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, September 05, 2010

Seminars in September

Okay, I got a few more September events that caught my eye.

The Massachusetts Historical Society hosts the Boston-Area Early American History Seminar, and this academic year’s sessions start with Francis J. Bremer’s paper “Not Quite So Visible Saints: Reexamining Church Membership in Early New England” on Thursday, 16 September, at 5:15. This series is usually open to the public, but attendees get a lot more out of the discussion if they’ve read the paper in advance. Printed copies are usually available at the M.H.S. on the day of the seminar, and subscribers can access the papers online.

The next day, 17 September, the M.H.S. has a “brown-bag seminar” with Sara Damiano describing her research there on “Financial Credit and Professional Credibility: Lawyers and Laypeople in 18th-Century New England Ports.” There’s no homework necessary for this one, but folks are encouraged to bring brown-bag lunches to munch on while the researcher speaks. (I don’t know when she gets to eat.)

Near the other end of the Back Bay, the New England Historic Genealogical Society is hosting a talk on Wednesday, 22 September, at 6:00 P.M. by Eric Jay Dolin based on his book Fur, Fortune, and Empire: The Epic History of the Fur Trade in America. The announcement:

Beginning his epic history in the early 1600s, Dolin traces the dramatic rise and fall of the American fur industry, from the first Dutch encounters with the Indians to the rise of the conservation movement in the late nineteenth century. Dolin shows how the fur trade, driven by the demands of fashion, sparked controversy, fostered economic competition, and fueled wars among the European powers, as North America became a battleground for colonization and imperial aspirations.

Populated by a larger-than-life cast—including Dutch governor Peter Stuyvesant; President Thomas Jefferson; America’s first multimillionaire, John Jacob Astor; and mountain man Kit Carson—Fur, Fortune, and Empire is the most comprehensive and compelling history of the American fur trade ever written. Dolin’s talk, accompanied by slides, will tell the story of fur trade in America, from East to West.
Dolin also wrote Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America and Political Waters: The Long, Dirty, Contentious, Incredibly Expensive But Eventually Triumphant History of Boston Harbor. He holds a Ph.D. in environmental policy from M.I.T., and lives in Marblehead. (He’s also speaking about the fur trade at the M.H.S. on Wednesday, 29 September, at 5:30 P.M.)

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