“Dickens bubbled over with fun & I could not help fancying that Holmes bored him a little by talking at him. I was sorry for this because Holmes is so simple and lovely but Dickens is sensitive, very. He is fond of Carlyle, seems to love nobody better and gave the most irresistible imitation of him.”

— Annie Adams Fields, diary entry for 21 November 1867

Annie Adams Fields

Annie Adams Fields was an author and social reformer who made her home the center of literary Boston. She married publisher James T. Fields in 1854. The Fields circle of friends included authors published by her husband in the Atlantic Monthly, as well as European writers who visited Boston, including Charles Dickens. In her diary entry of 21 November 1867, Fields described a dinner Dickens attended in her home. In addition to her role as a literary hostess, Fields wrote biographical sketches and edited the letters of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Sarah Orne Jewett, and Celia Thaxter. The MHS holds her correspondence with English and American writers, and seventy volumes of her diaries and travel journals.

View her portrait up close here.

MHS News

Object of History Podcast Relics, Part 1: Corporeal Remains, Now Available

The Object of History podcast Season 3, Episode 5, Relics, Part 1: Corporeal Remains features Professor Emeritus of History and Environmental Studies Matthew Dennis speaking about his book American Relics and the Politics of Public Memory. Chief Historian Peter Drummey, and Curator of Art & Artifacts Emerita Anne Bentley examine blood-soaked towel fragments and a fishhook made from human bone.

Listen to the episode here

Andrew M. Wehrman Recognized for The Contagion of Liberty

The 2023 Peter J. Gomes Memorial Book Prize, given to the best nonfiction work on the history of Massachusetts published during the preceding year, has been awarded to Andrew M. Wehrman for his book The Contagion of Liberty: The Politics of Smallpox in the American Revolution, published in 2022 by Johns Hopkins University Press. The selection committee praised Wehrman’s book for being “unique in examining changes that came with the development of vaccinations during the early Republic. The result is an outstanding study of the past that can help us better understand how Americans have managed public health emergencies.” The award ceremony will take place on Saturday, 23 March, at the Colonial Society. Learn more and register.

Upcoming Events


Tuesday, 19 March | 5:00 PM

The Disappearance of Sarah Simmons: Escape Notices & the Racial Imperatives of the Carceral State

Micah Khater, University of California, Berkeley, with comment by Cheryl Hicks, University of Delaware.

Register to attend in person.

Register to attend online.


Thursday, 21 March | 5:00 PM

Fitting Form to Argument: Developing a Digital Publication for the Complexity of Harlem in Disorder

Stephen Robertson, George Mason University, with comment by Jessica Marie Johnson, Johns Hopkins University.

Register to attend online.


Saturday, 23 March | 11:00 AM

NHD In-Person Feedback Session with Suffolk & Boston University


Saturday, 23 March | 2:15 PM

Peter J. Gomes Memorial Book Prize Ceremony

Andrew M. Wehrman, Central Michigan University, in conversation with William Fowler, Northeastern University.

Register to attend in person.

Register to attend online.

Thursday, 28 March, 5:00 PM: “The Permanent Prize for Nerve”: Examining Women’s Postwar Battles with the US Veteran’s Bureau with Bridget E. Keown, University of Pittsburgh, with comment by Beth Linker, University of Pennsylvania. This is a seminar.

Monday, 1 April, 6:00 PM: Chasing Beauty: The Life of Isabella Stewart Gardner with Natalie Dykstra, in conversation with Catherine Allgor, MHS President. This is a program.

Tuesday, 2 April, 5:00 PM: A Renegades’ History of the Revolutionary Frontier: Contesting Race & Nation on the Borderlands of the New United States with John William Nelson, Texas Tech University, with comment by Robert G. Parkinson, Binghamton University. This is a seminar.

Wednesday, 10 April, 6:00 PM: Italian Influence on Boston's Culture, Economy & Politics with Lawrence DiCara, civic leader, and James Pasto, historian. This is a program.

Thursday, 11 April, 5:00 PM: Reconstructing the Artisan Labor Economy in Post-Emancipation South Carolina with Anne E. Keith, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, with comment by Hilary Green, Davidson College. This is a seminar.

Thursday, 2 May, 5:00 PM: Telling the Untold Stories for Children: Biographies for Kids & Why They Matter with Heather Lang, children’s author; Ray Anthony Shepard, children’s author; and Mia Wenjen, children’s author; moderated by Julie Dobrow, Tufts University. This is a Seminar.

Monday, 6 May, 6:00 PM: Democracy Awakening: A Conversation with Heather Cox Richardson with Heather Cox Richardson, in conversation with Catherine Allgor, MHS President. MHS Members receive priority registration through 15 April. This is a program.

See full calendar.


MHS Members and Fellows are invited to join us for a week of programs, events, and perks. Explore the Member Week calendar here. Not yet a Member? Learn more and join today at www.masshist.org/support/mhsfund.

Tuesday, 30 April, 3:30 PM: History Source Virtual Tour.

Tuesday, 30 April, 5:30 PM: Signed, Sealed, Delivered with Daniel Bottino, PhD Candidate, Rutgers University.

Wednesday, 1 May, 1:00 PM: Among the Adams Papers with Hobson Woodward, Series Editor, Adams Family Correspondence, The Adams Papers.

Thursday, 2 May, 1:00 PM: Treasures Tour with Peter Drummey, Chief Historian & Stephen T. Riley Librarian.

Friday, 3 May, 1:00 PM: Behind the Scenes of Conservation with Samantha Couture, Nora Saltonstall Conservator & Preservation Librarian.

Saturday, 4 May, 10:00 AM: Introduction to the Library.

Saturday, 4 May, 2:00 PM: Ye Olde Tavern Tour Sponsored by the Young Patrons of the MHS with Brooke Barbier, Public Historian.

Additional Perks & Priority Registration for Heather Cox Richardson

Between 29 April and 6 May, Members are invited to stop by the MHS to pick up a free book and other gifts to enjoy at home! Members receive priority registration through 15 April for Democracy Awakening: A Conversation with Heather Cox Richardson on 6 May.

Looking for More?

Registration and Events


Visit www.masshist.org/events for more information and to register.

Interested in Past Programs?


If you missed a program or would like to revisit the material presented, please visit www.masshist.org/video.

An advance appointment is strongly encouraged. Please log in to your Portal1791 account to select your preferred visit dates.


Set up an appointment via Zoom or live chat with a member of our reference staff. 


Learn more at www.masshist.org/library.

2024 Making History Gala

Join us for an unforgettable evening on 6 June 2024, with featured speaker Doris Kearns Goodwin at the iconic Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston. Visit www.masshist.org/gala to purchase tickets.  

The MHS Fund and Membership

Our Members make it possible for us to offer an array of complimentary services including admission to our exhibition galleries and library, online access to our collections and digital editions, and onsite and remote reference services for all. Membership begins with a fully tax-deductible contribution of $250 or more to the MHS Fund. All Members enjoy a full year of social, cultural, and educational experiences, including invitations to our annual Holiday Party, FREE program registration, and Member Week perks. Learn more and join today!
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  Youtube  
Help us improve your experience with the MHS.
Adjust your e-mail preferences by updating your profile below,
and we will adjust our e-mails to you accordingly.