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The Treasures of the Massachusetts Historical Society
Tuesday, February 23, 2021|4:00 pm - 5:00 pm UTC
Founded in 1791, the Massachusetts Historical Society, an independent research library, is the nation’s oldest historical society. The Society’s collections—studied by scholars, enjoyed by history enthusiasts, and used to teach students across the country—bring to life the stories of America’s past. The MHS is housed in a National Historic Landmark building on the Fenway in Boston. It was designed by Edmund March Wheelwright, and opened in 1899 and has since been expanded and modernized. The mission of the MHS is to promote understanding of the history of Massachusetts and the nation by collecting and communicating materials and resources that foster historical knowledge. The Society’s collections encompass millions of rare and unique documents and artifacts vital to the study of American history—many of them irreplaceable national treasures.
In this first of its kind program, distinguished historian and author Catherine Allgor, who has served as President of the Massachusetts Historical Society since 2017, and Peter Drummey, the Stephen T. Riley Librarian at MHS, will introduce us to some of the treasures and collections held by the Society.
Catherine Allgor is the president of the Massachusetts Historical Society since 2017. Previously, she had been the Nadine and Robert Skotheim Director of Education at the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA, and a former Professor of History and UC Presidential Chair at the University of California, Riverside. Allgor attended Mount Holyoke College as a Frances Perkins Scholar and received her Ph.D. with distinction from Yale University, where she also won the Yale Teaching Award. Her dissertation received a prize as the best dissertation in American History at Yale and The Lerner-Scott Prize for the Best Dissertation in U.S. Women’s History. She began her teaching career at Simmons College and has been a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and a Visiting Professor of History at Harvard University. Allgor’s first book, Parlor Politics: In Which the Ladies of Washington Help Build a City and a Government (University Press of Virginia, 2000), won the James H. Broussard First Book Prize from the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic and the Northeast Popular Culture/American Culture Association Annual Book Award. Her political biography, A Perfect Union: Dolley Madison and the Creation of the American Nation (Henry Holt, 2006), was a finalist for the George Washington Book Prize. In 2012, she published Dolley Madison: The Problem of National Unity (Westview Press) and The Queen of America: Mary Cutts’s Life of Dolley Madison (University of Virginia Press). President Obama appointed Allgor to a presidential commission, The James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation. Catherine Allgor also serves on the Board of Directors of the National Women’s History Museum.
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