Many people are generally familiar with the fact that Boston was once known as "the Athens of America." Very few, however, are clear about exactly why, except for their recollections of the famous writers and poets who gave the city a reputation for literature and learning.
In this book, historian Thomas H. O'Connor sets the matter straight by showing that Boston's eminence during the first half of the nineteenth century was the result of a much broader community effort. After the nation emerged from its successful struggle for independence, most Bostonians visualized their city not only as the Cradle of Liberty, but also as the new world's Cradle of Civilization.
According to O'Connor, a leadership elite, composed of men of prominent family background, Unitarian beliefs, liberal education, and managerial experience in a variety of enterprises, used their personal talents and substantial financial resources to promote the cultural, intellectual, and humanitarian interests of Boston to the point where it would be the envy of the nation. Not only did writers, scholars, and philosophers see themselves as part of this process, but so did physicians and lawyers, ministers and teachers, merchants and businessmen, mechanics and artisans, all involved in creating a well-ordered city whose citizens would be committed to the ideals of social progress and personal perfectibility.
To accomplish their noble vision, leading members of the Boston community joined in programs designed to cleanse the old town of what they felt were generations of accumulated social stains and human failures, and then to create new programs and more efficient institutions that would raise the cultural and intellectual standards of all its citizens. Like ancient Athens, Boston would be a city of great statesmen, wealthy patrons, inspiring artists, and profound thinkers, headed by members of the "happy and respectable classes" who would assume responsibility for the safety, welfare, and education of the "less prosperous portions of the community."
Designed for the general reader and the historical enthusiast, The Athens of America is an interpretive synthesis that explores the numerous secondary sources that have concentrated on individual subjects and personalities, and draws their various conclusions into a single comprehensive narrative.
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
In the 1920s and 1930s Boston became a rich and distinctive site of African American artistic production, unfolding at the same time as the Harlem Renaissance and encompassing literature, theater, music, and visual art. Owing to the ephemeral nature of much of this work, many of the era's primary sources have been lost.
In this book, Lorraine Elena Roses employs archival sources and personal interviews to recover this artistic output, examining the work of celebrated figures such as Dorothy West, Helene Johnson, Meta Warrick Fuller, and Allan Rohan Crite, as well as lesser-known artists including Eugene Gordon, Ralf Coleman, Gertrude "Toki" Schalk, and Alvira Hazzard. Black Bostonians and the Politics of Culture, 1920–1940 demonstrates how this creative community militated against the color line not solely through powerful acts of civil disobedience but also by way of a strong repertoire of artistic projects.
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
Boston: Voices and Visions
Shaun O'Connell University of Massachusetts Press, 2010 Library of Congress PS509.B665B67 2010 | Dewey Decimal 810.80974461
"New England was founded consciously, and in no fit of absence of mind," observed historian Samuel Eliot Morison on the establishment of the Bay Colony in 1630 on the narrow, mountainous Shawmut peninsula of what became Massachusetts. That self-conscious presence of mind has endured for four centuries. Boston has been shaped and sustained by observation, imagination, and interpretation. As a result, the evolving vision of Boston has yielded a compelling literary record.
In this wide-ranging anthology, Shaun O'Connell includes a generous sampling of those who have recorded, revised, and redefined the vision of Boston. Anne Bradstreet, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry James, W. E. B. Du Bois, Mary Antin, Edwin O'Connor, John Updike, and many others eloquently evoke and explain Boston in these pages.
From John Winthrop's "city upon a hill" sermon, delivered aboard the Arbella before his followers landed in 1630 in the place they would call Boston, to Robert Lowell's "For the Union Dead," a poem delivered in Boston's Public Garden in 1960, writers have continued to invoke the high purposes for which the city was founded, sometimes in praise of the city, but often in what Robert Frost named a "lover's quarrel," in works that called attention to the city's failures to fulfill its promises. In the twenty-first century some writers continue to celebrate or to castigate the city, while others look back to Boston's origins to reassess its founders and renew its covenant of high purpose.
This is an interpretive anthology—one that includes commentary as well as writings. Section introductions provide historical and biographical context, offer analysis that stresses the thematic relevance of each selection, and explore the pattern of their relations. Rather than present a random array of writers who happen to have been Greater Bostonians, O'Connell focuses on those authors who possessed a commitment to the sense of place, those who addressed Boston not only as a geographical, social, and political entity but as an image, idea, and site of symbolic values
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.
As Boston approaches its four-hundredth anniversary, it is remarkable that it still maintains its historic character despite constant development. The fifty buildings featured in this book all pre-date 1800 and illustrate Boston’s early history. This is the first book to survey Boston’s fifty oldest buildings and does so through an approachable narrative which will appeal to nonarchitects and those new to historic preservation. Beginning with a map of the buildings’ locations and an overview of the historic preservation movement in Boston, the book looks at the fifty buildings in order from oldest to most recent. Geographically, the majority of the buildings are located within the downtown area of Boston along the Freedom Trail and within easy walking distance from the core of the city. This makes the book an ideal guide for tourists, and residents of the city will also find it interesting as it includes numerous properties in the surrounding neighborhoods. The buildings span multiple uses from homes to churches and warehouses to restaurants. Each chapter features a building, a narrative focusing on its historical significance, and the efforts made to preserve it over time. Full color photos and historical drawings illustrate each building and area. Boston’s Oldest Buildings and Where to Find Them presents the ideals of historic preservation in an approachable and easy-to-read manner appropriate for the broadest audience. Perfect for history lovers, architectural enthusiasts, and tourists alike.
At the end of the nineteenth century, cycling's popularity surged in the Boston area, but by 1900, the trend faded. Within the next few decades, automobiles became commonplace and roads were refashioned to serve them. Lorenz J. Finison argues that bicycling witnessed a renaissance in the 1970s as concerns over physical and environmental health coalesced. Whether cyclists hit the roads on their way to work or to work out, went off-road in the mountains or to race via cyclocross and BMX, or took part in charity rides, biking was back in a major way.
Finison traces the city's cycling history, chronicling the activities of environmental and social justice activists, stories of women breaking into male-dominated professions by becoming bike messengers and mechanics, and challenges faced by African American cyclists. Making use of newspaper archives, newly discovered records of local biking organizations, and interviews with Boston-area bicyclists and bike builders, Boston's Twentieth-Century Bicycling Renaissance brings these voices and battles back to life.
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
From the 1950s to the end of the twentieth century, Boston transformed from a city in freefall into a thriving metropolis, as modern glass skyscrapers sprouted up in the midst of iconic brick rowhouses. After decades of corruption and graft, a new generation of politicians swept into office, seeking to revitalize Boston through large-scale urban renewal projects. The most important of these was a new city hall, which they hoped would project a bold vision of civic participation. The massive Brutalist building that was unveiled in 1962 stands apart—emblematic of the city's rebirth through avant-garde design.
And yet Boston City Hall frequently ranks among the country's ugliest buildings. Concrete Changes seeks to answer a common question for contemporary viewers: How did this happen? In a lively narrative filled with big personalities and newspaper accounts, Brian M. Sirman argues that this structure is more than a symbol of Boston's modernization; it acted as a catalyst for political, social, and economic change.
Founded in 1807, the successor to a literary club called the Anthology Society, the Boston Athenaeum occupies an important place in the early history of American intellectual life. At first a repository for books, to which works of art were later added, the Athenaeum attracted over time a following that included such literary luminaries as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry James.
Yet from the outset, Katherine Wolff shows, the Boston Athenaeum was more than a library; it was also a breeding ground for evolving notions of cultural authority and American identity. Though governed by the Boston elite, who promoted it as a way of strengthening their own clout in the city, the early Athenaeum reflected conflicting and at times contradictory aims and motives on the part of its membership. On the one hand, by drawing on European aesthetic models to reinforce an exalted sense of mission, Athenaeum leaders sought to establish themselves as guardians of a nascent American culture. On the other, they struggled to balance their goals with their concerns about an increasingly democratic urban populace. As the Boston Athenaeum opened its doors to women as well as men outside its inner circle, it eventually began to define itself against a more accessible literary institution, the Boston Public Library.
Told through a series of provocative episodes and generously illustrated, Culture Club offers a more complete picture than previously available of the cultural politics behind the making of a quintessentially American institution.
Drinking a glass of tap water, strolling in a park, hopping a train for the suburbs: some aspects of city life are so familiar that we don’t think twice about them. But such simple actions are structured by complex relationships with our natural world. The contours of these relationships—social, cultural, political, economic, and legal—were established during America’s first great period of urbanization in the nineteenth century, and Boston, one of the earliest cities in America, often led the nation in designing them. A richly textured cultural and social history of the development of nineteenth-century Boston, this book provides a new environmental perspective on the creation of America’s first cities.
Eden on the Charles explores how Bostonians channeled country lakes through miles of pipeline to provide clean water; dredged the ocean to deepen the harbor; filled tidal flats and covered the peninsula with houses, shops, and factories; and created a metropolitan system of parks and greenways, facilitating the conversion of fields into suburbs. The book shows how, in Boston, different class and ethnic groups brought rival ideas of nature and competing visions of a “city upon a hill” to the process of urbanization—and were forced to conform their goals to the realities of Boston’s distinctive natural setting. The outcomes of their battles for control over the city’s development were ultimately recorded in the very fabric of Boston itself. In Boston’s history, we find the seeds of the environmental relationships that—for better or worse—have defined urban America to this day.
This is the first complete modern edition of The Female Marine, a fictional cross-dressing trilogy originally published between 1815 and 1818. Enormously popular among New England readers, the tale in various versions appeared in no fewer than nineteen editions over that brief four-year span. This new edition appends three other contemporary accounts of cross-dressing and urban vice which, together with The Female Marine, provide a unique portrayal of prostitution and interracial city life in early-nineteenth-century America.
The alternately racy and moralistic narrative recounts the adventures of a young woman from rural Massachusetts who is seduced by a false-hearted lover, flees to Boston, and is entrapped in a brothel. She eventually escapes by disguising herself as a man and serves with distinction on board the U.S. frigate Constitution during the War of 1812. After subsequent onshore adventures in and out of male dress, she is happily married to a wealthy New York gentleman.
In his introduction, Daniel A. Cohen situates the story in both its literary and historical contexts. He explains how the tale draws upon a number of popular Anglo-American literary genres, including the female warrior narrative, the sentimental novel, and the urban exposé. He then explores how The Female Marine reflects early-nineteenth-century anxieties concerning changing gender norms, the expansion of urban prostitution, the growth of Boston's African American community, and feelings of guilt aroused by New England's notoriously unpatriotic activities during the War of 1812.
Chinatown has a long history in Boston. Though little documented, it represents the city's most sustained neighborhood effort to survive during eras of hostility and urban transformation. It has been wounded and transformed, slowly ceding ground; at the same time, its residents and organizations have gained a more prominent voice over their community's fate.
In writing about Boston Chinatown's long history, Michael Liu, a lifelong activist and scholar of the community, charts its journey and efforts for survival—from its emergence during a time of immigration and deep xenophobia to the highway construction and urban renewal projects that threatened the neighborhood after World War II to its more recent efforts to keep commercial developers at bay. At the ground level, Liu depicts its people, organizations, internal battles, and varied and complex strategies against land-taking by outside institutions and public authorities. The documented courage, resilience, and ingenuity of this low-income immigrant neighborhood of color have earned it a place amongst our urban narratives. Chinatown has much to teach us about neighborhood agency, the power of organizing, and the prospects of such neighborhoods in rapidly growing and changing cities.
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.
A new edition of a bestselling book looking at the history of Boston through fifty artifacts.
Joseph M. Bagley, the 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 with a description of the item’s significance to its site location and Boston’s larger history. 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. This new edition showcases an important fact which has come to light since its first publication, that a chapter about a cat has now been shown to be a dog, thus demonstrating the perils of the archaeologist.
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.
If you take Boston's Blue Line to its northern end, you'll reach the Wonderland stop. Few realize that a twenty-three-acre amusement park once sat nearby—the largest in New England, and grander than any of the Coney Island parks that inspired it. Opened in Revere on Memorial Day in 1906 to great fanfare, Wonderland offered hundreds of thousands of visitors recreation by the sea, just a short distance from downtown Boston.
The story of the park's creation and wild, but brief, success is full of larger-than-life characters who hoped to thrill attendees and rake in profits. Stephen R. Wilk describes the planning and history of the park, which featured early roller coasters, a scenic railway, a central lagoon in which a Shoot-the-Chutes boat plunged, an aerial swing, a funhouse, and more. Performances ran throughout the day, including a daring Fires and Flames show; a Wild West show; a children's theater; and numerous circus acts. While nothing remains of what was once called "Boston's Regal Home of Pleasure" and the park would close in 1910, this book resurrects Wonderland by transporting readers through its magical gates.
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.
Among the most consequential pieces of Great Society legislation, the Immigration Act of 1965 opened the nation's doors to large-scale immigration from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. A half century later, the impact of the "new immigration" is evident in the transformation of the country's demographics, economy, politics, and culture, particularly in urban America.
In The New Bostonians, Marilynn S. Johnson examines the historical confluence of recent immigration and urban transformation in greater Boston, a region that underwent dramatic decline after World War II. Since the 1980s, the Boston area has experienced an astounding renaissance—a development, she argues, to which immigrants have contributed in numerous ways. From 1970 to 2010, the percentage of foreign-born residents of the city more than doubled, representing far more diversity than earlier waves of immigration. Like the older Irish, Italian, and other European immigrant groups whose labor once powered the region's industrial economy, these newer migrants have been crucial in re-building the population, labor force, and metropolitan landscape of the New Boston, although the fruits of the new prosperity have not been equally shared.
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.
Although Boston today is a vibrant and thriving city, it was anything but that in the years following World War II. By 1950 it had lost a quarter of its tax base over the previous twenty-five years, and during the 1950s it would lose residents faster than any other major city in the country.
Credit for the city's turnaround since that time is often given to a select group of people, all of them men, all of them white, and most of them well off. In fact, a large group of community activists, many of them women, people of color, and not very well off, were also responsible for creating the Boston so many enjoy today. This book provides a grassroots perspective on the tumultuous 1960s and 1970s, when residents of the city's neighborhoods engaged in an era of activism and protest unprecedented in Boston since the American Revolution.
Using interviews with many of those activists, contemporary news accounts, and historical sources, Jim Vrabel describes the demonstrations, sit-ins, picket lines, boycotts, and contentious negotiations through which residents exerted their influence on the city that was being rebuilt around them. He includes case histories of the fights against urban renewal, highway construction, and airport expansion; for civil rights, school desegregation, and welfare reform; and over Vietnam and busing. He also profiles a diverse group of activists from all over the city, including Ruth Batson, Anna DeFronzo, Moe Gillen, Mel King, Henry Lee, and Paula Oyola. Vrabel tallies the wins and losses of these neighborhood Davids as they took on the Goliaths of the time, including Boston's mayors. He shows how much of the legacy of that activism remains in Boston today.
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 Scarlet Letter
Nathaniel Hawthorne Harvard University Press, 2009 Library of Congress PS1868.A2C64 2009 | Dewey Decimal 813.3
Hawthorne’s greatest romance, The Scarlet Letter, is often simplistically seen as a timeless tale of desire, sin, and redemption. In his introduction, Michael J. Colacurcio argues that The Scarlet Letter is a serious historical novel. If Hawthorne’s fiction rigorously and faithfully subjects Hester and Dimmesdale to the limits of seventeenth-century possibility, it nonetheless looks forward to the better, brighter world of Margaret Fuller and Fanny Fern, of Charles Fourier and John Humphrey Noyes.
The John Harvard Library edition reproduces the authoritative text of The Scarlet Letter in the Centenary Edition of the Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne.
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.
On February 15, 1851, Shadrach Minkins was serving breakfast at a coffeehouse in Boston when history caught up with him. The first runaway to be arrested in New England under the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law, this illiterate Black man from Virginia found himself the catalyst of one of the most dramatic episodes of rebellion and legal wrangling before the Civil War. In a remarkable effort of historical sleuthing, Gary Collison has recovered the true story of Shadrach Minkins’ life and times and perilous flight. His book restores an extraordinary chapter to our collective history and at the same time offers a rare and engrossing picture of the life of an ordinary Black man in nineteenth-century North America.
As Minkins’ journey from slavery to freedom unfolds, we see what day-to-day life was like for a slave in Norfolk, Virginia, for a fugitive in Boston, and for a free Black man in Montreal. Collison recreates the drama of Minkins’s arrest and his subsequent rescue by a band of Black Bostonians, who spirited the fugitive to freedom in Canada. He shows us Boston’s Black community, moved to panic and action by the Fugitive Slave Law, and the previously unknown community established in Montreal by Minkins and other refugee Blacks from the United States. And behind the scenes, orchestrating events from the disastrous Compromise of 1850 through the arrest of Minkins and the trial of his rescuers, is Daniel Webster, who through the exigencies of his dimming political career, took the role of villain.
Webster is just one of the familiar figures in this tale of an ordinary man in extraordinary circumstances. Others, such as Frederick Douglass, Richard Henry Dana, Jr., Harriet Jacobs, and Harriet Beecher Stowe (who made use of Minkins’s Montreal community in Uncle Tom’s Cabin), also appear throughout the narrative. Minkins’ intriguing story stands as a fascinating commentary on the nation’s troubled times—on urban slavery and Boston abolitionism, on the Underground Railroad, and on one of the federal government’s last desperate attempts to hold the Union together.
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.
Progressivism, James Connolly shows us, was a language and style of political action available to a wide range of individuals and groups. A diverse array of political and civic figures used it to present themselves as leaders of a communal response to the growing power of illicit interests and to the problems of urban-industrial life. As structural reforms weakened a ward-based party system that helped mute ethnic conflict, this new formula for political mobilization grew more powerful. Its most effective variation in Boston was an "ethnic progressivism" that depicted the city's public life as a clash between its immigrant majority--"the people"--and a wealthy Brahmin elite--"the interests." As this portrayal took hold, Bostonians came to view their city as a community permanently beset by ethnic strife.
In showing that the several reform visions that arose in Boston included not only the progressivism of the city's business leaders but also a series of ethnic progressivisms, Connolly offers a new approach to urban public life in the early twentieth century. He rejects the assumption that ethnic politics was machine politics and employs both institutional and rhetorical analysis to reconstruct the inner workings of neighborhood public life and the social narratives that bound the city together. The result is a deeply textured picture that differs sharply from the traditional view of machine-reform conflict.
The Boston Harbor Islands have been called Boston's "hidden shores." While some are ragged rocks teeming with coastal wildlife, such as oystercatchers and harbor seals, others resemble manicured parks or have the appearance of wooded hills rising gently out of the water. Largely ignored by historians and previously home to prisons, asylums, and sewage treatment plants, this surprisingly diverse ensemble of islands has existed quietly on the urban fringe over the last four centuries. Even their latest incarnation as a national park and recreational hub has emphasized their separation from, rather than their connection to, the city.
In this book, Pavla Šimková reinterprets the Boston Harbor Islands as an urban archipelago, arguing that they have been an integral part of Boston since colonial days, transformed by the city's changing values and catering to its current needs. Drawing on archival sources, historic maps and photographs, and diaries from island residents, this absorbing study attests that the harbor islands' story is central to understanding the ways in which Boston has both shaped and been shaped by its environment over time.