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Finding Founding Fathers Funnies

Earlier this year Dark Horse published a long-awaited collection of Peter Bagge’s Founding Fathers Funnies. For his comic Hate Bagge was honored with Harvey and Inkpot Awards, as well as multiple Eisner Award nominations. In 2014 heShow More Summary

Derek W. Beck’s Book Signings around Boston

With the launch of The Road to Concord coming up on Thursday, 2 June, I’m going to highlight some other Revolutionary literature of note. Derek W. Beck is coming to Massachusetts in June to talk about Igniting the American Revolution and The War Before Independence. Show More Summary

“The Regiments be immediately settled”

Yesterday I examined how the transition from militia to Massachusetts army looked like from a private’s perspective. Here’s a view from the top.Under New England’s militia system, most men in a community were supposed to turn out in a military emergency. Show More Summary

“Concerning our chusing a sargent”

On 19 April 1775, Thomas Poor was captain of a minute company from Andover. His sergeants were named John Chickering, Cyrus Marble, Philip Farrington, and William Johnson, as stated on a muster roll for the first week of the war. One of the privates in that company was James Stevens. Show More Summary

The Making of a Black Confederate Soldier

Recently the Norfolk County Grays Camp No. 1549, Sons of Confederate Veterans installed a military style marker to honor William Mack Lee, who they claim was Robert E. Lee’s “cook and body servant” during the war.” In addition to the headstone, a Cross of Honor reaffirms the belief among the organizers of the event that […]

A Celebration Turned Tragic in Hartford

On 23 May 1766, the town of Hartford, Connecticut, celebrated the repeal of the Stamp Act with a day of thanksgiving. Church bells rang, cannons fired, and ships on the Connecticut River displayed flags. As in Boston and elsewhere, the holiday was supposed to end with a “general illumination,” including fireworks. Show More Summary

Looking at a Lantern

This lantern is in the collection of the Bostonian Society. According to its description, these words are painted on the bottom:This LANTERN was on the Northwest Bough, (opposite Frog-lane), of the LIBERTY TREE; Illuminated last night...Show More Summary

Lanterns on Liberty Tree

On the night of Monday, 19 May 1766, with fireworks going off all over Boston Common to celebrate the repeal of the Stamp Act, Whigs hung forty-five lanterns on Liberty Tree in the South End.That number had plenty of political symbolism. Show More Summary

House Votes to Ban Confederate Battle Flags

By now most of you have heard that yesterday the House of Representatives voted to severely restrict the display of Confederate battle flags at VA cemeteries. The Senate still needs to vote, but there is a good chance that they will follow suit. I shared a few thoughts about the decision at The Daily Beast. […]

Launching The Road to Concord, 2 June

I received two excellent packages from Westholme Publishing in the past week, and this photo shows me preparing a fine cup of Yorkshire Gold Tea to celebrate. Yes, The Road to Concord is a real book now. I understand Amazon is shipping early orders, and the University of Chicago Press is supplying retailers. Show More Summary

Stamp Act Celebrations in Medford, Charlestown, and Cambridge

The same 26 May 1766 issue of the Boston Gazette that described Boston’s send-off to the Stamp Act in such detail also reported on celebrations in nearby towns. Militia companies played a big role in those activities.Medford’s celebration...Show More Summary

John Hancock and “the Brilliancy of the Night”

The 19 May 1765 Boston Gazette offered a brief description of the very start of that day’s town-wide observance of the end of the Stamp Act. But the issue one week later devoted almost a full page to celebrating the celebration: TheShow More Summary

“A View of the Obelisk”

On Monday, 19 May 1766, all of Boston was gearing up to celebrate the repeal of the Stamp Act at last. The issue of the Boston Gazette published that day appears in the Harbottle Dorr collection at the Massachusetts Historical Society. Show More Summary

“CHEERFUL AMID HARDSHIPS & PRIVATIONS”

This morning I sat in front of the rear of the Robert Gould Shaw and Fifty-Fourth Regiment Memorial before heading into the Boston Athenaeum for a day of writing. It is certainly not the first time I have read the inscription on the rear of the memorial, which most people miss when they visit. This […]

“Unaffected Gaiety” on the Repeal of the Stamp Act

News that Parliament had repealed the Stamp Act arrived in Boston on 16 May 1766, as described yesterday. That quickly set off a public celebration.The town’s newspaper printers collaborated on a broadside announcing the news from London...Show More Summary

Not So Far Removed from the Lost Cause

Much of my writing about the Civil War 150th is framed around a sharp contrast with how Americans commemorated the war in the early 1960s, during the Centennial. There can be no doubt that we have witnessed significant shifts in how Americans remember and commemorate the war. The most significant shift has got to be […]

Hancock and the Harrison

In 1763 the London merchant Jonathan Barnard took on Gilbert Harrison (d. 1790, his monument in the church at Newton Purcell shown here) as a full partner and successor.One of Barnard and Harrison’s major customers in Boston was Thomas...Show More Summary

“When we shall receive certain advice of the Repeal of the Stamp Act”

Like the Stamp Act itself, Parliament’s repeal of the Stamp Act was no surprise. The measure was debated in London for months, and colonists in North America eagerly awaited the results.On 1 Apr 1766, Boston’s official records say, “A...Show More Summary

One Final Confederate Memorial Day Celebration

The debate over Confederate iconography in public spaces may still be very much alive, but Confederate heritage is dead. The other day I suggested that Confederate heritage organizations like the Sons of Confederate Veterans and United Daughters of the Confederacy ought to confine their activities to specific times and places. Not everyone agreed with the […]

Celebrating Ten Years of Blogging at Boston 1775

You can’t escape the history and heritage of the American Revolution in and around Boston and if you read and write about it you can’t escape John L. Bell’s fabulous blog, Boston 1775. Today is the 10th anniversary of John’s blog and it’s a big deal for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the […]

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