Past Programs from the
Third Thursdays Webinar Series
Caption: Ursuline Academy reception building, originally the home of Francis and Sarah Skinner and then Sarah Skinner Shea and Charles Shea. Photo by Ursuline Academy.
Thursday, September 23rd, 7:00 p.m.
Federal Hill: From Skinner Estate to Ursuline Academy
Please note that this webinar was held the fourth Thursday in observance of Yom Kippur on the 16th.
An independent college preparatory school for young women in grades 7–12, located on Lowder Street in Dedham, Ursuline celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2021. But what is your knowledge of the property and its history?
Click on this link to view the webinar and hear scholar Sally Seufert Holmes lead a fascinating tour through the history of the estate. In this webinar, you will learn the backstory of “Federal Hill Farm” and how it evolved into the convent and Ursuline Academy of today, which continues its legacy of strong women. Included are fascinating stories that intertwined the lives of Isabella Stewart Gardner of Boston; one of the city’s wealthiest eligible bachelors and his new bride; a leading architect and an estate in Dedham; and a chauffeur, gardener, and lady’s maid.
Thursday, June 17th, 7:00 p.m.
The Sacco & Vanzetti Trial 100 Years Later: A Historic Perspective and Parallels to Today
In 1920, a payroll clerk and his guard were shot to death during an armed robbery of the Slater and Morrill Shoe Company in Braintree. Two men were accused, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. From May through July of 1921 the two were tried in Dedham and convicted of the murders; they were executed six years later. Italian immigrants, they were also self-proclaimed anarchists. The trial spurred international outrage and condemnation, with claims that their conviction was based on their political ideology and bigotry toward immigrants rather than evidence. A century later, this webinar presented the storyline, historic context, and parallels with the present time.
The DHSM thanks co-organizers John Tocci and Joseph Borsellino as well as the Italian American Citizens Club of Dedham — San Giovanni Battista, the Dedham Human Rights Commission, the Justinians, the Dante Alighieri, the Newton Sons of Italy, The Italian Americans For Indigenous People, and Precinct Chairs in Dedham. And finally, please join me in thanking Amanda Smith, public information officer for the Town of Dedham and the Town for hosting the webinar platform for the evening.
Guest speakers were Appeals Court Justice Peter Agnes (Ret.) and Professor Michele Fazio, University of North Carolina. Joseph Borsellino provided context related to historic trials and John Tocci moderated.
Click here to view this webinar. This is a large file (445 MB) and you may need to download the program rather than watch it directly. Judge Agnes’ portion of the program was shortened for the webinar. To hear Judge Agnes’ entire 60 minute presentation, click here.
Thursday, May 20th, 7:00 p.m.
The Dedham Branch Railroad
Railroad historian and DHSM Vice President Steve Brayton presented a history of the Dedham Branch of the New Haven Railroad. Connecting the mainline at Readville to Dedham and on to West Roxbury, the Dedham Branch formed an unusual “loop” route. The webinar presentation featured images of steam trains and landmarks such as the old Dedham station.
Click here to watch the webinar.
The Ben Fisher Memorial Lecture
Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.
Adding the Reality Back In; or Why You Can’t Talk About the History of Dedham, Massachusetts, Without Indigenous Peoples
Through an overview of centuries of history, this webinar examines the experiences of Indigenous nations and individuals in the historic and contemporary borders of what is now Dedham. Contextualized in town and regional history, and in larger themes of colonialism, warfare, kinship, and town identity, Indigenous experiences add to a more complete and complex understanding of Dedham’s overarching history.
Click here to watch the webinar.
Thursday, March 18th, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.
St. Mary’s Church: A Community Created
On May 15, 1843, eight people attended the first Catholic Mass in Dedham. It was held at the Slattery House and celebrated by Father James Strain of Waltham. As the town’s Catholic population grew from an influx of Irish mill workers, emigrating largely due to the Potato Famine, the community needed a place of worship. In this webinar, Dedham resident Jack Hoell discussed the construction of what is now St. Mary’s Church, the struggles of the parishioners to earn acceptance, and how other residents of Dedham bonded together to build a monument to the beliefs of the Catholic community in town. Click here to listen to the webinar.
Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.
Black History Month & Dedham
In honor of Black History Month, the DHSM dove into the archives and museum collections to “meet” members of the Black community in Dedham. The history of Black men and women in Dedham stretches back several hundred years, though records of their lives are not as abundant as they should be. February’s webinar will introduce you to some of the individuals who have contributed to Dedham—initially unwillingly as slaves—and the history of Black Americans in Dedham through to today. Click here to listen to the webinar, presented by DHSM Executive Director, Johanna McBrien, with guest Joseph Borsellino from the Dedham Human Rights Commission. Click here to watch a March 2021 “I am Dedham” segment on historic documents and Redlining in Dedham, with McBrien, Borsellino, and Dr. Oneida Fox Roye, head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with Dedham Public Schools.
Thursday, January 21, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.
“My Dear Mother: Civil War Letters to Dedham from the Lathrop Brothers”
One by one the three Lathrop brothers from Dedham enlisted to fight for the Union after the Civil War broke out in 1861. During the next four years, John, Julius, and Joseph Lathrop wrote more than 100 letters home to their mother and sisters, telling them of fierce battles, long marches, camp life, and their dedication to the Union cause.
In this webinar, Stuart Christie, a recent DHSM Board member who spent three years transcribing the letters, talks about the Civil War, the brothers, and other Dedham men who enlisted. Click here to watch the webinar, and here for the audio version.
These letters are in the collection of the DHSM and have recently been published—unvarnished—in a book by same title as the webinar. Click here to read more about the book and/or purchase a copy.
Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.
December Holiday Traditions in Dedham
The last month of the year is full of holiday traditions celebrated around the world. This webinar explores how the residents of Dedham marked December festivities in the past and discusses some more recent traditions. Join DHSM director, Johanna McBrien, as she reaches into the archives and around town to share how Dedham residents celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. Click here to watch the presentation.
Thursday, November 19, at 7:00 p.m.
Religion in Early Dedham: Dedham at the Center of the Universe
Dr. Hall spoke on early religion in Dedham: Dedham at the Center of the Universe. The talk was divided into three sections: Fairness as a Civic Principle (1636); “Visible Saints” as a Religious Principle (1637), and a Solomon- and-the-Baby Decision About Church Property (1820s). Andrea Gilmore of the DHSM also spoke on the First Church silver, pewter flagons (dated 1721 and 1736), and the japanned clock that hung in the church. An engaging Q&A session followed. Click here to watch the presentation.
Dr. Hall is the Bartlett Research Professor at Harvard Divinity School. He writes extensively on religion and society in seventeenth-century New England. He is also engaged in the history of literacy and reading in early America.
Detail: Key to buildings in a “View of Dedham Village,” 1795, by Rev. Jonathan Fisher.
Thursday, October 15, 2020
Paul Revere: Beyond Silver
Revere is widely known as a silversmith and patriot. He was also an entrepreneur and manufacturer who started successful iron foundries and a copper rolling mill. In this talk, Professor Rob Martello related the story of the DHSM’s 1798 courthouse bell in the context of Revere’s business ventures. Click here to watch the recorded talk.
Mr. Martello is a professor of the History of Science and Technology at Olin College of Engineering, and has been a contributing scholar to the Revere exhibition Beyond Midnight at the Worcester Art Museum, where the bell is on view through November 7th. Martello is an engaging and knowledgeable speaker who melds his expertise in technology with his love of history. The Revere bell will return to the DHSM in early December 2020.
A symposium related to Beyond Midnight and organized by the American Antiquarian Society was held virtually from October 7-9, 2020 and is available here for viewing. Each day’s session is approximately 75 minutes.
May 30, 2020: Cancelled, but please read below
We are highly disappointed that our annual Spring Soirée was cancelled because of COVID-19, but hope you all remain healthy. The Soirée is a critical fundraiser for the museum and money usually raised makes a significant contribution to the museum’s operating budget. If your circumstances allow, please click on the DONATE button below to make a donation in either the amount of one or more tickets or whatever you are able to give.
Our annual Soirée is held at a private residence in Dedham. This member-only event is a glorious party where guests tour a historic home, enjoy cocktails, and dine on catering from Chiara of Westwood. As a teaser, the image on the left is the location of the next Soiree; date to be determined.
Thursday, February 27, 7:00 p.m.
Christian Di Spigna, Founding Martyr: The Life and Death of Dr. Joseph Warren, the American Revolution’s Lost Hero.
Dr. Joseph Warren was involved in almost every major insurrectionary act leading up to the American Revolution until his death at Bunker Hill in 1775. Though residing in Boston for much of his adult life, Warren had connections to Dedham. Speaker Christian Di Spigna will share information about Warren’s life in Boston, as well as what he uncovered in the Dedham Historical Society & Museum’s archives about Warren, his associations with Dedham residents, and other tantalizing details regarding his time in Dedham. Di Spigna is author of Founding Martyr: The Life and Death of Dr. Joseph Warren, the American Revolution’s Lost Hero.
Click here to watch the video of the talk, courtesy of Dedham TV.
2020 Wine Event
February 7, 2020, 7-9 p.m.
$50 per person
Friends gathered for a fun-filled evening of flavorful wines and tasty
hors d’oeuvres at this much-anticipated annual event.
Plus, guest were able to take their chances and purchase a raffle ticket for an opportunity to own a vintage advertising card table promoting businesses active in Dedham in 1942. Drawing was held at the Wine Event. Raffle tickets $5 each/5 for $20.
The Wine Event took place at the Dedham Historical Society & Museum, 612 High Street.
Toy Trains Return to DHSM!
Annual Holiday Stroll
Friday, December 6, 2019, 6-8 p.m.
Saturday, December 7, 11 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Enjoy the festivities throughout Dedham Square at the Annual Holiday Stroll. Be sure to stop by the museum where young and old will have fun watching trains travel around a 15-foot track, passing all sorts of sights along the way. While at DHSM, children can watch a miniature merry-go-round and see the lights on inside a snow-covered village, color festive scenes, or curl up in a chair and read holiday books.
The trains and activities continue on Saturday from 11-2 for a more leisurely experience.
2019-2020 Lecture Series
Thursday, November 21, 7:00 p.m.
What history do Dedham’s Avery Oak, Old Ironsides, and the vessel’s first commander, Captain Samuel Nicholson, share? Dedham native and Executive Officer of the U.S.S. Constitution, John Benda, will reveal the connections and discuss the fascinating story of the oldest commissioned warship afloat. Benda will trace the ship’s history from the Revolutionary War through to today. He will share news about the current crew of the U.S.S. Constitution and the vessel’s educational mission.
Click here to view a video of the talk, courtesy Dedham TV.
Fall Harvest Dinner
Saturday, November 16, 2019
Enjoy a Festive Meal and Hear About Urban Farming
6:00 pm: hors-d’oeuvres and drinks followed by dinner at 7:00 pm
Dinner will be held at the First Church, 670 High Street, Dedham
The evening’s guest speaker, Kathy Kottaridis, Executive Director of Historic Boston, Inc., will discuss the restoration of the Fowler/Clark/Epstein farm in Mattapan, one of Boston’s only surviving farms. Its historic buildings and land have been restored as a fully functioning farm run by the Urban Farming Institute.
Menu: Roasted turkey, stuffing, roast vegetables, salad, a selection of breads, and homemade pie. Each table will be set with a different historic dinnerware pattern.
The evening will also introduce the First Annual DHSM Award. The evening’s honoree is the Worthington Committee, a dedicated group of volunteers who for more than 20 years have organized fundraising events for the DHSM.
Purchase tickets below, call 781.326.1385, or send a check to P.O. Box 215, Dedham, MA 02027
RSVP by Thursday, November 14th
Fall Walking Tour
Old Village Cemetery, Village Avenue
Saturday, October 26, 2019
TWO TOURS in conjunction with October lecture
$12 DHSM members; $15 nonmembers
To purchase tickets, go to the Events page of this website or call 781.326.1395.
Tour A: 12:15 SOLD OUT (meet at the OVC entrance)
Tour B: 2:45 SOLD OUT (Tour leaves from the DHSM lecture or meet at the OVC entrance)
Held in conjunction with the October 26th DHSM lecture (see below).
Ever wonder what the carvings on early gravestones mean?
William Hosley, a leading historian, will speak on the meaning behind the “graven images” and other carvings on the headstones at the Old Village Cemetery; Hosley will also put the iconography in the context of early New England culture and society.
Click here to view the walking tour, courtesy Dedham TV.
To learn more about the Old Village Cemtery and the Dedham Preservation Association’s restoration efforts, see the Current Events page of this website, and visit https://dedhamvillage.org/old-village-cemetery/
October Lecture: Saturday, October 26, 1:30 p.m.|
William Hosley: Iconography on Gravestones.
Hosley, a cultural historian, will speak about the imagery on gravestones, placing the iconography in the conext of early New England culture and society. He will integrate the Old Village Cemetery into the discussion. The talk is to be preceded and followed by walking tours of the Old Village Cemetery led by Mr. Hosley; see the Walking Tour section above.
Friday, September 20th
$35 per person ($40 at the door)
At this Sold Out event, guests enjoyed tastings from craft brewieries—Bone up Brewing, Small Change Brewing, Turtleswamp Brewing, 7th Wave Brewing, Tributary Brewing, Celia gluten-free Saison, and Athletic Brewing (non-alcoholic)—hard cider from Bantam Cider and Far From the Tree Cider, live folk music by the Zip Finn Band, and light fare while viewing DHSM’s tavern signs. Guests also received a signature DHSM tavern night tasting glass to remember the evening. Click here to watch a video of the evening, courtesy of DedhamTV.
Thank you for supporting the DHSM, the participating breweries, the Zip Finn band, and the evening’s sponsors. See below.
The evening’s featured musical performers, the Boogaloo Swamis, are Ruth Rappaport (guitar/vocals), Ben Wetherbee (fiddle/vocals), Paul Strother (upright bass), and Mickey Bones (drums). They specialize in music from New England, the British Isles, Appalachia, and Louisiana.
This is a fundraiser for the DHSM and we are most appreciative of the support from the evening’s sponsors: Lead Sponsors: Caffé Tremezzo, Dedham School of Music, and the Odd Fellows Hermann Dexter Lodge. Supporting Sponsors: Needham Bank, Horse Thieves Tavern, and El Centro.
Image: Swing tavern sign, Moses Gragg Tavern on Canton Avenue, Milton, Mass., 1828. Oil on wood, 30 ½ x 24 ½ in. framed. Collection of the Dedham Historical Society & Museum (1889.1).
Thursday, June 20, 2019
Who doesn’t love shoes?! Join the party and dress up or dress down; whatever you do, wear your favorite pair of fabulous footwear!
Enjoy wine and desserts while showing off your personal flair — whether pumps or flats, wingtips or sandals. Swing by beforehand to be inspired by our exhibit on historic and vintage shoes. Bring your friends, kick up your heels, and have a ball!
Please thank our sponsors: Total Image Day Spa; Boston General Store (Dedham), and Nest.
Click here to watch a video of the evening, courtesy of DedhamTV.
June 18, 2019
Our annual members-only Soiree held at a Historical home in Dedham went off as a rousing success. Over 120 members were in attendance in their best to enjoy cocktails, food, and conversation. Interested in the annual soiree? Already a member? The soiree is an annual event held every year in June. Get ready for next year! Not yet a member of the Historical Society? No, need to worry! Become a member today and receive your invitation to this and all our events and programs.
Annual Winter Wine Event
January 25, 2019
The annual winter festivity that warms the heart and spreads cheer into the new year. On Friday, January 25th, friends gathered at DHSM for our annual Winter Wine Event. Guests enjoyed sampling a selection of wines and local beer, and dined on tasty hors d’oeuvres. What better way to spend a cold January evening? Special thanks to the Worthington Committee who made the event possible and who brought scrumptious bites, to Fine Estates from Spain for the selection of wines, and to Turtle Swamp Brewery in Jamaica Plain for the brew. A marvelous way to head into 2019!
Trains Return for the Annual Dedham Square
Friday, November 30, 2018
Treat your children and family to an annual holiday tradition. Celebrate the season by enjoying the model trains that once again will be part of Dedham’s annual Holiday Stroll, on Friday, November 30, from 6-8 pm at the Dedham Historical Society & Museum. As in years past, a holiday train set takes center stage on the tracks brought into the museum for this special occasion. In addition to model trains, Thomas the Tank Engine will also be rounding the tracks to the delight of younger children. Everyone will have a chance to participate in the magic by having a turn starting and stopping the trains.
For anyone who would like to return for more time with the trains, they’ll also be running the next day, Saturday, December 1st, from 11 am-2 pm.
Dedham Pottery Anniversary Dinner
October 26, 2018
Spend a festive evening with friends celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the first-ever museum exhibition of Dedham Pottery, presented by the Dedham Historical Society in 1968.
Dine on antique Dedham Pottery plates from a private collection; enjoy cocktails made specially for the evening; learn the history of the pottery and strategies for collecting; bid on a rare piece of Dedham Pottery donated for this fundraising event; and have the opportunity to purchase a Dedham Pottery plate discounted for attendees as our “thank you” for your support. Rare examples will be on view. Blue and white attire encouraged.