2019 Farm to Table Dinner Honors

Mayor Sullivan September 14, 2019

Mayor Sullivan has been and continues to be a longtime supporter of the Braintree Historical Society having once served on the Society’s Board of Directors. The founding of Sustainable Braintree coincided with Mayor Sullivan’s election to office as the first Mayor of Braintree. Mayor Sullivan strongly supported all the initiatives put forth by Sustainable Braintree including the Community Garden and the Farmers’ Market. The Farmers’ Market continues to be one of the most successful markets on the South Shore.

The Heritage Weekend Farm to Table Dinner on September 14, 2019 marks the sixth Farm to Table Dinner hosted by Sustainable Braintree and the Braintree Historical Society.

This year both organizations joined together to honor Mayor Joseph Sullivan as the first recipient of the Annual Appreciation Award from the two organizations. This award is intended to recognize someone from Braintree who has contributed significantly to Sustainable Braintree, the Braintree Historical and/or the Town of Braintree.

The Dinner, catered by Fasanos and featuring locally grown produce on the grounds of the Historical Society, provided an enchanting venue for this outdoor event which, this year, honored Mayor Sullivan in his last year in office.

What could be a better way to spend an evening with friends, support two community organizations and say Thank You to our first Mayor who has given so much to Braintree. 

See Photos of the Event Below!


Enjoy the fellowship at our next Annual Membership Meeting/Dinner

Monday, May 13th, 2019

Cocktail Hour at 6:30 pm

Dinner at 7:15 pm

Register On-line by clicking here:

Annual Dinner Meeting

Tickets $35

Speaker: Jon Curley on

 Sacco and Vanzetti

PARANORMAL TOUR - November 18th, 2018

We all had an interesting time last night with the Unexplained Paranormal Research... Here are a few shots of the evening taken by Dave Crispin . 

There were several electromagnetic forces detected, some strange voice recordings and a flashlight placed on the mantle of the Thayer house that kept turning off an on as questions were asked, and a lot of inquisitive questions.

There were some strange happenings in the neighborhood! Hmmmnnnn!


With over 100 guests attending, the Braintree Historical Society’s reopening of the Gilbert L. Bean Barn and Mary Bean Cunningham Historical Resource Center could not have gone any better. There was a resounding air of positive energy, community and fellowship. Braintree Mayor Joseph Sullivan and several representatives of the Town Council and Civic Organizations graced us with their presence.

Mayor Joseph Sullivan praised the work of the volunteers and said he is committed to preserving the history of the town, “so we underline the importance of Braintree to the history of our nation.”

In reaffirming the continued contribution the Town makes, the Mayor encouraged and underscored the need for members of the community to also support the Society. This support is now coming in many forms: much needed financial pledges and contributions and  growing number of important historical items  being accessioned to our museum, a growing awareness by the public of the discoveries that can be made from the rich and unique resources available under our roof. Above all, the community’s support is echoed by acknowledgment of the now over 85 (and growing) Volunteer core, allowing us to further expand our activities and better serve Braintree.

Operating as a100% volunteer organization, our hard work and efforts over the recent period were on full display. These were supplemented by a team”of students from the local CATS Academy who are providing community service to the Society; they came and enthusiastically helped us set up the venue for our fantastic evening!

Cheryl Edgar, Vice President of the Braintree Historical Society officiated as the Master of Ceremonies for the evening.

Bob Harris, a member of the board of directors, shows a wooden medallion from the 1500′s at the Gilbert L. Bean Barn and Mary Bean Cunningham Historical Resource Center,Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018.Gary Higgins/The Patriot Ledger.

History revitalized in Braintree
By Fred Hanson The Patriot Ledger 

Posted Oct 19, 2018 at 12:10 AM Updated Oct 19, 2018 at 11:06 AM

Re-opening of museum and resource center result of a revitalized Braintree Historical Society.

An antique bicycle frames the gathering at the Gilbert L. Bean Barn and Mary Bean Cunningham Historical Resource Center,Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018.Gary Higgins/The Patriot Ledger

BRAINTREE − With an eye towards better displaying and preserving the history of the town and the world, the Braintree Historical Society rededicated the Gilbert L. Bean Barn and Mary Bean Cunningham Resource Center Thursday night.

Past President Ron Frazier shows personal artifacts from Gilbert Bean and Mary Bean Cunningham at the Gilbert L. Bean Barn and Mary Bean Cunningham Historical Resource Center,Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018.Gary Higgins/The Patriot Ledger

The barn displays a variety of artifacts, including ceramics collected by the Beans.“They traveled all over the world, and they picked up a number of things wherever they went,” said Ron Frazier, a former society president who was given a number of the items now on display by Bean Cunningham on her death. He loaned them to the society.

Frazier said she told him, “I want them to go somewhere where they will be taken care of.”

Gilbert Bean raised the money to build the barn behind the Thayer House, which opened in 1976. Mary Bean Cunningham, who remarried following Gilbert Bean’s death, raised the money for the addition, dedicated in 1995, which was intended to house a library and research facility.

Several years ago, a former executive director of the society decided to move much of the library to the Watson Building in East Braintree, which Frazier said proved to be a financial disaster for the society.

Bob Harris said much of the society’s collection was stored in an attic which was not climate controlled and left the items vulnerable to damage. The files were very disorganized, he said. Over the past two years, volunteers including members of the society and high school interns took on the task of moving items from the attic into the climate-controlled basement and organizing the society’s files and library. The job is ongoing.

In the process, the society itself has been revitalized. Cheryl Edgar, the society’s vice president and program chair, said the now all-volunteer society has seen its volunteer base grow from six a couple years ago to 87 today. The goal is to reach 100. The society is launching a membership drive and has a new web site, she said.With the added help, she said the group is hoping to expand the opening hours of the museum and the Thayer House, continue to expand its school programs, as well as offer rotating exhibits.

Harris said of the items now on display, “a lot of it was out of sight for 20 years.”
Mayor Joseph Sullivan praised the work of the volunteers and said he is committed to preserving the history of the town, “so we underline the importance of Braintree to the history of our nation.”


A presentation made by past president Ronald Forrest Frazier. FULL TEXT

Image result for wayne Miller - Quincy MA Shipbuilding Tradition images

Our Evening with Wayne G. Miller

It’s always nice when hearing a personal account of Braintree history.  While many know the names of those affecting town and country history, it is a bonus when exposed to a personal account.  And better still when audience members get to share their stories relating to that personal account.  Thus was it so when author Wayne G. Miller gave his presentation at the Braintree Historical Society regarding the history of shipbuilding in the region. 

After Mr. Miller spoke and shared his experiences growing up near the Fore River Shipyard, those present were treated to a tidbit of a personal experience of one of its oldest attendees.  Bill Varroso shared his story of working at the Quincy Shipyard at 17 years old.  He later served on a ship that he had helped build, the USS Underhill.  And he was onboard that same ship (and assisted with the rescue of shipmates) as it sank in the Pacific Ocean.

The meeting was very well attended was followed by lively discussions as others shared their stories of their own personal memories enlivened by the authors own reminiscing.

Last April 9th, we were privileged to have Chandra Manning spend an evening with us to discuss "Causes of the Civil War and Fate of Slaves".

Chandra Manning is an American historian who specializes in 19th century U.S. History. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, Chandra went on to receive her Ph.D. from Harvard in 2002. She has written several articles that have appeared in various journals and books, and is the author of the books What This Cruel War Was Over and Troubled Refuge: Struggling for Freedom in the Civil War.  She is currently a full professor of history at Georgetown University where she has taught since 2005. In 2015-2017 she took leave from Georgetown University to serve as Special Advisor to the Dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. Prior to joining the faculty at Georgetown Prof. Manning was an assistant professor at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. She has also lectured in history at Harvard University. She splits her time between Washington, DC and Braintree, Massachusetts where she lives with her husband and two sons.


On Monday, May 21st we welcomed welcome acclaimed author, Thomas J. Whalen, who used the colorful and tumultuous 1960s as a backdrop for his book Spirit of ’67: The Cardiac Kids, El Birdos, and the World Series That Captivated America. Spirit of ’67 shows how the Red Sox and Cardinals waged an epic battle for baseball supremacy that captured the imagination of weary Americans looking for escape from the urban riots, racial turmoil, and antiwar protests that were roiling 1960s society. “How many people ever do anything that makes so many people happy?” Sox pitcher Gary Bell asked years later, in reference to their classic autumn clash. The book examines the unique bond that each team had with its own fanbase, going back to each franchise’s chaotic beginning at the turn of the twentieth century. Relating issues of ethnicity, politics, class, and economics, Whalen sets out to reveal the exactly what was at stake in the 1967 fall classic, and how echoes from that unforgettable season still ring through both cities, and American culture, to this day. Our Annual General Meeting and Dinner was held at  the Granite Grill in Braintree. Tickets were $30 each and included dinner. Cash bar was available. Books were on hand for purchase and autographing.

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