Stay engaged with the MHS this year.

On rising this Morning I found there was a heavy Snow-Storm, which continued all the morning. Towards Evening the weather cleared off cold.
Featured Item from the MHS Collection

“In case the inoculated part / Should feel uneasy, itch, and smart; / Don’t shove up sleeves, nor scratch; nor fret it; / But, with some salt and water, wet it.”

This broadside outlining the rules to be followed after receiving a vaccine was probably issued in 1810 in Providence, Rhode Island, where Sylvanus Fansher was vaccinating residents against smallpox. The work done by 19th century physicians and amateurs like “Doctor” Fansher was crucial in the battle against smallpox, although another 150 years would pass before the disease was eradicated worldwide. Read more about the fight against smallpox from inoculation to vaccination.
This Weeks Online Programs
On Thursday, 4 February, at 5:30 PM, Peter Wirzbicki, Princeton University, presents Higher Laws: Black & White Transcendentalists & the Fight Against Slavery. In the cauldron of the antislavery movement, antislavery activists and Transcendentalist intellectuals developed a "Higher Law" ethos, a unique set of romantic political sensibilities—marked by moral enthusiasms, democratic idealism, and a vision of the self that could judge political questions from "higher" standards of morality and reason. The Transcendentalism that emerges here was intended to fight slavery, but it would influence later labor, feminist, civil rights, and environmentalist activism. African American thinkers and activists have long engaged with American Transcendentalist ideas about "double consciousness," nonconformity, and civil disobedience. When thinkers like Martin Luther King, Jr., or W. E. B. Du Bois invoked Transcendentalist ideas, they were putting to use an intellectual movement that Black radicals had participated in since the 1830s.
Please note: Women of the Underground: Political Repression, Kinship Networks & the Transatlantic Resistance to Restoration Politics has been postponed. This seminar was originally scheduled for Tuesday, 2 February, at 5:15 PM.
New Five-Part Series Begins on 18 February
Massachusetts is often heralded as the home of the abolition movement and one of the first states to abolish enslavement. Yet the Commonwealth’s economy developed in collaboration with states that claimed people as property. And a history of racial strife is apparent today. This series will explore how enslavement and white supremacy shaped the history of Massachusetts and how they continue to shape its present. From the first program to the final event, the series will ask us all to understand, acknowledge, and confront racial injustice. Learn more at The series will kick off on Thursday, 18 February, at 6:00 PM, with Slavery, Wealth Creation, & Intergenerational Wealth.

Developed by the Northeastern University School of Law Criminal Justice Task Force, Confronting Racial Injustice is a free, five-part series hosted by the MHS and sponsored by a number of Boston-area organizations.
Upcoming February Programs
On Tuesday, 9 February, at 6:00 PM, join us for the Peter J. Gomes Memorial Book Prize Ceremony and a conversation between Kerri Greenidge, Tufts University, and
Annette Gordon-Reed, Harvard University.

On Thursday, 11 February, at 5:30 PM, James Oakes, The Graduate Center, CUNY, and Randall Kennedy, Harvard Law School, present The Crooked Path to Abolition: Abraham Lincoln & the Antislavery Constitution.

On Tuesday, 16 February, at 5:15 PM, Trysh Travis, University of Florida, presents Boston Women on Drugs with comment by Elizabeth Lunbeck, Harvard University.

On Thursday, 18 February, at 6:00 PM, Nicole Maskiell, University of South Carolina; Elon Cook Lee, National Trust for Historic Preservation and moderator Jared Hardesty, Western Washington University, present Confronting Racial Injustice: Slavery, Wealth Creation, & Intergenerational Wealth.

On Tuesday, 23 February, at 5:15 PM, Sean Fraga, University of Southern California, presents A Portal to the Pacific Ocean: Puget Sound, the Transcontinental Railroads, & Transpacific Trade, 1869–1914 with comment by David Armitage, Harvard University.

On Wednesday, 24 February, at 5:30 PM, Julia Rose Kraut presents Threat of Dissent: A History of Ideological Exclusion & Deportation in the United States.

On Thursday, 25 February, at 5:30 PM, Stephen Kantrowitz, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Crystal Feimster, Yale University; Chad Williams, Brandeis University; and Hasan Jeffries, Ohio State University, present Protest & Citizenship: Revisited.

Visit for more information and to register for programs.
Interested in Viewing Past Programs?
If you missed a program or would like to revisit the material presented, please visit or our YouTube channel. A selection of past programs is just a click away.
Share Your COVID-19 Experience(s)

The MHS invites you to contribute your COVID-19 experience(s) to our collection. Record your experiences on a daily, weekly, or intermittent basis. You can contribute your thoughts and images online. Visit our COVID-19 web display to learn more and to share your thoughts. Or you can keep a journal and donate it to the MHS. Contact for more information.  
Thank you to everyone who has shared so far. If you have not yet done so or would like to contribute again, please visit You can also read what others have shared.

Our Members are the heart of the MHS community and an integral part of the MHS story. Become a Member to help make possible the Society’s mission to promote the study of American history. Receive benefits including invitations to enhanced Member-only events; free or discounted admission to special programs; and access to publications such as our calendar of events, newsletter, and Annual Report. Learn more at