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Stacy Schiff sits in a chair on stage in Liberty Hall wearing a black longsleeve dress and short brown hair discussing her book The Revolutionary.

In partnership with The Carpenters’ Company of the City and County of Philadelphia, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Stacy Schiff joined the Museum on Jan. 31, 2024, for a discussion with Museum President & CEO Dr. R. Scott Stephenson inspired by her most recent book, The Revolutionary: Samuel Adams, and Adams’s attendance at the First Continental Congress in 1774 at Philadelphia’s Carpenters’ Hall. In 2024, The Carpenters’ Company celebrates their 300th anniversary as well as the 250th anniversaries of the First Continental Congress and the completion of Carpenters’ Hall.

As Schiff argues in The Revolutionary, Samuel Adams was a political genius who was rare for his ability to keep a secret and saw democracy as a virtue. As an early and fiery advocate for American independence, he did not preen for posterity. Adams wrote no memoir, resisted calls to assemble his political writings, and was often confused with his younger cousin John Adams’s prolific writing for the historical record. Elected to represent Boston in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1765, the Harvard-educated politician praised the 1773 Boston Tea Party as an act of resistance. In 1774, the 51-year-old was among the oldest delegates at the First Continental Congress at Carpenters’ Hall in Philadelphia. Thomas Jefferson called Samuel Adams “the earliest, most active, and persevering man of the Revolution,” and he retired from political life in 1797 as acting governor of Massachusetts.

The program was held in the Museum’s Liberty Hall and was broadcast live via Zoom. Following an interview with Schiff, Museum President & CEO Dr. R. Scott Stephenson facilitated a live Q&A with both onsite and online audiences.

About Stacy Schiff

Portrait of author Stacy Schiff with short brown hair and black shirt.

Stacy Schiff is the author of Véra (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov), winner of the Pulitzer Prize; Saint-Exupéry, a Pulitzer Prize finalist; and A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America, winner of the George Washington Book Prize. Her Cleopatra: A Life was a #1 bestseller, as was Schiff’s 2015 The Witches. Her most recent book, The Revolutionary: Samuel Adams, was a Wall Street Journal Top Ten Book of 2022 and on President Obama’s list of Favorite Books of 2022Among other honors, Schiff has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, where she has been named a Library Lion. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she has been made a Chevalier des Arts et Lettres by the French government.

About The Carpenters’ Company of the City and County of Philadelphia

Logo for The Carpenters' Company of Philadelphia featuring an image of Carpenters' Hall.

The Carpenters’ Company is the nation’s oldest trade guild and professional association. Founded in 1724 by a group of Philadelphia’s master builders, the Company is now a membership organization of leading architects, builders, and engineers. The Carpenters’ Company are also stewards of Carpenters’ Hall, the site of the First Continental Congress, and the original home of Franklin’s Library Company, the American Philosophical Society, and the First and Second Banks of the United States. In 2024 The Carpenters’ Company will be celebrating their 300th anniversary, as well as the 250th anniversaries of the First Continental Congress and the completion of Carpenters’ Hall.

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Cover of The Revolutionary: Samuel Adams by Stacy Schiff featuring a zoomed in image of Samuel Adams's face.

The Revolutionary: Samuel Adams

Read an excerpt from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Stacy Schiff's book, The Revolutionary: Samuel Adams.
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Read the Revolution Speaker Series with Vincent Brown

Read the Revolution Speaker Series

The Read the Revolution Speaker Series brings celebrated authors and historians to the Museum for lively, facilitated discussions of their work.
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Rhonda Brace (left), a descendent of Jeffrey Brace, who was enslaved during the Revolutionary era, found freedom, and wrote a memoir in 1810, which was republished in 2004 by Kari Winter (right).

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Watch Museum of the American Revolution programs from the comfort of your own home with our archived video livestreams.
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