Tuesday, November 9, 2010

NERFC Happenings for 2010 - 2011

More NERFC News

NERFC scholar Christine DeLucia presented an informal talk based on her research at Rhode Island Historical Society on December 1. Her topic, Trails of Memory in the Narragansett Country: Native and Settler Place-Traditions in Rhode Island after King Philip’s War drew an audience of over 50 people to RIHS Library.

RIHS has hosted four other NERFC scholars in 2010. Hayley Glaholt looked into the New England Yearly Meeting Archives housed at the Library to explore her topic Quaker women and the pacifist ethic. Jane Fiegen Green pursued her research on the role of youth during the early republic and Nicholas Osborn used the Old Stone Bank records to document the advent of savings institutions. Christopher Pastore will present a talk in January on the environmental and Atlantic history of Narragansett Bay.

Ms. Lee Teverow
Reference Librarian
RIHS Library
Providence, RI 02906

NERFC Alumni News

Essay on Anthony Comstock

I have a new essay in Common-place that reflects some of my NERFC research. The link is: http://www.common-place.org/vol-11/no-01/tales/

My NERFC host at the Connecticut Historical Society, Susan Shoelwer, was the editor.

Amy Werbel (NERFC Fellow, 2009)
Professor of Fine Arts, Saint Michael's College
Saint Michael's College
Colchester, Vermont

New Publication

The first edition of Hannah Mather Crocker's Reminiscences and Traditions of Boston is slated to be published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society Press in April 2011. I worked on this edition while a NERFC fellow in 2009-10. Crocker (1752-1829) was the daughter of Samuel Mather, the grand-daughter of Cotton Mather, and the great-granddaughter of Increase Mather, all famed Boston ministers. Crocker wrote the Reminiscences between 1822 and 1829, when she left the book unpublished at her death. The manuscript was acquired by the NEHGS in 1879.

Crocker’s history of Boston spans from the city’s founding by the Puritans in 1630 through the War of 1812. There are also scattered, eye-witness references to life in the city for the duration of Crocker’s life from the 1750s through the 1820s. The narrative is not chronological but rather thematically recounts the development of Boston via its topography, the genealogy of its inhabitants, and its politics. The narrative orients itself around several key political events to which it periodically returns: the Puritan founding, the crafting of the colonial and provincial charters of Massachusetts, the American Revolution, the post-revolutionary rebirth of the city, and the War of 1812. Her non-chronological treatment of the city’s history allows Crocker to draw connections between events and people across time and space. The narrative climax of Crocker’s history is the American Revolution, in which Crocker weaves her eye-witness testimony into a reflective work of synthetic history that draws from primary, secondary, and oral sources.

The bound volume of the Reminiscences at the NEHGS contains two versions of Crocker's history of Boston, plus an appendix of related personal, literary, and historical documents that Crocker (and at least one later editor) affixed to it. The 600-page hand-written manuscript has not previously been published. This scholarly edition, co-edited by Sarah L. Houser and me, reproduces the bound volume in its entirety and according to the principles of documentary editing. We also provide a historical introduction, a biographical directory, historical annotations in the form of footnotes and headnotes, an index to the poetry, and a general index.

We believe that our edition of Crocker's Reminiscences and Traditions of Boston will be of great interest to scholars, students, and general readers interested in early American history, literature, and political thought.

Eileen Hunt Botting
Associate Professor
Dept. of Political Science
University of Notre Dame

Institutional News

From Mystic Seaport:

Coriolis: Interdisciplinary Journal of Maritime Studies, Volume 1, Number 2 is scheduled to be published in December. Issue one concentrated on anthropological and social issues while issue two will focus more on arts and literature. Additionally, the $1,000 Morris prize Article award that formerly appeared in the Log of Mystic Seaport will now have a new home at Coriolis. Coriolis is published at Mystic Seaport in association with the National Maritime Digital Library. The journal can be found at http://ijms.nmdl.org/

While the Library is currently open on Thursdays and Fridays from 10 until 5, this summer we added afternoon hours on Monday through Wednesday as well to support the NEH-Funded Munson Institute program. Twenty scholars from around the country kept the Library staff busy throughout the summer. At least one article for Coriolis resulted from the work done here during the program.

Chris Pastore, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of New Hampshire and a recipient of a Fellowship from the New England Regional Fellowship Consortium spent a number of weeks here working on his dissertation topic entitled “From Sweetwater to Seawater: An Environmental and Atlantic History of Narragansett Bay, 1636-1836.”

Contact Paul O'Pecko at paul.opecko@mysticseaport.org with any comments or questions.

From the Connecticut Historical Society

Two NERFC scholars visited the Connecticut Historical Society in j2010. Rachel Cope of Utah spent two weeks seeking words written by women about their conversion experiences. Most of our knowledge of conversion comes from religious tracts or articles written by men. Rachel wanted to know how the women themselves perceived conversion and how that affected their sense of self.

Jane Fiegen of Washington University in St. Louis, was also looking for people speaking in their own words. In her case, she searched for letters and diaries in which young people described their transition to adulthood and how they adapted to cultural change.

The Research Center is open Tuesday through Friday, 12:00-5:00 pm and Saturday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Questions about manuscript and archival holdings can be directed to Barbara Austen at 860-236-5621 x251 or barbara_austen@chs.org.

From the Massachusetts Historical Society:

At the start of September the Society unveiled three comfortable offices for scholars here on extended fellowships. Check out the accommodations the next time you’re in town. You might even find them so appealing that you will feel compelled to apply for one of our long-term grants!

Our new construction wasn’t the only significant development of a busy summer. Conrad Wright, Kate Viens, and Brigitte Bailey of UNH are editing the papers presented at our April conference on Margaret Fuller, the Transcendentalist reformer and journalist. The volume will be published by The University Press of New England in 2012.

Two other conferences are also occupying us. “What’s New about the New Immigration? Traditions and Transformations since 1965” will take place next April 7-9. For information, visit http://www.masshist.org/events/conferences.cfm. We are at an earlier phase in the development of a conference on the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, which will probably take place in April 2013 on a Civil War topic to be determined. If we haven’t contacted you and you would like to weigh in, please drop Conrad a line at cwright@masshist.org.

All of our other customary activities are thriving. If you find yourself in Boston, we hope you’ll check the calendar on our website for seminars, brown bag lunches, lectures, and other programs. We would love to see you!

Hours: 9:00 am - 4:45 pm Mon., Tues., Wed., Fri.; 9:00 am - 7:45 pm Thurs.; 9:00am - 4:00 pm Sat. Please see holiday closings on our website.

From the Boston Athenaeum

The Boston Athenaeum hosted one NERFC fellow in August. Hayley Glaholt spent six days studying our holdings for her dissertation on anti-vivisection and Quakers. She was here at the end of a busy summer in which almost all our 2010-2011 fellows fulfilled their residency and filled our special collections room.

There’s been a brief respite from fellows, although members and guest researchers keep us busy, and we expect our new fellow to arrive around Thanksgiving. His topic on the civil war is timely, as we approach the anniversary of the start of the American Civil War.

Our curator of manuscripts is busy preparing small exhibitions for his website and to show to the public. If you are in Boston and would like to view any, you can stop by; the first floor Long Room and exhibition space (which will feature Edward Gorey’s work in February) are open to the public.

Boston Athenaeum
10 1/2 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02108