“It is by this Art that all objects are truly represented just as they appear to the Eye be they ever so complex.”

—John Singleton Copley to John Adams, 15 October 1786

Two Portraits of a Woman Painted 50 Years Apart

These two portraits depict Elizabeth Oliver Lyde (1739–1820), daughter of Boston loyalist Andrew Oliver. John Singleton Copley painted the portrait on the left in 1758, when Elizabeth was 19 years old. The watercolor on the right was painted by William Dunlap in 1811 or 1812 in New York City when Elizabeth was 72 or 73.

Though painted more than 50 years apart, there are striking similarities in the two portraits. Elizabeth’s penetrating dark eyes are depicted in both. As well, she wore almost the exact same shade of pink and has a similar head tilt.

Elizabeth married Boston merchant Edward Lyde in 1772. Their son, Edward, was born in 1773. They were loyalists and moved from Boston to Halifax, Nova Scotia, then to England, during the American Revolution. The family moved to New York City sometime before 1811. Elizabeth’s husband Edward died in 1812, Elizabeth died in 1820, and her son Edward never married and died in 1831. They are all buried in Manhattan, New York.

View the 1758 portrait up close here, and the 1811/1812 portrait up close here.

MHS News

Fellowship Deadlines Quickly Approaching

The Massachusetts Historical Society now offers multiple awards to scholars who need to use its library and archival collections. The research projects that the MHS supports through its fellowship programs produce cutting-edge historical scholarship.

The MHS awards two long-term NEH fellowships annually. Applicants research at the MHS for a minimum of four months and a maximum of twelve months on their proposed project. The application deadline for the academic year 20242025 is 15 January 2024. Learn more and apply here.

The MHS also awards 15 short-term fellowships annually and helps to provide approximately 24 New England Regional Fellowship Consortium grants for projects that draw on the resources of 31 participating research and cultural institutions. Please take note of the following upcoming deadlines:

New England Regional Fellowship Consortium: 1 February 2024

Suzanne and Caleb Loring Fellowship: 15 February 2024

MHS Short-Term Fellowships: 1 March 2024

Object of History Podcast, The Branded Hand Available, Available 15 January

The Object of History podcast Season 3, Episode 3, The Branded Hand, will explore the significance of the daguerreotype photograph of Capt. Jonathan Walker's branded hand.

This episode releases on Monday, 15 January. Listen to it here.

Upcoming Events


Tuesday, 16 January | 5:00 PM

Seeing the Forest as the Key: Lumbermen, Foresters & Racial Power in the Early Twentieth-Century South & the West

Evan Bonney, Centre d'histoire de Sciences Po and Perri Meldon, Boston University, with comment by Megan Kate Nelson, historian and writer.

Register to attend in person.

Register to attend online.


Tuesday, 23 January | 5:00 PM

Prostitutes in Private: Sexual & Consumer Culture in Early 20th-Century New York Tenements

Deena Ecker, CUNY Graduate Center, with comment by Kathy Peiss, University of Pennsylvania.

Register to attend in person.

Register to attend online.


Wednesday, 24 January | 6:00 PM

A History of Boston

Daniel Dain

Register to attend in person.

Register to attend online.

Tuesday, 30 January, 5:00 PM: Deported Americans: US Citizens & the Expanding Global Deportation Regime During the Interwar Era with Emily Pope-Obeda, Lehigh University, with comment by Kunal Parker, University of Miami School of Law. This is a seminar.

Tuesday, 6 February, 5:00 PM: The Social World of Revolutionary New England with Nicole Breault, University of Texas, El Paso, and Christopher Walton, Southern Methodist University, with comment by Mark Peterson, Yale University. This is a seminar.

Thursday, 8 February, 5:00 PM: “A New Witch Hunt in Salem”: The Rise & Fall of Low-Cost Birth Control Clinics During the Great Depression with Jeanna Kinnebrew, Boston University, with comment by Lauren MacIvor Thompson, Kennesaw State University. This is a seminar.

Tuesday, 13 February, 5:00 PM: Farm, Factory & Mine: Worcester Coal & the Role of Extractive Industries in Early 19th-Century New England with Katheryn Viens, Independent Scholar, with comment by Brian C. Black, Pennsylvania State University. This is a seminar.

See full calendar.

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.

Click below to view the video, A Constitutional Culture: New England & the Struggle Against Arbitrary Rule in the Restoration Empire, with Adrian Chastain Weimer, Providence College. Enjoy more videos by subscribing to the MHS YouTube channel after you view the video.

Exhibition and Library Hours

Now Open! The Dye is cast: Interests & Ideals That Motivated the Boston Tea Party. The exhibition is open through 29 February 2024. Learn more about the exhibition and explore items from our collection related to the Tea Party


Our galleries and library are open Monday and Wednesday through Friday, from 9:30 AM to 4:45 PM, Tuesday from 9:30 AM to 7:45 PM, and Saturday from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM (the galleries and library open at 12:00 PM the second Tuesday of the month). Please note that the last admission is 45 minutes prior to closing.

Please check our hours and admissions for hours, building closings, and other events.

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.

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!
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