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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Upcoming Talks and Appearances

7 February 2014, 8:00 P.M., Lexington Depot, Lexington: “Reporting the Battle of Lexington”. Soon after shots burst out on the morning of 18 April 1775, a second battle began: the Patriots’ struggle to alert allies and win sympathy from observers, both in North America and in London. This illustrated talk will examine the Massachusetts Provincial Congress’s efforts to spread and shape the news. Hosted by the Lexington Historical Society. Free.

8 March 2014, 9:00 A.M.-5:00 P.M., IBM Innovation Center, Cambridge: At History Camp, a self-organizing conference for historians, authors, and history enthusiasts, my possible short talks include “The Bankruptcy That Led to the American Revolution” and “Google Books Changed My Life, and You Can, Too!”, plus a panel on publishing. Registration required.

8 March 2014, evening, Old State House, Boston: For the second year, I’ll be narrator of the reenactment of the Boston Massacre hosted by the Bostonian Society. Free.

13 March 2014, 6:30 P.M., Longfellow House–Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site, Cambridge: “The Women of Washington’s Headquarters.” During Gen. George Washington’s months in Cambridge, the Vassall mansion became his military headquarters, but it was also home to several interesting women. Martha Washington is the best known, but the building was also home to her pregnant daughter-in-law, to Gen. Horatio Gates’s wife Elizabeth, and to a largely female household staff who had their own wartime stories. Sponsored by the site and the Friends of Longfellow House–Washington’s Headquarters. Free; to reserve seats, call 617-876-4491.

13 May 2014, 7:00 P.M., Plymouth Public Library: “Using Diaries and Letters as Historical Sources”, panel discussion with Ondine Leblanc of the Massachusetts Historical Society and biographer Michelle Coughlin. Free.

14 June 2014, noon: “Rhode Island Spies in the Siege of Boston,” for the Rhode Island chapters of the Sons and the Daughters of the American Revolution. For members only.