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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Monday, February 04, 2019

“Entertainments” for the 2019 Dublin Seminar

This summer’s Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife is on the topic of “Entertainments at Taverns and Long Rooms in New England, 1700-1900.”

The seminar organizers are now accepting proposals for papers, presentations, and performances concerning all types of popular entertainments, including singing and small theatrical groups, street musicians, strolling magicians, and animal showmen who performed in New England taverns, long rooms, coffeehouses, exhibition rooms, assembly halls, barns, and open-air rotundas from 1700 through 1900.

Among the less well-known performers the seminar is open to cover are slack-wire artists, rope flyers (such as John Childs and the gentleman shown above), electrical machine operators and healers, demonstrators of automata and perpetual motion machines, peep-box entertainers, lantern showmen, firework specialists, parachute jumpers, and balloonists.

Pertinent entertainments also include gambling, vaudeville, and even prostitution, as well as stationary exhibits such as waxwork museums and profile or physiognotrace machines. And of course there’s space for amateur community entertainments.

The call for papers says:
Preference will be given to analytical papers exploring subjects such as the cultural origin of these acts; the roles of ethnicity, race and class; their actual popularity; the involvement of children; patterns of advertising and self-naming; the influence of maritime presence and activities; as well as the larger role of competing professional English and French theater and singing troupes. Special consideration will be given to talks accompanied by demonstrations. Our primary focus is on New England, but papers dealing with New York State, adjacent areas of Canada, and the middle and southern colonies are also encouraged.

The Seminar seeks presentations that reflect original research, especially those based on primary or underused resources, such as material culture, archaeological artifacts, advertising and flyers, letters and diaries, vital records, and federal and state censuses, as well as newspapers, portraits, prints and photographs, business records, recollections, autobiographies, and handed-down memories (i.e., oral histories).
To submit a paper proposal for this conference, e-mail a one-page prospectus that cites sources and a one-page vita or biography by 10 Feb 2019 to pbenes@historic-deerfield.org.

The “Entertainments in Taverns and Long Rooms” symposium will take place in Deerfield on 21-23 June 2019, with the support of Historic Deerfield. Selected papers will appear as the 2019 Annual Proceedings of the Dublin Seminar to be published about eighteen months after the conference.

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