Massachusetts

New England industrialists hired thousands of young farm girls to work together in early textile mills—and spawned a host of unintended consequences

In June 1833 President Andrew Jackson, visiting the brand-new factory town of Lowell, Massachusetts, watched as 2,500 female mill workers marched past the balcony of his hotel. Read more >>

How tough Henry Knox hauled a train of cannon over wintry trails to help drive the British away from Boston

Its waters drove our first Industrial Revolution—and were poisoned by it. Thoreau believed the Merrimack might not run pure again for thousands of years, but today it is a welcoming pathway through a hundred-mile-long red-brick museum of America’s rise to power.

ON THE RUGGED COAST NORTH OF BOSTON, FOUR TOWNS SHARE A LONG HISTORY OF MORTAL PERIL AND ENDURING BEAUTY.

Can it be fair? Humane? Deter crime? These very current questions troubled Americans just as much in the day of the Salem witch trials as in the day of Timothy McVeigh

Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court spent part of May 6, 1901, writing about the death penalty, and specifically about electrocution. Read more >>

A hundred and fifty years ago famine in Ireland fostered a desperate, unprecedented mass migration to America. Neither country has been the same since.

Walking through the woods outside Concord, Massachusetts, in the spring of 1846, amid his solitary experiment in living close to nature, Henry David Thoreau was driven by a sudden storm to find shelter in what he thought was an uninhabited hut. Read more >>

When Henry Adams sought the medieval world in an automobile, this stuffiest of prophets became the first American to sing of the liberating force later celebrated by Jack Kerouac and the Beach Boys

Test-driving automobiles, Henry Adams discovered in June 1904, was “shattering to one’s nerves.” Trying out a Hotchkiss for purchase “scared my hair green. Truly it is a new world that I live in,” he continued, “though its spots are old. Read more >>

Is trial by jury the essential underpinning of our system of justice or—as more and more critics charge—a relic so flawed it should perhaps even be abolished? An experienced trial judge examines the historical evidence in the case.

The distinguished lawyer could not restrain himself. Even in the somber pages of the American Bar Association’s Tort & Insurance Law Journal late last year, his rage blazed and fulminated. Read more >>

A D-DAY VETERAN’S GRANDSON ATTEMPTS TO FIND THE ANSWER TO THAT MOST IMPENETRABLE QUESTION: WHAT WAS IT LIKE?

The Reverend Maurice Kidder used to wake at five to write sermons in his dark study where the beagle slept; that early hour seemed to give him the clarity to compose his lectures, which he delivered in an unaffected but commanding baritone voice each Sunday a Read more >>

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson stood together in America’s perilous dawn, but politics soon drove them apart. Then in their last years the two old enemies began a remarkable correspondence that is both testimony to the power of friendship and an eloquent summary of the dialogue that went on within the Revolutionary generation—and that continues within our own.

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On the hundredth anniversary of the unsolved double murder of Andrew and Abby Borden, is it time to ask: What was going on in that family?

A century ago in Fall River, Massachusetts, a jury of twelve men deliberated about one hour before acquitting Lizzie Borden of killing her father and stepmother. Read more >>

A rare survivor of New England’s earliest days testifies to the strength that forged a nation

A small but dependable pleasure of travel is encountering such blazons of civic pride as “Welcome to the City of Cheese, Chairs, Children, and Churches!”

Stephen Vincent Benét confessed that he had fallen in love with American placenames, and George R. Read more >>

For a century now it has been a haven to some, an outrage to others—and it is one of the very few social institutions that have survived their founders’ world

I‘m sorry, son,” said the father to his young offspring in a New Yorker cartoon some years ago, “but we WASPs have no tribal wisdom to pass on.” Read more >>

While the Revolution was still being fought, Mum Bett declared that the new nation’s principle of liberty must extend to her too. It took eighty years and a far more terrible war to confirm the rights she demanded.

Early during the year 1781, having heard a lot of talk about the “rights of man,” a black slave woman named Mum Bett walked out of her master’s house in western Massachusetts to tell a lawyer that she wanted to sue for her freedom. Read more >>

Had Thomas Morton raised his maypole anywhere but next door to the Pilgrims, history and legend probably would have no record of him, his town, or his “lascivious” revels

TIME: Summer, 1628. Read more >>

One of America s truly great men—scientist, philosopher, and literary genius—forged his character in the throes of adversity

THE YEAR IS 1890 and the place Cambridge, Massachusetts. Read more >>

How Hadley, Massachusetts, (incorporated 1661) coped with wolves, drunks, Indians, witches, and the laws of God and man.

DURING THE FIRST half of the nineteenth century, there lived in the Connecticut River valley of Massachusetts a scholar and country editor with an insatiable curiosity about the region in which he lived. Read more >>

The author recalls two generations of “Cliffie” life—hers and her mother’s—in the years when male and female education took place on opposite sides of the Cambridge Common and women were expected to wear hats in Harvard Square

My mother was a member of the class of 1899 at Radcliffe College, having come east from St. Paul, Minnesota—a sort of reverse pioneer. Read more >>

In reconstructing the past, Old Sturbridge Village is doing a lot more than selling penny candy and buggy rides. Struggling for verisimilitude, curators are raising scrawny chickens, trudging behind 150-year-old plows—and keeping pesticides out of the orchards.

Just inside the late Pliny Freeman’s 180-year-old barn in Old Sturbridge Village, I recently watched a gray-haired gentleman eyeing with evident disgust a bucket of wormy apples freshly picked from the Freeman Farm’s cider orchard. Read more >>

An Interview With Archibald MacLeish

The captivating examples of romantic nineteenth-century valentines on these pages are the handiwork of a lady unusual for her time. Esther Howland was born in 1828 in Worcester, Massachusetts, to Southworth A. Read more >>

In the shadow of Bunker Hill, bigots perpetrated an atrocity that showed a shocked nation that the fires of the Reformation still burned in the New World

On a sweltering Monday afternoon in July, 1834, Edward Cutter of Charlestown, Massachusetts, was startled by the sudden appearance of a woman in his house. Read more >>

WHEN JOSEPH KNOWLES STRIPPED TO THE BUFF AND SLIPPED INTO THE MAINE WOODS IN 1913, HE HOPED TO LEAD THE NATION BACK TO NATURE.

It was raining. A forty-four-year-old man named Joseph Knowles gingerly entered an old logging road in the Dead River country of Maine. Read more >>

A stern but brilliant Yankee revolutionized American higher education while president of our oldest university

Charles William Eliot cast a long shadow for a good many of his descendants, naturally enough. As a great-grandchild of his I felt it, too. The summers of my earliest boyhood, at Northeast Harbor, Maine, were spent partly in his austere presence. Read more >>

In founding Groton, Endicott Peabody was sure that muscular Christianity would protect
boys from the perils of loaferism

One of the most illustrious of these benevolent despots was the Reverend Endicott Peabody, who founded Groton School in 1884 and served it with all his might and main for over half a century. Read more >>
During the 1912 strike of 25,000 Lawrence, Massachusetts, textile workers—the high-water mark of the Industrial Workers of the World’s turbulent career—a group of female mill hands marched under a banner that read “We Want Bread and Roses, Too.” Moved by the Read more >>
A few years back a Massachusetts hardware salesman named Stuart Goldman bought a trunk which, he believed, had been sealed since 1799. When he opened it, he found the crisp silhouette of the Continental officer at left. Read more >>
The exacting, colorful, and often perilous career of a whaleman of the last century is known to most readers only through such fiction a Moby Dick . Read more >>