Stay engaged with the MHS this year.

What home really is, darling is mental and spiritual peace and harmony, love—affection, patience, forbearance, companionship, et cetera.
–Emily Burling Waite to Arthur Manchester, circa 1923-1924
Featured Item from the MHS Collection
Seth Eastman on Dighton Rock, Daguerreotype by Horatio B. King, [1853]

This hand-colored daguerreotype shows army officer and artist Capt. Seth Eastman posing atop Dighton Rock, a sandstone outcropping in the Taunton River in Berkley, Mass., famous for the mysterious petroglyphs inscribed on it. Attributed to Horatio B. King of the nearby town of Taunton, this photograph was probably taken on 7 July 1853. As evident in the image, Eastman and King highlighted the inscriptions on the rock with white chalk so they would appear more clearly in the photograph. The petroglyphs on Dighton Rock have been attributed to a wide range of ancient voyagers, more recent European explorers, and Native Americans. Part of an effort to determine the origins of those glyphs, this image of Dighton Rock was an early attempt to record archaeological evidence to resolve a historical controversy. Read more about the mystery of Dighton Rock and Seth Easton.
This Weeks Online Programs

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. The transcontinental railroads reshaped the United States—its politics, economy, culture, and environment. But, as Sean Fraga argues, these railroads also saw themselves as part of an emergent global steam-powered network. This paper shows how American interest in trade with East Asia motivated Northern Pacific Railway and Great Northern Railway to build transcontinental lines to Puget Sound. In doing so, these railroads left lasting impacts on the region’s lands, waters, and peoples. This is part of the Dina G. Malgeri Modern American Society & Culture Seminar. Seminars bring together a diverse group of scholars and interested members of the public to workshop a pre-circulated paper. Register for this online seminar.

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. Beginning with the Alien Friends Act of 1798, the United States passed laws in the name of national security to bar or expel foreigners based on their beliefs and associations, although these laws sometimes conflict with First Amendment protections of freedom of speech and association or contradict America’s self-image as a nation of immigrants. The government has continually used ideological exclusions and deportations of noncitizens to suppress dissent and radicalism throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, from the War on Anarchy to the Cold War to the War on Terror. In Threat of Dissent, Julia Rose Kraut provides a comprehensive overview of the intersection of immigration law and the First Amendment. Register for this online program.

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. Collective protest, in addition to being a constitutionally protected right, is a fundamental and enduring part of American life and culture. Protest and agitation have at times proven powerful ways of advancing the rights and status of marginalized groups by swaying public opinion and fueling changes in law and public policy. Our panel of scholars will revisit a conversation held at the MHS in 2018 (watch a recording of that program) that explored the ways in which protest has been used to highlight injustice and change the citizenship rights of certain groups. In the wake of the high-profile demonstrations triggered by the alleged murder of George Floyd, what can we take from the past to understand our current political and social climate? Register for this online program.
Upcoming March Programs
On Tuesday, 2 March, at 5:15 PM, Molly Nebiolo, Northeastern University, and Camden Elliott, Harvard University, presents Health, Disease & Early American Environments with comment by Thomas Wickman, Trinity College.

On Wednesday, 3 March, at 5:30 PM, Carolyn Eastman, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Sara Georgini, MHS, present The Strange Genius of Mr. O: The World of the United States’ First Forgotten Celebrity.

On Thursday, 4 March, at 5:15 PM, Danielle Wiggins, California Institute of Technology, presents From Jobs & Freedom to Jobs & Opportunity: Andrew Young, Growth & the Illusion of Job Creation with comment by Brenna Greer, Wellesley College.

On Tuesday, 9 March, at 5:15 PM, Joyce Chaplin, Harvard University, presents Climate in Words & Numbers: How Early Americans Recorded Weather in Almanacs.

On Thursday, 11 March, at 6:00 PM, Lew Finfer, Massachusetts Community Action Network, and Stephen Gray, Harvard Graduate School of Design, present Redlining: From Slavery to $8 in 400 Years, with moderator Adrian Walker, Boston Globe. This is the first program in the Confronting Racial Injustice Series.

On Tuesday, 16 March, at 5:30 PM, Cynthia Van Zandt, University of New Hampshire, presents Women of the Underground: Political Repression, Kinship Networks, & the Transatlantic Resistance to Restoration Politics with comment by Adrian Weimer, Providence College.

On Wednesday, 17 March, at 12:00 PM, join us for our Visionary Circle Virtual Launch Event.

On Thursday, 18 March, at 5:30 PM, Lori Rogers-Stokes presents Heroic Souls: Records of Trial from Thomas Shepard’s Church in Cambridge, 1638–1649.

On Wednesday, 24 March, at 5:30 PM, Robert Krim and Scott Kirsner present From Revolution to Pandemic: What Makes Boston One of the World’s Top Innovation Centers?

On Thursday, 25 March, at 5:15 PM, Neilesh Bose, University of Victoria, and Helen R. Deese, Caroline Healey Dall Editor, MHS, present Marriage of Minds or Boston Divorce? The Lives & Good Works of Caroline Healey Dall & Rev. Charles Henry Appleton Dall on Two Continents with moderator Megan Marshall, Emerson College.

On Tuesday, 30 March, at 5:15 PM, Samuel Backer, Johns Hopkins University, presents The Parlor & the Public: Tin Pan Alley & the Birth of Manhattan Mass Culture with comment by Jeffrey Melnick, University of Massachusetts Boston

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