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A Coffin at Bunker Hill

Nathaniel Coffin (1725-80) was a merchant in Boston who in November 1768 took the job of Deputy Cashier to the American Board of Customs.That shifted Coffin politically onto the side of the royal government. He would even report to his...Show More Summary

Looking at Ben’s Revolution

This spring brought us a new book from Nathaniel Philbrick, author of Bunker Hill and Valiant Ambition, and Wendell Minor, jacket designer for John Adams and 1776. Unlike those books, Ben’s Revolution is written for young readers. In its format, Ben’s Revolution is a rarity among recent children’s books, almost a unicorn. Show More Summary

Remembering Moses Parker

As described yesterday, Lt. Col. Moses Parker of Chelmsford died as a prisoner of war on 4 July 1775 from a leg wound he suffered in the Battle of Bunker Hill.On 21 July the New-England Chronicle published an unusually long death notice, showing how much esteem people had for Parker. Show More Summary

Corey Stewart Will Make Virginia Confederate Again

Virginia Republican candidate for governor, Corey Stewart, has done us a great service by not only publicly supporting a ban on the removal of Confederate monuments, but in his praise […]

Moses Parker and His Comrades in the Redoubt

As I said yesterday, Col. Ebenezer Bridge’s regiment was one of the New England units ordered onto the Charlestown peninsula on the night of 16 June 1775. Maj. John Brooks and three companies stayed behind at first for other duties, but Bridge, Lt. Show More Summary

Moses Parker, “the most prominent military character”

Moses Parker was born on 13 May 1731 in Chelmsford. Seven years earlier, his father Joseph had served as a “Lieutenant of a company of snowshoe-men” in what would be called Dummer’s War. Once back home, Joseph Parker served on committees and boards for both his meetinghouse and his town.In 1738, when Moses was seven years old, Joseph Parker died. Show More Summary

Two Unconquered Canadiens

This title on the short list for the Wilson Institute for Canadian History’s book prize caught my eye:Joseph Gagné’s Inconquis: Deux retraites françaises vers la Louisiane après 1760 tells the captivating story of two Fre More Summary

Boston’s Confederate Monument Controversy

I guess we can add my home town of Boston to the list of cities facing questions about what to do with their Confederate monuments. A recent segment on Greater […]

More Colonial Newspaper Advertising Rates

After my posting on colonial newspaper advertising rates, Caitlin G. DeAngelis alerted me to some additional data inside Charles E. Clark’s The Public Prints: The Newspaper in Anglo-American Culture, 1665-1740. Then I found more examples quoted in Arthur M. Show More Summary

Boston Discovers Its Confederate Heritage

Last week I was interviewed by WGBH’s Adam Reilly for a segment that aired this evening on Greater Boston about the Confederate marker on Georges Island in Boston Harbor. Historian […]

James Otis, Jr., and Slavery Revisited

Back in 2006, this blog’s first year, I wrote a couple of essays describing James Otis, Jr., as a slaveholder.For those postings I relied on and quoted a passage from John J. Waters’s The Otis Family in Provincial and Revolutionary Massachusetts (1968): Inconsistencies certainly marked most of James’s actions. Show More Summary

Next Up, St. Louis’s Confederate Monument

Recent high profile debates about the removal of Confederate monuments have centered on important military and political leaders such as Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis. Monuments to both men […]

Wheels and What They’re Worth

Elisabeth Meier of the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture just wrote on learning about the art and mystery of the wheelwright at Colonial Williamsburg:I’d already been passed by several carriages in Williamsburg, and each...Show More Summary

Archeological Discoveries at Valley Forge

Atlas Obscura just reported on a striking discovery at Valley Forge. Specifically, on property next to Valley Forge National Park, when Daniel M. Sivilich (author of Musket Ball and Small Shot Identification, discussed here) was overseeing an archeology dig for the Battlefield Restoration & Archaeological Volunteer Organization (B.R.A.V.O.). Show More Summary

Colonial Newspaper Advertising Rates

In 1884 the U.S. Census Office published a report called “The Newspaper and Periodical Press” by S. N. D. North, who would become a leading statistician.That essay offers answers to some difficult questions about the business of newspaper...Show More Summary

Studying the Settlement of Nova Scotia

The L.R. Wilson Institute for Canadian History recently announced the winner of its first Viv Nelles Essay Prize for best paper in the field.The honoree is Alexandra Montgomery, graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, for...Show More Summary

“Revolutionary War National Parks” Panel in Lexington, 7 June

On Wednesday, 7 June, I’ll be part of a panel discussion in Lexington on “Revolutionary War National Parks: Treasures Worth Protecting in Massachusetts.” This event is co-sponsored by the National Parks Conservation Association, theShow More Summary

The French Lady Who Discomfited John Adams

As I related yesterday, in April 1778 a French lady disconcerted John Adams by asking him how Adam and Eve knew how to have sex.When he recorded that experience decades later, Adams identified his questioner simply as “One of the most...Show More Summary

Introducing Boston Civil War Tours

Are you coming to Boston this summer to enjoy the city’s rich historic sites? Most people rightfully associate the city with the American Revolution and the founding of this nation. […]

John Adams and “the Art of lying together”

In his autobiography, John Adams recorded this anecdote under the heading of 2 April 1778. He was then in Bordeaux, France, on his first trip to Paris as a diplomat for the new U.S. of A. One of the most elegant Ladies at Table, young and handsome, tho married to a Gentleman in the Company, was pleased to Address her discourse to me. Show More Summary

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