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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Saturday, May 13, 2006

About This Blog

This blog is a miscellany of information about New England just before, during, and after the Revolutionary War, and about how that history has been studied, taught, preserved, politicized, mythologized, lost, recovered, discussed, described, distorted, and now digitized.

Boston 1775 grows out of my research, which started with the idea for a novel about the Boston Massacre. Since then I’ve published or delivered papers on the Battle of Lexington & Concord, the Massacre, the town’s public schools, the Pope Night holiday, and the politicization of its youth. I became a Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society in 2008 and a Member of the American Antiquarian Society in 2011. (The novel is still a work in progress.)

I quote material exactly as I've found it, with the original spellings and punctuations, except for two aspects:

  • I don’t indicate text that the writer added or crossed out unless it’s relevant to the rest of the article.
  • I often break long paragraphs into shorter ones to make them easier to read on screen. Eighteenth-century sentences are long enough already.
For all those quotations, I try to include enough information for people to track down the source: the date of a letter, the author and title of a book, a link if the material is online. However, I rarely include a full scholarly citation, with edition and page number. My reasons:
  • That’s too much trouble for a blog.
  • I don’t want to do anyone’s homework.
  • Boston 1775 isn’t meant to be anyone's final source for information. It’s meant to help us all think about interesting historical events in different ways. (Half the time I end up learning something or changing my mind as I write an entry.)
In addition to the links lists below, the entries often include links to other online sources. In many cases, the thumbnail image I’ve used to illustrate an article connects to another relevant website. So please poke around. Other graphics come from Walden Fonts' Minuteman Printshop, based on period woodcuts and engravings.

The design of Boston 1775 is based on Todd Dominey's handsome Scribe template for Blogger, updated by "the Blogger team" in the shift to Blogger Beta, and then hacked by me to produce the three-column layout and other details you see. (That hacking was inspired and guided by the examples of Hackosphere and Custom Templates, but I came up with my own solutions for some of the ticklish problems and kept away from some of their more advanced offerings.) The design looks best in a window size larger than 800 x 600 pixels, but the right-hand column is still usable at that size.

For subscription information, see the bottom of most pages (but not, apparently, this one). Beyond that, for making subscriptions work for your system you're on your own.

I come from a publishing background, and therefore take care to remain within “fair use” guidelines in reproducing any and all material, and to give credit where it’s due. Please do the same if you choose to quote from Boston 1775. Thank you!