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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Saturday, September 05, 2009

Dueling Events on 1 October

On the evening of Thursday, 1 October, there are two scholarly events in Boston that intrigue me, but of course I can attend only one. Oh, what to do, what to do?

At 5:15 P.M., the Boston Area Early American History Seminar will launch a new season at the Massachusetts Historical Society on Boylston Street. Prof. Pauline Maier of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will share a paper titled “What Did It Take To Get the Constitution Ratified? A New Look at the Massachusetts Convention, January 9–February 6, 1788.” Prof. Richard D. Brown from the University of Connecticut will comment on it, and then there will be a general discussion of the questions it raises. These seminars are free, but you get the most out of them if you read the paper (available at the M.H.S.) in advance.

The same evening, starting at 6:00 P.M., Andro Linklater will speak at the Boston Athenaeum on the topic of his new book, An Artist in Treason: The Extraordinary Double Life of General James Wilkinson. Wilkinson’s military career began during the Revolutionary War, when he rose to be a general in the Continental Army at age twenty. He was eventually the peacetime U.S. Army’s highest-ranking officer. Historical research shows that he was also taking pay from the Spanish spy service. How did he get away with it? This event costs $10, and the Athenaeum will accept reservations after 17 September at 617-720-7600.

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