Each issue of Mass Humanities provides an in-depth look at our organization, including a highlighted grant project or program, an opinion piece from a staff member, and a list of recently funded projects. Archived issues are available to download in pdf format and you may read selected articles online listed below.

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Fall 2013 Issue download pdf

Above & Beyond

A look at our work over four decades shows that no matter the challenges, we can meet and exceed expectations.

Reflections on Mass Humanities’ 40th Anniversary Year

Some of our Executive Director’s favorite programs after almost thirty years of leading “this noble enterprise.”

Spring 2013 Issuedownload pdf

The Truth Sleuth

Enjoy an interview with author and “history detective” Ray Raphael, a scholar who separates myth from truth.

Race, Abolitionism, and American History

Read about our inaugural Public Squared project: the $25,000 grant awarded to Central Square Theater and its “Roots of Liberty” program.

Fall 2012 Issuedownload pdf

The Public Humanist Turns Five

What started as a local blog has become…a reliable place for thoughtful commentary on important issues. Here’s an interview with Hayley Wood, the originator and editor of The Public Humanist. Check out the slide show of the Top Ten posts.

Great Books, Great Kids

David Tebaldi talks about the Great Books Summer Program and Mass Humanities involvement providing kids from low-income families with an intellectually rich out-of-school experience.

Spring 2012 Issuedownload pdf

Course of Action

A newly released five-year study shows that Mass Humanities’ Clemente Course is changing more than just minds—it’s changing lives.

How Clemente Changed My Life

Ginnette Powell explains how seeing an ad for Mass Humanities’ Clemente Course has given her a new perspective on life, her community, and herself.

Fall 2011 Issuedownload pdf

The Information Sage

Mass Humanities Executive Director talks to our annual symposium panelist and Internet writer Virginia Heffernan on just where the rabbit hold of the Web is taking us.

Winter 2011 Issuedownload pdf

The Debate over Decline

On December 4, 2010, the Heights Room at Boston College was abuzz with reflection, conversation, and healthy controversy….

Delivering on Your Dollars

Mass Humanities receives both public and private funding. Those dollars allow us to fund wonderful projects that benefit the public. The documentary film, We Shall Not Be Moved, is one of those projects.

Fall 2010 Issuedownload pdf

“A Whole World Opens Up…” Reflections on the Clemente Course in the Humanities

Thirty-two adults who live in or near poverty in Dorchester and New Bedford completed the Clemente Course in the Humanities. Meet two of those graduates….

Grant Overview (starting November 2010)

Learn about the theme for 2011-2015, Crisis Community, and Civic Culture and special project grants for engaging new audiences and social media outreach.

Winter 2010 Issuedownload pdf

Uncivil Action? A Consideration of the Legitimacy of Violence

From our comfortable moral positions and in our comfortable American lives, many of us condemn violent political and social action.

Soldiers & Citizens: Military and Civic Culture in America

A wrap up of the symposium held on November 7th 2009.

Fall 2009 Issuedownload pdf

Dressing Down: An Interview with Andrew Bacevich

Andrew Bacevich is professor of history and international relations at Boston University. A graduate of West Point and a Vietnam Veteran, he earned a doctorate in diplomatic history from Princeton University and was a Bush Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin. Bacevich, an eloquent and incisive critic of the Iraq war and U.S. foreign policy, is the author of several books.

Who Wants You? The Draft, National Service and Democracy

The Vital Pictures team is working on a multi-platform media project that will examine the history and philosophical underpinnings of national service in general, and the history of the U.S. military draft in

Spring 2009 Issuedownload pdf

“The Meaning of the Fourth of July for the Negro”

Reading Frederick Douglass during the Presidency of Barack Obama.

Voices from the Port

New radio series gives firsthand accounts of life in the fishing community of New Bedford Harbor.

Winter 2009 Issuedownload pdf

FAIR Launches with a Jingle Jangle

Seventeen children and ten parents and caregivers participated in the family reading program at the Central Library in Springfield, led by John Porcino.

The Clemente Course Needs Your Help!

Recent cuts in state funding — made after our Clemente students had enrolled in September — have left us with a gap of $100,000 in the program’s budget.

Fall 2008 Issuedownload pdf

Traces in Massachusetts

An excerpt of an interview with Katrina Brown about the documentary, Traces of the Trade.

Racial Bias in Television Crime Reporting: Juror Number Six

Mass Humanities funded 12-minute documentary about the influence of the media on Americans’ perceptions of crime and race.

Spring 2008 Issuedownload pdf

No News is Bad News

On November 17, 2007, seven big-time editors and reports, one celebrated blogger, and a former presidential press secretary met to consider the latest puzzles and threats facing the mainstream media. (full article)

No News is Bad News

Excerpt from the article (above) written for Boston College Magazine as published in Mass Humanities.

Our American Cousin

A contemporary opera about the night of Lincoln`s death will be performed in Northampton in June, a liberty and justice for all grant funded project.

A Double Take on Clemente

Lyda Kuth and Julia Legas share a passion for Clemente. Lyda recently attended a Clemente class taught by Julia, and they have inspired each other to continue supporting the program in their own ways.

Traces of the Trade: An Interview with filmmaker Katrina Browne

Katrina Browne and nine other descendants of the DeWolf family, a Bristol, RI, slave trading empire, trace their ancestors` activities both before and after the slave trade was abolished in 1808 in the film Traces of the Trade.

Fall 2007download pdf

Mothering Heights

An interview with Joyce Antler, the author of a cultural history of Jewish mothers.

Literature & Medicine at Year 5

Reflections and evaluation results on the Literature and Medicine program.

Some Reflections on Literature & Medicine

Reflections by a seminar facilitator.

Massachusetts Clemente Course Graduates 40

Read the words of the recent graduates from the three Massachusetts Clemente sites.

Spring 2007download pdf

Talking Turkey

A conversation with the author of Mayflower, Nathaniel Philbrick.

Teaching Law Where it`s Practiced

Theatre Espresso`s interactive play about the history of the Boston Massacre.

The Least Dangerous Branch?

A sampler of the public symposium held on October 21, 2006.

Fall 2006 download pdf

Fifteen Years of Changing Lives Through Literature

An interview with Bob Waxler and Jean Trounstine, co-directors of Changing Lives Through Literature, a program that brings the humanities into the criminal justice system.

Humanities on the Inside-Out

A mixed community course on the prison memoir.

Mass Memories Road Show

MFH joins forces with the Massachusetts Studies Project to support the next phase of Mass Memories Road Show.

Spring 2006 download pdf

Voting Rights and Voting Wrongs: An Interview with Lani Guinier

Martin Newhouse, MFH board member interviews Lani Guinier and discuss the framers of the Constitution, proportional representation vs. our districting system and other topics.

Retracing the Struggle

A look back at the trio of events that took place at the end of October 2005.

Foundation News

Various news items including an update on Clemente, the Meaning of Service program, “Still Present Past” exhibit and Mass Moments.

Fall 2005 download pdf

The Right to Vote: An Interview with Historian Alex Keyssar

Alex Keyssar, an historian by training, has specialized in the examination of issues that have contemporary policy impliations.

Forgotten Salem: The Pequot Mill Strike

An MFH funded exhibition “Stopping the Clock: A Time to Remember Salem`s Pequot Mill Strike of 1933″ is surprising viewers with a slice of labor history.

Surfing the Humanities

Several recent Massachusetts humanities projects have utilized the Internet to bring to light some of the stories we didn`t learn in history class.

Spring 2005 download pdf


Beyond the Hyphen: A Conversation with Ilan Stavans

An interview with the 2005 Commonwealth Humanities Lecturer, Ilan Stavans, the Lewis-Sebring Professor of Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College.

Scenes from a Parish

An MFH funded documentary film exploring two years in the life of St. Patrick`s Church in South Lawrence, a traditionally Irish-American parish undergoing huge changes that reflect dramatic demographic and economic shifts in the city.

Presidential Reputations Reconsidered

On Saturday, November 20th, the Foundation celebrated its 30th birthday with an afternoon symposium called U.S. Presidents in Perspective: The Shifting Fortunes of Presidential Reputations.

Fall 2004 download pdf

Refreshing Our Historical Memory: Is Iraq “Another Vietnam?”

An interview with David Halberstam, journalist, historian, and biographer, is one of this country`s most distinguished social and political commentators.

Are We Still a Commonwealth? Markets, Morals, and Civic Life

The 2004 Commonwealth Humanities Lecturer was Michael J. Sandel, Ann T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government at Harvard University. His lecture is reprinted here.

Bringing Mass Moments to Life

A radio and internet “almanac” on Massachusetts history launches in January 2005.

The Political Dr. Seuss

An MFH funded 90-minute documentary by filmmaker Ron Lamothe.

Spring 2004 download pdf

Humanities in the Hospital

Participants reflect on Literature & Medicine, a hospital-based program consisting of six monthly discussions.

Still Present Pasts

An MFH funded exhibit exploring the legacies of the Korean War.

A Message from the Executive Director

“With the Foundation marking its 30th anniversary, I find myself drawn to a new way of looking at the work we have been doing all these years…”

Fall 2003 download pdf

Foundation News

New board members elected, departing board member, Primary Source awarded NEH Grant, Bay State Historical League Received Award of Merit, New Director of Development.

MFH in the 1970s

1970s A Noble Enterprise by Robert Collen, former Chairman from 1980 to 1982.

MFH in the 1980s

1980s Shifting Gears by Stephen Nissenbaum, former Chairman from 1987 to 1989.

MFH in the 1990s

1990s Facing Challenges by David Lionel Smith, former Chairman from 1998-2000.

MFH in the 21st Century

Envisioning the Future by Ellen Dunlap, has served as chair since 2002.

Spring 2003 download pdf

Understanding Islam

An Interview with Historian of Islam Keith Lewinstein.

Understanding Islam: Scholars Share their Experiences

Five scholars speak up about their experiences leading discussions in the reading and discussion program.

Meeting the Mummy

Springfield Museums Showcase Ancient Egypt.

We the People

National Endowment for the Humanities` new initiative.

Fall 2002

Taking the Past into the Future

An Interview with Tim Neumann, Executive Director of the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association.


A review of a Foundation funded film by Irene Lusztig

Dreams of Gold

Featured grant: Fitchburg State College`s Center for Italian Culture documents the Italian-American experience in the communities of Leominster and Fitchburg.

Clemente Grads

Graduates from the three Bard College Clemente Courses speak for the humanities and for themselves.

Spring 2002 download pdf

A Writer’s Progress

Associate Professor Anna Klobucka interviews Nobel Prize-Winning Portuguese Novelist Jose Saramago.

Promises Premieres in Paradise City

Six hundred people turned out at the Academy of Music in Northampton to view the critically acclaimed feature-length documentary, Promises.

Imagining Robert

A look at the making of the documentary about Jay and Robert Neugeboren and the subsequent project of screenings and civic dialogues.

Premiere of Downside Up at MassMoCA

The hour-long documentary that examines the impact of Mass MoCA on the economy and culture of North Adams premiered at Mass MoCA.

Fall 2001 download pdf

MYTOWN: Leaders of the Future Learning the Lessons of the Past

MFH Development Officer/Program Officer Amy Hoffman interviews Karilyn Crockett, founder and directorof MYTOWN Inc – the Multicultural Youth Tour Of What`s Now.

Julie Mallozzi`s Monkey Dance

A look at the ideas behind and the process of filming a documentary focusing on the lives of three teenaged Cambodian American dancers.

Holyoke Clemente Course Holds Graduation


Clemente Course in the Humanities to expand to Boston and Worcester

Spring 2001 download pdf

The Magnificent Seven: An Interview with Historian Joseph J. Ellis

MFH Executive Director David Tebaldi interviews Joseph J. Ellis, author of Founding Brothers, The Revolutionary Generation.

Unfinished Symphony

A look at the ideas behind Unfinished Symphony, a documentary about the 1971 antiwar protest in Lexington led by the Vietnam Veterans Against the War written and directed by Bestor Cram of Northern Light Productions.

Fall 2000 download pdf

Playing for Keeps: A Conversation with Betsy Shure Gross

MFH Associate Director Ellen K. Rothman interviews Betsy Shure Gross, Special Assistant for Community Preservation with the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs.

Encounter with Cuba

MFH Board member, Lisbeth Tarlow, relates her experiences with the Foundation`s traveling seminar to Cuba.

Fruitlands: Landscape as Lens on the Past

The history of the site of the Fruitlands Museum in Harvard and its new interpretive focus, the New England landscape.

Spring 2000 download pdf

Social Transformation through the Humanities: An Interview with Earl Shorris

MFH Resource Center Director Kristin O`Connell interviews Earl Shorris, distinguished writer and founder and chairman of the advisory board of the Clemente Course in the Humanities, a college-level course in the humanities for people living in poverty.

The Humanities in Holyoke: The Clemente Course at The Care Center

A description of the Clemente Course as taught at The Care Center, a non-profit, multi-service center for pregnant and parenting teens in Holyoke.

Long Road to Justice

An illustrated piece on the Long Road to Justice exhibition, which explores the experiences of African Americans in the courts of Massachusetts over three centuries and is traveling to courthouses across the state.