When America First Met China: An Exotic History of Tea, Drugs and Money during the Age of Sail

When America First Met China: An Exotic History of Tea, Drugs
                            and Money during the Age of Sail

Eric Jay Dolan

Tuesday, October 2
7:00 p.m.
Winchester Public Library

Jay Dolin, the author of the Boston Globe’s 2007 Best Book of the Year: Leviathan, and his 2010 Fur, Fortune, and Empire: The Epic History of the Fur Trade in America, returns with the story of America’s first voyages to the Middle Kingdom, where Americans and Chinese looked at each other with wonder, alarm and calculation.

When America First Met China: An Exotic History of Tea, Drugs, and Money in the Age of Sail,” published September 10, 2012, begins at the end of the American Revolution, when America’s relationship with England was in ruins, and the country looked to the Far East for economic trade.  On July 22, 1784, the Empress of China sailed into the Pearl River in China.  Thousands of American and British vessels began sailing on the Pearl to trade for silk, tea, tea service sets and, the most profitable commodity, opium.

Dolin introduces us to some important American names—including Robert Morris, John Ledyard, John Jacob Astor, Robert Forbes, Harriet Low—and he relates the adventures of the first Chinese to come to America, who became almost carnival attractions

Dolin’s discussion of his book examines some  of the seeds of poppies, trade, greed, grandeur and an international partnership that remains uneasy and perilous.

This program is sponsored by the Winchester Historical Society, Friends of the Winchester Public Library and the John & Mary Murphy Educational Foundation.  Questions:  (781)729-6096

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Digging Up Winchester’s Past: Native Americans along the Mystic

Digging up Winchester’s Past: Native Americans along the Mystic

Peter Wild and Ellen Knight

Thursday, October 4
7:30 p.m.
Jenks Senior Center

Learn about the history of Squaw Sachem and Native Americans in Winchester through documents and artifacts. Historian Ellen Knight will speak on the co-existence of the Native American and colonial English cultures in the Massachusetts Bay/Winchester area as illustrated by the Squaw Sachem and her family.  Peter Wild will discuss the Sherman Russell Native American Local Artifacts Collection. Sherman Russell, and his father, collected these artifacts on their land near the Mystic Lakes in the early 1900’s.  Examples of arrow heads and tools, many found in Winchester, will be on display

Ellen Knight, Ph.D., is a specialist in the history of the arts of the Boston area at the turn of the twentieth century, as well as the history of Winchester, Mass. She authored histories of Winchester Hospital, the Winchester Public Library, Winchester Community Music School, and Wright-Locke Farm and was the co-author of the Children’s History of Winchester, as well as numerous articles on an array of local subjects published in the Daily Times Chronicle.

Peter Wild is a descendent of the Russell family.  He was born and lives in Winchester; he is the owner of Boston Tree Preservation, and a Board member of the Society.

The Winchester Historical Society is proud to join with Winchester Reads in presenting this event  Be sure to read the book, Caleb’s Crossing, and then hear the author Geraldine Brooks discuss her story of the first Native American to graduate from Harvard University.  That event is at McCall Middle School on October 23.

The Squaw Sachem Sells Her Land to Governor John Winthrop, mural in Winchester Public Library


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Society Events for Town Day

Winchester Town Day



Historic Trolley Tours of Winchester

Come early to get your FREE ticket at the Winchester Historical Society Booth
on the Town Common starting at 9:00A.M.
Saturday, June 2nd.

10:00 Development of North Main Street led by John Clemson

10:30 Homes of the Stars led by Ellen Knight (CANCELED)

11:00 Development of North Main Street led by John Clemson

11:30 West Side Farms led by Susan Keats

12:00 Solar Homes of Winchester led by Sustainable Winchester

12:30 West Side Farms led by Susan Keats

1:00 Trees of Winchester led by Peter Wild

Strawberry Festival and Tours of the Sanborn House  

Trolleys will run a continuous loop from the Town Common to the Sanborn House
starting at about 1:45 with the last trolley leaving the Sanborn House at 3:45


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Organizations Supporting the Sanborn House and Winchester Historical Society Programs

Featured Publication

Wright-Locke Farm: A History in Pictures
by Ellen Knight

Look into the history of the Wright-Locke farm in a new 16-page booklet titled Wright-Locke Farm: A History in Pictures. Read More.

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