History Talk to Look at 1870 North Adams


NORTH ADAMS, MA -  Dr. Anthony Lee, associate professor of art history at Mt. Holyoke College, will speak on his recently published book, "A Shoemaker's Story: Being Chiefly About French Canadian Immigrants, Enterprising Photographers, Rascal Yankees and Chinese Cobblers in a Nineteenth Century Factory Town," on Wednesday, April 15, at 7 p.m., at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA).

The event, which will take place in Murdock Hall conference room 218, is free and open to the public.

The book looks at North Adams in the 1870s, when the growing labor movement, the industrialization of the shoemaking craft and the importation of 75 Chinese strikebreakers by businessman Calvin T. Sampson sparked events that were reported in newspapers across the country.

Lee, the chair of the American Studies Department at Mount Holyoke College, tells the story through close examination of the remarkable visual evidence which survives from a time when photography as a storytelling medium was only just coming into its own. He conducted much of the research locally in public archives and the private collections of area residents.

Other publications by Lee include "Painting on the Left: Diego Rivera, Radical Politics and San Francisco's Public Murals" (for which he won several awards), "Picturing Chinatown: Art and Orientalism in San Francisco," "Weegee and the Naked City,"  "Diane Arbus: Family Albums" and "On Alexander Gardner's Photographic Sketch Book of the Civil War."

This event is sponsored by MCLA, the North Adams Historical Society and the North Adams Public Library, with support from the Freel Library Hardman Grant. For information, call Linda Kaufmann or Susan Denault, at 413-662-5325.