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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Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Farewell to Two Historical Gentlemen

The community of historical interpreters in Massachusetts is mourning two gentlemen who died this week.

Among other personas, Thomas Macy portrayed John Adams at many venues, often performing a two-person epistolary play with Patricia Bridgman as Abigail. For years Tom wanted to bring that Adams portrayal to Washington’s Headquarters, and as part of last month’s reenactment he was able to portray Adams’s meeting with Gen. George Washington.

Tom also wrote a short book called The Hannah and the Nautilus: The Beginning of the American Revolution at Sea, published by the Beverly Historical Society in 2002. It’s a detailed study of one of the first naval skirmishes of the Revolutionary War, which took place off Beverly’s coast in September 1775.

In Boston, Bob Jolly was one of the Freedom Trail Players for several years. He was a pioneer in portraying a little-known citizen of Revolutionary Boston rather than a celebrated name, an approach that allows visitors to consider events through the eyes of an ordinary person.

Bob’s character was Nathaniel Balch, a handsome hatter who was a close friend of Gov. John Hancock. Balch seems to have had the personality of a nightclub comic, making him a good match for Bob, who was also an actor and performer of Gilbert & Sullivan operettas.

Tom came from Nantucket, Bob from Louisiana, but both found new homes and new friends in the world of local historical interpretation.


John L Smith Jr said...

Hail and farewell to Tom and Bob. Thank you for your work; see you both on the other side, sirs!

Joanq said...

So sorry to hear about the loss of these men. I saw Bob in the Mikado a few years ago and he was outstanding.