Hands-On History Workshop
Exploring Johnny Tremain
Are you curious about history? Do you want to delve deeper into a topic by discussing it with an expert? Would you like to examine the AAS collections firsthand? Then come join us for a new series of hands-on history workshops.
This hands-on workshop will explore the beloved children’s novel Johnny Tremain, written by AAS’s first female member, Esther Forbes (elected 1960). In this award-winning novel, which has never been out of print since it was first published in 1943, Forbes follows a smart, charming, and somewhat reckless apprentice silversmith through a series of personal and political trials leading up to the Battles of Lexington and Concord. She not only paints a vibrant picture of Revolutionary-era Boston, but also tells a coming-of-age story that remains relevant today. Joan Shelley Rubin will serve as lead scholar for the day placing the novel in the context of the time it was written. Participants will also examine original documents from the AAS collection that relate to the scenes and events in the novel, putting the story in its literary and historical context.
Whether you loved the novel as a child, are looking for ways to incorporate it into your classroom teaching, or are planning to introduce it to a child or grandchild of your own, you’ll find this workshop both enlightening and entertaining!
Joan Shelley Rubin is Dexter Perkins professor in history and director of the American Studies program at the University of Rochester, where she has been a faculty member since 1995. An American cultural historian with a specialization in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, she has been particularly interested in the values, anxieties, aspirations, and beliefs that have shaped both “high” art and popular expression. She is the author of Constance Rourke and American Culture (2001); The Making of Middlebrow Culture (1992); Songs of Ourselves: The Uses of Poetry in America (2010; and Cultural Considerations: Essays on Readers, Writers and Musicians in Postwar America (2013). She is co-editor-in-chief of The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Cultural and Intellectual History, and co-editor of The Enduring Book: Print Culture in Postwar America (a volume in the collaborative A History of the Book in America project sponsored by the American Antiquarian Society) and associate editor of The Oxford Companion to the Book.