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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Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Spinning History Events in Lexington

The Lexington Historical Society is commemorating the town’s 1769 spinning meeting, reported yesterday, with two events this month.

First, on Thursday, 8 August, Emily Murphy of the National Park Service will speak on the ideology and social expectations behind such events. Here’s a précis of her talk, “I Am An Honest Woman: Female Revolutionary Resistance”:
Most women had limited opportunities for political action during the American Revolution. While some of the lower classes could take to the streets, “genteel” women had to find more subtle ways to support the Patriot cause, while maintaining the illusion of domestic contentment. . . . These women were able to take an active role in the Revolution by politicizing traditional female activities, like spinning flax into linen to create homespun fabric in protest of British imports. A group of 50 protesting Bostonian men would incite a riot, but who would cross a crowd of dutiful housewives showing off their domestic skills?
Murphy will speak at the Lexington Depot starting at 7:00 P.M. There’s a $5 suggested donation at the door. Because space is limited, reservations are required; email programs@lexingtonhistory.org to save a seat.

On Saturday, 31 August, the 250th anniversary of the dispatch to the Boston Gazette describing the spinning meeting in Lexington, the historical society wil host a free public reenactment of it on Harrington Road across from the town common.

There will be women spinning in period dress as well as “interpreters sharing information about the craft of spinning, the political climate of the time and the British goods boycott that sparked the 1769 spinning bee.” That will take place from noon to 4:00 P.M.

In addition, on that day the society will offer “a preview of our 2020 Buckman Tavern exhibit on women and protest.”

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