Here are the latest Back Bay - Midtown neighborhood notes:

Introduction to genealogy

The New England Historic Genealogical Society, 99-101 Newbury St., will host a new visitors’ day at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 13.

This free orientation and tour will introduce resources available at the NEHGS research facility, home to more than 15 million artifacts, books, manuscripts, microfilms, journals, photographs and records to help research family histories. Tour attendees are welcome to use the resources following the tour. Registration is not required.

Further information can be found at or by calling 888-296-3447.

Civil War ancestors

The Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St., will host a free workshop “Researching Ancestors Who Served in the Civil War” from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 16.

This class will provide a basic overview on how to research Civil War ancestors using military records, as well as cover how to use military records for general genealogical research.

For more information, call 617-536-5400.

19th Amendment

The Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston St., will present a free talk, “The Long 19th Amendment” from 5:30 to 7:45 p.m. on Tuesday, April 16.

Corinne Field of the University of Virginia and Katherine Turk of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with moderator Susan Ware, Schlesinger Library, will address the “Long 19th Amendment.”

With popular and scholarly attention focusing on the August 2020 centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, this session will explore “the long 19th Amendment” stretching from the woman’s suffrage movement to second-wave feminism and beyond, focusing on continuities, challenges and unfinished business.

Registration is required for this free program. To RSVP, e-mail or call 617- 646-0579.

Music’s modern muse

The French Cultural Center, 53 Marlborough St., will present an author talk and piano recital from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, April 18.

Sylvia Kahan is the author of “Music’s Modern Muse,” the life and times of Winnaretta Singer de Polignac, one of the most prolific philanthropists of the 20th century. She subsidized musicians and organizations, commissioned new musical masterworks and held performances in her Parisian salon where cultural luminaries like Proust, Cocteau, Monet, Diaghilev and Colette gathered.

Kahan will share her research on this extravagant lover of the arts, punctuating her talk with piano pieces performed in de Polignac’s salon. Performances will include Edmond de Polignac’s “Rêverie;” Gabriel Fauré’s “Impromptu in F minor, Op. 31;” Maurice Ravel’s “Pavane pour une infante défunte” (dedicated to Winnaretta); and Claude Debussy’s “L’Isle joyeuse.”

This event is in English and will be followed by a reception with complimentary refreshments. Books in French and English will be available for purchase. Tickets are $5 for members and $8 for non-members.

For more information and to make a reservation, call 617-912-0400 or visit

Native plants

The Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St., will present “Why Native Plants Matter” from 2 to 3 p.m. on Thursday, April 18.

Claudia Thompson will discuss why native plants are recognized as being important to landscapes and gardens. She will give an overview of their essential role in ecosystem health, starting with the co-evolution between plants and animals, and ending with a visual tour of her urban garden in Cambridge. She will explain the differences among native, naturalized and invasive plants and explore the food web that links plants to insects to birds, wildlife and humans.

Her garden serves as a valuable case study, illustrating what happens when a conventional landscape is converted to a largely native one, and demonstrating the positive impact on birds, butterflies and on biodiversity as a whole.

Thompson founded Grow Native Massachusetts in 2010 and has been recognized nationally as a leader in the native plant movement.

Admission is free. Call 617-536-5400 for more details.

History road trip

The annual Lowell Lecture will be held at the Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St., from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 18.

The community is invited to join the Greenidge Sisters, Kaitlyn, Kerri and Kirsten for a conversation about FemTour. The Feminist History Road Trip (FemTour) seeks to identify and explore sites and places connected to women’s history in the nation. The tour is particularly interested in sites connected to the history of women of color, working-class women, queer women and women who are often overlooked in Women’s Studies.

Kaitlyn Greenidge is the author of “We Love You, Charlie Freeman,” one of the New York Times Critics' Top 10 Books of 2016. Dr. Kerri Greenidge’s research explores the role of African-American literature in the creation of radical Black political consciousness, particularly as it relates to local elections and Democratic populism during the Progressive Era. Kirsten Greenidge is currently artist in residence at Company One Theatre in Boston where she co-directs Company One’s playwriting program, Playlab.

For more information on this free program, visit or call 617-536-5400.

Good Friday concert

The LaFarge Ensemble of Trinity Church will perform “The St. Mark Passion” by Charles Woods at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, April 19 at Trinity Church Boston, 206 Clarendon St.

The ensemble will perform the “St. Mark Passion,” a large scale work for soloists, choir and organ, that traces Jesus’ last days from the Last Supper to the Crucifixion. As with Bach’s Passions, hymns are interspersed throughout the narrative to draw the audience into the action.

Admission is $20.

Visit for further information and to purchase tickets.

Family history benefit

The New England Historical Genealogical Society, 99-101 Newbury St., will host the 2019 Family History benefit dinner from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, April 26 at the Fairmont Copley Plaza, 138 St. James Ave.

The evening will open with a reception followed by dinner at 7 p.m. This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award honoree is legendary anchor and award winning broadcast journalist Dan Rather. He will be in conversation with CNBC “Nightly Business Report” co-anchor Bill Griffeth.

Attendees must RSVP by April 19. Dress is evening attire: black tie optional, or a dark coat and tie for men, commensurate for women.

Visit or call 617-536-5740 to purchase tickets and for more information.

Bach cantatas

Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury St., is presenting its 42nd season of the J. S. Bach Cantatas at 10 a.m. on Sundays now through May 20.

The orchestra and chorus of Emmanuel Music will present weekly performances of the cantatas and motets of J.S. Bach and others, conducted by Ryan Turner.

For more information, call 617-536-3356 or visit

Collections tour

The Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston St., will host tours of the collections of the society at 10 a.m. on Saturdays.

Led by an MHS staff member or docent, the 90-minute tour focuses on the history and collections of the MHS.

The tour is free and open to the public. Reservations are not required for individuals or small groups. Parties of eight or more should contact the MHS.

Further information can be found at or by calling 617-646-0560.

Library tours

Boston Public Library volunteers will give art and architecture tours of the McKim Building, a National Historic Landmark, in its main building, constructed in 1895, throughout the week.

Highlights include the murals of John Singer Sargent, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes and Edwin Austin Abbey and the work of architect Charles Follen McKim.

Self-guided tours are available as well, and literature describing the architectural highlights is available on the web at

For tours by appointment, call 617-536-5400.