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Brown Bag Lunch: Accounted For - February 2023

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About This Program

Our February Brown Bag Lunch program is the first in a two-part series regarding the history of enslaved people on the North Shore.  This month, we welcome Hamilton native James Tanzer, a museum professional and independent researcher, who has been exploring the history of enslaved people in 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.

To participate via Zoom, please register online using this form.  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.

About the Brown Bag Lunch Series

Join us on the third Thursday of the month with your favorite lunch and explores local history and culture in a comfortable and welcoming environment. Beverages and dessert will be provided by the museum.  This is a free community program and we are asking those who are able to consider a $10 donation to the Wenham Museum to attend.  You may still attend this program without a donation.  Thank you!

Registrant Information


If there is anything you'd very much like to know, please share your question here and we will provide them to our presenter.