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Boston Gazette, 20 July 1772, "Inman Commencement Party Account," Courtesy, American Antiquarian Society

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George Inman Commencement Party Account, 1772

This column carries a variety of local news, with mentions of notable weather phenomena and usual deaths, including death caused by drinking cold water, death by lightning, and a peculiar death by drowning. In addition to such items of interest, this issue of the Boston Gazette also offers a detailed account of a newsworthy celebration.

In the summer of 1772, Ralph Inman's son George graduated from Harvard University. In honor of the event, the Inmans threw a party. Everyone had an opinion as to how the festivities should be conducted. Ralph Inman, however, left all the details to his wife of less than a year, Elizabeth (Murray) Inman. She considered his doing so a "proof" of the freedom she had to conduct herself as she wished and declared that his comments "roused" her "invention."

According to merchant and diarist John Rowe, a friend of the family, over 347 people attended the party, including the governor, lieutenant governor, and their families, with 210 guests dining at one table.

For further information, see (Elizabeth Murray) Inman to Lady Don, fall 1773 [filed 1774], J. M. Robbins Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society; (John Rowe, Diary, 16 July 1772); on Elizabeth Murray's relationship with her third husband, Ralph Inman, see Patricia Cleary, Elizabeth Murray: A Woman's Pursuit of Independence in Eighteenth-Century America (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2000); for more on the elaborate entertainments and consumer habits of the wealthy, see Carl Bridenbaugh, Cities in Revolt: Urban Life in America, 1743-1776, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1955), 337-347.


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