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Brown Bag Lunch: Accounted For
February 16 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Tracing the Lives and Labor of an Enslaved Family in 18th-Century Wenham
In an unassuming brown leather-bound book, held today in the collection of the Wenham Museum, Lieutenant Richard Dodge of Wenham Neck carefully recorded his business transactions from the 1750s through the 1770s. He also recorded the labor of the human beings he enslaved–labor that he exchanged with neighbors and family for goods and services.
Lt. Dodge’s son, Captain Richard Dodge, Jr., and his brother, Captain Jacob Dodge, kept similar account books in Wenham in the 1700s, each recording the labor of the people they enslaved. For more than a year, independent researcher James Tanzer has been working to fully transcribe these important–if unexpected–sources of early Black history in Massachusetts.
In this talk, he will show how Lt. Richard Dodge’s account book offers a remarkable window into the daily laboring life of one enslaved family in 18th-century Wenham: that of Hazard and Flora and their son, Hampshire. The fastidious entries in Lt. Dodge’s account book, when combined with other historical sources, help reconstruct a vivid picture of this enslaved family that labored, worshiped, married, raised children, sought freedom, and died in Wenham.
The image at the top of this event listing is a photo of one of the Dodge account books documenting the labor of these enslaved people and is held in the permanent collection of the Wenham Museum.
About the Brown Bag Lunch Series
Join us the 3rd Thursday of every month to learn about local history and culture. Bring your own “brown bag lunch” and beverages and dessert will be provided by the museum.
To participate via Zoom, please register online using the “Buy Tickets” button below. If you plan to attend in person, you may register in advance or drop-in on the day of the program.
Thank You to Our Sponsor
This program series is sponsored by the Institution for Savings.
3rd Thursday of the Month
12 – 1 p.m.
$10 Suggested Donation