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Blog Profile / Boston 1775

Filed Under:History / US History
Posts on Regator:2322
Posts / Week:7.3
Archived Since:March 3, 2008

Blog Post Archive

Mr. Redwood’s Wig

Scott Stephenson alerted me to this delightful entry from the diary of William Ellery (1727-1820, shown here), Rhode Island delegate to the Continental Congress. In 1778 Ellery was traveling to Philadelphia with William Redwood (1726-1815), a Philadelphia merchant who had been born in Newport: Nov. Show More Summary

How Massachusetts Got Its Constitution

Yesterday I quoted a letter from Alexander McDougall discussing the Massachusetts Convention of 1780 (shown courtesy of Springfield Technical Community College).Here’s how Samuel Eliot Morison described the ratification of that document...Show More Summary

“A constitution to be offered to the people”

Here’s an unusual discussion of the Massachusetts constitution of 1780 between two New Yorkers, published in (of all places) The Cincinnati Miscellany in 1846. That Ohio periodical stated, “The following letter, published now for the first time, was written by Gen. Show More Summary

The Council Chamber at the Old State House, 28 Jan.

On Tuesday, 28 January, the Bostonian Society will unveil its makeover of the Old State House’s Council Chamber, where the Massachusetts Council considered legislation and met with the governor. This was considered the most opulent public...Show More Summary

Come to History Camp, Saturday, 8 March

On Saturday, 8 March, Lee Wright of The History List is organizing a “History Camp” at the I.B.M. Innovation Center in Cambridge. This event is designed to be an “unconference,” or self-organizing, non-hierarchical conference, for anyone in greater Boston interested in history.The program will depend on who signs up to speak in the next few weeks. Show More Summary

From Paper to Pixels

John Fea’s blog alerted me to an excerpt from Nicholas A. Basbanes’s On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year History describing a visit to the Massachusetts Historical Society and a look at the documents it preserves. Among...Show More Summary

Looking for New Chemung

This month Binghamton University reported on some interesting work by its archeology faculty:Experts from the Public Archaeology Facility recently took their shovels to a cornfield about 45 miles west of Binghamton, searching for evidence...Show More Summary

“A young female coming out from the city”

This month’s discussion about the Deborah Champion legend expressed more than a little skepticism about that story of a young woman carrying important military information on horseback.That tale, and similar stories of riders like Abigail Smith, Sybil Ludington, and Emily Geiger, have strong narrative and cultural appeal. Show More Summary

Wainwright on New England Meetinghouses, 22 Jan.

On Wednesday, 22 January, the Congregational Library in Boston will host an illustrated noontime lecture by Paul Wainwright about his photographs of the region’s oldest surviving religious buildings. Wainwright’s photographs are collected...Show More Summary

“A Tale of Muskets and Masquerade”

Earlier this month David M. Shribman reviewed the novel Revolutionary by Alex Myers for the New York Times. It’s a fictional treatment of the person who enlisted in the Continental Army late in the Revolutionary War under the name of Robert Shurtliff:Deborah Samson is 22 and free of indenture, but addicted to adventure. Show More Summary

“Most People Don’t Know That”

Politifact rarely ventures into the politics of the eighteenth century, but its editor couldn’t resist one story last week:Fox News co-host Andrea Tantaros…and other The Five panelists were talking about a new report from the conservative Heritage Foundation, which ranked America only 12th in terms of economic freedom. Show More Summary

Survey Course Conference in D.C., June 2014

In June, the Community College Humanities Association will run a workshop on teaching a college-level U.S. history survey course on “From the American Revolution to the American Jubilee 1776-1826.” This is the first of what the organization...Show More Summary

The Deborah Champion Story Today

Yesterday’s posting brought the tale of the Deborah Champion letter up to the present, with versions of the text appearing on websites as well as books as an authentic historical source about a young Connecticut woman early in the Revolutionary War. Show More Summary

A Critical Mass of Deborah Champion Retellings?

In recent years, an increasing number of books have referred to Deborah Champion’s experience carrying dispatches. Usually those are brief mentions, such as her name dropped in Liberty’s Daughters (1980), by Mary Beth Norton, a landmark in American women’s history. Show More Summary

A Second Look at Deborah Champion and “Uncle Aristarchus”

Yesterday I brought the story of the Deborah Champion letter into the 1970s, when the Bicentennial and the search for female heroes in American history brought her back into print. The rise of women’s history not only brought more attention...Show More Summary

The First and Second Wave of Deborah Champion

The dubious Deborah Champion letter I’ve been discussing for more than a week appears to be a product of the Colonial Revival and the first wave of American feminism. It was first noted in 1902 and read at meetings of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the New Haven Colony Historical Society. Show More Summary

Deborah Champion, Cloaked Crusader

Last week’s postings showed how descendants of Henry Champion, particularly women who had joined the Daughters of the American Revolution, promulgated the dubious Deborah Champion letter in the early 1900s. They told the story at meetings,...Show More Summary

“For Adams’s Sake” Talk in Medford, 15 Jan.

I’m breaking away from the last act of the Deborah Champion saga to note an event this week at the Royall House and Slave Quarters in Medford.On Wednesday, 15 January, the site will host an illustrated talk by Allegra di Bonaventura, an assistant dean at Yale, on her book For Adam’s Sake: A Family Saga in Colonial New England. Show More Summary

Other Dubious Documents about Revolutionary Women

Over the past several days, I’ve been sharing the judgment of a group of researchers about the letter attributed to Deborah Champion of Connecticut in 1775 or 1776. We concluded, as others have less loudly before us, that this text was composed and revised in the late 1800s or early 1900s. Show More Summary

The Deborah Champion Letter as Historical Fiction

One quality of the Deborah Champion letter, in either version, that struck everyone on the team of researchers that Joseph Warren biographer Sam Forman assembled is its novelistic detail. In short, it reads like fiction. What’s more,...Show More Summary

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