Henry David Thoreau, at 200: A Genius Old Sixpence whose Influence still Resonates Today

Whether you’re looking for inspiration for fighting an unjust government, evidence for climate change, or a role model for living a more deliberate life, all those roads can lead to Henry David Thoreau, born 200 years ago on July 12. Born in Concord, Thoreau had Merrimack Valley ties, living several years in Chelmsford as a…Read more Henry David Thoreau, at 200: A Genius Old Sixpence whose Influence still Resonates Today

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We made the Lowell Sun! A Look at the Art and Artifacts of the Lowell Historical Society

We've been active lately, at the Lowell Historical Society.  Among the responsibilities of my role as curator of the society's art and artifacts is not only to figure out and document what we have, but also to share this information with the public, many of whom have parents and grandparents (and maybe great-grandparents too) who…Read more We made the Lowell Sun! A Look at the Art and Artifacts of the Lowell Historical Society

The Rise and Fall of Shorthand in Victorian-Era America

Shorthand experienced its heyday in the years immediately following the Civil War.  As the end of the 19th century approached, many reporters began to swear off its usefulness, saying that shorthand's time had passed, and that it was no longer worth the significant effort required to learn it.  By the early 1890's, the century's practice…Read more The Rise and Fall of Shorthand in Victorian-Era America

Cornhill – Once Boston’s Literary Center, Today Replaced by Government Center

It wasn't Cornhill Street, Cornhill Road, Cornhill Avenue, or even the Cornhill; instead, it was just Cornhill, and in its day, knowing this was just one more way that those in the know had to distinguish locals from those visiting Boston as tourists. In its history, Boston has had two roads called Cornhill.  The first,…Read more Cornhill – Once Boston’s Literary Center, Today Replaced by Government Center

1918: Spanish Flu, Attitudes toward Housekeeping, and a Little Bit about Linguistic History

One of the more interesting aspects of writing a blog is seeing which topics attract the most interest.  In mid-December, I wrote a post about the Spanish flu (link below) and its spread across Massachusetts in 1918 and 1919.  Since then, it's been one of my most popular posts (placing fourth most popular of the…Read more 1918: Spanish Flu, Attitudes toward Housekeeping, and a Little Bit about Linguistic History

In His Words: Charles Dickens’ Perspective on New England and Public Transport, 1842

We New Englanders have long called Boston "the Hub".  And there's a sense, just barely concealed, that we're really referring to the hub of the universe, and not merely the hub of the state or region.   Undoubtedly, New England has a strong regional identity that includes the ubiquitous image of the "proper Bostonian" as well as a…Read more In His Words: Charles Dickens’ Perspective on New England and Public Transport, 1842