Show Notes – The Poorhouses of Mass. with Heli Meltsner

Heli Meltsner author of The Poorhouses of Massachusetts on Fieldstone Common

Heli Meltsner author of The Poorhouses of Massachusetts

Following are some items that were mentioned during the 15 November 2012 Fieldstone Common interview with Heli Meltsner, author of The Poorhouses of Massachusetts.

The podcast of the interview is now available.

A Special Chance to  Win

Books were not given out during the live airing of the interview. Fieldstone Common, however, is giving out 2 copies of The Poorhouses of Massachusetts in a pre-Thanksgiving giveaway on the blog. See this post for all the details. You have between now and Wednesday, Nov. 21st at 6pm EST to enter the giveaway.

Heli Meltsner is a board member and curator with the Cambridge Historical Society.  Feel free to contact Heli through the society. The Cambridge Historical Society is a very active dynamic group. They have a Facebook page that is updated nearly daily. During the interview Heli mentioned that the society is working on a book about the Cambridge Historical Commission’s 50 years of service to the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts. We will look forward to seeing that published in November 2013.

The Poorhouses of Massachusetts was published by McFarland & Company, Inc. Publishers and copies are available for sale through and other booksellers.
Some of the concepts of poor law (ie settlement law) that were discussed in the interview include:

  • Warning outs
  • Towns suing other towns for support
  • Indentured servitude for both children and adults
  • Vendue – selling the poor to the lowest bidder

In Massachusetts many records about the poor can be found at the town level in town record books or in town reports. For states outside of New England you should probably check county-level records.

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McFarland & Company, Inc. Publishers, the publisher of The Poorhouses of Massachusetts, donated two copies of the book that are being given as a “door prizes”. See this post for how you can win one of the books (ends Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012) . A big thank you to McFarland & Company, Inc. Publishers for  their generosity!

Copyright 2012-2013 Marian Pierre-Louis