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Reminiscences and Traditions of Boston

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Reminiscenes 100Editor of the new book, Reminiscences and Traditions of Boston by Hannah Mather Crocker, Eileen Hunt Botting guides readers through Crocker's 180-year-old recollections of Boston.

Hannah Mather Crocker's Reminiscences and Traditions of Boston (c.1822-1829) is a 600 page manuscript history of Boston from the 1620s to the 1820s. It has been preserved at NEHGS since 1879, and is now available in a comprehensive scholarly edition.

Crocker was one of the most important women's rights advocates of the early republic. She was also well-connected in Boston's political circles, as the niece of colonial governor Thomas Hutchinson and the grand-daughter of the Rev. Cotton Mather. Her unique history of her native city takes a topographical approach, guiding the reader on a walking tour of the streets, squares, alleys, wharves, and smuggling tunnels of old Boston. She provides eye-witness accounts of the political conflicts of the revolutionary era, including the Stamp Act riot of 1765 and the Siege of Boston of 1775-1776. Her focus on the families, homes, and built environment of the city in the long eighteenth century makes the book a great resource for genealogists, family historians, and historians of Boston.

Giving a fresh perspective on early American religious and political history, she shows the connections between church and state in the colonial and provincial eras, the splintering of Congregationalist churches, and the rise of minority churches such as the Baptists, Roman Catholics, and Universalists. Crocker's history of Boston also pays heed to the voices and stories of women, serving as a bridge between the oral traditions of several generations of local women and the written historical record.

The Reminiscences has three parts: two versions of her history of Boston plus an appendix of related literary and historical documents. The volume, particularly the appendix, contains the largest known collection of Crocker's own poetry. Crocker creatively wove her own poetry, as well as poetry about Boston and by other Bostonians such as Joseph Green, Mather Byles, and Phillis Wheatley, into both versions of her history of the city. Writing with humor, patriotic spirit, and a sense of urgency as she neared the end of her seventy-seven years, Crocker penned her Reminiscences with the intent that it would inform and inspire the "rising generation'' of American citizens to understand and appreciate the roots of their rights and freedoms in the political struggles of the colonial, provincial and revolutionary eras.

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Eileen Hunt BottingEileen Hunt Botting is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame and author of Family Feuds: Wollstonecraft, Burke, and Rousseau on the Transformation of the Family (SUNY Press, 2006).


Interview with Joseph Carvalho III

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Black Families in Hampden County, MassachusettsJoseph Carvalho III, author of the new edition of Black Families in Hampden County, Massachusetts, 1650-1865 (NEHGS), recently appeared on "Connecting Point" to discuss his genealogical research and the importance of western Massachusetts in African-American History.

Black History Month, part two from WGBY on Vimeo.


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Learn more about Black Families in Hampden County, Massachusetts, 1650-1865  and order today.



Joseph Carvalho III, M.A., M.L.S., and Certi­­­­fied Archivist, recently retired as the President and Execu­tive Director (1994–2010) of the Spring­­field Muse­­ums in Springfield, Massa­chu­­setts. He served as Associate Editor of the Historical Journal of Massachusetts (1978–2003), and as the Book Review Editor of the National Gene­alogical Society Quarterly (1987–1996). In 1996, Joe received the National Award for Advancing Genealogical Research Publica­tions from the National Geneal­ogical Society. He is the author of numerous articles in historical and genealogical journals, and he co-edited reference works such as The Guide to the History of Massa­chusetts (1988), Dictionary of American Medical Biography (1985), and  Labor in Massachusetts: Selec­ted Essays (1990). He has also served as the executive producer of many historical video documentaries, including Climbing Jacob’s Ladder: The Development of African American Churches in Springfield: 1840s-1890s (1992). Owner and operator of Watershops Studio in Springfield, Joe recorded the audio CD for the Enchanted Circle Theater’s theat­rical pro­­duction Sojourner’s Truth (2011).

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