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, January 24, 2021

A Chat with D. Brenton Simons

Last month I had the pleasure of chatting on video with D. Brenton Simons, president of the New England Historical and Genealogical Society, and Christian Di Spigna, author of Founding Martyr.

The conversation, set up by the Dr. Joseph Warren Historical Society, focused on Simons’s work as a genealogist and head of the nation’s oldest genealogical research library. We used connections to Joseph Warren to illuminate those topics.

For instance, I asked Simons to talk about one of the episodes from his well researched and entertaining book Witches, Rakes, and Rogues that led up to the 1765 bankruptcy of merchant Nathaniel Wheelwright. That failure influenced Warren in two ways: his mother was one of the many other people who also had to declare bankruptcy, and Warren himself ended up administering the Wheelwright estate for the probate court.

This interview was recorded on video (though I think the audio is all one really needs), and posted both in the Dr. Joseph Warren Historical Society’s series of interviews and in the N.E.H.G.S.’s new “Antiquarto” conversations with Simons.

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