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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Sunday, March 09, 2014

Living in the Past

Yesterday I attended the first (annual?) History Camp, organized by Lee Wright of The History List, at an IBM facility in Cambridge. It was a fun day of meeting other history researchers, students, professionals, and buffs. Check out #HistoryCamp on Twitter for various people’s observations.

In the morning I spoke on “The Boston Bankruptcy That Led to the American Revolution,” as shown here in a photo by Adriene Katz. That was the bankruptcy of Nathaniel Wheelwright in early 1765, and I posit that it unsettled the local economy so much that Bostonians reacted with extra anxiety to Parliament’s Stamp Act.

In the afternoon I gave a workshop titled “How Google Books Changed My Life, and You Can, Too!” trying to share some practical tips for using Google Books (and similar databases of published material like Archive.org, the Hathi Trust, and the Digital Public Library of America).

The day ended with being on a panel about different ways of getting published. That felt a little like blind people feeling around an elephant, but then a lot of the publishing industry sounds like that these days.

And then I went as fast as the T and my feet could carry me to the Old State House in order to participate with many other volunteers in reenacting the Boston Massacre. In this photo from Boston Strolls you can just see me and my script at the far left, resuming narration as wounded men lay on the ground. Check out #BostonMassacre on Twitter, and there are already some videos up on YouTube.


Diane Mayr said...

I thoroughly enjoyed History Camp. I never would have found it without your blog. Many thanks.

John Bell said...

It was great to see you there, even if we didn't have time to exchange notes on our history projects. It's always nice to spot friendly faces from other parts of my life.