Stay engaged with the MHS this year.

“I entered upon this day with a supplication to Heaven, first for my Country; secondly for myself, and for those connected with my good name and fortunes, that the last results of its events may be auspicious and blessed...”
Featured Item from the MHS Collection

B. B. French was the Commissioner of Public Buildings in Washington DC when he arranged to have this iron table made ca. 1863–1865. Produced from pieces of the new dome then being erected at the US Capitol, the table consists of a thin iron panel, a pillar (one of the balusters for the iron railing underneath the opening of the dome), and footing (acanthus ornament of the inner dome). The table held Pres. Abraham Lincoln’s Bible and glass of water during his second inauguration. Learn more about the table and other presidential inauguration ceremonies in which it was used.
The ceremony and celebration of Inauguration Day has been a long cherished tradition in the United States. Of the 58 inaugurations performed over the past 232 years, the last Inauguration Day of the 18th century—while it may not have included all of the pomp and circumstance typical of today—stands out as the first orderly change of leadership under the new Constitution as John Adams became the second president. Aware of the enormous responsibility and hardships that the office entailed, and the relief George Washington must have felt at reaching retirement, John Adams wrote to Abigail Adams the day after his inauguration, "He Seem’d to me to enjoy a Tryumph over me. Me thought I heard him think Ay! I am fairly out and you fairly in! See which of Us will be happiest." In honor of Inauguration Day, view a selection of inauguration-related items from John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and John Quincy Adams.
The Future of History
As the nation prepares for the inauguration of its 46th president, the vision of the MHS—a world where historical understanding is the cornerstone of a healthy democracy—is more important than ever. In 2017, the MHS published The Future of History: Historians, Historical Organizations & the Prospects for the Field, a collection of essays from national leaders in the fields of academic and public history. The authors offer wide-ranging commentary on the current challenges and opportunities in the field as we strive to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse and networked society. Read the essays. 
This Weeks Online Programs

On Tuesday, 19 January, at 5:15 PM, Rachel Walker, University of Hartford, presents High Brow, Low Brow: Phrenology, Fashion & Female Activism in the 19th Century with comment by Sari Altschuler, Northeastern University. Between the 1830s and 1860s, Americans began fighting over a curious topic: female foreheads. While feminists and phrenologists saw “high brows” as an alluring sign of intelligence in women, gender conservatives viewed them as a troubling assault on patriarchal hierarchies. At first glance, the public battles over female foreheads might seem like frivolous exchanges over women’s appearances. In reality, they were not just political conflicts but also scientific debates about the capacities of the female brain.
This is part of the History of Women, Gender, & Sexuality Seminar series. 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 Thursday, 21 January, at 5:15 PM, Traci Parker, University of Massachusetts—Amherst, presents Revolutionary Weddings: Marriage in the Black Panther Party with comment by Robyn Spencer, CUNY—Lehman College. Revolutionary love and marriages in the Black Panther Party were powerful aspects of Black Power politics. This paper argues that Panthers viewed Black romantic love as an act and a tool of revolution. They believed that if African Americans embraced love and marriage, defining it and its parameters in ways that best suited individuals and race, they could reclaim, reimagine, and build strong Black families and communities, destabilize white supremacy, and realize Black liberation. This is part of the African American History Seminar series. 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.
Upcoming Online Programs
On Tuesday, 26 January, at 5:15 PM, Sarah Ketchley, University of Washington, presents Excavating Egyptology: The Emma B. Andrews Diary Project with comment by Jennifer Stertzer, University of Virginia.

On Thursday, 28 January, at 5:15 PM, Ben Mutschler, Oregon State University, and Liz Covart, Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, present The Province of Affliction: Illness & the Making of Early New England.

On Monday, 1 February, at 5:30 PM, Gretchen Sorin, SUNY Oneonta, and Catherine Allgor, MHS, present Driving While Black: African American Travel & the Road to Civil Rights.

On Tuesday, 2 February, at 5:15 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 Thursday, 4 February, at 5:30 PM, Peter Wirzbicki, Princeton University, presents Higher Laws: Black & White Transcendentalists & the Fight Against Slavery.

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