Piracy and Liberty by the Sea

Give Me Freedom or Give Me the Rope

Piracy and Liberty by the Sea: Give Me Freedom or Give me the Rope

AarrRRRRRRRR you ready for “Talk Like a Pirate Day?” Join Revolutionary Spaces and three swashbuckling experts on the struggle for freedom and equality in the pirate and maritime community. Featuring Stephen O’Neill of the Hanover Historical Society, Dr. Megan Victor from Queens College-CUNY, and piracy historian and author Rebecca Simon. This panel will be marauding on Zoom – peg legs and parrots are optional, but you have to register to enjoy this virtual program from your ship… er… couch!

Admission is free and open to the public. The program is generously supported by the Lowell Institute.


Monday, September 19, 2022

Admission is free.


About the Participants

Stephen O'Neill is the Executive Director of the Hanover Historical Society. In 2019, he was the Guest Curator for the archaeology exhibit In Small Things Remembered at the Alden House Historic Site in Duxbury, and in 2021 authored the accompanying catalogue Alden Archaeology: Exhibiting the Daily Lives of a Mayflower Family. In 2018, O’Neill was the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities funded Scholar-in-Residence at the Old Colony History Museum in Taunton.
He was Senior Lecturer in History at Suffolk University in Boston where he taught a very popular course on the History of Piracy. He was formerly the Associate Director & Curator of Collections at Pilgrim Hall Museum in Plymouth. In 2012 he contributed the essay “Caribbean Buccaneers in New England,” to New England and the Caribbean, the 2008 Dublin Seminar Annual Proceedings.
O’Neill has curated more than twenty temporary exhibitions and was guest curator for the 1999 exhibit “Putting Pirates on Trial in Puritan Boston” at The Old State House Museum in Boston and for the 2006 exhibit “A Short Life and Merry: Pirates of New England at Heritage Museums & Gardens on Cape Cod.” He has lectured widely on Plymouth Colony and Pirate history, and has led tours of many burying grounds and cemeteries.
Born in New England, published by the Marshfield Historical Society, O’Neill is a lifelong resident of the South Shore, a member of the Old Colony Club in Plymouth, a life member of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, and a Proprietor of the Boston Athenaeum.

Dr. Megan Victor is an anthropologist who specializes in historical archaeology from the 17th through the 19th century. In particular, they are interested in commensal politics, drinking spaces, trade and exchange, informal economy, and gendered spaces.
Dr. Victor has worked extensively on archaeology of the English Colonial World in North America, including excavations at the fishing village and trading post on Smuttynose Island within the Isles of Shoals, Maine (1623-1780s), Virginia’s colonial capital of Williamsburg, including the eighteenth-century Raleigh Tavern (a favorite of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson), and sites throughout the 17th and 18th-century Chesapeake Bay. It is within the Atlantic World and the English Colonial World that much of their current research takes place – the Molly House Project.
The other geographic focus of Dr. Victor’s research is that of the American West, with an eye to the mining frontiers of the 19th century. It is within this sphere their second ongoing research project, the Highland City Project, takes place. Dr. Victor received their B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan (2010), their M.A. in 2012 and their Ph.D. in 2018, both from the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Dr. Victor is currently an Assistant Professor at Queens College-CUNY.

Dr. Rebecca Simon is a historian of early modern piracy, Colonial America, the Atlantic World, and maritime history. She earned her PhD from King’s College London in 2017. Her dissertation, entitled: “The Crimes of Piracy and its Punishment: The Performance of Maritime Supremacy in the British Atlantic World, 1670 – 1830,” examines British maritime and legal supremacy in its early American colonies in regards to maritime piracy. Her first book, Why We Love Pirates: The Hunt for Captain Kidd and How He Changed Piracy Forever (Mango Press, 2020), discusses transformation of real pirates during the Golden Age of Piracy from their authentic history into pop culture phenomenons today.She has appeared on podcasts such as “You’re Dead To Me,” hosted by Greg Jenner, “History Hit” by Dan Snow, and “Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness.” She has been featured on the Netflix docu-drama The Lost Pirate Kingdom, the BBC4 documentary Britain’s Outlaws, and the History Channel shows The Curse of Oak Island and Beyond Oak Island.