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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Articles by J. L. Bell

“What Happened the Day After the Boston Massacre?”, an article about the Bostonian Society’s play Blood on the Snow in the Summer 2016 issue of Humanities.

“The Revolutionary-Era Boy and ‘His Joyrnal’: Diary-Keeping as a Step Toward Manhood,” and “John Rowe Changes His Diary,” in In Our Own Words: New England Diaries, 1600 to the Present, the Proceedings of the Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife in 2006-07.

“On the Trail of Crispus Attucks: Investigating a Victim of the Boston Massacre,” The Readex Report, February 2009. What do historic newspapers tell us about the tall sailor killed on 5 Mar 1770? Read free online here.

“A Bankruptcy in Boston, 1765,” Massachusetts Banker, fourth quarter 2008. The financial collapse of merchant Nathaniel Wheelwright set off a frightening wave of bankruptcies shortly before Boston received word of the Stamp Act.

“ ‘I Never Used to Go Out with a Weapon’: Law Enforcement on the Streets of Prerevolutionary Boston,” about town watchmen, army officers, and the Boston Massacre, in Life on the Streets and Commons, the Proceedings of the Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife in 2005.

“A Note from a Doctor: A Story of the American Revolution,” New England Ancestors, Spring 2006. The secret dealings of Dr. Benjamin Church, Dr. John Homans, and Dr. Joseph Gardner in April 1775. Pages images available here.

“ ‘A Wretch of Wretches Prov’d with Child’: From Local Scandal to Revolutionary Outrage,” New England Ancestors, Winter 2005. The far-reaching scandal that drove Ebenezer Richardson out of Woburn. Page images available here.

“Du Simitière’s Sketches of Pope Day in Boston, 1767,” in The Worlds of Children, 1620-1920, the Proceedings of the Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife in 2002.

“The Talented Mr. Bradlee: From Rioter to Proper Bostonian,” The Bostonian Society News, Spring 2000. The tailor David Bradlee was on the front line of three riots in late 1769 and early 1770. Within several years, he was a respected merchant renting space under the Old State House.

And for younger readers:

“Meet Paul Revere,” “Paul Revere’s World,” and “A Riddle for Rachel,” AppleSeeds, October 2001. Teacher’s guide for this issue available here.

“The Wigmaker’s Boy and the Boston Massacre,” AppleSeeds, October 2000. Teacher’s guide for this article available here.