Lectures and Performances
Tuesday, November 17, at 7 p.m.
“Creating Salem Lessons”
By Nicole Cooley and Maureen Cummins
In collaboration with ArtsWorcester
Maureen Cummins and Nicole Cooley, two former AAS Creative and Performing Artist and Writers Fellows, will return to discuss their collaborative project entitled Salem Lessons. This work is a limited-edition artist book that features a slate-covered container and a "chorus of voices" that provide multiple perspectives on the experience of the Salem Witch trials of the 1690s. Together these voices--of both accusers and executed--tell the story not only of what happened during that terrible time, but also--through images of copy-book pages kept by a Salem boy a century later--of the psychic reverberations that lasted long after the trials ended.
Maureen Cummins is a book artist who has created over twenty-five limited-edition artist books. Her work is held in over 100 permanent public collections internationally and has been included in exhibitions at the American Craft Museum, the Zimmerli Art Museum, the Rotunda Gallery, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Art Comlex Museum, and the Brooklyn Museum. Cummins has received over a dozen grants and awards and has held various artist-in-residences. She was a creative artist fellow in residence at AAS in 2001.
Nicole Cooley is a poet and writer whose works include four books of poetry: Milk Dress (2010), Resurrection (1996), The Afflicted Girls (2004), and Breach (2010); the novel Judy Garland, Ginger Love (1998) and various scholarly works. Her work has appeared in Poetry, Field, Ploughshares, Poetry Northwest, The Paris Review, PEN America, the Missouri Review, The Nation, and Pedagogy. Her awards include the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets for her first book, Resurrection; a Discovery/The Nation Award; a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship; and the Emily Dickinson Award from the Poetry Society of America. Cooley researched The Afflicted Girls at AAS while a Creative Artist Fellow in 1999. Cooley is the director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation at Queens College-CUNY, where she is a professor of English.
Friday, November 20, at 7 p.m.
“Representing Iconoclasm: Painting, Print, Performance”
By Wendy Bellion
During the 1760s and 1770s, British subjects in New York raised a half-dozen public monuments celebrating their Englishness, including an equestrian statue of King George III. In the opening salvos of the American Revolution, the statue – together with a liberty pole and a sculpture of William Pitt the Elder – came crashing down at the hands of colonial activists and British troops. Yet if the monuments were gone, they were hardly forgotten. The statues survived in pieces, and the destruction of the royal statue was endlessly represented in nineteenth-century paintings, prints, and texts. It was even reenacted in the form of civic pageants and parades throughout the twentieth century. Tracing the intertextual nature of these visual and performative representations, this talk also explores a paradox at the heart of this phenomenon: the reiterative reconstruction of an act of artistic destruction. This lecture is also serving as the keynote for the 2015 Fall CHAViC Conference.
Previous 2015 Lectures and Performances
Thursday, April 2, at 7:00 p.m.
“Lincoln’s Last Speech and the Problem of Reconstruction”
By Louis P. Masur
Co-sponsored by the Franklin M. Loew Lecture Series at Becker College
On the evening of April 11, 1865, standing at a second-floor White House window on the North Portico, Abraham Lincoln delivered his last speech. An enthusiastic and restless crowd of several thousand came to listen despite the soaking rain, anticipating and indeed calling for a rousing victory oration. They were eager to hear their commander in chief sound the Confederacy’s death knell. But rather than dwell on the war that had so nearly destroyed the Union, he turned to how best to reunite the nation.
In this lecture, based on his latest book, Lincoln’s Last Speech: Wartime Reconstruction and the Crisis of Reunion, Louis Masur discusses Lincoln’s last speech and the evolution of the president’s thinking about Reconstruction. Key moments, such as the Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction on December 8, 1863, and Lincoln’s pocket veto of the Wade-Davis bill in July 1864, came to define Lincoln’s position. Questions of social reconstruction, the plight of the freedmen and the debate over their place in society, were as important as the political. Hearing the president endorse limited black suffrage, John Wilkes Booth declared, “That is the last speech he will ever make.” What Lincoln said on April 11 would lead directly to his assassination three days later.
Louis Masur is distinguished professor of American studies and history at Rutgers University. A graduate of the University at Buffalo and Princeton University, he is a cultural historian who has written on a variety of topics. His most recent work prior to Lincoln’s Last Speech is Lincoln’s Hundred Days: The Emancipation Proclamation and the War for the Union (2012) and The Civil War: A Concise History (2011). Masur’s essays and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, and Los Angeles Times. He has also written for the American Scholar, Chronicle of Higher Education, Salon, and Slate. Masur has been elected to membership of the American Antiquarian Society, the Massachusetts Historical Society, and the Society of American Historians and has received teaching prizes from Harvard University, the City College of New York, and Trinity College.
Thursday, April 9, at 7:00 p.m.
“Lincoln’s Republicanism as a Way of Life”
By Richard Wightman Fox
Co-sponsored by the Franklin M. Loew Lecture Series at Becker College
In this lecture based upon his recently published book, Lincoln’s Body: A Cultural History, Richard Fox will describe how Lincoln’s physical appearance and the way the sixteenth president consciously made himself accessible to the public informed his political views and his concept of equality. Lincoln’s physical appearance has been an important component of our understanding and appreciation of the man, both in his own time and in the subsequent years since his assassination. Lincoln’s Body explores how a president ungainly in body and downright "ugly" of aspect came to mean so much to us.
Richard Wightman Fox teaches courses in American cultural and intellectual history at the University of Southern California. He is the author of five books: Lincoln’s Body: A Cultural History (W. W. Norton, 2015); Jesus in America: Personal Savior, Cultural Hero, National Obsession (HarperOne, 2004); Trials of Intimacy: Love and Loss in the Beecher-Tilton Scandal (University of Chicago Press, 1999); Reinhold Niebuhr: A Biography (Pantheon, 1985); and So Far Disordered in Mind: Insanity in California, 1870–1930 (University of California Press, 1979). A recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, Fox began working on Lincoln’s Body in 2005, while he was the Mellon Distinguished Scholar in Residence at AAS.
Thursday, April 23, at 7:00 p.m.
“A Panel of Recent National Endowment for the Humanities Scholarship”
With Elizabeth Maddock Dillon, Kyle Volk, and Lisa Wilson
This panel discussion will feature three National Endowment for the Humanities fellows who were in residence during the 2010-11 academic year and whose research has resulted in recently published books.
They are: Elizabeth Maddock Dillon for her work New World Drama: The Performative Commons in the Atlantic World, 1649-1849; Kyle Volk with his book, Moral Minorities and the Making of American Democracy; and Lisa Wilson and her study, A History of Stepfamilies in Early America.
Tuesday, May 5, 6-8 p.m.
Eighth Annual Adopt-A-Book Evening The Society’s 8th Annual Adopt-a-Book event, which raises funds for library acquisitions, will take place on Tuesday, May 5, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. During the evening, you will have the opportunity to view rare books, pamphlets, newspapers, prints, and manuscripts that have been recently acquired by AAS.
Adopt an item in your name or in memory/in honor of a special person. Your generous contribution will be permanently recorded on a special bookplate and in AAS’s online library catalog.
Tuesday, May 12, at 7:00 p.m.
“Radical Philosophy at the Origin of the American Republic"
By Matthew Stewart
“I too am an Epicurean,” Jefferson wrote to one of his correspondents in 1819. Whatever did he mean by that? It has long been known that America’s founders were adventurous in their philosophy and heterodox in their religion. This presentation will explore the philosophical and religious influences not just on the more famous names, such as Jefferson, Franklin, and Paine, but also some less well-known figures, including Ethan Allen and Thomas Young—the unsung hero of the Boston Tea Party and the Pennsylvania Revolution. Drawing on his recent book, Nature’s God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic, Stewart will make the case that the unusual philosophical religion that inspired many of America’s revolutionaries was more radical than we now tend to think and at the same time central in the creation of the world’s first modern republic.
Matthew Stewart is a former management consultant and writer who has written about a wide range of subjects, including the consulting business with The Management Myth (W.W. Norton, 2009); philosophy, The Truth About Everything (Prometheus Books, 2006); Spinoza, The Courtier and the Heretic (W.W. Norton, 2006) and the invention of the submarine, Monturiol’s Dream (Pantheon, 2004).
Thursday, May 21, at 7:00 P.M.
“‘Mild Melodious Maze’: Songs and Instrumental Music from Early America (1770-1830)”
With Anne D. M. Harley, voice, Olav Chris Henriksen, guitar, and Na’ama Lion, flute
This musical program performed on period instruments celebrates some of the over 70,000 musical scores in the Society’s collections of American music. Come hear the heroic spirit in music from the first years of the American nation, the political songs of the Early Republic, shape note and Shaker tunes, popular hits from imported English stage shows, and the strains of the first art music composed on American soil.
Anne Harley is a prize-winning performer-scholar and an educator based in Claremont, CA. Since 2009, she has taught voice, music history and interdisciplinary humanities at Scripps College, and specializes in performing music from challenging and ground-breaking contemporary composers as well as music from early oral and written traditions in Europe, America, and Russia.
Harley performs in North America, Europe, and Asia and has appeared as soloist with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (Angels in America), Opera Boston (Nixon in China), American Repertory Theatre (Oedipus), Handel & Haydn Society, Boston Camerata, and at the Banff Centre for the Arts and at the Tanglewood Festival.
Harley also leads the ground-breaking early Russian music ensemble TALISMAN with Dr. Oleg Timofeyev. Their first recording project of modern-day premieres of music by women composers from the court of Catherine the Great won the Noah Greenberg award from the American Musicological Society and garnered praise from Gramophone. Her latest project, Voices of the Pearl, commissions, performs, and records new song cycles setting texts from female esoteric practitioners from all world traditions. Her solo performances are available on Hänssler Profil, Naxos, Sony Classics, Canteloupe, Musica Omnia, einKlang and BMOP/sound, among others.
Olav Chris Henriksen, acclaimed throughout Europe and North America as a soloist on lute, theorbo, and early guitars, is a much sought-after ensemble player, performing and recording with the Boston Camerata, Handel & Haydn Society, Waverly Consort, Boston Baroque, Emmanuel Music, Ensemble Chaconne, and Musicians of the Old Post Road, among others.
Recent performances include appearances with Ensemble Chaconne at the National Gallery in London and the Gainsborough House Museum (Sudbury, England), as well as Handel’s Water Music with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Bach’s St. John Passion with Emmanuel Music. His new solo recording, Guitar of the North, is on the Centaur label; his first solo recording, La Guitarre Royalle: French Baroque and Classical Guitar Music, is on the Museum Music label, and he has also recorded for Nonesuch, Erato, Pro Musica, Telarc, and Decca.
Henriksen performs and lectures frequently at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, playing musical instruments from the Museum’s own collection. He has also lectured at Harvard University, Cambridge; Nelson Atkins Museum, Kansas City; Musikkhögskolen, Oslo; Aston Magna Academy, Rutgers University; and Lincoln Center Institute, New York. He teaches at the Boston Conservatory and the University of Southern Maine.
Na'ama Lion has performed solo and chamber music recitals nationally and internationally, and with the Handel and Haydn Society Orchestra, Boston Baroque, Boston Cecilia, “Sequentia”, Arcadia Players and "La Donna Musicale", celebrating music by women composers. Ms. Lion is also a performer of new music for the Baroque flute, and works closely with composers to create new repertoire for the instrument. She is the director of the chamber music program at Mather House, Harvard University, on the faculty at Longy School of Music, and teaches regularly at the summer workshop of Amherst Early Music. Last summer, she was a guest faculty at the International Baroque Institute at Longy. She has recorded for Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, Telarc, Centaur, and Stradivarius.
Thursday, October 8, at 7:00 p.m.
“Bancroft Heights: Catching the Spirit of the Place”
Presented in collaboration with Preservation Worcester and the Worcester Historical Museum
Join us as we launch the newly published book, Living at the City’s Green Edge: Bancroft Heights, A Planned Neighborhood in Worcester, Massachusetts, by Susan McDaniel Ceccacci. This book describes the neighborhood surrounding Antiquarian Hall as it explores the architecture, land use, and social history of the people who have lived in in the area. This program will feature those who first planted the seed for this publication and from those who made it a reality.
Thursday, October 22, at 7:00 p.m.
Eleventh Annual Robert C. Baron Lecture
"Looking Back at Women of the Republic"
By Linda K. Kerber
Each year the Baron lecture brings a distinguished AAS member who has written a significant work of history to Antiquarian Hall to reflect on the book’s impact on scholarship and society in the years since its first appearance. This year Linda Kerber will discuss her 1980 book, Women of the Republic: Intellect and Ideology in Revolutionary America, which is a landmark study of American political thought and has transformed our understanding of the Revolutionary period.
Linda K. Kerber is May Brodbeck Professor in Liberal Arts & Sciences at the University of Iowa. She is the author of No Constitutional Right to Be Ladies: Women and the Obligations of Citizenship (1998), for which she was awarded the Littleton-Griswold Prize for the best book in U.S. legal history and the Joan Kelley Prize for the best book in women's history (both awarded by the American Historical Association). Among her other books are Toward an Intellectual History of Women (1997) and Federalists in Dissent: Imagery and Ideology in Jeffersonian America (1970). She is co-editor of U.S. History As Women's History (1995), and of the widely used anthology, Women's America: Refocusing the Past (2010).
Friday, October 23, 3:30-5:00 p.m.
“Twenty Years of Creative Artists in the Collections”
A panel presentation featuring Honorée Jeffers, Ann Lovett, and Stephen O’Connor
For twenty years AAS has offered fellowships to creative and performing artists and writers. Join us for a panel presentation by a poet, a visual artist, and a fiction writer who will describe their experiences as fellows, share samples of their works, and reflect on how history and historical research has shaped their artist visions and their careers as professional artists.
Honorée Jeffers is a poet, fiction writer, and cultural critic. She is the author of four books of poetry. Her first book, The Gospel of Barbecue (2000), won the Stan and Tom Wick poetry prize and was a 2001 Paterson Poetry prize finalist. Her collections also include Outlandish Blues (2003); Red Clay Suite (2007), which received second prize in the Crab Orchard Review’s open competition; and The Glory Gets (2015). Jeffers’s poetry has appeared in the American Poetry Review, Callaloo, the Iowa Review, Ploughshares, and Prairie Schooner. Her work has been anthologized in numerous volumes, including Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry (2013), and The Civil Rights Reader: American Literature from Jim Crow to Reconciliation (2009). Jeffers has also published fiction in the Indiana Review, the Kenyon Review, the New England Review, and Story Quarterly. She was a Baron Creative Artist Fellow at AAS in 2009, when she conducted research for The Age of Phillis, a book of historical poetry imagining the life and times of Phillis Wheatley, the eighteenth-century black American poetess.
Stephen O’Connor is the author of two collections of short fiction - Here Comes Another Lesson (2010) and Rescue (1989) - and of two works of nonfiction, Will My Name Be Shouted Out? (1997), a memoir, and Orphan Trains: The Story of Charles Loring Brace and the Children He Saved and Failed (2001), biography/history. His novel, Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings, is forthcoming from Viking-Penguin. His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Conjunctions, One Story, and Best American Short Stories, among many other places, and his story "Ziggurat" was read by Tim Curry on Selected Shorts. His poems have appeared in Poetry, the Missouri Review, Green Mountain Review, and elsewhere. His essays and journalism have been published in The New York Times, DoubleTake, The Nation, Agni, The Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, and The New Labor Forum. O’Connor teaches in the MFA programs of Columbia University and Sarah Lawrence College. O’Connor researched Orphan Trains while in residence at AAS in 1997.
Ann Lovett is a visual artist who works in photography, encaustic painting, and creates artist books. She has exhibited widely, including at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York; Klingspor-Museum, Offenbach, Germany; Museum fur Angewandte Kunst, Frankfurt, Germany; Monique Goldstrom Gallery, New York; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.; and many others. Her work is represented in national and international collections and has been recognized by a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Photography, a New York State Council on the Arts Decentralization Grant, and the New York State Council on the Arts Individual Artists Program. She has been an artist in residence at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Ireland and the Visiting Artist’s and Scholar’s Program at the American Academy in Rome. Lovett is a professor of art at the State University of New York, New Paltz. She held a William Randolph Hearst Creative Artist Fellowship at AAS in 2009.
Friday, October 23, at 5:30 p.m.
“Dispatches from the Front Lines: Maps and Views of the American Revolutionary Era”
By Richard H. Brown
In this illustrated lecture Richard Brown will examine rare and beautiful full color maps and images created on the scenes of battles from the French and Indian War through the American Revolution. These often overlooked but essential sources show us how the colonists themselves would have experienced these conflicts and provide powerful and important new insights into the founding of the United States. This lecture is based upon the recently published book REVOLUTION: Mapping the Road to American Independence, 1755-1788 by Richard H. Brown and Paul E. Cohen. Many of the maps presented in this lecture and in the book have never been published before, some document decisive battles, and all provide visual energy and clarity to the Revolutionary Era.
Richard H. Brown is a collector of maps and views of the French and Indian War and American Revolution. He is vice chairman of the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library and serves as a councilor of the American Antiquarian Society. He is also a member of the Madison Council of the Library of Congress and the Library Committee of the New-York Historical Society.
Thursday, November 5, at 7 p.m.
“The Birth of the Liberty Tree”
By Robert J. Allison
What were the long-term consequences of Boston's resistance to the Stamp Act? A broad mobilization of Bostonians demolished property and forced Crown officials to resign, the British government rescinded the law, and both sides felt they had averted a bigger crisis. But had they? We will commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Stamp Act with this lecture that examines the importance of the Stamp Act Crisis, both for those who lived through it and for future generations.
Robert J. Allison is chairman of the History Department of Suffolk University in Boston and teaches courses in American history and the history of Boston, both there and at the Harvard Extension School. His books include The Crescent Obscured: The United States and the Muslim World, 1776-1815 (2000), A Short History of Boston (2004), Stephen Decatur, American Naval Hero (2005), The Boston Massacre (2006), and The Boston Tea Party (2007).