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Saturday, December 16, 2023

December 16-17, 2023: A Tribute to BostonStudiers

[This coming weekend marks the 250th anniversary of one of the most significant events in Colonial America, the Boston Tea Party. So this week I’ve AmericanStudied a handful of layers to that important moment, leading up to this special weekend tribute to some of the many BostonStudiers from whom I’ve learned a great deal!]

On a handful of the many BostonStudiers from whom I’ve learned a lot and we should all keep learning more, for this commemoration and beyond.

1)      The Tea Merchant: I have to start this tribute post with a voice who has focused on collective memories and stories of the Boston Tea Party. Economic and author Leena Bhatagar’s historical novel links that event to others in London and Calcutta, and like all historical fiction blends imagined characters and storytelling with the histories and contexts. But Leena’s November webinar for the Boston Tea Party Ships organization makes clear that she has historical analysis to contribute alongside the novel’s storytelling, and all of that makes her a voice well worth including in this weekend post.

2)      J.L. Bell: If Leena is an authority on the specific occasion for this week’s blog series, J.L. Bell is to my mind the unquestioned expert on its broad contexts: all things Boston and New England in and around the Revolutionary era. He’s also been writing a public scholarly blog on blogspot (the first hyperlink above) for even longer than me, and is thus a model for all of us out here in the blogging game. If you don’t believe me, just check out his more than 200 posts with the “Boston Tea Party” tag!

3)      Ben Edwards: One of the best ways to learn about history in Boston is to walk it, as I argued for example in my Saturday Evening Post Considering History column on the Black Heritage Trail (a vital complement to the city’s more famous Freedom Trail). And one of the best ways to do that is in the company of Walking Boston founder and tour guide (and children’s book author!) Ben Edwards. Now get out there and retrace the route from the Old South Meeting House to the Harbor!

4)      Nathaniel Sheidley: I first met Nat Sheidely when our kids were in preschool together, longer ago than I care to remember. At that time he was professing history at Wellesley College, but in the years since he’s become an integral figure in the Boston public history scene through his role as the President and CEO of Revolutionary Spaces. This weekend they’re hosting a 250th anniversary commemoration of the Tea Party, which reflects how much they’re interconnected with my topics throughout the week. But there’s a lot more to both the organization and its President, and I look forward to continuing to learn from both of them!

5)      MHS Folks: Speaking of learning, I don’t think there’s any community in Boston from whom I’ve learned as much as the Massachusetts Historical Society. (Full disclosure: I’ve also been honored to give two book talks through MHS.) There are lots of layers to that community and that learning, but it boils down to phenomenal folks like Sara Georgini, Kanisorn “Kid” Wongsrichanalai, Peter Drummey, and many many more. Can’t pay tribute to BostonStudiers without highlighting my MHS peeps!

Next series starts Monday,


PS. What do you think? BostonStudiers you’d highlight, or Tea Party takes you’d share?

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