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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Monday, June 06, 2011

Kudos to Peter and Jane Montague Benes

The Mass Humanities conference “Off the Record: Telling Lives of People Hidden in Plain Sight” is taking place today at Holy Cross. I’m sorry not to be there because the topic looks very interesting, but I’m at my keyboard finishing up a big writing project.

I especially wish I could attend to clap for Peter and Jane Montague Benes, recipients of this year’s Bay State Legacy Award. As the conference program says:
Peter and Jane Montague Benes are synonymous with the Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife. As founders of this more than 30-year series of conferences and publications, they have helped professional and avocational historians alike explore an extraordinary range of subjects in the everyday life, work, and culture of the Commonwealth and the region. In dozens of co-edited volumes, and publications from the 1977 Masks of Orthodoxy to the forthcoming Meetinghouses of Early New England, the breadth and depth of Peter and Jane's contributions to Massachusetts History are unequalled.
I’m one of the “avocational” historians who’ve benefited from Peter and Jane’s work in organizing symposia and preparing publications, and from their friendship and enthusiasm for New England history from the bottom up.

Later this month, 24-26 June, the 2011 Dublin Seminar will tackle the topic of “Beyond the Battlefield: New England and the Civil War.” Even though that’s the wrong civil war for me, I’m looking forward to another full program of new research on the daily lives of ordinary and extraordinary New Englanders.

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