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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Sunday, November 08, 2009

Upcoming Revolutionary Events of Note

On Monday, 9 November, the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston will host the launch of Prof. Woody Holton’s new biography, Abigail Adams. Woody has in particular studied Adams’s fiscal management of her family, a lesser-known aspect of her life. Jeremy Dibbell of PhiloBiblos has been posting raves about this book. Refreshments will be served at 5:30 P.M., and Woody will start his talk at 6:00. Copies of the book will be available for sale and autographing.

On Thursday, 12 November, Minute Man National Historical Park will host a talk by Don Hagist, author of the British Soldiers, American Revolution blog. He’ll offer a detailed look at the demographics of the garrison in Boston, focusing on His Majesty’s 22nd Regiment of Foot. How old was the average British soldier during the Revolution? Where in society did those men come from, geographically and economically?

We don’t have many personal accounts from redcoat soldiers, and many descriptions of them are, well, less than sympathetic. Exploring a solid sample of those men through primary sources seems like the best way to get solid information and bust some myths. Don’s talk starts at 7:30 P.M. in the Visitor Center along Route 2A at the Lincoln-Lexington line, and is free and open to the public.

Finally, on next Wednesday, 18 November, the Royall House Association will present its free fall program, “The Minuet: A Brief History and Demonstration”:

The minuet was established in the 17th-century French court, took on a ceremonial and “class status” life of its own that prevailed through the 18th century and lingered to the 19th century.

Isaac Royall, Jr., of Medford, was a young and energetic host who considered himself a consummate gentleman. Although we do not have direct evidence, it is not unreasonable to assume that he and his peers danced the minuet at the Royall House.

For this program, Veronica McClure has gathered dance and music friends for a lively lecture and demonstration of this most essential of 18th-century social dances. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to try the steps yourself!
The Royall House is at 15 George Street (off Main) in Medford. It will open its doors at 6:30 P.M. so people can visit the Archaeological Exhibit and expanded Gift Shop. The program will start promptly at 7:30. For more information, call 781-396-9032 or email. This program is free, but seating is limited and donations are always welcome.

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