Senior Amanda Berthold has been awarded the ninth annual D’Agostino Prize for Excellence in History by the College’s History Department for her thesis, “‘Strangers in This Country’: A Case Study of Scottish Immigrants in Pre-Revolutionary Boston,” advised by Professor Ed McCarron.
Using eighteenth-century newspapers, Berthold improved and expanded on previous scholarship by compiling a database of Scotch immigrants in pre-Revolutionary Boston. Her thesis demonstrates that compared to those in other colonies, Boston’s immigrants came disproportionately from Scotland’s northern, coastal regions, and were thus more likely to work as traders and merchants.
Over time, Boston’s Scotch immigrants formed a tightly-knit community through ties of mutual aid and support; they founded the Scots’ Charitable Society in 1657, and by the revolutionary era many Scotch immigrants played visible, influential roles in Boston’s civic life.
Though Bostonians eagerly bought the textiles, books and other goods these merchants imported from Scotland, the 1770s saw numerous cases of Scotch immigrants being persecuted, attacked, and run out of town.
As Berthold demonstrates, this hostility arose not from ethnic differences, but from political ones. Many prominent Scotch merchants opposed Boston’s 1768 non-importation agreement against Great Britain, and defied popular opinion by continuing to import and sell goods from Scotland, putting themselves at odds with Boston’s more revolutionary-minded residents.
Last spring, Berthold studied at The University of Edinburgh in Scotland. She was also inducted into the Phi Alpha Theta Honor Society at Stonehill College last spring. Phi Alpha Theta recognizes academic achievement in History and promotes the study of history and encourages research.
Berthold, who recently graduated cum laude from Stonehill with a Bachelor of Arts degree, spent three years as an Archives Aide in the College’s Archives and Historical Collections Department. She also served as a planned giving and gifts of art intern at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston her senior year.
The Peter R. D’Agostino Prize was created to honor the memory of Peter D’Agostino, a member of the Stonehill College History and Religious Studies Departments from 1995 to 2001, who died tragically in June 2005.