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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Friday, May 24, 2013

Tooting the Horn for Two Talks

In the next three weeks I’ll give two talks in two different cities about two different powder horns from the siege of Boston.

On Friday, 31 May, I’ll speak at Anderson House, the museum of the Society of the Cincinnati, in Washington, D.C. The topic will be “Thomas Kempton’s Engraved Powder Horn.” One of the curiosities of this horn is that it was first labeled as engraved by Capt. Kempton, and then that line was changed to for Capt. Kempton. What were Kempton and the carver trying to say? And what other stories does that object tell us about the siege of 1775-76?

That talk is part of a program that Anderson House calls “Lunch Bites,” designed for people to enjoy on their lunch break or while sightseeing in the capital. The session starts at 12:30 P.M. I’ll speak for no more than half an hour, leaving time for questions and looking at the horn itself. That talk and the museum are free and open to the public.

Back in Boston, on Friday, 14 June, I’ll speak at the Massachusetts Historical Society about “Ephraim Moors’s Powder Horn” (shown above). This talk is connected to the society’s exhibit called “The Object in History,” featuring some of the treasures and curiosities in its collection, including “Portraits, needlework, firearms, clothing, furniture, silver, scientific instruments, documents, and books.”

I spoke about the Moors powder horn at the Concord Museum last year, but since then I’ve learned more and have developed a new theory about its creation. This talk starts at 2:00 P.M., will be about an hour long, and is free to all. The society’s exhibit runs through the first week of September, Monday through Friday, and is also free to all.

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