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, November 10, 2009

Scraps of Women’s Lives Online

The Bostonian Society’s online exhibit of “From Baby Caps to Mourning Rings: The Material Culture of Boston’s Eighteenth Century Girls and Women” is now open for virtual visitors. It has a snazzy opening interface. My favorite item is this embroidered map of Boston harbor, sewn by Lydia Withington at the school of actress-novelist Susanna Rowson.

Another new online resource on eighteenth-century women is this biographical website about Martha Washington, created by the Center for History and New Media and sponsored by Mount Vernon. This is designed for educators to use, with lots of teaching materials.

Lastly, the Massachusetts Historical Society has posted a letter from Rachel Revere to her husband, Paul, dated 2 May 1775. It says in part:

I cannot say I was please’d at hearing you aplyed to Capt Irvin for a pass as I shou’d rather confer 50 obligations on them then recive one from them

I am almost sure of one as soon as they are given out

I was at mr Scolays yesterday and his son has been here to day and told me he went to the room and gave mine and Deacon Jeffers name to this [sic] father when no other person was admited
Okay, what’s going on here? Paul was outside besieged Boston, and Rachel wanted to get herself and the kids out, too. I think “Capt Irvin” refers to George Erving, son of John Erving, a former militia colonel who leaned toward the royal government. Rachel then went to John Scollay, a selectman who was closer to the Whigs. “Deacon Jeffers” is probably David Jeffries, the town treasurer and deacon at Old South.

TOMORROW: Was someone else secretly working to get Rachel Revere a pass out of town?

1 comment:

Chaucerian said...

Thank you so much for the referral to the Bostonian Society exhibit. It shows beautiful craftsmanship and careful history. Like you, I was particularly struck by the embroidered map: the stitching is simple but carefully done, and the detailed mapping is just beautiful. Stitching which was any more complex would have obscured the artistic message of the whole.