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, May 08, 2023

History Camp Boston 2023, 12–13 Aug.

On Saturday, 20 May, I’ll speak at History Camp Valley Forge. There’s still time for folks in the greater Philadelphia area to sign up for that event.

Closer to home, History Camp Boston 2023 will take place on Saturday, 12 August, once again in the Suffolk University Law School Building at 120 Tremont Street.

I’ve participated in every History Camp in the Boston area since the first in 2014. It’s a fun way to learn, share knowledge, hear about new ideas, and enjoy the company of other people as passionate about history as you are.

For 2023 I’m offering this talk:
William Dawes, Before and After His Ride

William Dawes, Jr., is known today only as the other rider who carried news of the British army march to Lexington in April 1775. In fact, like his famous colleague Paul Revere, Dawes was active throughout Massachusetts’s Revolution. Before April 1775 he was a militia organizer, a political fashion icon, and even an arms smuggler whose secret mission for the Patriots’ Committee of Safety helped bring on the same march to Concord he helped to warn about. During the war he took on responsibilities administering and supplying the state’s armed forces. And afterwards he was active in reestablishing one of Boston’s oldest military institutions. Hear all about one of the hands-on figures who made the Revolution happen.
Scrolling through the list of planned presentations, I see people speaking about the Stamp Act, witch trials and their records, the 1774 uprising in western Massachusetts, John Hancock, Thaddeus Kosciuszko, tea etiquette, and designing a local program to honor Revolutionary War veterans. Not to mention topics from other periods of the American past.

And there could be more. The hallmark of History Camp is that anyone can propose presentations or workshops until the schedule fills up. The proposal deadline is 10 June, so you still have more than a month to design a talk, panel discussion, hands-on activity, or other session.

On the Sunday after History Camp Boston, 13 August, people can sign up for one of three special tours at an additional cost:
  • The Maritime History of Boston and Salem, including ferry rides to Salem and back
  • The Witch Trials: Salem Village and Salem Towne, including bus transportation to and from Salem and admission to the Rebecca Nurse Homestead
  • Centuries of the Soldier and the American Heritage Museum in Hudson, including a bus to and from the museum and admission
Registration for History Camp Boston costs $80, with additional charges for lunch, a T-shirt, and/or a table to sell books and other wares. You can find all the information starting here.

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