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Colonial and Revolutionary Boston Highlighted in BPL Local & Family History Lecture Series

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localHistorians and genealogists take audiences back to early Boston

Boston Public Library’s Local and Family History Lecture Series returns this month, detailing Colonial and Revolutionary Boston from the perspective of defiant brides, pre-Revolutionary War newspapers, and the stories of the men and women who actually lived it. The series is in its eleventh year of sharing information about the history of Boston and its neighborhoods and features tips and guidance for those beginning their own genealogical research. All Local and Family History Series lectures take place in the Commonwealth Salon at the Central Library in Copley Square, which is located at 700 Boylston Street. Fall lectures include:

  • Victor T. Mastone, director and chief archaeologist of the Massachusetts Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources, will take the audience back to the Battle of Chelsea Creek, a significant event in the siege of Boston. Wednesday, September 11, at 6 p.m.
  • Curator Martha Clark of the Massachusetts Archives will prepare researchers with ways to make the most of their visit while learning about their Colonial ancestors at the Archives. Wednesday, September 25, at 6 p.m.
  • New York Times contributor and executive director of the Cape Cod Writers Center Nancy Rubin Stuart will discuss her book Defiant Brides, which offers a rich portrait of two rebellious women who defied expectations at a volatile political moment in early America. Wednesday, October 16, at 6 p.m.
  • Many of the participants in the American Revolution actually lived into the age of photography, and author Maureen Taylor shares the detective work involved in uncovering these pictures and the life stories of the individuals in her talk “The Last Muster: Photographs of the Revolutionary War Generation.” Wednesday, October 30, at 6 p.m.
  • Speaker J.L. Bell details the role of mass media in the American colonies, including the personal and political rivalries of newspaper and magazine publishers in his talk “Boston’s Pre-Revolutionary Newspaper Wars.” Wednesday, November 6, at 6 p.m.
  • Genealogist Barbara Jean Mathews will discuss tips and strategies for finding one’s ancestors during the period from 1620 to 1776, which saw many changes in society and settlement. Wednesday, November 20, at 6 p.m.
  • Lori Lyn Price details some of the common illnesses and treatments in Colonial New England in a talk designed to help genealogists place the role of health and medicine in their ancestors’ lives into perspective. Wednesday, December 4, at 6 p.m.

More information on each of the lectures in the series is available via Boston Public Library has identified its Local and Family History collection as one of its initial 18 Collections of Distinction, which represent the most outstanding, expansive, and renowned of the library’s holdings. The Local and Family History collection contains family and local history records from Massachusetts and most of New England. The collection includes more than 30,000 wide-ranging materials from the 17th–21st centuries. More information about the BPL’s Collections of Distinction is available via

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