Partnership of Historic Bostons
Donations allow the all–volunteer Partnership to continue its free programs.  You will become a Member of the Partnership of the Historic Bostons for a donation of $35 or more. 
Partnership of Historic Bostons


2016 was a fabulous year for us - with more people attending our talks and events, more media coverage, and more going on throughout the year. From walking tours to reading first-hand historical accounts to sold-out lectures, we fulfilled our aim of being one of New England’s leading groups for public history of 17th-century Massachusetts.

Thank you to all who attended and supported us. Our year succeeded because of you, our many partners, and supporters, especially Friends of the Partnership.

As an all-volunteer group, we could not do this work without you. Please accept a heart-felt thank you!

Below is our report for 2016, told through photos.

Passionate Puritans:  Marriage, Love, and Sex in 17th-Century Massachusetts
Charter Day 2016
We take to the streets: one of three walking tours on September 7, 
the day Boston was named in 1630.
Boston Public Library, September 14

Lori Stokes on “Love and Longing in the 17th Century:  Five Myths About the Puritans,” at the Boston Public Library

CSPAN-3 filming Lori Stokes’s talk at the Boston Public Library

The Governor Bellingham-Cary House in Chelsea, September 24 

Visitors toured the house and heard a talk by British independent scholar and PHB board member Neil Wright on “Chelsea’s Passionate Puritan: Richard Bellingham and a Tale of Two Bostons”
Old State House, September 26

Nat Sheidley, The Bostonian Society Historian and Director of Public History, introduces the program.  Nat Sheidley is also a valuable adviser to the Partnership. 

Abby Chandler, UMass Lowell, 

describes a 17th-century sewing kit in her presentation, 

“Puritans at Home: A Conversation about Marriage, Love, and Family.” 

                             New England Historic Genealogical Society, October 5

Brenton Simons, president and CEO of NEHGS, offered a packed room (and overflowing waitlist) his talk, “Imperiled Privilege:  The Passionate Women of Boston’s Colonial Elite.

Old South Meeting House, October 26

World-renowned historian Frank Bremer spoke on the tantalizing topic of “Ravishing Affection:  The Myth and Reality of Puritans and Sex.”

Available in video and text 

Old South Meeting House before most of the audience had arrived. 

We scheduled lectures from January to December. They covered myriad 17th-century topics at

venues from Salem to Newport.  

In addition to our stunning "Passionate Puritan" series, we offered these talks and lectures: 

“Repast from The Past: A Taste Of 17th-Century New England,” Newton Historical Society

“Crime and Punishment in Early Boston,” New England Historical Genealogical Society

“Five Myths about the Puritans,” at History Camp Boston (where our talk drew the single largest audience!) 

PHB’s Lori Stokes and Will Holton enjoying their huge audience

“Boston’s Forgotten History,” Salem Explorers (with 95 people)

"Food, Faith, and Fellowship in Colonial New England," Newport Historical Society

“Crime and Punishment in Early Boston,” Osher Lifelong Institute, UMass Boston”
“Five Puritan Beliefs About Food,” OLLI, UMass Boston
"Five Myths about the Puritans," OLLI, UMass Boston

1630 Shoppe, Fanueil Hall, Boston
   “Baking, Cooking, and Mindful Eating in Puritan New England”
   “Thankfull, Desire, and Fear: How the Puritans Named their Children”
   “Puritan Women's Lives” 
   “Holidays in Puritan New England”
“A Tale of Two Bostons: Saint, Sinner, and Puritan” on the Commemoration of the Translation of St. Botolph’s Bones, St Botolph Club, Boston 

We are thrilled by how our reading group at Massachusetts Historical Society has grown over the last two years. Our very first discussion of 17th-century primary documents took place on February 2, 2015. We are now planning discussions for our third year, with topics as exciting as 17th-century surgery, reading New England maps, and slavery and servitude. Join us!

Our reading group has been made infinitely more special by MHS librarian Peter Drummey, who brings out and explains MHS treasures related to our discussions. We are grateful to the wonderful scholars, independent historians and historians who have helped lead our discussions and helped to bring the 17th century alive to newcomers to history.

MHS librarian Peter Drummey reveals MHS archive treasures in December, 2016.

Below are this year’s discussions.   

"What Newes?":  Communication in Early New England" 
Katherine Grandjean, Wellesley College
Author of American Passage:  The Communications Frontier in Early New England

“Daniel Gookin, Praying Indians, and America’s Bloodiest War”

Dwight Mackerron, independent historian, president of the Stoughton Historical Society

Members of the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Partnership of Historic Bostons, and the Massachuset and Mashpee Wampanoag Tribes at the Gookin discussion.  Discussion leader Dwight Mackerron is second from the right. 


“John Gyles’s Odd Adventure: A Different Captivity Narrative”

Abby Chandler, University of Massachusetts Lowell

Author of Law and Sexual Misconduct in New England, 1650-1750: Steering Toward England


“Sweet Talk: The Passion of Puritans in Love Letters, Sermons, and Diaries”

Lori Rogers Stokes, independent scholar 


“Lord of Misrule: Thomas Morton’s Battle with Puritan New England”       

E.J. Barnes

Writer and illustrator of “Thomas Morton: Merry Mount’s Lord of Misrule” in Colonial Comics, and other titles 


“A Plentifull Country: Letters from Maine’s Thomas Gorges”                     

Abby Chandler, University of Massachusetts Lowell


Friends of the Partnership (an annual donation of $35+) enjoyed two programs developed exclusively for them.  Join us, support the partnership, and enjoy special programs.

The Executive Director of the Royall House and Slave Quarters in Medford (below) led a tour for Friends in the spring. 

In the fall PHB trustee Bob Childs led a tour of 17
th-century Watertown in period dress. 

Our nine tours from April to November had multiple groups.  Thank you to our tour guides and to the butterfly who listened for quite a while to John Morrison. 
Tour of Anne Hutchinson's Boston

Developed for the celebration of Anne Hutchinson’s birthday this summer, this tour was filmed by Brookline Interactive Group with a 360-degree camera and will be available soon with narration by the Partnership president and treasurer.  The updated logo was given by the organizing group.


The Tale of Two Bostons on “Ben Franklin’s World,” featuring PHB president Rose Doherty, had over 10,000 downloads from 73 countries in less than six months.

Excellent media coverage included an Associated Press story about Frank Bremer's "Ravishing Affection" presentation.  It was published in the US, Canada, and the United Kingdom.  

Lori Stokes's Washington Post article about Puritan myths had a video.  Please copy and paste. 

This year our Facebook page had a posting every 2 ½ days.  These postings were liked and shared all over the world.  Twitter (@historicbostons) grew from four people in April 2015 to 104 all over the world today.  Our tweets are shared by people and institutions with huge followings. 

Our 17th century recipe booklet, The Pleasure of the Taste continues to attract readers and vendors.  You can buy the booklet on the landing page of the website.  


We thank all the wonderful institutions and groups with which we have worked this year. Among them are: the Boston Public Library, Bostonian Society, Congregational Library & Archives, Dorchester Historical Society, First Church in Boston, The Governor Bellingham-Cary House, Historical Society of Watertown, King’s Chapel, Massachusetts Historical Society, National Park Service, New England Historic Genealogical Society, Old South Meeting House, Park Street Church, and the Winthrop Society. 

We are working with New England Beginnings,  a coalition of groups promoting activities that commemorate the cultures that shaped early New England.  The Partnership has joined 19 institutions, three ancestry organizations, five international partners, and 21 scholars to tell the stories of the region in the 17th century to a wide public audience and enhance accessibility of resources for future scholarship in the field.

The link to our growing 2017 calendar of events is HERE. Keep in touch!.  

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