JOSHUA WINSLOW, James Lovell, and Vida Scudder; if not Lowells, Cabots, and Lodges, these persons are still redolent of “Old Boston” and are used to explore topics familiar to readers of the Quarterly. As prisms for seeing the evolution of Boston's, New England's, and, ultimately, America's history, our essays use biography to present new perspectives on their respective historical times. While Luke's parable (5:37–39 KJV) cautions us against putting new wine in old wineskins, Rabbi Yose ben Yehuda in the Pirkei Avot reiterates the axiomatic wisdom for the student of history: “he who learns from the old, … he can be compared to one who eats ripe grapes and drinks old wine” (4:20). Each of our authors in this issue provides us with ripe grapes and vintage wine for our reflections.

Stuart M. McManus in “Late-Humanism and Revolutionary Eloquence” examines the intellectual and rhetorical traditions that inform James Lovell's inaugural Boston Massacre Oration. McManus uses an examination of James Lovell's Classical and Renaissance education in his Harvard classes to understand better the oration's secular but ritualistic and ceremonial intent as well as the form and structure of revolutionary and patriotic speeches. In doing so, he presents us with a more nuanced understanding of the rhetorical devices in Lovell's texts, new interpretations of its form and structure and of the sources that described presentation of the speech, and suggestions of how the future rituals of Fourth of July speeches came to be shaped. Robert J. Wilson III shares his discovery of two hitherto unknown letters by Joshua Winslow written to Jotham Gay in 1773 in “We Were Declared Enemies to the Country.” Demonstrating the now familiar transatlantic context in which he operated, the letters reveal Winslow as an imperial bureaucrat and perhaps as the least known of the six consignees of the East India Company tea that had been ceremoniously dumped into Boston Harbor. Wilson discovered the letters in the hands of a Gay descendent when researching his book on Ebenezer Gay and the rise of Unitarianism. Fearing their loss in the interim since his research on Gay, he learned that they had come to be deposited in the Hingham (Massachusetts) Historical Society. The letters bracket the Boston Tea Party and provide a window into Winslow's state of mind, first, on his acceptance of the tea consignment, then, in his reaction to its destruction and the impact upon his reputation and stature among his neighbors, and finally in his shift from tory to loyalist. Moving chronologically to the late nineteenth century, Julie Garbus in “‘My Good Italian Friends’” examines Vida Scudder's experiences with the Circulo Italio-Americano, a community group she helped form in connection to her work with Boston's Denison House. As Garbus points out, some observers, like Samuel Francis Drake, had decided opinions on the influx of the recent—then Italian—immigrants into Boston. With the Circulo, Scudder intended to provide a bridge between her old Boston and the new Italian immigrants. That Drake's perspective rested on racist conflations of regional and socio-economic backgrounds should not surprise us, but, as Garbus demonstrates, the relationships of old Boston to the then new immigrants were as complicated and diverse as they were among the several regional and socio-economic communities that collectively made up the Italian communities in the North End. Garbus addresses the impact of the social, demographic, regional, and class distinctions behind what was perceived by observers like Drake as a homogeneous community and provides us with a more complicated perspective on the changing nature of Boston's North End community just as we anticipate another moment of an historic change in the city: as you read this issue, Boston will have elected its first woman and person of color its mayor.

All three essays also illustrate the ways in which focused studies on New England subjects continue to provide what Samuel Eliot Morison referred to as the foundation stones of future research that connect to larger themes in the national experience. The Gay letters affirm the links of local events and persons to transatlantic and imperial developments; Lovell's oration, to an analysis of eighteenth century rhetoric and pedagogy, learning and teaching at Harvard, and the origins and cultural implications of Fourth of July speeches; and Scudder, to the necessity of understanding the connections of regional identities at home and the impact of those transplanted from abroad. Our Review Essay, “Listening for Silence: The Trap of Biased Sources” by Lyndsay Campbell, also sheds light on how the close study of local subjects allows us to pierce the veil of biased sources. We invited Professor Campbell to use the occasion of a book review of The Case of the Slave-Child, Med: Free Soil in Antislavery Boston to expand upon an observation she made in her recent article “The ‘Abolition Riot’ Redux: Voices, Processes” (New England Quarterly, March 2021). In her essay, Campbell observed authors in sources frequently ignore, omit, or fail to record the actions and roles of peoples considered marginal by dominant cultures. Reminiscent of the Buddhist koan—what is the sound of one hand clapping—Campbell shows us how to sort out the prejudices in texts so that we can hear in the midst of their silences.

The editors invite you to review the new contribution to our Innovations in Teaching on our website ( “The Dorr Rebellion Project,” prepared by Erik J. Chaput, Russell J. Simone, and Christine Marie Landry. “The Dorr Rebellion Project” provides a unique opportunity to use Rhode Island history in the classroom. Often seen as a sideshow, the Dorr Rebellion should be seen as an integral part of the history of populism, protest, and the rise of democracy in the Early Republic and Antebellum periods. Designed to produce an authoritative online resource, the site offers opportunities for student engagement with various kinds of primary source materials, new forms of pedagogy, and curriculum resources for high school and college students. We invite readers to comment on this feature and submit proposals for projects designed to augment the teaching of history and literary culture with New England subjects. Proposals for inclusion on the website should be submitted to the editors for review at [email protected].

With this issue, we are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Sara Georgini, Series Editor of the Adams Papers at the Massachusetts Historical Society, as Book Review Editor. She brings a wealth of capabilities, ideas, and good cheer, and we are pleased to welcome her to the Quarterly family. Finally, we also want to acknowledge our many friends and supporters who continue to respond to our requests to review submissions and books in these challenging times and wish all the very best for the holiday season and a new year better than the last.