Shapiro Center News

News about the Shapiro Center and The Huntington Library's American history collections.

June 23, 2021 - Extraordinary Expenses
A mundane expense report from the U.S. Marshal for Massachusetts sheds new light on the history of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850.

February 10, 2021 - “The Paths of Honour, Truth and Virtue"
Just like all parents, John Adams wanted his son, John Quincy Adams, to succeed in life. But, even more urgently, he wished him to grow into an honorable gentleman as his letter of April 8, 1777, expresses.

Feb. 3, 2021 - The Rise of the Latino Vote: A History
On the occasion of winning The Huntington’s inaugural Shapiro Book Prize for The Rise of the Latino Vote: A History, professor Benjamin Francis-Fallon discusses how Latina/o leaders in the U.S. first came to see themselves as belonging to one political community, exploring their attempts to establish mutual bonds and pass legislation and analyzing how both major political parties attempted to co-opt this emerging constituency and reshape it in their own image.

Jan. 14, 2021 - The Huntington Names Winner of Inaugural Shapiro Book Prize
The biennial award of $10,000 for outstanding first monograph in American history and culture goes to Benjamin Francis-Fallon for The Rise of the Latino Vote: A History.

Jan. 13, 2021 - Cataloging in the Time of COVID
Melissa Haley, American Presidential Papers Project Archivist, Olga Tsapina, Norris Foundation Curator of American Historical Manuscripts, Anne Blecksmith, Head of Reader Services, and Jackie Beckey, Reader Services Librarian, give a behind-the-scenes look at how the Library's American collections have been accessed by researchers over time, and how these materials and the Shapiro Collection are being made more accessible through the art of archival processing--a crucial element of collections care and stewardship.

Oct. 17, 2020 - The Past in the Present: America’s Founding and Us
Professor Annette Gordon-Reed, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and one of the nation’s premier authorities on the Founding era, discusses how Americans today deal with problematic historical figures such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, in the inaugural lecture for the Shapiro Center for American History and Culture at The Huntington.

June 17, 2020 - "Release the Vessel & Cargo"
A seemingly pedestrian letter written by Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin to Newport customs collector William Ellery in 1809 bears witness to the painful and tortuous history of slavery in the United States.

Feb. 6, 2020 - "Huntington Acquires Archive Documenting a Notorious Colonial Plot to Defraud Native Americans of Ancestral Land in Pennsylvania"
A collection of affidavits, depositions, sworn testimonies, maps, and letters documents a 1757 investigation into the so-called Walking Purchase of 1737 that defrauded the Lenni Lenape (known to Europeans as Delawares) out of more than a million acres.

Nov. 13, 2019 - "Huntington Acquires Two Major Collections of Slavery and Abolition Materials"
The papers of Zachariah Taylor Shugart include a rare account book with names of men and women who passed through his Michigan farm which was a stop of the Underground Railroad. The Dickinson & Shrewsbury saltworks archive sheds light on a West Virginia industry that was not plantation-based but still relied heavily on slave labor.