SHEAR logo, which is an engraving of an eagle holding a banner that says " Society for Historians of the Early American Republic"

Important News about SHEAR 2018 Conference

Hello SHEARites! The 2018 annual meeting of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic is only three months away, and plans are well underway.  On 1 May, an online version of the program will be available at; printed programs will be available to conference attendees upon check-in.

For those of you ready to make your plans, please find below information about accommodations, travel, and registration as well as the conference highlights.  If you have unanswered questions, please contact the conference coordinator directly (


Conference Hotel:

A block of rooms has been reserved at the Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Center, 127 Public Square, located in the heart of Cleveland’s business district and within walking distance of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and all downtown venues and attractions. Rates are $165/single or double and are valid for up to three days before and three days after the SHEAR conference, based on availability.  (A second block of rooms at the hotel has been reserved for graduate students; please see below.)

The hotel’s amenities include restaurants, room service, complimentary 24-hour a day fitness center, and heated pool.  All conference attendees are responsible for making their own room reservations directly with the Marriott by calling (216) 696-9200 or (800) 228-9290; remember to request the group rate for SHEAR.  Contact the conference coordinator immediately if you have any difficulties when reserving a room.

More information about the hotel is available at

Graduate Student Hotel Block:  Rooms are available for graduate students at the reduced rate of $75.00/person, excluding taxes.  All hotel rooms must be shared.  Students interested should contact the conference coordinator directly ( by 27 June 2018 to be booked for this block.  If you do not have a roommate in mind, the coordinator will keep a list to facilitate rooming options.

Getting There


Cleveland Hopkins International (CLE) is the closest airport to the conference hotel, served by domestic and international airlines with 150+ non-stop flights daily from more than 50 locations.  The Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Center is 12 miles from CLE and can be reached by taxi, public transit, shuttles, and shared rides.


Cleveland’s Amtrak Station is downtown and just a mile from the hotel, at 200 Cleveland Memorial Shoreway (216.696.5115).  For information about schedules and pricing, please contact AMTRAK at 800.872.7245 or


Cleveland is located at the southern shore of Lake Erie, at the intersection of I-77, I-71, and I-90.  Ohio Rte. 2 follows the Lake Erie shoreline through Cleveland, and the Ohio Turnpike (I-80) and I-480 run east/west of the city.

  • From Cleveland Airport: Take I-71 North to Downtown.  I-71 becomes I-90E.   From I-90 E, merge onto E 9th St via EXIT 172A.  Continue on E 9th  Turn left onto Saint Clair Ave.  The Hotel will be 2.5 blocks ahead on the left.

Parking:  Self-parking is within the underground garage in front of the hotel and costs $8.00 an hour, $22.00 daily; valet parking is $32.00 daily.


The Greyhound Bus Terminal is located in downtown Cleveland at 1465 Chester Avenue, 216.781.0520.  For more information, see

Conference Highlights

Tour: Kirtland Temple, Thursday 19 July.  Dedicated in 1836, Kirtland is the first temple constructed by the Mormons.  A fascinating and revealing structure, the Temple today operates as a National Historic Landmark.  Its Director, Seth Bryant, will lead the tour. Using the built environment of the church itself as illustration, he will highlight the events and controversies that unfolded within the church walls during a time when Joseph Smith was receiving many of his most important revelations and erecting his system of priesthood.  The complete tour (including time in the material culture exhibit space) should last about two hours.  Bus seating is limited and reservations are required. Bus departs hotel at 1:30, returns before 5:00.

Walking Tour:  Downtown Cleveland, Thursday 19 July Friday 20 July.  Historian John Grabowski of the Western Reserve Historical Society and Case Western Reserve University will take participants on a tour of historic downtown Cleveland and its “Public Square,” a 10+ acre common, laid our during the community’s founding in 1796.  The tour will include the “warehouse” district – containing some of the finest old structures of the area – and the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, one of the nation’s largest Civil War memorials. Reservations requested.  Departs hotel at 6:00, lasts about 100 minutes.

Second Book Workshop, Thursday 19 July.  Four senior scholar mentors will each facilitate a workshop session for historians of the early American republic who are currently working on second book projects.

President’s Plenary, Thursday, 19 July.  SHEAR’s 40th annual conference opens at 6:00 with the President’s Plenary, “Public Histories and the Early Republic Historian,” inviting us to explore how and why academic history must expand beyond universities and colleges to inform public consumption of history.

Plenary Reception, Thursday 19 July.   At The Arcade Cleveland, immediately following the Plenary, from 7:30 to 9:00 pm.

2019 Program Committee Meeting, Friday 20 July.  The Program Committee for the 2019 SHEAR conference in Cambridge will meet beginning at 12:30.

JER Editorial Board Meeting, Friday 20 July.  The JER editorial board meets at 12:30.

Graduate Research Seminars, Friday 20 July.   Continuing SHEAR’s long tradition of mentoring graduate students, six senior scholars will host three concurrent research seminars for advanced graduate students, devoted to different scholarly topics in the history of the early republic.

Tour:  Cleveland Museum of Art, Friday 20 July.  Led by curator of American paintings and sculpture Mark Cole, this tour will focus on three major early American rooms dedicated to the colonial and revolutionary eras, the Federalist era, and 19th century Landscape paintings.  Holdings include portraits by John Singleton Copley, an iconic portrait of Nathaniel Olds in green spectacles (to prevent eye damage from whale oil lamps!), and a series of breathtaking Hudson River School landscapes.  The tour will last an hour; attendees will then be free to explore the rest of this world-class museum.  Bus seating is limited and reservations are required.  Bus departs hotel at 6:00; makes two return trips (after tour and again when museum closes at 9:00).

Graduate Student Meet-n-Greet, Friday 20 July.  Graduate students from the area will welcome their colleagues at an informal gathering and bowling party beginning at 9:00 p.m.

Boydston Women’s Breakfast, Saturday 21 July.  The women of SHEAR will gather from 7:30 to 9:00 a.m. for their tenth annual breakfast honoring the life and career of long-time SHEAR member and supporter Jeanne Boydston.  Tickets are $25.00 for a hearty and heartening breakfast; reservations are required.  Please consider sponsoring a graduate student or an early-career scholar this year.

SHEAR Advisory Council, Saturday 21 July.  The Advisory Council meets from noon to 2:00 pm.

Whither the Early Republic, Revisited:  A Forum on the Future of the Field, Saturday 21 July.  In Memory of Michael Morrison.  In 2005, co-editors Mike Morrison and John Larson organized a special issue of the Journal of the Early Republic on the historiographical trends of our field.  At this plenary, John Larson revisits those categories with a group of young scholars to explore how that historiography has evolved over the past dozen years. 

Tour:  Western Reserve Historical Society, Saturday 21 July.  A one-hour introduction to the archival and material culture holdings of the WRHS’s Cleveland History Center.  Resources relating to the early republic will be highlighted, including the Center’s renowned Shaker Manuscript Collection, material relating to the War of 1812, and portraiture from the period.  Bus seating is limited and reservations are required.  Bus departs hotel at 4:00; begins return at 5:45.

Presidential Address, Saturday 21 July.  The 2018 presidential address begins at 6:30.  President Craig Thompson Friend will discuss Lunsford Lane and Me:  On Biography, Empathy, and Reciprocity.  The President’s Address is free and open to all conference participants.

Awards Reception, Saturday 21 July.  The SHEAR awards reception follows immediately after the presidential address.

Founders’ Breakfast, Sunday 22 July.  Forty years into the enterprise that they conceived, SHEAR’s founding members will be honored at a breakfast on Sunday morning, from 7:30 – 9:00 am.

Tour:  Shandy Hall, Sunday 22 July.  Located in Geneva, Ohio, Shandy Hall is a property of the Western Reserve Historical Society.  Built by Robert Harper in 1815, his descendants occupied the structure until the 1930s, expanding it to seventeen rooms and accumulating a wide variety of furniture and household items.  Most of them remain in the house.  This is a very special opportunity to visit one of the most important historical structures in northeastern Ohio.  Seating is limited and reservations are required.  Bus departs at 2, returns at 5 – timing can be adjusted to cater to the travel needs of participants.


Information about the conference is available under “Annual Meeting” on the SHEAR website.  Preregistration opens 1 May and is $78 for members and $114 for nonmembers; graduate students, public history professionals, independent scholars, and k-12 educators pay $52 (inclusive of online transaction fee).  Once again this year, SHEAR will waive the conference registration fee for all graduate students appearing on the program.  Pre-reregistration must be completed online by Thursday 5 July 2018.  You do not need to be a member of SHEAR to present at the conference, but everyone on the program must register.

If you do not preregister, you may register on-site at the conference. The on-site price will include a $30 on-site registration fee and must be paid in cash or a check made out to SHEAR.

On-site conference check-in will be open at the Marriott from 5:00 to 7:30 pm on Thursday, July 19.  Registration will continue on Friday, July 20 and Saturday, July 21, from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, and Sunday, July 22, from 8:00 am to 10:30 am.

If you have questions about registration or any aspect of the conference itself, please feel free to contact me by email or via text or phone call to my mobile 405.409.5909.

I look forward to seeing you in Cleveland this July and, as always, I send you traveling mercies.

Robyn Lily Davis, Ph.D.

SHEAR National Conference Coordinator