Lexington Historical Society’s Cronin Lecture Series has been part of our organization’s programming since 2003. Named for Cornelius “Neil” Cronin, an active community player and Lexington Historical Society member, the lectures in the Cronin series are often our best-attended programs of the year. We usually have three or four of these lectures, and they are held at the Depot or at Brookhaven. Each one draws about one hundred attendees of all ages, and the topics range from local history, world history, current affairs, and everything in between.
These lectures are very important as they help us fulfill our mission of serving as the steward of the town’s history through time and bringing that history to the community. Since the Cronin Lecture Series attracts so many people, most of them local, they give us an opportunity to have a large impact and present many areas of historical scholarship.
One of our goals is to be more proactive in our program planning, especially as it pertains to creating programming around historical anniversaries. The Cronin Lecture Series Committee is especially committed to this goal. This May, for example, the Cronin Lecture will feature Barbara Berenson discussing the women’s suffrage movement to mark the centennial of the Senate’s passage of the nineteenth amendment beginning its ratification process.
The Programs and Events committee of Lexington Historical Society aims to have four Cronin lectures per year: two in the winter, one in the spring, and one in the fall. The committee and programming staff are always looking for interesting topics and speaker suggestions for future Cronin lectures. Have you recently seen a great lecture that you would like to recommend? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org! We keep a running list of speaker possibilities.
Since our Cronin lectures are donation-based, we are grateful for any donation given for this series: large or small, every bit counts! Donations to the Cronin Lecture Series help us pay for speaker fees and refreshments. To donate to the Cronin Lecture Series, please give at lexingtonhistory.org/support or mail a check with “Cronin Lecture Series” in the memo to:
Lexington Historical Society
PO Box 514
Lexington, MA 02420
For a list of upcoming events, please visit www.lexingtonhistory.org/events.
Our fall/winter exhibit in the windows of the Lexington CVS pharmacy looked at the eight men from Lexington who died in WWI. They were:
We - staff and volunteers at the Historical Society, family members of the deceased, and members of the WWI planning committee and town celebrations committee - looked for about nine months for photos of all of the men. Three images were in the LHS archives, two were donated by family members, one was at Harvard University, and two were missing.
Starting in 1919, the town of Lexington planted eight trees in its most revered public space, the Battle Green. These were memorial trees for the men who died in WWI. Over the years, some of the trees died and the markers at their bases were reassigned to other trees. This fall, any missing markers were replaced, thanks to the Lexington Department of Public Works and Monuments & Memorials Committee. We used photos of the copper tree markers as stand-ins for Aaron Ready and Timothy McConnell, but we hoped that images of them might be found while the CVS exhibit was up (October 2018 to April 2019).
Recently the family of Aaron Ready found an image that might be him. It is very similar to a painting they found that has been confirmed as Aaron in his childhood. But it might not be. The image could be of his brother or another relative with similar facial features.
We would love to say it is. Would love to blow up the image and paste it to his panel in the exhibit so we could see his face with his story before it all comes down on April 1. However. We cannot absolutely confirm that it is Aaron. so we will take the “responsible public history” route and not say it is. But why? Why be so precise and so cautious?
Museums are some of the most trusted entities in the United States. Support for that very broad statement here:
The public trust is one of the most valuable assets that a museum has. There have been recent instances of museums being perceived as breaking that trust and the consequences have not been positive. Our Archives Manager Elizabeth talks a little about that here.
In what some call a “post-truth” era, it is even more important that our communities believe that we in the museum only share information that can be verified via multiple sources. If we can’t do that, we may present the information (as in this post), but we are beholden to clarify the uncertainty of the facts presented.
All of that being said, here is an image that might be Aaron Ready, paired with a confirmed image of him. What do you think?
Featuring the voices of Lexington Historical Society permanent staff and occasional guest authors.