Daily Archives: December 11, 2019

The Atlas of Boston History, with Nancy Seasholes (episode 156)


We’re joined this week by Nancy Seasholes, editor of the new book The Atlas of Boston History, which just came out on Thursday. It’s a historic atlas of Boston that covers the period from the last ice age, right up to the present day. It contains essays contributed by a wide range of well regarded local historians, as well as many written by Seasholes herself. However, what sets this book apart is its beauty. As the name Atlas indicates, it is richly illustrated with maps, charts, diagrams, infographics, historical photos, paintings, and more. It’s a book that I will use as a reference far into the future, and one that any of my fellow Boston history nerds will love. Please check out the full show notes at: http://HUBhistory.com/156/ And support the show on Patreon. The Atlas of Boston History Nancy Seasholes is a historian and a historical archaeologist. She’s the past author of Walking Tours of Boston’s Made Land and Gaining Ground: a History of Landmaking in Boston, which is a favorite reference for your humble hosts. Since the book has such a heavy emphasis on visual elements, you may want to follow along at the Atlas of Boston History website as you listen to our conversation this week. It includes sample pages from each of the book’s eleven sections, giving you a much better idea of why I’m so enthusiastic about this beautiful book.

Make sure to catch Nancy’s upcoming local appearances: October 30 at Porter Square Books November 14 at the Massachusetts Historical Society If you’re still on the fence, here’s how the publisher describes the Atlas: Few American cities possess a history as long, rich, and fascinating as Boston’s. A site of momentous national political events from the Revolutionary War through the civil rights movement, Boston has also been an influential literary and cultural capital. From ancient glaciers to landmaking schemes and modern infrastructure projects, the city’s terrain has been transformed almost constantly over the centuries.

The Atlas of Boston History traces the city’s history and geography from the last ice age to the present with beautifully rendered maps. Edited by historian Nancy S. Seasholes, this landmark volume captures all aspects of Boston’s past in a series of fifty-seven stunning full-color spreads. Each section features newly created thematic maps that focus on moments and topics in that history. These maps are accompanied by hundreds of historical and contemporary illustrations and explanatory text from historians and other expert contributors. They illuminate a wide range of topics including Boston’s physical and economic development, changing demography, and social and cultural life. In lavishly produced detail, The Atlas of Boston History offers a vivid, refreshing perspective on the development of this iconic American city. Upcoming Historical Event(s) Douglas Egerton will give a lunchtime talk at the Boston Athenaeum on November 8

The City State of Boston: The Rise and Fall of an Atlantic Power, 1630-1865, with Mark Peterson (episode 155)


The City State of Boston: The Rise and Fall of an Atlantic Power, 1630-1865, with Mark Peterson

We’re joined this week by Yale history professor Mark Peterson to talk about his new book The City State of Boston: The Rise and Fall of an Atlantic Power, 1630-1865. In the interview, Professor Peterson will tell us why he believes that, from its settlement a century and a half before the US Constitutional government was founded until the end of the US Civil War, Boston had a political, economic, and social identity completely independent from the rest of what is now the United States. He’ll also tell us surprising stories about money in early Boston, a French-born British army officer who embodied Boston’s relationship with Acadia, and what it meant for Boston to be a slave society where the enslaved people were kept out of sight. Please check out the full show notes at: http://HUBhistory.com/155/ And support the show on Patreon.

The Atlas of Boston History Professor Mark Peterson will be appearing at the Charles River Museum of Industry in Waltham on November 13. Make sure to catch him there. Here’s how the publisher describes the book: In the vaunted annals of America’s founding, Boston has long been held up as an exemplary “city upon a hill” and the “cradle of liberty” for an independent United States. Wresting this iconic urban center from these misleading, tired clichés, The City-State of Boston highlights Boston’s overlooked past as an autonomous city-state, and in doing so, offers a pathbreaking and brilliant new history of early America. Following Boston’s development over three centuries, Mark Peterson discusses how this self-governing Atlantic trading center began as a refuge from Britain’s Stuart monarchs and how—through its bargain with slavery and ratification of the Constitution—it would tragically lose integrity and autonomy as it became incorporated into the greater United States.

Drawing from vast archives, and featuring unfamiliar figures alongside well-known ones, such as John Winthrop, Cotton Mather, and John Adams, Peterson explores Boston’s origins in sixteenth-century utopian ideals, its founding and expansion into the hinterland of New England, and the growth of its distinctive political economy, with ties to the West Indies and southern Europe. By the 1700s, Boston was at full strength, with wide Atlantic trading circuits and cultural ties, both within and beyond Britain’s empire. After the cataclysmic Revolutionary War, “Bostoners” aimed to negotiate a relationship with the American confederation, but through the next century, the new United States unraveled Boston’s regional reign. The fateful decision to ratify the Constitution undercut its power, as Southern planters and slave owners dominated national politics and corroded the city-state’s vision of a common good for all. Peeling away the layers of myth surrounding a revered city, The City-State of Boston offers a startlingly fresh understanding of America’s history.

See related:

Boston in the Time of Cholera (episode 161)


Boston in the Time of Cholera (episode 161)


Cholera is a truly horrifying disease, with severe diarrhea causing death through dehydration, while the patient remains awake and in agony. The disease is carried by fecal bacteria, so it’s virtually unknown in highly developed countries today, because of our sophisticated sewage and drinking water systems.

Back in 1849, Boston had just begun to address its drinking water needs, with the Cochituate aqueduct opening the year before. We had not, however, even begun to deal with our sewage. In most of Boston, raw sewage ran in open gutters down the sides of the street. When the first major cholera epidemic hit Boston in the summer of 1849, hundreds died. There were no antibiotics or IV rehydration to treat victims with. Instead, the city government took a public health approach that was focused on sanitation first.

Please check out the transcript and full show notes at: http://HUBhistory.com/161/ And support the show on Patreon. Boston in the Time of Cholera Boston forms a Board of Health Commissioners in response to the threat of a cholera epidemic in 1832 The Board of Health Commissioners gives terrible advice on how to avoid contracting cholera The 1849 Internal Health Department report on the cholera epidemic Map showing concentrations of cholera infections near Fort Hill, in the North End, and along the South Cove in 1849, highlighted below 1852 map that includes the location of Half Moon Court, detail shown below. 1852 map detail showing location of Half Moon Court1869 map outlining how the city counsel would redraw the street grid to eliminate Half Moon Court and similar alleys. An 1849 editorial in the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal that basically blames Irish immigrants for their own health problems.

Dr. JH McCollum’s 1892 “Observations on Cholera” in the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal Report on the 1866 outbreak of cholera in Boston Ball, Laura. “Cholera and the Pump on Broad Street: The Life and Legacy of John Snow.” The History Teacher GF Pyle’s “The Diffusion of Cholera in the United States in the Nineteenth Century” Cholera hits Boston in 2011 A summary of how cholera completely decimated Boston, Indiana in 1849 Boston Book Club Public Health in the Town of Boston, 1630-1822 is an extensive study of Boston’s battle against epidemic disease in the years between English colonization and incorporation as a city that was published in 1959 by Dr. John Blake.

We didn’t even know this book existed until recently, but once we discovered it, we realized we had missed out on an important book. I can’t believe that we released two different episodes about the 1721 smallpox epidemic, not to mention the Spanish flu, without consulting this volume. It’s exhaustively researched, tying Boston’s struggles with smallpox, yellow fever, and dysentery to advances in medicine and broader historical themes. Here’s how the Harvard University Press describes the book: In this book, based almost exclusively …Read less

A Swedish Teenager’s Compelling Plea on Climate


Feb 14, 2019

Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swede, makes a moving plea for climate action, and scientists explain the rationale for it.

Greta Thunberg | COP 25 High Level Event on Climate Emergency | Extinction Rebellion

Extinction Rebellion

Dec 11, 2019

COP 25 Madrid – 11 December 2019 – High Level Event on Climate Emergency

Bloomberg talks climate in Calif. campaign trip

Published on Dec 11, 2019
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is making his first trip to California as a Democratic presidential candidate. At a stop in San Francisco, he talked about the environment and climate change to a convention of scientists. (Dec. 11)

🇨🇳 Is China’s global development drive a ‘win-win’ or colonialism?

Al Jazeera English

11 Dec. 2019

China is now approaching a decade as the world’s second-largest economy, with economists wondering when it will leapfrog the US and become number one. The country’s explosive growth is not just down to attracting foreign capital for projects at home – its ‘Going Out’ strategy has for the last 20 years encouraged investment in a staggering variety of infrastructure projects across every corner of the world, not least Africa, South Asia and the Caribbean.

As China rolls out its multi-billion ‘Belt and Road’ initiative developing countries have become the stage for new canals, roads, railways, mines and power plants, all funded by Chinese loans that come without stringent conditions on human rights and transparency that are attached to financing traditionally sourced from the West. But while China calls its financial largesse an example of ‘win-win’ development, critics say that sending thousands of Chinese workers to oversee the projects undermines local workforces and threatens dramatic changes to local demography and culture. And they say the river of ‘no strings attached’ credit risks trapping developing nations in debt – with Beijing the ultimate master.

Is China’s cash-driven development drive a cause for celebration, or is it neo-imperialism in action? Join the conversation on Wednesday as we continue our special week of shows on colonialism.

Rep. Ro Khanna Urges “Universal Condemnation” of Trump as Democrats File Impeachment Charges

Democracy Now!

Dec 11, 2019

House Democrats have unveiled two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump that formally charge him with high crimes and misdemeanors after more than two months of investigation. On Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined chairs of the impeachment inquiry committees to announce the charges of “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress.” Democrats allege Trump withheld congressionally directed taxpayer funding for Ukraine’s military until the Ukrainian president agreed to do what Trump called a “favor” by announcing Ukraine was investigating his potential 2020 political rival Joe Biden. Democrats say Trump then tried to block attempts by Congress to investigate the move. We speak with Ro Khanna, Democratic congressmember from California and a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

Greta Thunberg Named Time’s Person Of The Year | Morning Joe | MSNBC


Dec 11, 2019

Time Magazine names 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg its 2019 Person of the Year. Edward Felsenthal discusses. Aired on 12/11/19

Thunberg: “I could never have imagined anything like that happening”

Associated Press
Dec 11, 2019

Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg tells the Associated Press she was surprised and honored to learn she had been named Time’s youngest “Person of the Year,” saying the accolade deserved to be shared by others in the global movement she helped inspire.