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, July 01, 2018

A Big Week for Folks who Love Boston History

Today the Printing Office of Edes & Gill opens in a new location: inside Faneuil Hall.

I met proprietor Gary Gregory when his main business was the Lessons on Liberty walking tours, but he was already interested in printer Benjamin Edes. Then he acquired an antique printing press and taught himself such skills of setting lead type by hand and printing engraved images.

Soon Gary opened a print shop in the North End, recruited and trained smart staff, and over six years gave thousands of visitors a look at how political broadsides were created in the 1700s. When he lost that spot, folks worried about the future of Edes & Gill. But Gary and his press have landed at one of the political and commercial centers of Revolutionary Boston.

The Edes & Gill print shop reopens just in time for Boston Harborfest, which runs through 5 July. Many historical sites and organizations are participating, including Boston by Foot with its Johnny Tremain and other tours, Old North Church with its ColonialFest, King’s Chapel, and the Freedom Trail. Ordinarily Harborfest is scheduled for Independence Day weekend. But with Independence Day falling squarely in the middle of this week, that gives us more days to celebrate, right?

This week will finish with a bang at History Camp Boston, held once more at Suffolk University’s Law School building on Tremont Street. I’ll speak at this event, as I have every year since Lee Wright of The History List launched History Camp. This year my topic will be “The Redcoats Have Come,” about the British soldiers who poured into the town in October 1768 and how locals responded to them.

Lots of other fine speakers and researchers are scheduled to be at History Camp, too, including none other than Gary Gregory.

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