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Massachusetts - Local History
An Archaeology of Manners: The Polite World of the Merchant Elite of Colonial Massachusetts
An Archaeology of Manners
The Polite World of the Merchant Elite of Colonial Massachusetts
Hardcover      ISBN: 0306461560

A glance at the title of this book might well beg the question "What in heaven's name does archaeology have to do with manners? We cannot dig up manners or mannerly behavior--or can we?" One might also ask "Why is mannerly behavior important?" and "What can archaeology contribute to our understanding of the role of manners in the devel- ment of social relations and cultural identity in early America?" English colonists in America and elsewhere sought to replicate English notions of gentility and social structure, but of necessity div- ged from the English model. The first generation of elites in colonial America did not spring from the landed gentry of old England. Rather, they were self-made, newly rich, and newly possessed of land and other trappings of England's genteel classes. The result was a new model of gentry culture that overcame the contradiction between a value system in which gentility was conferred by birth, and the new values of bo- geois materialism and commercialism among the emerging colonial elites. Manners played a critical role in the struggle for the cultural legitimacy of gentility; mannerly behavior--along with exhibition of refined taste in architecture, fashionable clothing, elegant furnishings, and literature--provided the means through which the new-sprung colonial elites defined themselves and validated their claims on power and prestige to accompany their newfound wealth.

Arlington
Arlington
Paperback      ISBN: 0738545422

A fascinating visual history Arlington, a streetcar suburb of Boston.


Incorporated in 1807 as West Cambridge, the rural town of Arlington adopted its name in 1867, just prior to emerging as a streetcar suburb of Boston. Then & Now: Arlington commemorates this town's bicentennial by offering a visual journey through the many changes that have dramatically transformed the man-made and natural features of this community over time.

Arlo, Alice, and Anglicians: The Lives of a New England Church
Arlo, Alice, and Anglicians
The Lives of a New England Church
Paperback      ISBN: 1581570104

Freelance writer and former radio announcer Lee explores the history of Trinity Church in western Massachusetts, saying that "few churches... have had so many distinct and fascinating rebirths." Indeed, Trinity reflects many of America's transformations in microcosm: in the Gilded Age, it was a posh branch church of an Episcopalian parish. After it fell on hard times in the mid-20th century, it was deconsecrated and purchased by a "hippie" couple named Alice and Ray Brock in the early 1960s. They converted it into a home and a haven for countercultural youth. It was there, on Thanksgiving 1965, that musician Arlo Guthrie offered to take out the garbage from the meal and threw it down a local hill. His arrest for littering, and subsequent night in jail, resulted in the famous 18-minute song-cum-manifesto called "Alice's Restaurant" and a 1969 movie by the same name.

Armenians of the Merrimack Valley
Armenians of the Merrimack Valley
Paperback      ISBN: 1467115614

When one thinks of the Merrimack Valley, shoe shops and mills come to mind. For that reason, it was a hotbed for Armenian immigrants following World War I and the genocide that robbed Armenia of half its population, with some 1.5 million victims lost at the hands of the Ottoman Turkish Empire and another million people uprooted from their homes and scattered to a Diaspora. Many of these refugees came to the Merrimack Valley--settling in the cities of Haverhill, Lawrence, and Lowell--to eke out a better life for themselves and their families. Aside from sweatshop labor, they sought work as barbers and mercenaries, business owners and handymen, going to night school for better English standards and keeping their rich heritage and culture intact with their churches and community centers. Despite the discrimination they faced with their "strange" names and lifestyles, the Armenians remained tenacious and resilient, contributing to the overall welfare of their new promised land.

Around Great Barrington
Around Great Barrington
Paperback      ISBN: 0738574767

Long before cell phones, Facebook, and e-mail, the penny postcard was an inexpensive, yet effective way to send brief thoughts and interesting images to friends and family. Today these vintage "snail-mail snapshots" are considered historic treasures, offering insight into our remarkable past. Startling changes have occurred in South Berkshire since the first picture postcards were mailed at the dawn of the 20th century. In Around Great Barrington, rarely seen views of Great Barrington, Housatonic, Van Deusenville, and nearby villages provide a fascinating portal into our past. Residents and visitors will find amazing sights and plenty of surprises inside this book.

Around Orange
Around Orange
Paperback      ISBN: 0738549207

Located between the Quabbin Reservoir and the New Hampshire state line, Orange has developed from a sparsely-settled, agrarian countryside to a thriving industrial community along the banks of the Millers River. Around Orange includes images of this town and the surrounding towns of Athol, Erving, New Salem, Warwick, and Wendell. Through photographs, postcards, and stereoview cards from a bygone era, this volume provides a glimpse of what it was like to live and work in this area long ago. Seen here are vintage images of schools, churches, public buildings, homes, businesses, industries, celebrations, and disasters.

The Artisan of Ipswich: Craftsmanship and Community in Colonial New England
The Artisan of Ipswich
Craftsmanship and Community in Colonial New England
Paperback      ISBN: 0801887526

Thomas Dennis emigrated to America from England in 1663, settling in Ipswich, a Massachusetts village a long day's sail north of Boston. He had apprenticed in joinery, the most common method of making furniture in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Britain, and he became Ipswich's second joiner, setting up shop in the heart of the village. During his lifetime, Dennis won wide renown as an artisan. Today, connoisseurs judge his elaborately carved furniture as among the best produced in seventeenth-century America.

Robert Tarule, historian and accomplished craftsman, brilliantly recreates Dennis's world in recounting how he created a single oak chest. Writing as a woodworker himself, Tarule vividly portrays Dennis walking through the woods looking for the right trees; sawing and splitting the wood on site; and working in his shop on the chest--planing, joining, and carving. Dennis inherited a knowledge of wood and woodworking that dated back centuries before he was born, and Tarule traces this tradition from Old World to New. He also depicts the natural and social landscape in which Dennis operated, from the sights, sounds, and smells of colonial Ipswich and its surrounding countryside to the laws that governed his use of trees and his network of personal and professional relationships.

Thomas Dennis embodies a world that had begun to disappear even during his lifetime, one that today may seem unimaginably distant. Imaginatively conceived and elegantly executed, The Artisan of Ipswich gives readers a tangible understanding of that distant past.

As If an Enemy's Country: The British Occupation of Boston and the Origins of Revolution
As If an Enemy's Country
The British Occupation of Boston and the Origins of Revolution
Paperback      ISBN: 0199895775

In the dramatic period leading to the American Revolution, no event did more to foment patriotic sentiment among colonists than the armed occupation of Boston by British soldiers. As If an Enemy's Country is Richard Archer's gripping narrative of those critical months between October 1, 1768 and the winter of 1770 when Boston was an occupied town.

Ashby
Ashby
Paperback      ISBN: 1467123714

Ashby is located in the hills of central Massachusetts, along the New Hampshire border. The town was incorporated in 1767, initially growing as an agricultural community before water-powered mills emerged along its streams. In 1840, the population began 50 years of decline as people sought more profitable work in larger cities and free land in the western United States. Perhaps due to this decline, the center of town is preserved much as it was in 1840, boasting all its original buildings still in place. Ashby saw a century of renewed growth starting in 1880, when Bostonians arrived during the summer to escape the heat and unhealthy city air. A number of businesses, including inns and tearooms, catered to these wealthy visitors. With the arrival of the automobile, residents gained access to jobs in the surrounding mill towns. It was during this time that the last of Ashby's many mills closed, the first public library was built, and one-room classrooms were combined to become a central town school. Today, one can still stand on the town common in front of the 1809 meetinghouse and look over an area that has undergone little change in the past 170 years.

Auburn
Auburn
Paperback      ISBN: 1467120669

Incorporated in 1778, Auburn has an agriculturally and industrially rich history. First settlers included the Nipmuck Indians, followed by the English, the Irish, and the French Canadians, who would establish the first gristmills, sawmills, and textile mills. Swedish immigrants followed and worked primarily in the wire mills. To keep up with the need to transport goods to and from the mills, the railroad came to Auburn in 1839. It extended its service to accommodate passengers making their way to Norwich, Connecticut, and New York City. Local farms and businesses began to emerge; Holstrom s and Champagne s Markets, Fuller s Automotive, R.H. White Construction Company, and Kingdon s Dairy served the community for many years. With its gentle hills, open fields, and close proximity to Worcester, Auburn is perhaps best known as the site for the world s first liquid-fueled rocket launch by Dr. Robert Goddard. In the 1930s and 1940s, the Auburn Hill Climb, a small motorcycle track featuring a challenging uphill rise, drew visitors from all over the country. Auburn can proudly claim to have sent citizens to every war in American history."