A Journey in History

Hobson turned a love for history into a career as an archivist, editor, and writer.

Hobson Woodward took a little longer than usual to complete his Simmons degrees in history and archives management. That's because along the way he took a job at the Massachusetts Historical Society and wrote a book that combined his fascination with American and literary history.

In 1986, four years after graduating from Hobart College with a degree in philosophy and English, Woodward began work as a newspaper reporter on Nantucket. That position eventually led to his becoming editor of Nantucket Magazine. At the magazine, Woodward drew upon longstanding interests in family history and sea stories to write articles about island people and maritime adventures. At the same time, he tapped his passion for literary history by recounting for readers the island visits of Ernest Hemingway, Eugene O'Neill, and Tennessee Williams. He pursued his interest in literature in another way, too, by leading self-designed walking tours to the island haunts of famous writers.

After marrying and moving to Boston, Woodward decided to make history his profession. "Ultimately, I decided to make a career change and pursue my passion," he said. That led him to Simmons College where in 2009 he completed the dual-degree program in history and archives management. A Simmons internship at the Massachusetts Historical Society early in the program led to his present position with the society's Adams Papers editorial project. "Simmons can offer great assistance with internship and permanent job placements because it has wonderful connections and established relationships in the field. It was clearly the right place for me to be."

In addition to school and a job, Woodward achieved another aspiration during the time he was a Simmons student. In July 2009, Viking published his book, A Brave Vessel: The True Tale of the Castaways Who Rescued Jamestown and Inspired Shakespeare's The Tempest. In its pages he tells the story of the 1609 wreck of the Sea Venture and explores how William Shakespeare transformed accounts of the wreck into his ethereal play The Tempest.

"Writing a book has always been a dream of mine," Woodward said, "and it's a dream that began to take shape the day I arrived at Simmons College."