J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

Follow by Email


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Fall Events at the American Antiquarian Society

The American Antiquarian Society in Worcester has a full schedule of events coming up. Here are those touching on the eighteenth century.

Tuesday, 26 September, 7:00 P.M.
Politeness and Public Life in Early America—and Today
Steven C. Bullock
Long before current fears about incivility in public life—before anxieties about Twitter-shaming and cable-news name-calling—politeness was very much on the minds of American leaders. Eighteenth-century leaders like Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin considered politeness an essential part of a free society, a part of the larger project of challenging authoritarian rule. Drawing upon his new book Tea Sets and Tyranny, this lecture examines why civility seemed so important in early America—and why it seems so problematic today.

Tuesday, 3 October, 7:00 P.M.
A Revolution of Her Own!
Judith Kalaora
In 1782, Deborah Sampson bound her chest, tied back her hair, and enlisted in the Continental Army. This one-person play, written and performed by Judith Kalaora, recreates Sampson’s arduous upbringing, active combat, and success as the first female professional soldier. Judith Kalaora is an actress, educator, and historical interpreter. She has worked on stages from London to Montreal and across the United States.

Thursday, 12 October, 7:00 P.M.
David J. Silverman
The adoption of firearms by American Indians between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries marked a turning point in the history of North America's indigenous peoples—a cultural earthquake so profound that its impact has yet to be adequately measured. This lecture, based upon the book Thundersticks: Firearms and the Violent Transformation of Native America, explores how the embracing of firearms by Native Americans transformed their cultures and empowered them to pursue their interests and defend their political and economic autonomy for over two centuries.

Thursday, 26 October, 7:00 P.M.
Minutemen Revisited—the thirteenth annual Robert C. Baron Lecture
Robert A. Gross
In this lecture, A.A.S. member Robert Gross will discuss his 1976 Bancroft Prize-winning book, The Minutemen and Their World. Providing a provocative and compelling look at the everyday lives of New England farmers and their community as they rebelled against Great Britain, The Minutemen and Their World was reissued in a 25th-anniversary edition in 2001. Gross will reflect on the conception of this ground-breaking work and its ongoing impact on scholarship and society.

Tuesday, 7 November, 7:00 P.M.
Second Revolutions: Thomas Jefferson and Haiti
James Alexander Dun
Jefferson’s defeat of John Adams in the election of 1800 represented a peaceful transfer of power and signaled the onset of a more unified polity. This lecture, base upon the book Dangerous Neighbors: Making the Haitian Revolution in Early America, examines how the Jeffersonian victory took place on more than one front. Other more radical agendas for change were quashed as well at that moment, including that of Toussaint Louverture, leader of the nearly-independent French colony of Saint Dominque.
All these events are free. Parking is on the nearby streets. Seating is first-come, first-served.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Elias Boudinot’s Story of Gunpowder and Spying

In his memoirs of the Revolution, New Jersey politician Elias Boudinot included this ancedote, headlined “Scarcity of Powder at Boston”:
When our Army lay before Boston in 1775, our Powder was so nearly Expended, That General [George] Washington told me that he had not more than Eight Rounds a Man, Altho’ he had then near 14 miles of line to guard, and that he dare not fire an Evening or Morning Gun.

In this situation one of the Committee of Safety for Massachusetts, who was privy to the whole secret, deserted and went over to Genl [Thomas] Gage, and discovered our poverty to him.
This was apparently how Boudinot understood the story of Dr. Benjamin Church’s treachery. Church had indeed been a member of the Massachusetts Committee of Safety, and in that position had shared crucial information with Gen. Gage in early 1775. (I wrote about his disclosures in The Road to Concord.)

However, Church didn’t cross to the British side of the siege lines with news of the gunpowder shortfall. Instead, he was exposed and confined in Cambridge around the end of September.

Dr. Church had sent written messages into Boston during the siege, including one that traveled by Washington’s own secret communications channel. But it appears that Church never informed Gage about the Continentals’ gunpowder problem. In the letter that was deciphered and exposed him, Church told a British contact exactly the opposite, exaggerating the Continental supply:
Twenty tons of powder lately arrived at Philadelphia, Connecticut & Providence. Upwards of 20 tons are now in camp. Salt petre is made in every colony. Powder mills are erected and constantly employed in Philadelphia & New York.
Church even used those words at his trial to argue that he was trying to fool the British command, concealing the harmful information. However, Church had written that letter in July, weeks before the gunpowder shortage was recognized.

Of course, Washington and his fellow generals had to wonder if Church had disclosed their crucial secret in another way. Furthermore, Benjamin Thompson, who had been traveling around the siege lines, did desert to the British that fall; he didn’t know about the gunpowder, but the Continentals didn’t know he didn’t know. So Washington had to assume the worst and hope for the best, waiting for the British to act.

Here’s how Boudinot continued the story:
The fact [of the gunpowder shortage] was so incredible, That Genl Gage treated it as a stratagem of war, and the informant as a spy: or coming with the express purpose of deceiving him & drawing his Army into a snare, by which means we were saved from having our Quarters beaten up.—
There was no way for Boudinot or Washington to know how Gage responded to Church’s messages, Thompson, or any other intelligence source. They were, after all, on opposite sides of the war. Boudinot’s story about Gage looks like an assumption made to explain why the British weren’t more aggressive in the fall of 1775.
I was the chairman of the Committee of safety at Elizabeth Town, and had about six or Seven Quarter Casks of Powder, which on urgent application from Genl Washington were sent to Boston, with what could be spared from New York.
Boudinot could thus feel good about helping to prevent the British from “beating up” the Americans around Boston. But in fact by that time both Gage and his successor, Gen. William Howe, had given up on breaking out of Boston by land. Washington feared an attack that would never come, based on a disclosure that never happened.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Charles E. Frye on Rediscovering Colonial Roads

Charles E. Frye is writing the novel series Duty in the Cause of Liberty to share the story of his ancestor Isaac Frye of Wilton, New Hampshire. You can read more about the project in this interview at Written by Veterans.

Frye, a professional cartographer, is taking a very data-driven approach to this story. On his website he’s mapped out his protagonist’s home neighborhood in Wilton and the territory he traveled over as a Continental officer during the war. In this blog post Frye describes how he developed those maps and what he learned by doing so.

An extract:
As I began to trace Isaac Frye’s path during the American Revolution, I needed to know where he had been, and how he got there. I also needed a map to “pin” that information to. To my surprise, many records only showed where he had been, rarely conveyed his mode of travel, and almost never indicated the specific route he took.

Thus, I undertook to find a preponderance of evidence to plausibly describe how and where he traveled. In my years of reading and research, I learned two most important things:
  1. Despite not having Google Maps, smart phones, or even a current printed map (which rarely had accurate roads) to get directions, colonial Americans made it their business to know the best and fastest routes between destinations. Time was money back then too, and nobody had enough of either to waste. Time and again journals kept by soldiers and and army suppliers described routes not shown on any maps, though these routes were are often described in town histories in the sections dealing with public improvements.
  2. The network of extended family and friends in the places where one often traveled mattered a great deal when it came time to plan to sleep each night with a roof over one’s head and draught animals cared for.
I also learned that roads today are not always where the roads used to be. A great many of today’s roads are possible because of advances in excavation and grading equipment. Thus, colonial roads were not nearly as level or straight as we are accustomed to.

To learn exactly where those old roads were located, there is no substitute for getting out on the landscape and walking the terrain. The remnants of stone walls (usually built in the early 1800s) are often the best clue. Once you know what you’re looking for, a sense for what a wagon or team of oxen drawing a sled could traverse in terms of slope and tightness of curves can be gained.
Frye aligned a modern digital base map with period maps by matching a handful of known points. But those period maps, while valuable, weren’t rigorously accurate or complete. You can compare a printed map of Wilton from 1784, showing four roads from the town center, to Frye’s map, with many more paths that Isaac Frye and his neighbors used.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Finding Revolutionary Massachusetts Legislative Records Online

Back in 2014 I wrote about finally finding online copies of the journals of the Massachusetts House through the HathiTrust.

Though the books themselves were online at long last, it wasn’t that easy to find particular volumes. But HathiTrust is a vast, changing resources. Here are some updated pages to start from.

For the bulk of eighteenth-century Massachusetts House records, volumes 1-50 and 52-55 covering 1715 to 1779, start at this page. Be aware that the system still has trouble searching those volumes because they’re facsimiles of surviving eighteenth-century books, complete with damaged type, lots of italics, and the long s. The indexes are often good entrance points.

What about volume 51? That volume records the legislative year 1775-76, so it’s kind of crucial. Fortunately, the three installments of that year’s journal can be accessed from this page.

From late 1774 to early 1776, there were two rival governments in Massachusetts:
  • royal governor Thomas Gage and the mandamus Council in Salem and then Boston, and then Gen. William Howe as military commander of Boston, with the mandamus Council meeting briefly under Lt. Gov. Thomas Oliver.
  • the Massachusetts Provincial Congress convened outside of Boston, its executive function exercised between sessions by the Committee of Safety, until a new General Court was elected in the summer of 1775.
Each of those governments maintained records in the usual manner to uphold its claim to be legitimate, and those records are also available online.

For the Provincial Congress and its committees, as well as county conventions, the standard source is William Lincoln’s Journals of Each Provincial Congress of Massachusetts, published in 1838. Here’s a portal to that volume. It’s also available in full on Google Books.

As for the royal Council, the Colonial Society of Massachusetts published a transcription of its records in the 1930s, and recently made all its publications available online. Here’s the volume with “Documents Relating to the Last Meetings of the Massachusetts Royal Council, 1774–1776” starting at page 460.

(The picture above also comes courtesy of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, sharing this article by the late Abbott Lowell Cummings. It’s a 1751 engraving produced by Thomas Dawes and Nathaniel Hurd of the building where the Massachusetts legislature met for most of the eighteenth century, now called the Old State House.)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Charles Lee and a “distemper’d brain”

In a letter to Dr. Benjamin Rush in Philadelphia dated 19 Sept 1775, Gen. Charles Lee complained about the Continental Army’s New England troops. And then he complained about Rush’s colleagues at the Continental Congress. And then he complained about how he was supposed to be addressed. Gen. Lee saw a lot to complain about that day.

Lee’s letter started with a mention of action at “Bunker’s Hill,” but he didn’t mean the big battle in June. In late August the wing of the army under his command had pressed forward to fortify Ploughed Hill, closer to the British fort on Bunker’s. That produced some firing back and forth. The fact that the Continentals had taken and held that position was the first significant movement in the siege for weeks, and enough for supporters to celebrate.

Gen. Lee, of course, complained:
I am extremely sorry that your Philadelphians have been buoy’d up with the news of so complete a victory, and more so that I am the Hero who have gain’d it—When men fall from great expectations, They are apt to esteem themselves deceiv’d by those who have been the reputed actors of the things They wish’d, altho’ They had no hand in raising these expectations—Not a syllable of the Bunker’s Hill seduction and victory has the least foundation in truth, indeed from all appearances not all the astutia [cleverness] of Hanibal or Sertorius wou’d draw ’em from their nest—

let me communicate to you my sentiments, but at the same time I must desire you to be secret. I think then We might have attack’d em long before this and with success, were our Troops differently constituted—but the fatal perswasion has taken deep root in the minds of the Americans from the highest to the lowest order that they are no match for the Regulars, but when cover’d by a wall or breast work. This notion is still further strengthen’d by the endless works We are throwing up—in short unless we can remove the idea (and it must be done by degrees) no spirited action can be ventur’d on without the greatest risk—

to inculcate a different way of thinking, to inspire ’em with some confidence pugnando manibus [in hand combat], I first propos’d a body of spearmen for each Regiment at Philadelphia, and I cou’d perceive that the proposal appear’d to many to be the production of a distemper’d brain; but I am afraid They may find to their cost some time or other that the principle was sound, and that They will suffer by not adopting it.

You alarm me extremely in expressing apprehensions of divisions starting up amongst the members of the Congress. Good Gods, I was in hopes that we shou’d reap the full harvest Which We have sown with such infinite pains and labor. (I agree with you entirely in the opinion that they ought (at least half of them) to be changed annually.)

I condemn with you the barbarous, dangerous custom of loading the Servants of the People with the trappings of Court Titles. I cannot conceive who the Devil first devis’d the bauble of Excellency for their Commander in Chief, or the more ridiculous of His Honour for me—Upon my Soul They make me spew—even the tacking honorable to the Continental Congress creates a wambling in my stomack—What cou’d add dignity to the simple title of the Continental Congress of America, as long as they do their duty? And the instant They grow corrupt or slavish from timidity all the rumbling sounds of honorable, serene, mighty, sublime, or magnanimous, will only make their infamy more infamous.
Lee then went on for even longer about John Adams’s recently intercepted comments about him and his dogs, about why dogs were superior, and about an imagined moment of John Dickinson being “pelted with oranges.”

In his recent biography of Lee, Renegade Revolutionary, Phillip Pappas writes that the general “evidenced classic signs of what modern psychiatry would classify as manic-depressive (or bipolar disorder).” This letter appears to be from one of his up moods.

Monday, September 18, 2017

“Mr. Cleaveland’s moral, Christian and ministerial character”

Yesterday we left the Rev. John Cleaveland, Jr., at odds with his Stoneham neighbors in 1794. The trouble was his second marriage to young Elizabeth Evans, until recently his housekeeper and apparently not even a dedicated member of the church.

As the Congregational Library says in its description of meetinghouse records from Stoneham: “While the church chose to support Cleaveland, the town did not, and both Cleaveland and the church building itself were targets of the town’s ire.” Not to mention the minister’s horse.

At the end of September 1794, after months of feuding, an ecclesiastical council of ministers from other towns came to work out the dispute. The congregation had to borrow money from two members to lodge and feed those ministers, one reason why they may have delayed that step for so long.

In his History of Stoneham William B. Stevens reported that council found:
1. That Mr. Cleaveland’s influence among this people is lost, and irrecoverably lost, and that it has become necessary that his ministerial connection with them be dissolved, and it is the advice of this council that he ask a dismission from his pastoral relations to them.

2. It appears from the fullest and they trust from the most impartial examination of the subject of which they are capable, that Mr. Cleaveland has given no just cause for that aversion and opposition to him which in so violent, and very unprecedented a manner they have displayed.

3. It appears to this council that Mr. Cleaveland’s moral, Christian and ministerial character stands fairly and firmly supported, and they cordially recommend him to the church and people of God wherever in the Providence of God he may be cast.

4. As Mr. Cleaveland has given to this people no just cause for that opposition to him which they discover, and which renders his removal from them necessary, and as his removal must be attended by great inconvenience and expense to him, it is the opinion of this council that he ought to receive a compensation, and they recommend it to the parties concerned to choose mutually three judicious, impartial characters from some of the neighboring towns to estimate the damage to which Mr. Cleaveland is subjected by his removal. . . .

Finally the council deeply impressed with the singular sacrifice which Mr. Cleaveland’s friends make in parting with their valuable and beloved pastor beg leave to exhort them to acknowledge the hand of God in this afflicting Providence as becomes Christians; to maintain the order of Christ’s house, and with unremitting ardor promote the interest of His kingdom.
In other words, no recriminations, please. I can’t tell if the Stoneham meeting gave Cleaveland a generous severance package as the council recommended. He preached his last sermon at the end of October—and then published the text. It included lines like, “people who have rejected a faithful watchman, will have a most dreadful account to give in the great day.” So there were some recriminations on his part.

Over the next few years Cleaveland worked a visiting minister at various meetinghouses. This had the advantage of letting him recycle his sermons for new audiences. Yale reports that one of his compositions “was first given at Newburyport on June 25, 1797, and then given twice more at Chebacco [another name for Essex, his home town] and Topsfield in 1797, at Medway in 1798, and at Medfield and Attleboro in 1799.”

In June 1798 the Rev. John Cleaveland finally secured a permanent pulpit at a new parish in Wrentham, which has since become Norfolk. Until the meetinghouse was finished he preached in the house shown above, photo courtesy of the town.

He became known for his very regular habits, devoting “two afternoons, weekly, to systematic visitation of his people.” In addition:
He was remarkably punctual; so much so, that when he found he was likely to arrive at the meeting-house five minutes too soon, he would walk his horse, so as invariably to reach the door within three minutes of the time.
Cleaveland preached in Wrentham until his death in 1815. The Rev. Nathaniel Emmons spoke at his funeral, a sign that Cleaveland was a traditionalist. His sermons now rest with his father’s in the Manuscripts and Archives Department of the library at Yale, the college he had never been able to attend. [I worked in that department as a student years ago.]

As for Elizabeth Cleaveland, she remained at the minister’s side until his death. They never had children (nor did he have any by his first wife). After being widowed, Elizabeth Cleaveland married another minister, the Rev. Walter Harris of Dunbarton, New Hampshire. Like her first husband, he was a Continental Army veteran, having served three years as a fifer from Connecticut. By the time Elizabeth Harris died in 1829, later authors agreed, she had become as pious as the people of Stoneham could have wished.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Difficult Career of the Rev. John Cleaveland, Jr.

John Cleaveland was born in the part of Ipswich that’s now Essex in 1750. He was the son and namesake of the town minister.

John, Jr., apparently grew up expecting to study at Yale, where his father had graduated five years before his birth. But that didn’t work out.

Mortimer Blake’s A Centurial History of the Mendon Association of Congregational Ministers (1853) said Cleaveland had a younger brother and “the father being unable to support both in college, decided to treat both alike, and give them the best education he could.”

However, Yale’s library catalogue says there were three younger brothers, two becoming doctors and one dying young, as well as three sisters. And John Cleaveland, Jr., was “debarred by his health from completing his education” at that college.

For whatever reason, the younger John Cleaveland never graduated from Yale. Indeed, he may never have entered. In 1773 he married a woman named Abigail Adams in his father’s home town of Canterbury, Connecticut. Two years later John joined Col. Moses Little’s regiment of the Continental Army, for which his father was chaplain.

After the war, John, Jr., studied theology on his own. Finally in 1785, at the age of thirty-five, he was ordained in Stoneham. His tenure there was peaceful until June 1793, when Abigail Cleaveland died.

Or more precisely, the Rev. Mr. Cleaveland’s tenure was peaceful until January 1794, when he married Elizabeth Evans, his young housekeeper. Even in a society that wanted ministers to be married, some people thought six months was too soon. What’s more, there were doubts about the new Mrs. Cleaveland’s faith. “She was not pious,” Blake wrote. “This marriage with a non-professor, troubled some pious minds at Stoneham.”

Most important church members stood by their pastor. Their opponents therefore resorted to unorthodox means of showing their disapproval. According to William B. Stevens’s 1891 History of Stoneham:
At one time they nailed up the door of the minister’s pew, at another, covered the seat and chairs and the seat of the pulpit with tar. Not content with these indignities against the pastor, some one vented the general spite by inflicting an injury upon his horse, probably by cutting off his tail.

The church stood by him, but the town voted to lock and fasten up the meeting-house against him, so that for a time public worship was held at the house of Deacon Edward Bucknam. They refused to raise his salary, requested him to relinquish his ministry and leave the town, declined to furnish any reason, and rejected his proposition to call a council…
TOMORROW: Can this marriage be saved?

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Constitution Day in the North End, 17 Sept.

Sunday, 17 September, is Constitution Day because that’s the anniversary of when the remaining members of the Constitutional Convention signed their proposal for a new national governmental structure.

Of course, that document had no legal standing at that time. It didn’t become the blueprint for the U.S. of A.’s government until it was ratified in the summer of 1788. But the ratification date is harder to pin down—was the crucial moment New Hampshire’s conditional approval as the ninth state on 21 June, or Virginia’s on 25 June, or New York’s on 26 July?

In any event, the Edes & Gill Print Shop and its host, Old North Church, are celebrating Constitution Day on Sunday with a free, family-friendly event from 2:00 to 4:00. There will be “hands-on activities, including postcard stamping, quill-writing and typesetting demonstrations.”

At 2:30 P.M., printer Gary Gregory will speak about the first printing of the proposed Constitution in Boston by Benjamin Edes. In addition to that text, Edes’s pamphlet included the convention’s resolution urging the American people to ratify the document and elect a President, and a letter from George Washington to the Continental Congress describing these steps as a way to consolidate the union.

The pamphlet went on sale at Edes’s shop on Marlborough Street (later renamed Washington Street) and Edward E. Powars’s printshop opposite the courthouse. Powars was then the publisher of the American Herald while Edes was still putting out the Boston Gazette.

Gregory and his staff are reprinting that pamphlet, setting the type and working the press by hand. Copies of that form of the Constitution will eventually be available for sale, though not at this event (as initially hoped).

Friday, September 15, 2017

Revolutionary Children in Cambridge, 16 Sept.

Tomorrow is Cambridge Discovery Day, when the city’s historical commission promotes a day of free walking tours in various neighborhoods (full schedule in this P.D.F. download).

At 3:00 I’ll kick off a tour called “Children of the Revolution: Boys & Girls in Cambridge During the Siege of Boston.” The description explains:

Children comprised more than half the population of colonial New England. Not only did they get caught up in the start of the Revolution, but some were drawn into the action. Hear the stories of boys and girls from 1774-1776—political refugees, members of the army, servants in the houses of generals, and more.
I’ll focus on the territory around Harvard Square, which was the center of Cambridge in the 1770s. We’ll start at the Tory Row marker on the corner of Brattle and Mason Streets, shown here.

One child I’ll talk about is John Skey Eustace. He was fifteen when he arrived in Cambridge in December 1775. He had been sent north by Gov. Dunmore of Virginia.

Why, you might ask, had the royal governor of Virginia, then on the run from rebels and forming an army of men escaping from enslavement, sent a teenager up to Massachusetts? Well, John Skey Eustace’s story starts with the story of his older sister Catherine, called Kitty.

Kitty Eustace had become Lord Dunmore’s mistress when she was still a teenager and he was governor of New York in 1770. On gaining his post in Virginia the next year, Dunmore arrived with Kitty’s little brother in tow. He arranged for young John’s education, first with a tutor and then at the College of William & Mary.

Meanwhile, Kitty Eustace married Dr. John Blair, a Virginian, which brought her conveniently close to the governor. After only a couple of years the Blairs’ marriage dissolved into lawsuits, which you can read more about in John L. Smith’s Journal of the American Revolution article “The Scandalous Divorce Case that Influenced the Declaration of Independence” and George Morrow’s little book A Cock and Bull for Kitty.

In late 1775, Gov. Dunmore sent John Skey Eustace on a ship to Boston with a letter to Gen. William Howe recommending him for a post in the British army. But the American commodore John Manley captured that ship. That’s how the fifteen-year-old ended up being marched to the headquarters of Gen. George Washington, the opposing commander-in-chief. What happened next? I’ll talk about that tomorrow.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

“Coming to Terms” Conference Coming in November 2018

On 8-10 Nov 2018, the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Delaware will host a conference on “Coming to Terms? Confronting War and Peace through the Visual and Material in the Atlantic World, 1651-1865.”

The conference committee has issued this call for papers:
How does war end and who ends it? Historians often turn to diplomacy and formal politics to answer this question. It is clear, however, that a much broader population, both military and civilian, shape the outcome of wars. Yet there has been little systematic research on the roles of ordinary people in these processes. This conference will explore the processes that exist between treaty-making and memory-making, interrogating the messy, uncoordinated ways in which individuals, communities, nations, and empires come to terms with the meanings of war and the promises of peace. This conference seeks to gather historians, art historians, literary scholars, archivists and curators to answer these important questions.

We invite proposals for a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary conference. We seek papers that privilege the object and the image in order to examine how material and visual culture shaped the making and meaning of war and peace. This focus on the material and visual allows us to investigate the ethical questions and emotional implications posed by the object and the image. We encourage paper proposals on topics such as (but not limited to):
  •  Individual responses to war (emotional, intellectual, political, aesthetic and physical) that were enabled, mediated or amplified by image and/or objects.
  • Collective responses of communities (local, class-based, race-based, gender-based, regional) to former enemies both local and distant and how these responses shaped landscapes of nationalism and empire.
  • Explorations as to whether military and civilians, as well as men, women, and children approach the process of coming to terms with war differently.
The conference committees invites scholars in all disciplines at all levels to submit proposals for papers to mceas@ccat.sas.upenn.edu no later than 30 Sept 2017. Those proposals should include a prospectus of no more than 300 words and a one-page curriculum vitae, together in one P.D.F. document labeled with the proposer’s surname. The top of the first page should state the author’s name, paper title, institutional affiliation, and email address. Decisions will be made by the end of the year.

Final papers should be about 7,500 words and delivered by 1 Oct 2018. They will be made available to attendees in advance through a password-protected website, and at the conference presenters will deliver only brief oral summaries of their work to leave more time for discussion.

In addition to the discussion panels built around those papers, the conference will include a keynote address by Prof. Leora Auslander of the University of Chicago, a “plenary workshop on the ways in which boundaries between war and peace are drawn up,” and break-out sessions on how to teach material and visual culture.