The Exchange
The Bostonian Society E-Newsletter
October 2012
In This Issue
Bostonian Society Partners With Boston Ballet
Guy Fawkes Pub Night: Special Election Edition
Visitor Q&A Board Responses
Meet Author William Hogeland
See The Elizabeth Bull Wedding Gown Goes Before It Goes Away For Restoration
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Old State House Partners with Boston Ballet     


Recently, the Society welcomed Boston Ballet to the Old State House. Ballerina Misa Kuranaga was photographed in our historic galleries as part of a series of photos depicting Boston Ballet's 10 principal dancers in 10 iconic Boston landmarks. The series will be featured in a commemorative booklet for Boston Ballet, set for release next spring.



The Popular Guy Fawkes Pub Night Takes On A Special Edition


Calling all history buffs and political junkies! Join us at the Old State House for the nerdiest pub quiz in Boston. Grab a pint, learn how Election Day was celebrated in Colonial Boston, and participate in a game of election-themed pub trivia drawn from British and early American history. Experts and novices welcome! Come in teams, or make a team when you get here.  Space is limited, so please consider purchasing your tickets in advance by clicking here. Tickets will also be sold at the door as space permits.  


Guy Fawkes Pub Night -  

Special Election Edition!

Old State House

Friday, November 2, 2012


Admission $15.00


$15 admission includes two tickets redeemable at the bar for beer or other beverages.

Beer for Guy Fawkes Pub Night is gracious donated by  

Boston Beer Company.

What Would Revolutionary Bostonians Think of Your Clothing?

With Halloween fast approaching, we thought it would be fun to get our visitors thinking about playing dress-up. We posted images of eighteenth-century Bostonians wearing formal attire on our Question & Answer Board and asked visitors to share their reactions to these striking eighteenth-century ensembles. Some liked how ornate the historic fashions were and wished they could get away with wearing these styles today; others thought that they looked uncomfortable, confining, and just plain silly. According to one visitor, such clothing was "only for Halloween!" Some visitors took a different approach. One expressed confidence that her own "great sense of style" would be admired by her Revolutionary Character, John Adams; another worried that colonial Bostonians "might find it indecent to see girls wearing pants."

These comments suggest an interesting question: Would contemporary fashion trends offend or fascinate eighteenth-century Bostonians? To answer this question, it's important to remember the "work" that our clothing does. In Revolutionary Boston, what you wore told the world about who you were-your wealth and standing, your religion, even your political views. These were conveyed through the quality and detail of eighteenth-century clothing.

Portrait artists knew this and took great care in dressing their subjects. We showed visitors this portrait of John Hancock (without revealing his identity) and asked for comment. Visitors thought his clothing made him look wealthy, which he certainly was. The elaborate decorative trimmings on Hancock's coat were costly luxuries. Many visitors guessed that Hancock was a writer, a secretary or a lawyer-all logical deductions given that he is depicted at a desk and writing in a book. In fact, the portrait shows Hancock as a man of business. He is writing in his account ledgers, used to track the vast mercantile empire he inherited from his wealthy uncle.

Be sure to come by and add your comment to the Q&A Board before Hancock and friends depart at the beginning of November.
Next up: eighteenth-century writers and their craft in Revolutionary Boston.

On October 23, Old State House Welcomes Author
William Hogeland

Don't forget to sign up to meet acclaimed author and historian William Hogeland, who will be at the Old State House next Tuesday (October 23) to discuss his new book. We would love to see you! The event is free for Society members and their guests, but please register through Eventbrite by clicking



Founding Finance: How Debt, Speculation, Foreclosures, Protests, and Crackdowns Made Us a Nation

The Old State House in downtown Boston

Tuesday, October 23, 6:30-8:30 pm



Looking for a fresh perspective on the 2012 election? As the current campaign season enters its stretch run, candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney often spar about the causes and consequences of the 2008 financial collapse.  What few commentators have mentioned is that such arguments have been a part of the nation's political fabric since its founding.  Join acclaimed author and historian William Hogeland for a lively conversation about his new book, which brings to life the violent conflicts over economics, class, and finance that played directly, and in many ways ironically, into the hardball politics of forming the nation and ratifying the Constitution-conflicts that still continue to affect our politics, legislation, and debate today.

This talk will include ample time for questions and discussion with the author.  After the event, Mr. Hogeland will sign copies of his book.


About the author:

William Hogeland writes and speaks on startling connections between American history and today's political and cultural struggles. He is the author of the critically acclaimed narrative histories Declaration and The Whiskey Rebellion, as well as a collection of essays, Inventing American History. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Atlantic, American History Magazine, Boston Review, Salon, Huffington Post, and elsewhere. He has also appeared on Good Morning, America, PBS's History Detectives, and C-SPAN's

Book TV.

Come Learn How to Conserve Historic Clothing
at the Old State House   

On Tuesday, November 13, Society members and their guests are invited to a rare viewing of one of the first pieces of American haute couture: the elaborately and colorfully embroidered 1735 Elizabeth Bull wedding gown from the Bostonian Society museum collection, on display one night only at the Old State House!


Colonial-era school girls were in fact some of the first American fashion designers, keenly aware of European styles and adapting these styles to suit their purposes. They were given specific and detailed training on the intricate methods and hand-worked details we see in the design and construction of the Elizabeth Bull gown, similar to bridal couture today.

Miss Bull began designing, sewing, and embroidering her own China silk wedding gown while in school, a project undertaken by young women to practice and perfect the advanced needle arts. She had already been working on the gown for several years when, in 1734, she met Reverend Roger Price at Trinity Church. The gown was still not completed when Miss Bull wore it to their wedding the following year.


Now, thanks to a generous grant from the Stockman Family Foundation, the Bostonian Society has an opportunity to conserve this rare item. We are pleased to welcome noted textile conservator, Kathryn Tarleton, for an interactive discussion, revealing the intricacies of researching and conserving a 1730s-era wedding gown. Learn firsthand about Elizabeth Bull and the various ways that professional conservators are able to restore historic clothing to its former glory. Best of all, the actual dress will be on display just for the evening.



Old State House 

Tuesday, November 13, 5:30-7:30 pm

This event is open to the public. $15 non-members, $5 for members. Complimentary refreshments graciously provided by Boston Beer Company. Space is limited. RSVP through Eventbrite here.