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Frederick Douglass First Addresses White Audience

August 11, 1841
August 11, 1841

Frederick Douglass First Addresses White Audience

On this day in 1841, Frederick Douglass, a fugitive slave, addressed a white audience for the first time when he spoke to a gathering of abolitionists on Nantucket. "It was with the utmost difficulty that...

Oak Bluffs Writer Dorothy West Dies

August 16, 1998
August 16, 1998

Oak Bluffs Writer Dorothy West Dies

On this day in 1998, Dorothy West died on Martha's Vineyard. The Boston-born writer was the last living member of the Harlem Renaissance, a movement of African American artists, writers, and musicians that energized American...

Lucy Terry Prince Composes Poem

August 28, 1748
August 28, 1748

Lucy Terry Prince Composes Poem

On this day in 1746, Lucy Terry Prince was among the residents of Deerfield present during an Abenaki raid on the village. Lucy, an enslaved woman, described the horrific event in "The Bars Fight," the earliest...

Oliver Wendell Holmes Born in Cambridge

August 29, 1809
August 29, 1809

Oliver Wendell Holmes Born in Cambridge

On this day in 1809, Oliver Wendell Holmes was born in Cambridge. The man who coined the phrase "Boston Brahmin," he was a true member of that class, and he entertained the nation with poems,...

John Greenleaf Whittier Dies

September 7, 1892
September 7, 1892

John Greenleaf Whittier Dies

On this day in 1892, the poet John Greenleaf Whittier died at the age of 85. He had come a long way from his Quaker boyhood on a struggling farm in Haverhill. He began writing...

Memorial to Anne Bradstreet Dedicated

September 12, 2000
September 12, 2000

Memorial to Anne Bradstreet Dedicated

On this day in 2000, several North Shore communities were celebrating "Anne Bradstreet Week" to mark the 350th anniversary of the publication of her work. A reenactment commemorated her arrival in Salem in 1630. Events...

Mabel Todd First Describes Emily Dickinson

September 15, 1882
September 15, 1882

Mabel Todd First Describes Emily Dickinson

On this day in 1882, Mabel Loomis Todd first recorded her impressions of her mysterious Amherst neighbor. Emily Dickinson always wore white and had her hair arranged "as was the fashion fifteen years ago." "She...

First Merriam-Webster Dictionary Published in Springfield

September 24, 1847
September 24, 1847

First Merriam-Webster Dictionary Published in Springfield

On this day in 1847, Charles and George Merriam of Springfield published the first edition of The American Dictionary of the English Language. Four years earlier, the brothers had decided to take a major risk....

Utopians Purchase Brook Farm

October 11, 1841
October 11, 1841

Utopians Purchase Brook Farm

On this day in 1841, a group of Boston-area utopians purchased Brook Farm in West Roxbury. The writer Nathaniel Hawthorne spent six months there and later wrote about his experiences in his satirical novel Blithedale...

Indian Rights Activist Born in Amherst

October 15, 1830
October 15, 1830

Indian Rights Activist Born in Amherst

On this day in 1830, an Amherst College professor and his wife rejoiced at the safe delivery of their second child, Helen Maria Fiske. A lifelong friend of Emily Dickinson and a talented poet in...