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, January 17, 2023

History Camp Valley Forge, 19–21 May

The History Camp organization has opened registration for events in and around Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, on 19–21 May.

History Camp Valley Forge offers three events with separate sign-ups, so people can choose which they want to attend.

Friday, 19 May
Forging the Continental Army
This is a limited-enrollment, all-day symposium at Valley Forge featuring talks by speakers recruited for their expertise on that site:
  • Phillip Greenwalt, author of The Winter that Won the War
  • Mark Edward Lender, author of Cabal!: The Plot Against General Washington
  • Richard Bell, author of a forthcoming book on Gen. Steuben
  • Nancy K. Loane, author of Following the Drum: Women at the Valley Forge Encampment
  • Ken Gavin, leading a tour by coach and foot of the Valley Forge camp
This symposium includes lunch at Washington Chapel and dinner with the speakers at the General Warren Inn. The cost is $395, and registration is limited to forty people.

Saturday, 20 May
History Camp Valley Forge
This day will be a history camp of the sort established in Boston in 2014. Anyone can propose a presentation on any historical topic, with proposals due by 10 April. Organizers will choose a slate of sessions, seeking to maximize interest, variety, and enthusiastic and experienced presenters. The schedule will be announced shortly before the day, and attendees choose which of the many talks to attend. Light breakfast and lunch are included with registration. (Attendees can also continue their discussions at a nearby inn in the evening, paying their own tab.)

Some of the sessions are already listed on the webpage, and those with Revolutionary links include:
  • Michael Troy of the American Revolution Podcast, “The Philadelphia Bible Riots of 1844”
  • Jerry Landry of the Presidencies of the United States podcast on Dolley Madison
  • Bil Lewis, James Madison interpreter, ”Madison v. Hamilton”
  • Salina Baker, historical novelist, on Gen. Nathanael Greene 
  • Matthew Mees, Revolutionary-era interpreter, “French Siege Craft in America”
I’ve participated in several history camps since the first, and one of the biggest appeals is just chatting with other people interested in researching the stories of the past. This will be the first history camp in the Philadelphia area, where I know there are plenty of knowledgeable history buffs. Registration costs $95 and is open to all. The only limit is the capacity of the Martha Washington Building at the Freedoms Foundation.

Sunday, 21 May
Tours of Revolutionary Philadelphia
Starting at 8:30 on Sunday morning, attendees will take a coach tour to see the Anthony Wayne house in Waynesborough and then on to Philadelphia for three tours led by National Park Service rangers:
  • “The Room Where it Happened” at Independence National Historical Park
  • “The British Occupation of Philadelphia” walking tour
  • “Dr. Franklin’s Philadelphia” walking tour
The coach will return people to the Hampton Inn in Valley Forge in time for dinner. Only a limited number of folks can take these tours together, and it looks like the slots are filling fast. This day’s cost is $76.

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