The Atlas of Boston History
Edited by Nancy S. Seasholes University of Chicago Press, 2019 Library of Congress F73.3.A853 2019 | Dewey Decimal 912.74461
Few American cities possess a history as long, rich, and fascinating as Boston’s. A site of momentous national political events from the Revolutionary War through the civil rights movement, Boston has also been an influential literary and cultural capital. From ancient glaciers to landmaking schemes and modern infrastructure projects, the city’s terrain has been transformed almost constantly over the centuries. The Atlas of Boston History traces the city’s history and geography from the last ice age to the present with beautifully rendered maps.
Edited by historian Nancy S. Seasholes, this landmark volume captures all aspects of Boston’s past in a series of fifty-seven stunning full-color spreads. Each section features newly created thematic maps that focus on moments and topics in that history. These maps are accompanied by hundreds of historical and contemporary illustrations and explanatory text from historians and other expert contributors. They illuminate a wide range of topics including Boston’s physical and economic development, changing demography, and social and cultural life. In lavishly produced detail, The Atlas of Boston History offers a vivid, refreshing perspective on the development of this iconic American city.
Robert J. Allison, Robert Charles Anderson, John Avault, Joseph Bagley, Charles Bahne, Laurie Baise, J. L. Bell, Rebekah Bryer, Aubrey Butts, Benjamin L. Carp, Amy D. Finstein, Gerald Gamm, Richard Garver, Katherine Grandjean, Michelle Granshaw, James Green, Dean Grodzins, Karl Haglund, Ruth-Ann M. Harris, Arthur Krim, Stephanie Kruel, Kerima M. Lewis, Noam Maggor, Dane A. Morrison, James C. O’Connell, Mark Peterson, Marshall Pontrelli, Gayle Sawtelle, Nancy S. Seasholes, Reed Ueda, Lawrence J. Vale, Jim Vrabel, Sam Bass Warner, Jay Wickersham, and Susan Wilson
How a New England Port City Became the Site of the Revolution That Changed the History of the World
In 1760, no one could imagine the American colonies revolting against Great Britain. The colonists were not hungry peasants groaning under the whip of a brute. They lived well. Land was cheap, wages were good, opportunities abounded. While many colonists had been in the New World for generations, they identified with Britain, and England was still “home.” Yet in the space of just fifteen years these sturdy bonds snapped. Boston—a town of just 16,000—lit the fire for American Independence. Brian Deming explains how and why in his lucid, lively, and deeply researched Boston and the Dawn of American Independence.
To dodge British taxes, Boston merchants for as long as anyone could remember had routinely smuggled in molasses from French and Spanish possessions in the Caribbean. Boston distillers transformed this sweet cargo into rum, the liquid gold traded around the world. But British authorities cracked down on smuggling and imposed the Sugar Act to help pay for the debts incurred during their wars against France. Then came the hated Stamp Act, a tax on documents, newspapers, and printed materials of all kinds. In courtrooms, in the press, and in the streets, Bostonians rallied in protest against taxation without representation. As anger swept America, Boston was at the center of the storm, which burst forth with the infamous massacre and the Boston Tea Party. By 1775, open warfare erupted at Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill. Boston and the Dawn of American Independence ties these scenes together with the people of the time, including John and Sam Adams, John Hancock, and Paul Revere, as well as Thomas Hutchinson, the beleaguered Massachusetts royal governor, and James Otis, the bombastic, unstable early patriot. Readers hear their voices, but also those of many amazing, colorful, and memorable personalities— feisty mob leaders, defiant Tories, terrified townspeople. Deming illuminates this epic story with views of everyday life inside taverns, outside newspaper offices, and along the wharves, and the political dramas in London and Philadelphia that shaped the destiny of an empire and gave rise to the world’s first modern democracy.
This volume documents metropolitan Boston's metamorphosis from a casualty of manufacturing decline in the 1970s to a paragon of the high-tech and service industries in the 1990s. The city's rebound has been part of a wider regional renaissance, as new commercial centers have sprung up outside the city limits. A stream of immigrants have flowed into the area, redrawing the map of ethnic relations in the city. While Boston's vaunted mind-based economy rewards the highly educated, many unskilled workers have also found opportunities servicing the city's growing health and education industries. Boston's renaissance remains uneven, and the authors identify a variety of handicaps (low education, unstable employment, single parenthood) that still hold minorities back. Nonetheless this book presents Boston as a hopeful example of how America's older cities can reinvent themselves in the wake of suburbanization and deindustrialization. A Volume in the Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality
Eric Hinderaker Harvard University Press, 2017 Library of Congress E215.4.H66 2017 | Dewey Decimal 973.3113
The event known as the Boston Massacre is among the most familiar in U.S. history, yet one of the least understood. Eric Hinderaker revisits this dramatic episode, examining the facts of that fateful night, the competing narratives that molded public perceptions, and the long campaign to transform the tragedy into a touchstone of American identity.
East Boston has long been known as an Italian neighborhood and Southie as an Irish one, while nearby North Quincy has seen in recent decades an influx of Chinese Americans and immigrants. Such urban spaces in America can become intimately intertwined with ethnic identities (Little Italy, Greektown, Chinatown, Little Havana). Yet local residents often readily acknowledge an underlying diversity—both historically and as a result of more recent changes—that complicates such stereotypes.
Digging into the ever-shifting terrain of American ethnicity and urban spaces, Anthony Bak Buccitelli investigates folk practices, social memory, and local histories in three Boston-area neighborhoods. He looks at the ways locals represent their neighborhoods and themselves via events, symbols, stories, and landmarks, from the shamrock to the Chinese flag, whether the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Southie or the Columbus Day parade in East Boston, from urban graffiti and websites to the Dorchester Heights Monument. City of Neighborhoods exposes the processes of selection and emphasis that produce, sustain, challenge, and change understandings of urban spaces as ethnic places.
Honorable mention, Wayland Hand Prize for Folklore and History, American Folklore Society
In Eden on the Charles: The Making of Boston, Michael Rawson examines how the city's relationship with its natural surroundings informed its early growth and development. His compelling, well-researched narrative touches on several milestones on Boston's road to modernity, including the Common's conversion from a place of labor to a place of leisure, the emergence of pastoral suburbs as a respite from an increasingly urbanized landscape, and the long fight over a proposed municipal water system to bring fresh water to those who needed it most...Perhaps the book's most important lesson comes from a frustrated mariner who, upset over the maltreatment of the harbor, laments that "the past seems to be forgotten, the present only is regarded as of importance, and a veil is drawn over the future." Eden on the Charles is a valiant effort to combat such shortsightedness, reminding us that the key to building a successful community lies in respecting the natural resources that provide for it and in understanding our responsibility to our fellow citizens.
As a poet, author, and keen observer of life in 1870s Boston, Harriet Robinson played an essential—if occasionally underappreciated—role in the women’s suffrage movement during Boston’s golden age. Robinson flourished after leaving behind her humble roots in the mill town of Lowell, Massachusetts, deciding to spend a year in Boston discovering the culture and politics of America’s Athens. An honest, bright, and perceptive witness, she meets with Emerson and Julia Ward Howe, with whom she organizes the New England Women’s Club, and drinks deeply of the city’s artistic and cultural offerings. Noted historian Claudia L. Bushman proves a wonderful guide as she weaves together Robinson’s journal entries, her own learned commentary, and selections from other nineteenth-century writers to reveal the impact of the industrial revolution and the rise of women’s suffrage as seen through the experience of one articulate, engaged participant. Going to Boston will appeal to readers interested in both the history of Boston and the history of American progress itself.
There are some two hundred TV markets in the country, but only one—Boston, Massachusetts—hosted a Golden Age of local programming. In this lively insider account, Terry Ann Knopf chronicles the development of Boston television, from its origins in the 1970s through its decline in the early 1990s. During TV’s heyday, not only was Boston the nation’s leader in locally produced news, programming, and public affairs, but it also became a model for other local stations around the country. It was a time of award-winning local newscasts, spirited talk shows, thought-provoking specials and documentaries, ambitious public service campaigns, and even originally produced TV films featuring Hollywood stars. Knopf also shows how this programming highlighted aspects of Boston’s own history over two turbulent decades, including the treatment of highly charged issues of race, sex, and gender—and the stations’ failure to challenge the Roman Catholic Church during its infamous sexual abuse scandal. Laced with personal insights and anecdotes, The Golden Age of Boston Television offers an intimate look at how Boston’s television stations refracted the city’s culture in unique ways, while at the same time setting national standards for television creativity and excellence.
History is right under our feet; we just need to dig a little to find it. Though not the most popular construction project, Boston’s Big Dig has contributed more to our understanding and appreciation of the city’s archaeological history than any other recent event. Joseph M. Bagley, city archaeologist of Boston, uncovers a fascinating hodgepodge of history—from ancient fishing grounds to Jazz Age red-light districts—that will surprise and delight even longtime residents. Each artifact is shown in full color and accompanied by description of the item’s significance to its site location and the larger history of the city. From cannonballs to drinking cups and from ancient spears to chinaware, A History of Boston in 50 Artifacts offers a unique and accessible introduction to Boston’s history and physical culture while revealing the ways objects can offer a tantalizing entrée into our past. Packed with vivid descriptions and art, this lively history of Boston will appeal to all manner of readers, locals and visitors alike.
The Last Hurrah: A Novel
Edwin O'Connor University of Chicago Press, 2016 Library of Congress PS3565.C55L37 2016 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
“We’re living in a sensitive age, Cuke, and I’m not altogether sure you’re fully attuned to it.” So says Irish-American politician Frank Skeffington—a cynical, corrupt 1950s mayor, and also an old-school gentleman who looks after the constituents of his New England city and enjoys their unwavering loyalty in return. But in our age of dynasties, mercurial social sensitivities, and politicians making love to the camera, Skeffington might as well be talking to us.
Not quite a roman á clef of notorious Boston mayor James Michael Curley, The Last Hurrah tells the story of Skeffington’s final campaign as witnessed through the eyes of his nephew, who learns a great deal about politics as he follows his uncle to fundraisers, wakes, and into smoke-filled rooms, ultimately coming—almost against his will—to admire the man. Adapted into a 1958 film starring Spencer Tracy and directed by John Ford (and which Curley tried to keep from being made), Edwin O’Connor’s opus reveals politics as it really is, and big cities as they really were. An expansive, humorous novel offering deep insight into the Irish-American experience and the ever-changing nature of the political machine, The Last Hurrah reveals political truths still true today: what the cameras capture is just the smiling face of the sometimes sordid business of giving the people what they want.
Through an in-depth study of the Latino community in Boston, Carol hardy-Fanta addressees three key debates in American politics: how to look at the ways in which women and men envision the meaning of politics and political participation; how to understand culture and the political life of expanding immigrant populations; and how to create a more participatory America. The author's interviews with Latinos from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Central and South America and her participation in community events in North Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, and the South End document the often ignored contribution of Latina women as candidates, political mobilizers, and community organizers. Hardy-Fanta examines critical gender differences in how politics is defined, what strategies Latina women and Latino men use to generate political participation, and how culture and gender interact in the political empowerment of the ethic communities.
Hardy-Fanta challenges the notion of political apathy among Latinos and presents factors that stimulate political participation. She finds that the vision of politics promoted by Latina women—one based on connectedness, collectivity, community, and consiousness-raising—contrasts sharply with a male political concern for status, hierarchy, and personal opportunity.
Karin Aguilar-San Juan examines the contradictions of Vietnamese American community and identity in two emblematic yet different locales: Little Saigon in suburban Orange County, California (widely described as the capital of Vietnamese America) and the urban "Vietnamese town" of Fields Corner in Boston, Massachusetts. Their distinctive qualities challenge assumptions about identity and space, growth amid globalization, and processes of Americanization.
With a comparative and race-cognizant approach, Aguilar-San Juan shows how places like Little Saigon and Fields Corner are sites for the simultaneous preservation and redefinition of Vietnamese identity. Intervening in debates about race, ethnicity, multiculturalism, and suburbanization as a form of assimilation, this work elaborates on the significance of place as an integral element of community building and its role in defining Vietnamese American-ness.
Staying Vietnamese, according to Aguilar-San Juan, is not about replicating life in Viet Nam. Rather, it involves moving toward a state of equilibrium that, though always in flux, allows refugees, immigrants, and their U.S.-born offspring to recalibrate their sense of self in order to become Vietnamese anew in places far from their presumed geographic home.
Murder in Montauk
Judy Soloway Kay University of Michigan Press, 2005 Library of Congress PZ7.K1965Mur 2005
Charlie Anderson, a reporter on leave from the Boston Globe, becomes entangled in an unusual mystery when he stumbles upon a news article about his own death. Confused and still very much alive, Charlie travels to Montauk, Long Island, to learn more about the deceased man and learns more about himself in the process.
The MICHIGAN Reading Plus Readers are original fiction written for students who wish to improve their reading skills. The MICHIGAN Reading Plus Readers support the need for extensive reading on topics of interest to today's students. The Readers offer students books in the genres of mystery, science-fiction, and romance. Activities that practice vocabulary and reading skills are provided on the companion website.
John C. Seitz Harvard University Press, 2011 Library of Congress BX1417.B6S45 2011 | Dewey Decimal 254.02
In 2004 the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston announced plans to close more than eighty churches. Distraught parishioners occupied several of these buildings in opposition to the decrees. Seitz tells the stories of these resisting Catholics in their own words, illuminating how they were drawn to reconsider the past and its meanings.
Adelaide Cromwell’s pioneering work explores race and the social caste system in an atypical northern environment over a period of two centuries. Based on scholarly sources, interviews, and questionnaires, the study identifies those blacks in Boston who exercised political, economic, and social leadership from the end of the eighteenth century to the middle of the twentieth. The central focus is a comparison of black and white upper-class women in the 1940s.
This rare look at a black social microcosm not located in the South is seminal and timely. Because it concludes at a critical period in American history, The Other Brahmins paints a colorful backdrop for evaluating subsequent changes in urban sociology and stratification. In a groundbreaking study, Cromwell effectively challenges the simplistic notions of hierarchy as they pertain to race.
In this remarkable memoir, Tung Pok Chin casts light on the largely hidden experience of those Chinese who immigrated to this country with false documents during the exclusion era. Although scholars have pieced together their history, first-person accounts are rare and fragmented; many of the so-called "Paper Sons" lived out their lives in silent fear of discovery. Chin's story speaks for the many Chinese who worked in urban laundries and restaurants, but it also introduces an unusually articulate man's perspective on becoming Chinese American.
Chin's story begins in the early 1930s, when he followed the example of his father and countless other Chinese who bought documents that falsely identified them as children of Chinese Americans. Arriving in Boston and later moving to New York City, he worked and lived in laundries. Chin was determined to fit into American life and dedicated himself to learning English. But he also became an active member of key organizations -- a church, the Chinese Hand Laundrymen's Alliance, and the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association -- that anchored him in the community. A self-reflective and expressive man, Chin wrote poetry commenting on life in China and the hardships of being an immigrant in the United States. His work was regularly published in the China Daily News and brought him to the attention of the FBI, then intent on ferreting out communists and illegal immigrants. His vigorous narrative speaks to the day-to-day anxieties of living as a Paper Son as well as the more universal immigrant experiences of raising a family in modest circumstances and bridging cultures.
Historian K. Scott Wong introduces Chin's memoir, discussing the limitations on immigration from China and what is known about Exclusion-era Chinese American communities. Set in historical context, Tung Pok Chin's unique story offers and engaging account of a twentieth-century Paper Son.
Political Woman: Florence
Sharon Strom Temple University Press, 2001 Library of Congress HQ1413.L87S77 2001 | Dewey Decimal 303.484092
Florence Hope Luscomb's life spanned nearly all of the twentieth century. Born into a remarkable family of abolitionists and progressive thinkers, the young Florence accompanied her feminist mother to lectures and political rallies, soon choosing a course of political engagement and social activism from which she never retreated.
Politcal Women counters the traditional narratives that place men at the center of political thinking and history. Showing how three generations of Luscomb's family had set the stage for her activism, this biography presents her story against the backdrop of Boston's politics and larger struggles for social justice. Luscomb participated in every significant social reform movement of her time -- from securing women's right to vote and supporting trade unionism to advocating an end to the war in Vietnam. Luscomb also ran for public office; she was narrowly defeated when she ran for Boston's city council in 1922. Although unsuccessful as a third-party candidate for Congress (in 1936 and 1950) and for Governor of Massachusetts (in 1952), she was one of the few women of her time to seek office. Independent, athletic, and spirited, she apparently never thought that traditional gender prescriptions applied to her. A practicing architect before the First World War, an exuberant hiker all her life, and a member in collective-living arrangements, Luscomb enjoyed a life of rich experiences and sustaining relationships.
In Florence Luscomb's biography, Sharon Hartman Strom suggests that although women were excluded from the activities and sites associated with conventional politics until recently, they did political work that gave purpose to their lives and affected political thinking in their communities, states, and ultimately the nation.
The Schoolmaster's Daughter
John Smolens Michigan State University Press, 2019 Library of Congress PS3569.M646S36 2019 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
In April 1775 Abigail Lovell’s family is divided politically―while her father, who has for decades been schoolmaster at the prestigious Latin School, remains loyal to King George III, she and her two brothers engage in undercover activities designed to destabilize the British occupation of Boston. Her sickly older brother, James, operates the patriots’ spy ring, while Abigail acts as a courier, eluding increasingly aggressive British patrols, and her younger brother, Benjamin, slips out of the city to fight alongside Abigail’s love, Ezra, in the battles at Lexington and Concord. With the help of her friend, Rachel Revere, Abigail smuggles money and supplies out to her brother, Ezra, and Rachel’s husband, Paul. But when a British sergeant is found murdered, Abigail stands accused before a military tribunal, and on the eve of the British assault on Bunker Hill she and her brothers plot to influence the outcome of that pivotal battle. In the tradition of The Name of theRose and Girl with the Pearl Earring, The Schoolmaster’s Daughter is the story of a family torn asunder by political strife and a determined young woman who makes courageous sacrifices for the patriot cause at the outbreak of the American Revolution.
Long considered the lifeblood of urban African American neighborhoods, churches are held up as institutions dedicated to serving their surrounding communities. Omar McRoberts's work in Four Corners, however, reveals a very different picture. One of the toughest neighborhoods in Boston, Four Corners also contains twenty-nine churches, mostly storefront congregations, within its square half-mile radius. In McRoberts's hands, this area teaches a startling lesson about the relationship between congregations and neighborhoods that will be of interest to everyone concerned with the revitalization of the inner city.
McRoberts finds, for example, that most of the churches in Four Corners are attended and run by people who do not live in the neighborhood but who worship there because of the low overhead. These churches, McRoberts argues, are communities in and of themselves, with little or no attachment to the surrounding area. This disconnect makes the churches less inclined to cooperate with neighborhood revitalization campaigns and less likely to respond to the immediate needs of neighborhood residents. Thus, the faith invested in inner-city churches as beacons of local renewal might be misplaced, and the decision to count on them to administer welfare definitely should be revisited.
As the federal government increasingly moves toward delivering social services through faith-based organizations, Streets of Glory must be read for its trenchant revisionist view of how churches actually work in depressed urban areas.