian of this library since 1823, the Athenaeum hopes its exhibit will prompt visitors to explore the idea of “essential knowledge.” The presentation includes perspectives from the Chinese Historical Society of New England, Hebrew College, the Museum of African American History, UMass-Boston, and other partners about what is “required reading” today.

The public exhibit opening will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 P.M in the Boston Athenaeum at 10 1/2 Beacon Street. At 6:00, curator John Buchtel will deliver a thirty-minute presentation about the books and display. This event is free and open to the public. The exhibit will be on view for months to come.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Stiefel on Cabinetmaker John Head in Concord, 19 Sept.

On Thursday, 19 September, the Concord Museum will host a discussion with Jay Robert Stiefel about “The Cabinetmaker’s Account,” on the life and work of joiner John Head (1688-1754).

Head emigrated from Britain to America, and his Philadelphia account book is the earliest and most complete to have survived from any cabinetmaker working in the British Empire on either side of the Atlantic.

Stiefel researched that document for nearly twenty years, and a few months ago the American Philosophical Society published his findings in large-format, profusely-illustrated volume in its Memoirs series.

Head’s business reflects commerce with early Philadelphia’s entire crafts community: “shopkeeping, cabinetmaking, chairmaking, clockmaking, glazing, metalworking, needleworking, property development, agriculture, botany, livestock, transport, foodstuffs, drink, hardware, fabrics, furnishings, household wares, clothing, building materials, and export trade.” Stiefel’s book also serves as a door into 18th-century Philadelphia, its material culture, and the social interactions among that era’s artisans and merchants.

On this evening, Stiefel will be in conversation with Gerald Ward, the Senior Consulting Curator and the Katharine Lane Weems Senior Curator of American Decorative Arts and Sculpture Emeritus at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

This event will take place from 7:00 to 8:00 P.M. It is free, but advanced registration is required. Copies of The Cabinetmaker’s Account will be available for purchase and signing.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Minute Man Park Celebrates Its Sixtieth

Minute Man National Historical Park is celebrating the sixtieth year since its creation by act of Congress this month.

This weekend there are a couple of recurring programs.

Saturday, 14 September, 1:00-4:00 P.M.
In the News
What were local people talking about in 1775? Visit the William Smith House, talk politics with local residents of 1775, and discuss the potential impact of events.

Sunday, 15 September, 1:00-4:00 P.M.
The British Redcoat
Far from home, the British Redcoat of 1775 was faced with numerous challenges at home and abroad. Join Park Ranger Roger Fuller, dressed as a British Redcoat, at the Visitor Center to explore the experience of the British soldier of 1775.

Next weekend will be the big celebrations.

Friday, 20 September, 7:00-9:00 P.M.
Realizing the Vision
Lou Sideris, former Chief of Interpretation and Park Planner at Minute Man, will reflect the founding and ongoing development of Minute Man National Historical Park. Reception and refreshments to follow. At the Lexington Historical Society’s Depot Building, 13 Depot Square in central Lexington. This event is free, but space is limited, so please reserve seats by emailing mima_info@nps.gov.

Saturday, 21 September, 10:00 A.M.-2:00 P.M.
Threads of Resistance: Revolutionary Roles of Women
In 1769 colonial women protested British policies by making cloth in the home, reducing reliance on British imports. Experience the process and learn about the political impact of home manufacturing at the Jacob Whittemore House in Lexington.

Saturday, 21 September, 10:00 A.M.-4:00 P.M.
Historic Trades Day
At Hartwell Tavern in Lincoln, learn about various hands-on trades of the period and see skilled artisans at work.

Saturday, 21 September, 4:00-6:00 P.M.
Patriotic Music with the Concord Band
As 2019 marks the 60th anniversary of both the Minute Man National Park and the Concord Band, the park and the band have teamed up to present a concert of patriotic inspired music on the field overlooking the North Bridge. The public is invited to bring a blanket or lawn chairs and a picnic while enjoying the performance. The Friends of Minute Man National Park will present a special birthday cake to the park during the event and will provide free cupcakes while supplies last. As parking is limited, locals are invited to walk to the park. The rain location is 51 Walden Performing Arts Center in Concord.

Finally, on Monday, 23 September, work will begin on preserving the exterior of the North Bridge Visitor Center, also known as the Buttrick Mansion, located on the hillside overlooking the historic North Bridge. The building will be closed to visitors from November to April 2020. This federal contract covers the 1911 building’s roofing system, masonry, doors, windows, trim, portico, and loggia, with a new accessible ramp to be installed. Interior work will include repairing ceilings, restrooms, plumbing, electrical systems, and air conditioning. The building is scheduled to reopen in April 2020.