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, February 19, 2007

Studying Washington and Adams

For Presidents’ Day, here’s a link to a New York Times article about the recreation of an ornate frame for Emanuel Leutze’s monumental painting of “Washington Crossing the Delaware” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The painting is so large that it will have to be restored in its gallery, and the new frame constructed around it. That frame, with an eagle carved on top, is based on one now lost but recorded in a Mathew Brady photograph. And where did Leutze paint his scene? Dusseldorf, of course.

Moving on to the second U.S. President, the deadline for community-college teachers to apply for a National Endowment for the Humanities Landmarks Workshop on Encountering John Adams: Braintree and Boston” is 15 March 2007. There will be two sessions: 8-14 July and 15-21 July. Here’s more detail on the workshop from the website:

The workshop is devoted to studying John Adams’s life and thought as revealed in the letters, essays and documents he wrote, the marginal notes he made in the books he read, the homes he lived in and the artifacts he collected. Reading his words and considering his deeds in his very own physical surroundings helps us to understand his frame of mind and recognize the great difficulties and challenges he faced.

We read the Massachusetts Constitution in the room in which he drafted it; climb Penns Hill and look out at Boston harbor from the same spot where Abigail Adams watched the battle of Bunker Hill and described it in letters to him; sit in the small kitchen in which John hosted meetings of revolutionary leaders; and inspect the art works he acquired abroad and treat them as clues regarding the impact that European culture had upon his thoughts and feelings.

In addition to intensive work at the Adams National Historical Park, participants do hands-on research activities at the Massachusetts Historical Society which houses the Adams Papers, the Massachusetts Archives which houses the Massachusetts Constitution and documents relating to its ratification, and the Boston Public Library which houses his personal library. Four seminar meetings provide a thread of analytic and chronological continuity and integrate the specific lessons learned at the landmarks.

The workshop is a collaboration between the Boston College Political Science Department and The Adams National Historical Park. Participants will live at Boston College but much of your day will be spent at the different Adams-related landmarks in the greater Boston area.Both full-time and adjunct faculty for any discipline may apply. Participants will receive a $500 stipend to help cover travel expenses books, food and lodging. Travel subsidies of $300 for those living more than 50 miles away and $100 for those living less than 50 miles away will be provided.

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