Parks and Recreation
Libraries and Museums
Holidays and Festivals
For Further Study
Founded: 1630; Incorporated: 1822
Location: Eastern Massachusetts on the Atlantic coast; United States, North America
Flag: Adopted in 1917, the flag features the city seal in white with a creamy beige border on a dark blue field.
Time Zone: 7 am Eastern Standard Time (EST) = noon Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)
Ethnic Composition: White 63%; Black 26%; Hispanic origin (of any race) 11% (numbering 34,200 in 1990)
Elevation: 6.1 m (20 ft) above sea level. Much of Boston's once-hilly peninsula at the head of Massachusetts Bay was leveled to fill in the tidal flats of the Back Bay. Now the city lies mostly on gently rolling terrain.
Latitude and Longitude: 42°35'N, 71°06'W
Climate: Generally mild summers and cold, damp winters. The city's climate is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, which moderates winter cold, increases fog and humidity, and makes Boston one of the country's windiest cities. With frequent spring and summer showers and regular snowfall in the winter, Boston is also one of the wettest cities in the country.
Annual Mean Temperature: January–1°C (30°F); July 23°C (74°F).
Seasonal Average Snowfall: Over 101.6 cm (40 in)
Average Annual Precipitation (total of rainfall and melted snow): 1,120 mm (44 in)
Government: Mayor and nine-member city council
Weights and Measures: Standard U.S.
Monetary Units: Standard U.S.
Telephone Area Codes: 617, 781
Postal Codes: 02101–02125; 02127–28; 02133–63; 02199; 02201–22
The historic city of Boston is located in New England, on the Atlantic coastline of Massachusetts. One of the first European settlements in North America, the city has been called the "Cradle of the American Revolution." The home of Paul Revere, Boston was also the site of the Boston Tea Party and the Battle of Bunker Hill. In the nineteenth century, it became a major center for the abolitionist movement, as well as the focal point for an unprecedented flowering of American culture. For most of its history, Boston has been a major maritime and commercial center. The decades following World War II have seen the growth of the service and financial sectors and the tourist industry. Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) head the long list of colleges and universities that have made Boston "the college capital of the United States." By drawing an educated work force to the city, these schools helped make the Boston area one of the nation's leading centers for research-based high-technology industries.
Boston is located on an extension of Massachusetts Bay and runs along the Charles River, which divides it from Cambridge to the north, the location of the area's two most prestigious institutions of higher learning—Harvard University and M.I.T. Major neighborhoods and other well-known parts of the city include the waterfront, the North End, the West End, Beacon Hill, Charles-town, the financial district, Downtown Crossing, Back Bay, the theater district, Chinatown, South Boston, and the South End.
Three major interstate highways lead to and from Boston: I-95 runs northward along the Atlantic coastline in New Hampshire and Maine, and south to Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and beyond; the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90) runs westward from Boston through Massachusetts and connects with the New York State Thruway; and I-93 extends northward (the Northeast Expressway) to Canada and southward (the Southeast Express-way) toward Cape Cod.
Bus and Railroad Service
Buslines serving Boston include Greyhound, Bonanza, American Eagle, Concord Trailways, and Peter Pan. Boston's main bus station is the South Station Transportation Center at 700 Atlantic Avenue. Travel times to Boston via Greyhound are four to five hours from New York; 11 hours from Washington, D.C.; and 24 to 27 hours from Chicago. Amtrak passenger trains arrive and depart from South Station and Back Bay Station. Express trains travel between New York and Boston in four hours.
Boston Population Profile
Population: 574,283 (1990 Census)
Area: 125 sq km (48.4 sq mi)
Ethnic composition: 63% white; 26% black
Population: 5,690,000 (1990 Census)
Description: Five-city New England County Metropolitan Area (Boston-Worcester-Lawrence-Lowell-Brockton), including all or part of seven counties in Massachusetts and one in New Hampshire
Area: 16,800 sq km (6,450 sq mi)
World population rank 1: 102
Percentage of total US population 2: 1.1%
Average yearly growth rate: 0.5%
Ethnic composition: 91% 2hite; 6% black; 3% other
- The Boston metropolitan area's rank among the world's urban areas.
- The percent of the total US population living in the Boston metropolitan area.
Major domestic airlines running flights to and from Boston's Logan International Airport include American, Continental, Delta, Northwest, and TWA. Many international airlines also fly directly into Logan, which is five kilometers (three miles) northeast of downtown Boston.
With 40 kilometers (25 miles) of docking area, Boston's outstanding natural harbor is the largest port in New England, handling over 18 million metric tons (20 million tons) of freight annually. Port operations are managed by the Massachusetts Port Authority.
Many of Boston's major roads—including Beacon Street, Storrow Memorial Drive, Commonwealth Avenue, Marlborough Street, and Boylston Street—converge at the Boston Common, the famous park near the center of the city. The major arteries of Charles Street and Atlantic Avenue form a semi-circle bordering the city's wharves.
Bus and Commuter Rail Service
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA, known locally as "the T") operates buses, subway trains, and trolleys throughout Greater Boston, as well as running two ferry systems. Boston's subway system, the nation's oldest, was completed in 1897. The subway lines are color-coded Red, Green, Blue, and Orange, and cars run from 5:15 am until after midnight. A separate Purple Line, providing commuter rail service to the suburbs and beyond, extends as far as Providence, Rhode Island. The 85-cent fare is paid by purchasing a token. Trains are labeled "inbound" or "outbound," referring to their direction in relation to the Part Street station. Buses operated by the MBTA provide service across the city and to the suburbs; fares are 60 cents.
Walking tours to Boston's compact historic sites are very popular. The best-known route is the Freedom Trail, which connects 16 historic sites in a space of less than five kilometers (three miles). Several companies offer hour-and-a-half to two-hour trolley tours. One-hour and hour-and a-half cruises of Boston's harbor are offered by Boston Harbor Cruises, Massachusetts Bay Lines, and the Charles River Boat Company, and longer cruises in the surrounding waters are also available.
In 1996 Boston ranked twenty-second in population among cities in the United States, with a population of 558,394, down 2.8 percent since the 1990 census when its residents numbered 574,283 (48 percent male, 52 percent female). The 1997 population for Boston's five-city New England County Metropolitan Area (NECMA), spanning both Massachusetts and New Hampshire, was 5.83 million, up from 5.69 million as of the 1990 census. Boston's population is projected to pass 600,000 by 2010 when a population of 6.5 million is projected for the NECMA.
Boston's original settlers were mostly of English origin and formed the basis of the city's old aristocracy, known as the "Boston Brahmins." By the middle of the nineteenth century, the first waves of Irish immigration began, made up largely of peasants fleeing the potato famine in that country. The Irish eventually became one of the city's major ethnic groups and gained a dominant position in its political life. The first Irish mayor of Boston was elected in 1885. In 1960 the scion of two prominent Boston Irish political families—John Fitzgerald Kennedy(1917–1963)—was elected president of the United States. In spite of the city's original Puritan roots, nineteenth-century waves of Irish, Italian, and French-Canadian immigration made Boston a strongly Catholic city. Today more than half the city's population is Catholic—the third-largest percentage of any city in the United States.
Escaped slaves arrived in Boston during the Civil War era via the Underground Railroad. In the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, Boston's Hispanic and Asian American populations grew. Many immigrants are drawn to the region by its educational institutions and high-technology jobs.
|City Fact Comparison|
|Population of urban area1||2,915,000||10,772,000||2,688,000||12,033,000|
|Date the city was founded||1630||AD 969||753 BC||723 BC|
|Daily costs to visit the city2|
|Hotel (single occupancy)||$192||$193||$172||$129|
|Meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner)||$44||$56||$59||$62|
|Incidentals (laundry, dry cleaning, etc.)||$26||$14||$15||$16|
|Total daily costs (hotel, meals, incidentals)||$238||$173||$246||$207|
|Number of newspapers serving the city||3||13||20||11|
|Largest newspaper||The Boston Globe||Akhbar El Yom/Al Akhbar||La Repubblica||Renmin Ribao|
|Circulation of largest newspaper||470,825||1,159,450||754,930||3,000,000|
|Date largest newspaper was established||1872||1944||1976||1948|
|1United Nations population estimates for the year 2000.|
|2The maximum amount the U.S. Government reimburses its employees for business travel. The lodging portion of the allowance is based on the cost for a single room at a moderately-priced hotel. The meal portion is based on the costs of an average breakfast, lunch, and dinner including taxes, service charges, and customary tips. Incidental travel expenses include such things as laundry and dry cleaning.|
|3David Maddux, ed. Editor&Publisher International Year Book. New York: The Editor&Publisher Company, 1999.|
Boston is also home to a sizable Jewish community, which accounts for the single largest distinct religious denomination after the Catholics. Two other religions have their headquarters in Boston: the Unitarian-Universalist Association and the First Church of Christ, Scientist, founded in the city in 1894 by Mary Baker Eddy (1821–1910). An imposing modern Christian Science complex, including a school, library, and worship facilities, was completed in the early 1970s.
Housing in Boston is notoriously expensive, particularly in the wake of a real estate boom that began in the 1980s, the effects of which have been felt as far away as Providence, Rhode Island. More than 60 percent of the city's residents live in apartments. As of the 1990 census, Boston had 250,000 housing units, with the lowest vacancy rate in the country (four-and-a-half percent). The median value of an owner-occupied home in 1990 was $161,400 (compared with the national average of roughly $100,000); median monthly rent was $546.
Boston's rich ethnic mix is reflected in the composition of several of its best-known neighborhoods. Beacon Hill has traditionally been known as the home of the Boston Brahmin elite. The major Irish population centers are Charles-town and South Boston ("Southie"). The North End is heavily Italian, and primarily black neighborhoods include Roxbury, Mattapan, and Codman Square. In recent years, sizable Hispanic populations have grown up in Jamaica Plain and Dudley.
The Boston Redevelopment Authority, established in 1957 by Mayor John B. Hynes, oversaw the development of the $150 million, 13-hectare (31-acre) Prudential Plaza, a shopping, residential, and hotel complex crowned by Prudential Tower, the 52-story building that gave the city a new skyline and was its tallest building until the completion of the John Hancock Tower in the 1970s. In the 1960s, the rundown Scollay Square area was razed to make way for Government Center, a complex of federal and state office buildings. Development of Boston's waterfront since the 1970s has seen the conversion of existing buildings into apartments and the erection of new high-rises.
The city of Boston was founded in 1630 by the Puritans, three years after the landing at Plymouth Rock. It was named for the town in Lincolnshire, England, from which some of the first settlers had come. Within the first decade, it was already flourishing: the nation's first school (1635) and first post office (1639) were founded, as well as Harvard University (1636), then called Harvard College and established for the training of future ministers. Within ten years, the population reached 16,000. With its excellent natural harbor, Boston became a center for shipping, shipbuilding, and other maritime occupations.
In 1684 the British revoked the charter of the Massachusetts Bay Colony (of which Boston was already the capital), and the city came under direct British rule. In the following decades and throughout the eighteenth century tensions between Bostonians and their rulers—like tensions elsewhere in the colonies—grew. Known as the "Birthplace of the American Revolution," Boston was the site of the Boston Massacre (1770), the Boston Tea Party (1773), and the Battle of Bunker Hill (1775).
In the first half of the nineteenth century, shipping declined in importance as manufacturing grew. The first railroad connected Boston with inland areas of Massachusetts by the late 1830s. As home to William Lloyd Garrison's antislavery newspaper, The Liberator, during the same period, Boston became known as a center of the abolitionist movement, as well as the site of a great intellectual flowering that came to include such eminent figures as Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882), Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804–1864), Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862), Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888), and Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809–1894).
The city's new industrial base was assured of a steady supply of labor as new immigrants began arriving from Ireland by mid-century. Nearly 243 hectares (600 acres) were added to Boston with the reclamation of the Back Bay's lowlands between 1857 and 1894. In addition, Boston annexed the nearby towns of Roxbury, Dorchester, Charles-town, Brighton, and West Roxbury. Major cultural and scientific institutions founded in the following the Civil War included Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Massachusetts General Hospital, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the New England Conservatory of Music.
The decline of Boston's industrial base in the early twentieth century was hastened by the Great Depression of the 1930s, although wartime mobilization the following decade brought with it a temporary reprieve. After World War II (1939–45), however, New England's traditional manufacturing industries—textiles, shoes, and glass—once again weakened, as did its shipping industry. However, its colleges and universities brought new life to the city as thousands of students enrolled on the G.I. Bill. (In its original version, signed into law in 1944, the G.I. Bill entitled anyone with 90 days of service in the U.S. military to one year of higher education. Each additional month of active duty earned a month of schooling, up to a maximum of 48 months.) In the post-war decades, Boston grew into a major financial and commercial center. A construction boom beginning in the late 1950s changed the city's skyline with the completion of the Prudential Center in 1959. In 1962 Scollay Square was torn down to make way for the new Government Center complex, and the restored Faneuil Hall Marketplace opened in 1976.
Racial tensions erupted into violence in the mid-seventies with the advent of court-ordered busing to desegregate the public schools, and whites organized a boycott of the schools. By the 1990s, "white flight" had given Boston a disproportionately large black population (25 percent) while many whites had moved to suburbs surrounding the city. In the 1980s and 1990s Boston became one of the country's foremost centers for high technology, with research-based firms clustered in a band along Route 128, which encircles the city.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, a number of businesses left Boston and relocated to surrounding areas of Massachusetts and other states, driven out by high taxes and lease rates and a general downturn in the region's economy as the country slipped into recession and unemployment rose. However, the city effectively confronted its fiscal problems, and by 1993 a recovery was under way. In the same year, Thomas Menino became Boston's first Italian-American mayor.
In 1988 a massive highway construction project was approved to relocate the city's Central Artery (I-93) underground, reclaim the land above it, and link the Massachusetts Turnpike to Logan International Airport. The expected completion date was 2004.
Boston has a mayor-council form of government, with a nine-member council elected at large and a strong executive branch. The mayor is elected to a four-year term; council and school committee members are elected for two years. Municipal elections, held in November of odd-numbered years, are nonpartisan. Boston has traditionally been a strongly Democratic city.
Established in 1838, Boston has the oldest police department in the United States. The city comprises 11 police districts. Boston has a relatively high crime rate. In 1995, the FBI crime index figure for Boston was 9,492, with the following breakdown into specific categories (all figures are per 100,000 population): all violent crimes, 1,737; murder, 17.4; rape, 68.8; robbery, 182.3; aggravated assault, 998.2; all property crimes, 7,755; burglary, 1,211; larceny, 4,721; and motor vehicle theft, 1,822.
In 1997 the police department moved into a new state-of-the-art headquarters at One Schroeder Plaza.
After its founding in 1630, Boston's economy was initially based on shipping and shipbuilding, which retained their central position until the nineteenth century when they were eclipsed by manufacturing, which was fueled by technological advances, the development of railroads, and a steady supply of immigrant labor. Boston's traditional industries started to decline in the twentieth century, especially during the Great Depression of the 1930s. However, there was an upsurge in industrial demand during World War II.
Since then new industries have helped keep Boston's economy strong, as well as spur growth in the service sector. The area circling the city along Route 128 has seen a proliferation of new research-based firms, becoming one of the nation's leading high-technology centers, with the nation's second-highest number of biotechnology firms. Boston has also grown into one of the country's leading banking, insurance, and investment centers. The largest employment sectors are service industries (especially health care), government (Boston's local government had a work force of 22,000 in 1995), and the financial sector. In 1996 Boston's labor force numbered 288,267, and unemployment stood at four-anda-half percent.
The Boston area is considered a leading manufacturing center, especially in electronics and computers. Other manufacturing industries in the region include machinery, motor vehicles and other transport equipment, ships, apparel, cameras, printing and publishing, chemicals, shoes, books, and textiles. Since the 1980s Boston has become known for its research-based high-tech industries, although these are largely located outside city limits along Route 128, which circles the city. Major companies headquartered in the Boston area include Raytheon, Gillette, Fidelity Investments, and Digital Equipment Corporation.
Located on the Shawmut Peninsula, at the mouths of the Charles and Mystic Rivers, Boston has an excellent natural harbor that has played a decisive role in its history as a shipping and shipbuilding center, and its access to the Atlantic Coast has contributed to the cosmopolitan character of the city. Once the maritime capital of the nation, Boston today remains its leading fishing port, with more than 907,200 kilograms (two million pounds) of fish caught in the surrounding waters annually.
At the time the city was founded, Boston's hilly peninsula was almost entirely surrounded by water and connected to the mainland by only a narrow strip of land. The area today known as Back Bay was composed of marshes and mud flats that were covered by water during high tide. In the early nineteenth century a dam was constructed there to generate power for the new mills that were being built. By the 1830s, the portion of the Back Bay just west of the Boston Common was filled in to create the land for the 10-hectare (24-acre) Public Garden. In the latter part of the century, additional land from the peninsula was leveled to fill in and reclaim more of the marshlands, adding significantly to the original area of the city.
In the 1880s a master plan for a network of city parks was laid out by esteemed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted (1822–1903). A large open park called the Fenway was created, linking the Boston Common and Public Garden with Franklin Park. The Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain, affiliated with Harvard University, was part of the network as well.
Boston's traditional retail district is located in Downtown Crossing, in the heart of the city on the narrow thoroughfares of Washington, Summer, and Winter streets, which have been turned into a pedestrian mall. The most famous landmark here is the teeming and chaotic Filene's Basement—literally the lower level(s) of Filene's department store, where a wide variety of merchandise undergoes a series of markdowns the longer it remains on the shelves.
Today the most popular shopping district is Back Bay, which combines high-quality national retail establishments like Neiman Marcus, Lord & Taylor, and Saks Fifth Avenue with the trendy, upscale boutiques for which Newbury Street, in particular, is famous. Also found in this neighborhood are bookstores, coffee shops, galleries, and a variety of specialty stores, as well as numerous restaurants. Other distinctive shopping destinations are the restored Faneuil Hall marketplace and Harvard Square in Cambridge.
Home of the nation's first school and first university (both established in the 1630s), Boston is renowned as an educational mecca. There are more than a dozen four-year institutions of higher learning within the city proper and many more in the surrounding area. Colleges and universities within Boston itself include Boston University, Northeastern University, the New England Conservatory of Music, Simmons College, and a branch of the University of Massachusetts, and Harvard's medical school. Across the Charles River in Cambridge are the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) and Harvard University. Other well-known institutions of higher education in the region include Tufts University, Boston College, Brandeis University, and Wellesley College.
Boston Latin School, opened in 1635, is the oldest public school in the United States. In 1998, the Boston School District was comprised of 129 elementary, middle, and high schools (72 elementary schools, 20 middle schools, seven K–8 schools, and 18 high schools), with a pupil/staff ratio of approximately 13 to 1. As of fiscal year 1999, public school enrollment was 63,000; the racial and ethnic breakdown was 49 percent black, 26 percent Hispanic, 15 percent white, and 9 percent Asian. Private and parochial schools enrolled 15,400 students. Boston was the first major city to provide Internet access to all public school students. The public school system employed 4,534 teachers, 536 administrators, and 450 support personnel.
The Boston school system's NetYear project was launched in 1996, with the goal of providing one computer for every four students by 2001.
13. Health Care
With world-class research institutions and more than a dozen teaching hospitals in the region, Boston is known for pioneering medical advances and quality health care. The number of patient-care physicians in 1995 was 18,449. Well-known medical facilities include Massachusetts General Hospital, New England Medical Center, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and New England Deaconess Hospital. In 1997 Massachusetts General Hospital had 819 beds. It recorded 34,908 admissions and 657,777 outpatient visits, and employed a work force of 10,902. Hospital expenditures for the year totaled $705 million. The health-care industry is one of the city's top employers.
Boston has two major daily newspapers: the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald. The Christian Science Monitor, a national newspaper that appears daily on weekdays, is also published in Boston. Well-known magazines published in Boston include Boston Magazine and The Atlantic. The city has nine television stations, including affiliates of the four major commercial networks and the Public Broadcasting System (PBS). PBS station WGBH is recognized nationally as a leading outlet for educational and cultural programming.
Boston has professional major league baseball (the Red Sox, American League), football (the New England Patriots), basketball (the Celtics), and hockey (the Bruins). The Red Sox won their only World Series in 1918. Between 1918 and 1986, they played in four more World Series contests, losing all of them in the seventh game.
Boston's major sports venues are Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox, and Fleet Center, site of the Celtics' and the Bruins' games. The Patriots play at Foxboro Stadium. Horse racing takes place at Suffolk Downs. Greyhound racing at Wonderland Park is also a popular sport. Boston is also famous as the site of the Boston Marathon, held annually on the third Monday in April.
Boston's best-known park is the 19-hectare (48-acre) Boston Common, located in the heart of the city, along with the 10-hectare (24-acre) Public Garden. The land for the Common was purchased by the city in 1634 from a property owner for $150. Today's visitors to the Common jog, skate, or play frisbee on a historic site that has, in its time, served as a pasture, execution and drill ground, and football field. Also within the city limits, located in the Back Bay, are the Back Bay Fens, which extend from Beacon Street to Brookline Avenue, and the Esplanade along the Charles River, site of the summer Boston Pops concerts, which take place in the Hatch Shell. Other notable parks in the Boston area include Harvard's 90-hectare (223-acre) Arnold Arboretum and Franklin Park and Zoological Garden, covering 213 hectares (527 acres).
17. Performing Arts
In addition to its historic attractions, Boston boasts numerous cultural attractions. The Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO), founded in 1881, is considered one of the country's top orchestras. During the regular season, it performs in Symphony Hall. In the summer the BSO is in residence at the Tanglewood Festival in the Berkshires, a popular destination for Bostonians, who can also hear concerts by the Boston Pops at the Hatch Shell on the banks of the Charles River in Back Bay. Boston is also a thriving concert venue for recitals and chamber music concerts by top-notch local performers and major touring artists, and is noted for its active early-music scene. The New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall, noted for its exceptional acoustics—and completely renovated in the early 1990s—is the scene of numerous student and faculty concerts and recitals, as well as performances by other artists. Boston is also home to three opera companies and the Boston Ballet, the fourth-largest ballet company in the nation. In addition, the city has several professional theater troupes, including the American Repertory Theater, the Huntington Theater Company, and the Boston Shakespeare Company.
The reference and research collections at the Boston Public Library are ranked third in the country, following only those of the New York and Los Angeles public libraries. The library, founded in 1852, employs a staff of 489 and circulates some 2.4 million items annually. Its book collection includes 6.7 million volumes. The library's main building in Copley Square is an architectural landmark. Built in Italian Renaissance style in 1895, it boasts murals by John Singer Sargent (1856–1925) and other beautiful works of art, as well as a picturesque courtyard. A modern atrium-centered addition, the McKim building, was completed in 1972 and provides a dramatic contrast to the original building. The John F. Kennedy Library holds the presidential papers of the late president.
The Museum of Fine Arts is one of the finest in the country; many rank it second only to New York's Metropolitan Museum. Built in 1909, it added the new West Wing, designed by renowned architect I. M. Pei (b. 1917), in 1981. The museum is especially noted for its Asian and Old Kingdom Egyptian collections, but there are many masterpieces by European and American painters as well, including a 1796 portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart (1755–1828). Boston's other museums include the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Harvard's Fogg Art Museum, and the Science Museum.
Boston has a combination of attractions that make it one of the nation's most popular tourist destinations. More than ten million people visit the city annually. In 1995 Boston attracted 970,000 foreign visitors, ranking tenth among the nation's cities in this category. Boston's most famous tourist attractions are its historic sites, many of which can be found on the Freedom Trail, covering some four kilometers (two-and-a-half miles) of downtown Boston. It begins at the Boston Common, a large park in the heart of the city, which also offers the legendary Swan Boat rides on an artificial pond. Among the historic sites included on the trail are the State House, the Park Street Church, the Old South Meeting House, the Old State House, Paul Revere's house, the Old North Church, and the Bunker Hill Monument. The Black Heritage Trail, another popular walking tour, celebrates Boston's history as a center of the abolitionist movement and includes stops on the Underground Railroad and abolitionist meeting places. Other popular Boston tourist sites include the restored Faneuil Hall marketplace; the redeveloped waterfront; the 226-meter-high (740-foot-high) observation deck of the John Hancock Building, Boston's tallest structure; and Harvard Square in Cambridge.
Convention facilities in Boston include the John B. Hynes Veterans Convention Center, the World Trade Center, and the Bayside Exposition Center.
Chinese New Year celebration featuring parade and fireworks (Chinatown)
Boston Wine Festival
Black History Month
Beanpot Hockey Tournament
International Cultural Festival
New England Spring Flower Show
St. Patrick's Day Celebration
Red Sox opening day
Boston Pops Concerts in the Hatch Shell
Boston Kite Festival
Lilac Sunday (Arnold Arboretum)
Street Performers Festival (Faneuil Hall Marketplace)
Art Newbury Street
Boston Globe Jazz & Blues Festival
Central Square World's Fair
Boston Film Festival
Cambridge River Festival
Columbus Day Parade
Head of the Charles Regatta
Harvard Square Oktoberfest
Christmas Crafts Show
Boston Common Tree Lighting
Boston Tea Party Reenactment
First Night Boston
21. Famous Citizens
Samuel Adams (1722–1803), Revolutionary War leader.
Larry Bird (b. 1956), star player for the Boston Celtics.
Louis D. Brandeis (1856–1942), first Jew appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Charles Bulfinch (1763–1844), architect of numerous Boston landmarks.
William Ellery Channing (1780–1842), founder of American Unitarian Association.
Julia Child (b. 1912), culinary expert and television personality.
John Singleton Copley (1738–1815), first great North American portrait painter.
Dorothea Dix (1802–1887), tenacious investigative reporter.
Mary Baker Eddy (1821–1910), founder of the Christian Science church.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882), writer, philosopher, and leading Transcendentalist.
Arthur Fiedler (1894–1979), Boston Pops conductor and organizer of the Esplanade concerts.
William Lloyd Garrison (1805–1879), abolitionist writer and editor.
John Hancock (1737–1793), first signer of the Declaration of Independence.
John F. Kennedy (1917–1963), president of the United States (1960–1963).
Malcolm X (1925–1965), Black Muslim leader.
Cotton Mather (1663–1728), Congregational clergyman known for sermons.
Frederick Law Olmsted (1822–1903), landscape architect who planned Boston's park network.
Paul Revere (1735–1818), Revolutionary War era patriot.
Ted Williams (b. 1918), Red Sox baseball hero.
Excite Travel. About Boston. [Online] Available http://www.city.net/countries/united_states/massachusetts/boston. (accessed October 14, 1999).
Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau. Welcome to Boston USA. [Online] Available http://www.bostonusa.com. (accessed October 14, 1999).
Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism. Massachusetts: Take a Real Vacation. [Online] Available http://www.mass-vacation.com. (accessed October 14, 1999).
Massachusetts Port Authority. Mass port. [Online] Available http://www.massport.com. (accessed October 14, 1999
Boston Redevelopment Authority
Boston City Hall, Ninth Floor
Boston, MA 02201
City of Boston
One City Hall Square
Boston, MA 02108
Tourist and Convention Bureaus
Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau
P.O. Box 990468
Prudential Tower, Suite 400
Boston, MA 02199
(617) 536-4100; (888) SEE-BOSTON
Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism
100 Cambridge St., 13th Floor
Boston, MA 02202
(800) 227-6277; (617) 727-6525
The Bostonian Society
200 Washington St.
Old State House
Boston, MA 02110
Boston Public Library
666 Boylston St.
Boston, MA 02117
Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce
125 High St.
Boston, MA 02110
Boston Business Journal
200 High St.
Boston, MA 02110
The Boston Globe
P.O. Box 2378
Boston, MA 02110
P.O. Box 2096
Boston, MA 02106
300 Massachusetts Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
Appleberg, Marilyn J. I Love Boston Guide. Illustrations by Albert Pfeiffer. 3rd ed. New York: Collier Books, 1993.
Campbell, Robert. Cityscapes of Boston: An American City Through Time. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1992.
Formisano, Ronald P. Boston Against Busing: Race, Class, and Ethnicity in the 1960s and 1970s. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991.
Frost, Jack. Boston's Freedom Trail: A Souvenir Guide. 2nd ed. Chester, CT: Globe Pequot Press, 1986.
Harris, Patricia, and David Lyon. Boston. 2nd ed. Oakland, CA: Compass American Guides, 1999.
Hitzemann, Marietta, and Ed Golden. Newcomer'sHandbook for Boston. 2nd ed. Chicago: First Books, 1998.
Kennedy, Lawrence W. Planning the City Upon a Hill: Boston Since 1630. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1992.
Lukas, J. Anthony. Common Ground. 1st ed. New York: Knopf, 1985.
Meerwood, Anne. Frommer's Irreverent Guide to Boston. New York: Macmillan, 1999.
Moore, Barbara W. and Gail Weesner. Back Bay: A Living Portrait. Boston : Century Hill Press, 1995.
Morris, Jerry. The Boston Globe Guide to Boston. 4th ed. Old Saybrook, CT: Globe Pequot Press, 1999.
O'Connor, Thomas H. Boston Catholics: A History of the Church and its People. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1998.
O'Connor, Thomas H. South Boston, My Home Town: The History of an Ethnic Neighborhood. Boston: Quinlan Press, c. 1988.
Waldstein, Mark. Mr. Cheap's Boston. Holbrook: Adams Pub., 1995.
Wilson, Susan. Boston Sites and Insights. Boston: Beacon Press, 1994.
Boston: The Way It Was. Produced and written by Lorie Conway. Boston: WGBH Educational Foundation, 1995.
From the very beginning the success story of Boston did not follow the typical pattern for rock bands. The unprecedented sales of their first, self-titled album—which sold more copies than any previous debut album—made Boston seem like an overnight sensation, but the material on Boston resulted from six years of work in the basement recording studio of Toledo, Ohio-born Tom Scholz. Scholz, an MIT graduate who had been working as a product designer for Polaroid, was also, in his spare time, a songwriter, keyboardist, and producer. The driving force behind Boston, he has became known for a perfectionism that has resulted in unusually long gaps between Boston albums, a tendency that flies in the face of conventional recording industry wisdom. In spite of the elapsed time between albums, though, each Boston disc has become a platinum seller, demonstrating the enduring popularity of a sound that Jay Cocks described in Time as “heavy-metal music with easy-listening inflections, rock fierce enough for the FM stations, flighty enough to fit right into Top 40 AM radio.”
Original members included Brad Delp (born June 12, 1951, in Boston, MA), guitar, vocals; Barry Goudreau (born November 29, 1951, in Swampscott, MA), guitar; John “Sib” Hashian (born August 17, 1949, in Boston), drums; Tom Scholz (born March 10, 1947 in Toledo, OH; B.S. and M.S in mechanical engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology), guitar, keyboards, production; and Fran Sheehan (born March 26, 1949, in Swampscott), bass.
Later members included Doug Huffman, drums; Jim Masdea, drums, keyboards; Gary Phil, guitar; and C. David Sikes, bass.
Scholz recorded demos in Boston home studio, early 1970s; band lineup solidified, 1976; signed with Epic Records and released first album, Boston, 1976; signed with MCA Records and released Third Stage, 1986.
Awards: Multiplatinum award for Boston; platinum awards for Don’t Look Back and Third Stage.
Addresses: Management —SR&D Management, 1560 Trapelo Rd., Waltham, MA 02154.
Scholz’s early life did not suggest rock stardom. The only member of Boston not from that city, Scholz spent his youth earning good grades, playing center on the high school basketball team, and listening to rock music. After high school, he moved to the Boston area to attend the rigorous and highly regarded Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Although he spent some of his time there playing piano in local bands, he concentrated primarily on his studies, eventually earning both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in mechanical engineering. He took a job with Polaroid after graduation, but his interest in playing and recording music continued to grow, leading him to answer an ad for a keyboard player that had been placed by a local band that included Barry Goudreau, who would play guitar in Boston’s original lineup.
It was not long before Scholz became the leader of the band. Besides playing keyboards, he quickly became proficient on guitar, inspired by the sound of the power chords he had first heard listening to seminal rock bands Cream and Led Zeppelin. Soon he was writing songs for the band and lending their music the sound that would later become Boston’s trademark. Along with Goudreau, Scholz recruited vocalist Brad Delp and together they honed the group’s material, not by going the usual route of playing live gigs at local clubs, however, but by spending their nights playing in the basement recording studio that Scholz had built with his earnings from Polaroid. Much of the material for the first Boston album came from these sessions. In fact, the first version of “More Than a Feeling” was recorded on Scholz’s equipment in 1971, five years before the song would become a Top Five hit.
Evidently intrigued by the sophisticated demo tapes produced on Scholz’s home gear, Epic record executives nonetheless wanted to see a performance before tendering Scholz’s group a recording contract. Drummer Sib Hashian and bassist Fran Sheehan joined the band at this point, 1976. After the audition, Epic signed the band and sent them to California to re-record their material. Scholz explained to Charles Young of Rolling Stone why Epic wanted the songs re-recorded: “They’re afraid to release an album unless it has a producer they know. We finished it in California in a regular studio, but I still did most of the producing.” Once the record was completed, the band was officially dubbed Boston after its home base.
Epic’s caution seemed pointless once the album was released. It debuted in Record World’s charts at Number 46, a remarkably high position for an unknown band, and it kept climbing until it became the best selling debut album ever (a distinction it maintained until the release of pop diva Whitney Houston’s first album almost a decade later). Boston hit the Number Three position and by 1994 had sold over 11 million copies. The record spawned the smash singles “More Than a Feeling,” which went to Number Five, “Long Time,” and “Peace of Mind.” The disc peaked at Number 11 in the U.K.
Naturally, Epic wanted more material, so the band went back to the basement, which was now even better outfitted—thanks to Boston’s success. But after six years of work on the first album, Scholz was not about to rush the next one. Epic kept announcing release dates, but Scholz kept holding onto the material. Finally, in September of 1978, Don’t Look Back was released.
The second album also topped the U.S. charts, reached Number Nine in the U.K., and the title track became a Number Four hit. In November the band played two sell-out shows at Boston Garden, its first appearance in the city that bears its name. Despite the band’s continued popularity, Scholz was not satisfied with the second record as he considered it largely unfinished. He vowed not bow to record company pressure in the future and put his money where his mouth was, suing Epic to extract himself from a contract that called for five albums in ten years. In retaliation, the record company withheld the band’s royalties and obtained an injunction preventing them from recording material for any other label. That did not prevent Boston from working on new songs, however, though Goudreau and Hashian had left during the early 1980s to pursue solo careers. Scholz, Delp, and drummer Jim Masdea, who had played some with the band in the early 1970s, continued to record in the basement.
In order to earn money during the prolonged legal battles, Scholz drew on his training as an engineer; already the inventor of various devices to enhance the output of the electric guitar, he set up Scholz Research & Design, Inc. The company’s most successful product was the Rockman, a portable amplifier that boasted the sound of a full-sized one. Scholz received 3,000 orders for the Rockman before the first one had even been produced. With the income from his company, Scholz managed to keep Boston recording.
Although the legal dispute was not wholly resolved, the injunction against Boston was lifted in 1985, and the band signed with MCA. Featuring a lineup of Scholz, Delp, Masdea, Gary Phil on guitar, C. David Sikes on bass, and Doug Huffman on drums, the band finally released their third album, Third Stage, in the fall of 1986. The wait apparently had not dampened the appetite of Boston’s fans. Third Stage topped the charts for four weeks and became the first album to achieve gold status in the then-novel compact disc format. The single “Amanda” also clobbered the charts.
Still, continued success did not turn Scholz into a stereotypical rock star. He explained to Michael A. Lerner of Newsweek that the title Third Stage referred to the phase in life that follows childhood and adulthood and revealed, “What I’m really interested in is not how all this can change my life, but how I can use the money to change things I care about.”
Indeed, Scholz’s life appears not to have changed much because of Boston’s success. Still living in the same house that he bought while working for Polaroid, Scholz and Boston continue to record in the underground studio. Although they have not released an album since Third Stage, the wait has not been due to the legal difficulties that had earlier held up that album—a jury decided in Scholz’s favor in 1990. Rather, Boston’s long silence has resulted from Scholz’s legendary perfectionism. Meanwhile, fans of the band from Beantown must satisfy themselves with their records and the enduring popularity of the group’s hits on classic rock radio.
Boston, Epic, 1976.
Don’t Look Back, Epic, 1978.
Third Stage, MCA, 1986, reissued, Mobile Fidelity, 1993.
Walk On, MCA, 1994.
Rees, Dafydd, and Luke Crampton, Rock Movers & Shakers, ABC-CLIO, 1991.
Stambler, Irwin, The Encyclopedia of Pop, Rock & Soul, St. Martin’s, 1989.
Newsweek, December 1, 1986.
Rolling Stone, December 2, 1976; June 18, 1987; August 13, 1987; October 6, 1988.
Time, September 25, 1978.
In 1869 the nation's greatest war needed a suitably grand symbolic closure. Where better than in Boston, the city associated with agitating for the abolition of slavery? So on the afternoon of 15 June, the Irish immigrant bandleader Patrick Gilmore, who had composed When Johnny Comes Marching Home in 1863, kicked off the Great Peace Jubilee, the world's largest musical event to date. Before an audience of over fifty thousand, he had assembled one thousand instrumentalists and ten thousand chorus members to accompany scores of soloists performing patriotic airs and European classics. Between pieces, distinguished speakers held forth. Oliver Wendell Holmes's "Hymn of Peace" acknowledged the surrounding sonic tsunami: "Let the loud tempest of voices reply,—/ Roll its long surge like the earth-shaking main!" (2:66). Even Ralph Waldo Emerson, there with his daughter, "was charmed with the spectacle, and with the great human voice of the chorus" (1:524). He was not alone. "I am for the present the fifty-thousandth part of an enormous emotion!" William Dean Howells reported in the Atlantic Monthly two months later (p. 247). He winced, however, at what others deemed a high point: in time to the famed "Anvil Chorus" of Verdi's opera Il Trovatore, a hundred red-shirted Boston firemen banged anvils while bells rang and cannons fired. "Brothers, once more," Holmes had proclaimed. After four years of war and as many of an ensuing uneasy occupation, Americans could resume hammering out their common destiny.
CITY OF ENTERPRISE
The Peace Jubilee crowned a half century of enterprise that had shaped Boston since its chartering as a city in 1822. "Our proper business is improvement," Daniel Webster had asserted in view of the city in his 1825 Bunker Hill Monument address. "Let us develop the resources of our land, call forth its powers, build up its institutions, promote all its great interests," he urged, with an eye toward linking the Revolution's civic achievements through war with his audience's socioeconomic ambitions in peacetime. Let us "see whether we also, in our day and generation," he concluded, "may not perform something worthy to be remembered" (p. 40).
What Bostonians accomplished was indeed memorable. An "enterprising elite" adventured worldwide commercial links during the late eighteenth century, pioneered integrated production in massive factories in the 1810s and 1820s, and inaugurated intensive rail service that would make the city the region's economic hub by the 1830s and 1840s. Drawing upon business loans from large capital pools secured in banks via eleemosynary trusts like the Massachusetts General Hospital, elite families expanded family fortunes at mid-century through nationwide investments. The elite held no monopoly upon enterprise, though. Much of the early impetus for public improvements in health, welfare, schooling, and firefighting and for massive real estate projects, like Faneuil Hall Market's renewal, emerged from the so-called middling interests who elected Josiah Quincy mayor successively from 1823 to 1829. Together, they and the elite combined aggressive wealth-getting with a commitment to social and civic betterment that made Boston world famous for its genteel beneficence.
Such public-spirited enterprise accompanied rapid growth. Migrants swarmed in, some escaping the overpopulation in Boston's rural hinterland and others fleeing famine and political turmoil in Europe. Beginning at 43,298 in 1820, the population soared by 1850 to 136,881 and by 1870 to just over a quarter of a million. How would they all fit into the tiny peninsular city, precariously tied to the mainland by a narrow neck? Already unhealthily overcrowded in the 1820s, Boston could only expand outward. To do this, city fathers first cut down hills to fill the shore-line's many coves, then in the 1850s steam-shoveled suburban gravel into the Back Bay, widening the neck out of existence. The new acreage still did not relieve population pressure and consequent environmental degradation. "Coughing, and the ancient pastime of hawking ...arethe principle amusements of this cold city," the satirist George Horatio Derby pronounced in 1865 (p. 139). Because of continued overcrowding, many in the middle class moved to the suburbs, commuting to and from work. Boston had become a thriving metropolitan hub with spokes jutting deeply inland.
THE INFRASTRUCTURE OF PRINT
In its growth the city far outpaced other New England municipalities by dominating intraregional and northern transoceanic information flows. Prior to transatlantic cable service (1866), ship-bound European news—intercepted out-of-harbor by news brokers in rowboats—often came first to Boston. From there European culture filtered out to the region via reprint vehicles like Littell's Living Age (1844–1896). Indeed, the information hegemony benefited publishing. During the 1820s the number of book-trade firms shot up by 123 percent, roughly three times faster than the population. As early as 1833 the book trade surpassed other industries in its capital investment in machinery, while it accounted for about 90 percent of the value of its region's publishing.
As publishing boomed, its character changed. Earlier, printing and bookbinding firms clustered downtown in small-scale artisanal shops that combined home, work, and retail operations. By 1845 printing workplaces had become factory-like; workers now lived on the periphery, often near bridges or railroad terminals, affording easy access to opportunities elsewhere. By mid-century most printing tasks had degraded into repetitive machine-tending, booksellers had moved into specialized retail stores, and publishers had become primarily investors in literary properties who might only hire jobbers for printing and binding work.
Out of the industrializing 1840s new literary entrepreneurs emerged who specialized in cheap American novels or other original pamphlets. The German-born Frederick Gleason manufactured engravings of American scenes before publishing regionally oriented original novels, many of them by native authors. A string of successful newspapers followed, including in 1846 the story paper Flag of Union and, in 1851, the Pictorial Drawing Room Companion, the country's first illustrated weekly. By contrast, George W. Redding emerged from retailing: he started as a news-boy, then became a New York newspaper distributor, periodical depot proprietor, and publisher of pamphlets like Easy Nat; or, Boston Bars and Boston Boys (1844).
Publishers like these looked upon their products as mere plastic beneath the entrepreneurial hand, as John Townsend Trowbridge, who wrote for them, made plain in his Martin Merrivale: His "X" Mark (1853). "You see, our readers want everything condensed, rapid, dramatic," a cheap editor advises the book's hero, an aspiring author. "Take any ordinary novel, and cut it down one-half, and it'll be twice as good as it was before" (p. 247). Real-life publishers like Gleason went even farther in shaping their properties, publishing them variously as pamphlets, newspaper serials, playbooks.
Memory of Boston's cheap literary entrepreneurs has faded before that of their so-called genteel counterparts, exemplified by the Atlantic Monthly (1857–1932) and its contributors. Emerson, Holmes, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, James Russell Lowell, Charles Eliot Norton, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and John Greenleaf Whittier—the persisting familiarity of many of the names testifies to Boston's enduring success in associating itself with the period's best literature.
It had not always been that way. Successful literary magazines were long in coming, for example. The North American Review (1815–1940), the most notable early one, staunchly imitated British essay-laden counterparts, while the Unitarian Christian Examiner (1824–1869) did only little better within its theological parameters. The promise of the New England Magazine (1831–1834), with its distinguished list of local contributors on the cusp of the American Renaissance, was cut short by its editor's untimely death in 1833. Among quickly fading successors were Nathan Hale Jr.'s Boston Miscellany (1842–1843), combining features of a ladies' magazine with a genteel literary monthly, James Russell Lowell's The Pioneer (1843), filled with high-minded contributions, and Emerson's The Dial (1840–1844), the flag-ship venue for the transcendentalists.
Literary book publishing fared little better. The city throughout the period ranked third behind New York City and Philadelphia—the "axis" (Charvat, p. 26) of nationally oriented literary book production versus the Boston parochialism that favored local talent. Samuel G. Goodrich gained a small fortune with his "Peter Parley" children's books, and money could be made from reference works (especially in law and medicine), textbooks, and histories, such as the scholar-politician George Bancroft's ten-volume national overview and the sometime western travelogue writer Francis Parkman's work on the English-French struggle for colonial North America. Less remunerative were controversial social and religious works, at least until 1852 with Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. By that time John P. Jewett, the book's publisher, was joined by other firms, like Phillips, Sampson, who aimed for a broader mass market but who eschewed the crass commercialism of the cheap publishers. Boston literary publishing was at last awakening, but under a banner of enterprising gentility.
No firm better represents the trend than Ticknor and Fields, founded in 1832. Partner James T. Fields slowly built a very "literary" list that catered to middle-class pretensions toward refinement as he eventually moved toward uniform edition binding, an early example of product branding. The African American schoolteacher Charlotte Forten recorded in her diary several gifts of the firm's imprints identified solely by their characteristic covers, as in her 7 March 1858 entry: "Miss U. came in, and very kindly gave me Mrs. Browning in blue and gold. Miss S. gave me Whittier, in the same" (Grimké, p. 291). The firm soared to prominence when it became Longfellow's publisher in 1846 and thereafter put Fireside Poets like him on the map. Though the firm did not venture as much into novel publishing, it scored a minor hit with Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter in 1850. Fields presided over these successes from his curtained room in the firm's Old Corner Bookstore, where he held lively court with Boston literati. The salonlike atmosphere extended to Fields's home, where Annie Adams Fields, after their 1854 marriage, used her influence to shape local literary culture.
PRESCIENT, BUT PREMATURE
For all this enterprise, the city's literary reputation remained higher than its receipts from publishing. Augustine Joseph Hickey Duganne hit at this in his Parnassus in Pillory (1851):
Of Fame's broad temple Boston keeps the portal,
And Boston bards alone are dubbed immortal:
Even though her dingy bookstores, it is said,
Are one great sepulchre of "sheeted dead."
In other words, despite Boston's imperative intellectual claims, most books by local authors stood on the shelves. Indeed, despite the mid-century Longfellow and Uncle Tom surge, Boston publishing hopelessly lost, as Philadelphia did, to New York City.
It is not hard to explain why, for New York simply used its advantageous transportation to dominate the national market. Stakes were always higher there than in Boston, which had increasingly to compete with New York in the western and southern parts of its own region. As if that were not enough, Boston tended to produce literature that was more "advanced" than could yet be widely accepted in other places, whether this emerged from Harvard moral philosophers, the city's many reformers, or, on the aesthetic front, from transcendentalists.
Yet the lag in acceptance somewhat accounts for the paradox of high regard with few sales: many avant-garde trends in antebellum Boston literary culture would move toward the postbellum national mainstream. After all, in 1865 abolitionism was written into the Thirteenth Amendment. The emergence of a liberal Protestant united front also made Unitarian moral philosophy more acceptable, as its social-science flavor came increasingly to inform (and moderate) earlier reformism. Even transcendental individualism seemed more at home among postbellum capitalists. Not to be overlooked either was New England's influence, through precedent and personnel, upon state school systems beyond the Hudson. That is how the Schoolroom Poets (William Cullen Bryant, Holmes, Longfellow, Lowell, and John Greenleaf Whittier, among others) got their collective name, after all. In short, Gilded Age America assimilated once-spurned antebellum New England as its own, but by that time the creative vigor was gone, as was Boston publishers' economic where-withal. Moreover, postbellum Boston's "gendering of letters" (Duffy, p. 91) as masculine had caused the reputations of once prominent local women writers to fade before that of their genteel male counterparts.
When Hawthorne complained in 1855 about the "mob of scribbling women" (p. 304) who competed with him in the literary marketplace, he necessarily targeted among them the numerous nationally reputed female authors who published in, hailed from, or had come to live in Boston. By the time Hawthorne wrote his now infamous words, Lydia Maria Child (Letters from New York, 1843–1845), Julia Ward Howe (Passion Flowers, 1854), Margaret Fuller (Woman in the Nineteenth Century, 1845), and Harriet Beecher Stowe (Uncle Tom's Cabin, 1852), had made their mark upon American literature. The "mob" grew larger still when Caroline W. H. Dall (The College, the Market, and the Court, 1867), Louisa May Alcott (Little Women, 1868–1869), Elizabeth Stuart Phelps (The Gates Ajar, 1868), and Mary Abigail Dodge (Country Living and Country Thinking, 1862) made their names during or after the Civil War. These eclectic and prolific authors, who were caught up at some time in their lives by the era's spirit of reform, are today regarded for their abolitionist and proto-feminist vision.
Beyond authorship, women exercised their intellectual might at Boston's many lyceum and lecture halls that began to emerge by 1830. "Ladies who have a passion for attending lectures," Charles Dickens wrote in his American Notes (1842), "are to be found among all classes and all conditions" (p. 65). With the "ladies," of course, came male escorts equally enamored with the sights and sounds of lecturing. As Dickens observed, audiences were diverse but mainly composed of upper and middling occupational groups in their forties or younger. So popular were lectures that the city provided at least twenty-six courses during the 1838–1839 winter season alone. This form of entertainment thrived until the Civil War, after which locally sponsored attractions eventually gave way to nationally syndicated affairs.
During the heyday of lecture-going, the most prestigious institutions included the Boston Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge and the Boston Lyceum, both initiated in 1829, and the Lowell Institute, begun in 1839. Together they sponsored, among well-known naturalists, lawyers, and clergymen, American literati such as Emerson, Lowell, Fields, Howells, and the novelist Richard Henry Dana Jr. Sundry speakers were featured by library associations, churches, and benevolent, mechanics', and mercantile societies that opened their doors to the public for a small fee or gratis, and also by entrepreneurs who rented halls and charged admission. Voices of mesmerists, phrenologists, botanists, spiritualists, and above all reformers filled the air. The abolitionists Theodore Parker and Angelina Grimké, the temperance advocate John B. Gough, and the women's rights activist Lucy Stone, among others, made themselves heard.
A bustling platform for outspoken reformers, Boston nourished several influential related publications and institutions. Some underscored the city's commitment to intellectual uplift. As the first secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education established in 1837, Horace Mann published twelve widely received annual reports (1837–1848) and the Common School Journal (1838–1851), both reflecting his tireless efforts to rehabilitate the state's failing school system. Library reform culminated in state legislation in 1848 authorizing the city to support a repository, namely the Boston Public Library, which opened in 1854. Other reforms addressed social problems. The Boston Prison Discipline Society's reports (1826–1854), Dorothea Dix's A Memorial to the Massachusetts Legislature (1843), and Charles Spear's magazine The Prisoner's Friend (1845–1861) advocated more humane treatment of the insane and criminals. Bostonians also tackled alcoholism, from sponsoring the first Massachusetts Temperance Society meeting in 1813 to inviting Washingtonians to hold a spectacular parade in 1844—all publicized through print. Indeed, local publishers put forth more than thirty-five different temperance periodicals between the years 1820 and 1870, with titles like Zion's Herald (1823–1828) and National Philanthropist and Investigator and Genius of Temperance (1829–1830).
Above all, Boston became a center of abolitionism. William Lloyd Garrison, instrumental in founding the New England Anti-Slavery Society (1832) and the American Anti-Slavery Society (1833–1870), published The Liberator (1831–1865), a weekly calling for the immediate abolition of slavery. Soon after The Liberator's first issue, Lydia Maria Child, a novelist and founding member of the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society that published the gift annual The Liberty Bell (1839–1858), brought forth her own "immediatist" Appeal in Favor of That Class of Americans Called Africans (1833). Abolitionism thereafter streamed from Boston's presses.
The racial discourses running through Bostonian debates over slavery touched upon two groups with diverging and sometimes opposing fates. These were African Americans and Catholic Irish immigrants.
Blacks had been in Boston since colonial days, but the population remained fairly small, hovering at around two thousand until 1860. Nominally free since 1783, black Bostonians still faced severe statutory, customary, residential, and economic discrimination. Some, like David Walker in his Appeal (1829), explicitly linked slavery with larger patterns of racism, as he called on his "coloured brethren" (p. 62) to act immediately toward ending both. Others, like the school-teacher Susan Paul in her Memoir of James Jackson (1835), a recently deceased seven-year-old pupil of hers, urged the rising generation to combat prejudice. By the time she wrote, several "black abolitionists" had emerged, notably William C. Nell, who assisted in editing The Liberator and campaigned to desegregate Boston's schools (1855). Despite civil rights successes like this and those concerning interracial marriages, segregated transportation, and voting blockages, as late as March 1860 John Swett Rock could still ask in The Liberator, "Is Boston anti-slavery?" (Levesque, p. 112). To make his case for the negative, he pointed to persisting ghettoization, unrelieved segregation in public accommodations, stereotyping on the city's two black-face minstrel stages, and rapidly worsening job prospects. The Civil War brought only halting advances, such as that which occurred in 1863 through the efforts of the influential Massachusetts secretary of state messenger Lewis Hayden (to be elected in 1865 as the nation's first black state representative) to commission an African American fighting unit.
Slow progress with symbolic gains also characterized Boston's Irish. In the wake of the 1846 potato famine, the arrival of impoverished and unskilled Irish immigrants on a heretofore unimaginable scale—by 1855 they accounted for about a third of the population—challenged beneficent Bostonian enterprise. How should the city deal with the perceived upsurge in urban maladies, not the least of which was being so stubbornly indifferent to Protestant norms? These perceptions fueled the powerful nativist movement that crested in 1854 with anti-Catholic "Know-Nothings" gaining control of state government. Their initiatives ultimately fell apart, as did the party, thanks partly to the success of Irish leaders—through churchmen, effective news organs like Patrick Donahoe's Pilot (1836–1857), and word of mouth in Irish social associations—in restraining community outrage. Separatism worked in this, but it would take the forced integration of Civil War military service finally to allow Boston's Irish to move toward acculturation.
It was, after all, an Irish bandleader who organized and led the 1869 Peace Jubilee before an audience that included blacks, immigrants, women, Yankee workers, middling folk, literati, and Brahmins alike. Clearly the local spirit of enterprise that helped rid the nation of slavery was giving way, however gradually, to a new civic pluralism.
In an article titled "Literary and Social Boston," which appeared in Harper's New Monthly Magazine in 1881, George P. Lathrop wistfully looks back upon the now faded cultural ferment of the antebellum years.
In the quickening of thought and the refinement of manners that set in, the smallness and compactness of Boston were advantages. It was a little city; a city of gardens and solid brick houses and stores; cheerful, quiet, unsophisticated; with a fringe of wharves along the bay that supplied the picturesque additions of a successful sea-port, and surrounded by villages smaller than itself, of which Cambridge was an important but rather remote one. . . . In such a place impressions spread rapidly; theories were infectious; phrenology, Unitarianism, vegetarianism, emancipation, Transcendentalism, worked their way from street to street like an epidemic. A new course of study or a new thought was as exciting as news of a European war could have been. A lady remembers meeting another on Tremont Street during the full glow of the Emerson lecture epoch, and exclaiming, "Oh, there's a new idea! Have you heard it?"
"Don't talk to me of ideas," retorted her friend; "I'm so full of them now that I can't make room for a single new one."
George P. Lathrop, "Literary and Social Boston," Harper's New Monthly Magazine, February 1881, p. 383.
Derby, George Horatio. The Squibob Papers. New York: Carleton, 1865.
Dickens, Charles. American Notes for General Circulation. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1842.
Duganne, Augustine Joseph Hickey. Parnassus in Pillory; A Satire. New York: Adriance, Sherman, 1851.
Emerson, Ellen Tucker. The Letters of Ellen Tucker Emerson. Vol. 1. Edited by Edith W. Gregg. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1982.
Grimké, Charlotte Forten. The Journals of Charlotte FortenGrimké. Edited by Brenda Stevenson. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. "Nathaniel Hawthorne to William D. Ticknor, Jan. 9, 1855." In The Letters, 1853–1856, edited by William Charvat, Roy Harvey Pearse, and Claude M. Simpson, p. 304. The Centenary Edition of the Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne, volume 17. Columbus: Ohio University Press, 1962–1997.
Holmes, Oliver Wendell. The Poetical Works of OliverWendell Holmes. 3 vols. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1893.
Howells, William Dean. "Jubilee Days." Atlantic Monthly 24 (August 1869): 245–254.
Trowbridge, John Townsend. Martin Merrivale: His "X" Mark. Boston: Phillips, Sampson, 1853.
Walker, David. David Walker's Appeal, in Four Articles,Together with a Preamble to the Coloured Citizens of the World, but in Particular, and Very Expressly, to Those of the United States of America. 1929. Rev. ed. Edited by Sean Wilentz. New York: Hill and Wang, 1995.
Webster, Daniel. An Address Delivered at the Laying of theCorner Stone of the Bunker Hill Monument. 3rd ed. Boston: Cummings, Hilliard, 1825.
Blouin, Francis X., Jr. The Boston Region, 1810–1850: AStudy of Urbanization. Ann Arbor, Mich.: UMI Research Press, 1980.
Brooks, Van Wyck. Literature in New England: TheFlowering of New England, 1815–1865; New England: Indian Summer, 1865–1915. Garden City, N.Y.: Garden City, 1944.
Buell, Lawrence. New England Literary Culture: FromRevolution through Renaissance. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1986.
Charvat, William. Literary Publishing in America, 1790–1850. 1959. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1993.
Crocker, Matthew H. The Magic of the Many: Josiah Quincy and the Rise of Mass Politics in Boston, 1800–1830. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1999.
Dalzell, Robert F., Jr. Enterprising Elite: The BostonAssociates and the World They Made. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1987.
Duffy, Timothy P. "The Gender of Letters: Charles Eliot Norton and the Decline of the Amateur Intellectual Tradition." New England Quarterly 69 (1996): 91–109.
Hall, Peter Dobkin. The Organization of American Culture,1700–1900: Private Institutions, Elites, and the Origins of American Nationality. New York: New York University Press, 1982.
Handlin, Oscar. Boston's Immigrants [1790–1880]: A Study in Acculturation. Rev. ed. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1959.
Horton, James Oliver, and Lois E. Horton. BlackBostonians: Family Life and Community Struggle in the Antebellum North. Rev. ed. New York: Holmes and Meier, 1999.
Howe, Daniel Walker. The Unitarian Conscience: HarvardMoral Philosophy, 1805–1861. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1970.
Kaestle, Carl F. Pillars of the Republic: Common Schools andAmerican Society, 1780–1860. New York: Hill and Wang, 1983.
Levesque, George A. Black Boston: African American Life and Culture in Urban America, 1750–1860. New York: Garland, 1994.
O'Connor, Thomas H. The Boston Irish: A Political History. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1995.
Pred, Allan. Urban Growth and City Systems in the UnitedStates, 1840–1860. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1980.
Robboy, Stanley J., and Anita W. Robboy. "Lewis Hayden: From Fugitive to Statesman." New England Quarterly 46 (1973): 591–613.
Schwarzlose, Richard Allen. The Nation's Newsbrokers. 2 vols. Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 1989–1990.
Scott, Donald M. "The Popular Lecture and the Creation of a Public in Mid-Nineteenth-Century America." Journal of American History 66 (1980): 791–809.
Tryon, Warren S. Parnassus Corner: A Life of James T.Fields, Publisher to the Victorians. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1963.
Walters, Ronald G. American Reformers, 1815–1860. New York: Hill and Wang, 1978
Whitehill, Walter Muir. Boston: A Topographical History. 2nd ed. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1968.
Winsor, Justin. The Memorial History of Boston, includingSuffolk County, Massachusetts, 1630–1880. 4 vols. Boston: Ticknor, 1881.
Zboray, Ronald J. A Fictive People: Antebellum EconomicDevelopment and the American Reading Public. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.
Zboray, Ronald J., and Mary Saracino Zboray. "The Boston Book Trades, 1789–1850: A Statistical and Geographical Analysis." In Entrepreneurs: The Boston Business Community, 1700–1850, edited by Conrad Edick Wright and Kathryn P. Viens, pp. 210–267. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1997.
Zboray, Ronald J., and Mary Saracino Zboray. LiteraryDollars and Social Sense: A People's History of the Mass Market Book. New York: Routledge, 2005.
Ronald J. Zboray Mary Saracino Zboray
Throughout much of the colonial era, Boston, founded by the Puritans in 1630, was the largest city and preeminent port in British North America, gaining its wealth primarily by shipping and fishing. However, the city was plagued with economic difficulties throughout the middle of the eighteenth century, and by the 1750s New York and Philadelphia had passed Boston in population and wealth. Boston was governed by a town meeting, with a board of selectmen acting as a sort of executive body. Sensitive to imperial intrusion, the city had a long-standing tradition of mob action. These traits ensured that Boston would play a prominent role in the resistance to Great Britain that culminated in the American Revolution.
bostonians and boston life
Boston's European population was overwhelmingly English. Its African population reached a high of 10 percent of the total population of 15,730 in 1752, and remained steady at over 1,000 throughout the Revolutionary era. The total population hovered around 16,000 throughout the middle third of the century, with war and epidemic disease counteracting natural increase and immigration.
In the middle of the eighteenth century Boston was physically a small town. It encompassed a 750-acre peninsula joined to the mainland by an isthmus known as the Neck. It boasted the oldest public school system in the colonies, but the nearest college, Harvard, was across the Charles River in Cambridge, just to the west. The main social pillar was the Congregational Church, with nine congregations by 1800, of which the Brattle Street Church was generally regarded as the most fashionable. Faneuil Hall, the center of the town's civic life, was constructed in
1742 as a public market, but long-standing hostility to such a project turned the building into a meeting hall. Boston made its living off shipping, carrying cod to the West Indies, Spain, and Great Britain, lumber to Great Britain, and finished goods from Europe to the colonies. Attempts at a linen manufactory failed in the 1750s, but the town did engage in some industry, such as distilling rum and manufacturing rope.
the seeds of resistance
James Otis, a prominent attorney and moderator of town meeting, led the first stage of resistance to British rule. In 1761 he argued against the writs of assistance, and in 1764 he wrote a pamphlet denouncing the Sugar Act. The Stamp Act provoked violent action in 1765, when in August a mob led by Ebenezer MacIntosh sacked the home of stamp commissioner Andrew Oliver and destroyed the home of Oliver's brother-in-law, Lieutenant Governor Thomas Hutchinson. By that year political leadership of the town had passed to Samuel Adams, a member of the Boston Caucus, former tax collector for Suffolk County, and representative in the General Court; and John Hancock, a wealthy merchant. Both were leaders of the Sons of Liberty, secret organizations formed in opposition to the Stamp Act. The repeal of the act brought great celebration to Boston, but Adams warned against complacency.
The Towshend Duties, passed in 1767, brought the Sons of Liberty back into action. On 14 August 1767 they held a rally denouncing this new act. On 4 March 1768, ninety-eight Boston merchants called for the nonimportation of British goods. On 7 April British customs agents boarded the Lydia, owned by John Hancock, but Hancock refused to let them go below. In February the colonial General Court issued a circular letter to the other colonies calling the Townshend Duties unconstitutional. Lord Hillsborough, the colonial secretary, demanded the General Court rescind the letter. In August the House of Representatives voted 92 to 17 to defy the order. Fearing that Boston was in open revolt, the British government sent two regiments of troops, which arrived in October 1768.
the outbreak of violence
The arrival of four thousand British troops into a city of about fifteen thousand ushered in the most violent period of resistance before the outbreak of the American Revolution. To prepare, the town meeting advised stockpiling weapons, ostensibly to be used in case of war with France. When the troops camped on Boston Common, town officials tried to arrest them for vagrancy. When that failed, Bostonians tried to get the soldiers to desert. On 5 September 1769 a customs agent beat James Otis nearly to death. In February 1770 a mob stormed the home of another customs agent, and one Boston youth was killed in the fracas. On 2 March a group of soldiers seeking work went to a ropewalk in the South End, where they clashed with locals.
Each of these small incidents led up to the Boston Massacre of 5 March 1770. That evening about ten soldiers harassed a group of Bostonians. This prompted a larger crowd to turn out to confront the soldiers. By half past eight the crowd had the soldiers pushed back to the barracks, and the first stage of the conflict ended by nine o'clock. Soon after, two boys started taunting a British captain. After being chased off, they went to throw snowballs at the soldiers. One rang the bell of the First Church, bringing another crowd into the street. A private was hit with a club, causing him accidentally to fire his musket, killing Crispus Attucks. The other soldiers began firing, killing two more and shooting two others who would later die of their wounds. The next day, about four thousand gathered at Faneuil Hall in an emergency town meeting. On 13 March Captain Thomas Preston and the soldiers involved were indicted for murder; the Sons of Liberty approved of John Adams and Josiah Quincy as counsel for the defense. The court acquitted Preston on the grounds that he did not give the order to fire and found that the other soldiers acted out of legitimate fear for their lives. By July the last soldiers stationed in Boston had been removed. On the day of the Boston Massacre, Parliament repealed the Townshend Duties, and Boston ended its nonimportation on 12 October 1771.
the tea act
In order to maintain vigilance, Samuel Adams helped organize the committees of correspondence in 1772. He hoped for a pretext to test how far Great Britain would go to suppress resistance. The Tea Act of 1773, which gave the East India Company a monopoly on the distribution of tea in the colonies, provided that pretext. A mass meeting on 5 November demanded that the tea consignees resign. The first ship, the Dartmouth, arrived on 27 November, and the Beaver and the Eleanor arrived soon after. A meeting of "the Body of the People" on 29 November pressured the master of the Dartmouth to stay out of the port. Governor Hutchinson, however, demanded that the tea be unloaded and the tax paid by 17 December. On 16 December, five thousand Bostonians gathered at the Old South Church to plan action. After learning that Hutchinson would not relent, Samuel Adams adjourned the meeting. Some members of the crowd, disguised as Mohawks, went down to the wharf to destroy the tea. Many of those involved in this action, which came to be known as the Boston Tea Party, were members of the Sons of Liberty, but their exact number and identities are unknown. By nine o'clock that night, ninety thousand pounds of tea worth over £9000 lay in the harbor.
Parliament responded by making an example of Boston. The Intolerable Acts, also known as the Coercive Acts, closed the port of Boston as of 1 June 1774, moved the capitol of Massachusetts to Salem, and ordered that rebels would be brought to Great Britain for trial. To enforce these acts, General Thomas Gage, commander in chief of British forces in North America, arrived as the new governor in May 1774. Four regiments arrived in August, and by the outbreak of war twelve regiments were camped in Boston. In May Samuel Adams drafted a Solemn League and Covenant for another nonimportation but was blocked by a group of eight hundred Boston merchants. The Continental Congress, which convened in September, rallied to Boston's defense.
the outbreak of war
War might have come at any time. The annual Massacre Day oration in the Old South Church in 1775 nearly turned into an armed clash. On 16 April 1775, Gage received orders to move against the Provisional Congress at Concord. Paul Revere, Samuel Prescott, and William Dawes rode out to warn them. The first British troops left Boston Common by sea early on the morning of 19 April. A relief column marched out through Boston Neck around nine o'clock. The British were turned back at Concord, and by evening were trapped in Boston. On 23 April, Patriots were allowed to leave the city. The British, under General William Howe, attempted to break the siege on 17 June, assaulting the Patriot position on Breed's Hill. After the third assault, the British took Breed's Hill
and Bunker Hill, chasing the Patriot army to Cambridge; however, the British sustained heavy losses, and their victory in the Battle of Bunker Hill—which served as a morale booster for the gallant Patriots—failed to break the siege. The Patriots still held the heights around Boston.
General George Washington arrived to take command soon after the battle, and in January 1776 Colonel Henry Knox arrived at Framingham with the cannon from Fort Ticonderoga in New York. In March Washington placed the cannon at Dorchester Heights. Howe, believing he could not hold the city, evacuated Boston on 17 March 1776. Bostonians returned to a ruined city, with the common torn up and houses torn down for firewood. Nevertheless, Boston resumed its place at the center of Massachusetts politics, serving as the site of the state constitutional convention in 1779 and of the federal ratifying convention in 1788.
the city in the national era
The task of rebuilding the city fell to the architect Charles Bulfinch, a member of the Board of Selectmen from 1791 to 1795 and again from 1799 to 1817. During that time he redesigned Boston's public and private spaces. His two most famous public buildings were the new State House and the reconstruction of Faneuil Hall. The State House was built on land on Beacon Hill that had belonged to the painter John Singleton Copley. The top third of the hill was torn down and used for fill in the Mill Pond and other places. Paul Revere and Samuel Adams laid the cornerstone on 4 July 1795, and the building was completed in January 1798. The new State House transformed grazing land on the fringe of the city to the political center of the state and the most fashionable neighborhood in the city. In 1805 Bulfinch doubled the size of Faneuil Hall and added a third story. Bulfinch also built homes for Boston's mercantile and political elite, including three houses for Harrison Gray Otis, a nephew of James Otis and a leading figure at the Hartford Convention in 1814.
Politically, Boston was solidly Federalist. All of Boston's congressmen from 1788 to 1828 were Federalists, and Democratic Republican candidates for governor carried Boston only twice. Economically, Boston thrived on overseas trade, exporting fish, whale oil, and lumber. Frederick Tudor pioneered the export of ice. Boston also provided the ships to carry products from other states and the West Indies to Europe. Beginning in the 1780s, Boston merchants traded with Asia, particularly China. Thomas Handasyd Perkins was Boston's leading merchant, and by 1825 he was the largest American opium trader in China. The Embargo of 1807 hit Boston particularly hard, fueling opposition to President Thomas Jefferson and his secretary of state, James Madison. The end of the Napoleonic Wars closed off much of the old shipping business.
In 1813 Francis Cabot Lowell and Nathan Appleton founded the Boston Manufacturing Company, which built textile mills in Waltham and the Merrimack Valley. The Boston Associates, as they were known, launched the industrial revolution in the United States. Daniel Webster, who moved to Boston in 1816, served as their advocate in Congress.
By the early nineteenth century, Boston's physical setting and population outgrew its form of government. In the 1790 census Boston's population was 18,038; in 1810 it was 33,787; in 1820, it had grown to 43,298; and in 1830 the population reached 61,392. Physically, the city expanded onto reclaimed land in the North End and along the waterfront, and in 1804 annexed Dorchester Heights, renamed South Boston. After 1776 several proposals to replace town meeting with a mayoral system failed. In 1820 some eight thousand people were eligible to attend town meeting, but few did so, and those who arrived first tended to dominate. A split in Boston's Federalists accelerated change. The Central Committee, led by Harrison Gray Otis, represented Federalist orthodoxy. Josiah Quincy broke with the Federalists over the admission of Maine as a state, and forged a movement of dissident Federalists and Republicans. The Central Committee reluctantly embraced the move for a new charter, approved by town meeting on 7 January 1822, in order to control the process.
In the first mayoral election, Otis faced Quincy, leader of the "Middling Interest." Neither could win a majority, and both agreed to a compromise candidate, John Phillips. The next year Quincy won the first of his six one-year terms, during which he consolidated the powers of the old town boards into the mayor's office, eventually absorbing the functions of the school department and using a disastrous fire on Broad and State Streets as an opportunity to abolish the old fire wards and establish a professional fire department in 1825. In 1826 he built a new market near Faneuil Hall, now called Quincy Market. As Quincy accumulated power he also accumulated enemies; in 1828 Otis defeated him for reelection and went on to serve as mayor until 1831. He planned to use the mayor's office as a stepping-stone to the governor's office but never succeeded. His most durable legacy was the banishment of cows from Boston Common in 1830.
See alsoBoston Massacre; Boston Tea Party; Bunker Hill, Battle of; Democratic Republicans; Embargo; Federalist Party; Industrial Revolution; Intolerable Acts; Massachusetts; New England; Sons of Liberty; Stamp Act and Stamp Act Congress; Sugar Act; Tea Act; Townshend Act .
Crocker, Matthew H. The Magic of the Many: Josiah Quincy and the Rise of Mass Politics in Boston, 1800–1830. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1999.
Kirker, Harold, and James. Bulfinch's Boston, 1787–1817. New York: Oxford University Press, 1964.
O'Connor, Thomas H. The Hub: Boston Past and Present. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 2001.
Warden, G. B. Boston, 1689–1776. Boston: Little, Brown, 1970.
Zobel, Hiller B. The Boston Massacre. New York: Norton, 1970.
Robert W. Smith
BOSTON. The capital and largest city of Massachusetts, Boston is a port of approximately forty-six square miles and the center of a metropolitan area of approximately 5.8 million people. According to the 2000 Census, Boston, with a population of 589,141, ranks as the twentieth largest city in the nation. This figure marks a 2.6 percent increase over 1990, when the population was 574,283.
Among the country's oldest cities, Boston is most famous for its role in the American Revolution; for its leading part in the nation's literary life; and as a center of social reform, education, and cultural accomplishment. The Boston area is the hub of New England's cultural and economic life and has a remarkable collection of educational institutions, including Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston College, Tufts University, Boston University, the University of Massachusetts at Boston, and Northeastern University.
The Boston area is the birthplace of U.S. presidents John Adams (Quincy), John Quincy Adams (Quincy), John F. Kennedy (Brookline), and George H. W. Bush (Milton). Historic sites are dedicated to the first three, and the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum is in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston.
Boston's rich history is evident throughout the city. The Boston African American National Historic Site offers the Black Heritage Trail on Beacon Hill. The Freedom Trail connects such historic sites as the Boston Common, the Charles Bulfinch–designed State House atop Beacon Hill, the Old State House, the Old Corner Bookstore, the Old South Meeting House, Faneuil Hall, the Paul Revere House, and Old North Church. Walkers may follow the trail over to Charlestown to see the USS Constitution, where Old Ironsides resides in the old Navy Yard.
Boston was founded in 1630 by English Puritans led by John Winthrop and named after the hometown of many of their band. These early settlers sought to create a "godly commonwealth" but their stress on conformity meant banishment for Anne Hutchinson, Roger Williams, and others who failed to accept Puritan ways. Williams moved on to establish a separate, successful colony in Rhode Island.
Others seeking economic opportunities and land also left the town to settle elsewhere in New England, yet Boston continued to thrive. Boston's early economy was based on shipbuilding, fishing, and the coastal and West Indian trade, all of which resulted in the town becoming England's largest North American settlement.
Boston's fame as a literary and cultural center dates from its earliest years and stemmed from the Puritan attention to education. In 1635 Bostonians established the Boston Latin School, the first free public school in the colonies that would become the United States, while in 1636 they chartered Harvard College in Cambridge.
In the 1690s the Massachusetts Bay colony received a royal charter under England's new sovereigns, William and Mary, which placed the theretofore largely independent enterprise under closer British control. Because Boston's economy and standing were already in decline in the eighteenth century, British imperial reorganization following the French and Indian War was especially harmful to the town. In the 1760s the British government tightened its control over its colonies, leading directly to the American Revolution.
Creating a Nation
Boston's Faneuil Hall is called the "cradle of liberty" because of the stirring orations in opposition to British colonial government given there, but Bostonians' claim to birthing American independence rests largely with Samuel Adams. In the 1760s Adams organized the Sons of Liberty and aroused Bostonians to the dangers of British taxes. He fostered anti-British sentiment in 1770 by devising the term "Boston Massacre" to characterize how British troops shot and killed five Bostonians, including Crispus Attucks, a runaway slave.
The Adams-organized Boston Tea Party on the night of 16 December 1773 did even more to separate the colonies from Britain. Adams organized protests against imperial taxes on tea, and Bostonians masquerading as Indians boarded the ships carrying the offending cargo and dumped it into the harbor. In response, British officials closed the port of Boston and imposed martial law. Adams organized colonial opposition to these so-called Intolerable Acts and attended the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia in 1774 with his cousin, John Adams.
Searching for military supplies, British troops were met on 19 April 1775 outside of Boston at Lexington and Concord by local militia or "minutemen" who had been warned by Paul Revere and others. The famous "shot heard 'round the world" began the American Revolution. The hostilities continued as British forces attacked rebels who were in Charlestown, across the river from Boston, on 17 June 1775. The British won the famous conflict known as the Battle of Bunker Hill only after suffering heavy losses. (Although the actual fighting took place on neighboring Breed's Hill, the name Bunker Hill stuck and is commemorated by a 221-foot granite obelisk, known as the Bunker Hill Monument.) George Washington
arrived soon after the battle to take charge of the newly formed Continental Army, and in March 1776 succeeded in banishing the British from Boston by strategically placing cannons on a hillside overlooking the town. Thus ended Boston's part in the fighting.
The Nineteenth Century
In the 1790s the famous China trade established Boston's economic base for the nineteenth century. Boston capitalists built textile mills in the early nineteenth century, but later in the century Boston declined economically relative to New York City. Boston changed in the early nineteenth century through its incorporation as a city in 1822 and as a result of landfill operations that created the new Back Bay and the South End neighborhoods. By the 1840s Boston had become a famous literary and cultural center, boasting such writers as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. At the same time Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe's stewardship of the Perkins Institution for the Blind in Boston pioneered new methods of education. Similarly, the Boston schoolteacher Dorothea Dix led the way in improving the care of mentally ill people throughout the state and nation.
William Lloyd Garrison's uncompromising, radical abolitionism firmly established Boston's reputation as a hotbed of reform and a center of moral leadership for the nation in the Civil War era. During that war, Boston's Robert Gould Shaw, a young white officer, led the nation's first all-black regiment, the 54th Massachusetts, into battle and everlasting fame in the tragic 1863 assault on South Carolina's Fort Wagner.
In the decades after the Civil War, so-called Boston Brahmin families controlled the city's economy and supported cultural institutions such as the Museum of Fine Arts, the Massachusetts General Hospital, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Harvard University. During this period the fashionable Back Bay area was completed along with Copley Square, graced by architect Henry H. Richardson's masterpiece, Trinity Church, and its impressive neighbor, the Boston Public Library.
Immigrants and Change
Boston's demographics changed the city in the second half of the nineteenth century. The population rose as large numbers of New Englanders and European immigrants crowded into the city. In the 1860s and 1870s, Boston annexed the adjacent streetcar suburbs of Roxbury, Dorchester, West Roxbury, and Brighton. The Irish predominated among the immigrants and, with the election of mayors John F. Fitzgerald ("Honey Fitz," grandfather of John F. Kennedy) in 1905 and James Michael Curley in 1914, seemed destined to control Boston's politics.
Winning four mayoralty elections in the years between 1914 and 1945, Curley also served several terms in Congress as well as one stint as governor of the state. Despite considerable accomplishments in public works projects, he is most renowned for his chronic corruption, two jail sentences, and his willing ness to "do it for a friend." Many of the friends that Curley assisted were Irish, but countless others were Italian and Jewish.
The Late Twentieth Century
The harmful effects of the Great Depression and the long decline of the New England textile industry lasted into the 1950s in Boston. At mid-century the city was close to fiscal and political bankruptcy. Fortuitously, however, economic and political circumstances in the second half of the twentieth century created the New Boston. The dazzling rise of the computer industry, largely resulting from the presence of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in neighboring Cambridge, allowed Boston to make a remarkable economic recovery. In the last decades of the century, the emergence of a knowledge-based economy made Boston the envy of many cities.
In the 1960s Mayor John F. Collins and Edward J. Logue, director of the Boston Redevelopment Authority, created a new City Hall and Government Center. During the mayoralty of Kevin H. White, who succeeded Collins in 1969, Boston's skyline was drastically changed as skyscrapers began to rise above the modest heights of older buildings.
During those same years, however, racial conflict overshadowed the emergence of a revitalized downtown. As fearful, racially biased groups of citizens reacted violently to court-ordered desegregation of the city's public schools in the 1970s, Boston drew national attention and scorn. The city's long-standing African American population increased dramatically in the second half of the twentieth century and grew beyond its old geographical borders. Raymond L. Flynn succeeded Kevin White as mayor in 1984 by drawing some of the city's ethnic and racial groups together. Thomas M. Menino, Flynn's successor, became the city's first Italian American mayor in 1993; he was reelected in 1997 and 2001.
The most famous Boston politician of the late twentieth century was Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. O'Neill, known for popularizing the adage that "all politics is local," won federal
funding for Boston's Big Dig, the most ambitious public works project in American urban history. This Central Artery/Tunnel Project to place interstate highways underground is opening up acres of surface space downtown for parks and buildings.
Long claiming moral and intellectual distinction as the Athens of America, Boston has left behind much of its widely celebrated provincialism. It remains, however, a charming city that is also now counted among the most exciting in America.
Handlin, Oscar. Boston's Immigrants, 1790–1880: A Study in Acculturation. Rev. ed. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1991.
Kennedy, Lawrence W. Planning the City upon a Hill: Boston since 1630. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1994.
O'Connell, Shaun. Imagining Boston: A Literary Landscape. Boston: Beacon Press, 1990.
O'Connor, Thomas H. The Hub: Boston Past and Present. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 2001.
Warner, Sam Bass, Jr. Streetcar Suburbs: The Process of Growth in Boston, 1870–1900. 2d ed. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1978.
Whitehill, Walter Muir, and Lawrence W. Kennedy. Boston: A Topographical History. 3rd ed. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2000.
BOSTON , capital and principal city of Massachusetts. The Jewish population of Greater Boston was estimated at 254,000 (2000).
Though Boston is one of the oldest cities in North America, having been first settled in 1628, it was not until the mid-19th century that an organized Jewish community took shape. The records of the Great and General Court of Massachusetts Bay show that in 1649 Solomon Franco, a Jew, arrived in Boston, was "warned out" by the court, and was supported for ten weeks until he could return to Holland. A 1674 tax list discloses the presence of two Jews. In 1720 Isaac Lopez was elected town constable; he paid a fine rather than serve. Judah Monis, who later became a Christian and taught Hebrew at Harvard College, arrived in Boston by 1720. Moses Michael Hays (1739–1805) arrived there around 1776 and was a well-known citizen. He was among the Bank of Boston's original stockholders and was instrumental in establishing Masonry in New England. There is a tradition that some Algerian Jews arrived about 1830 but did not remain.
The first congregation was Ohabei Shalom, which formally organized in 1843. It followed Minhag Polin, since a preponderance of local Jews came from East and West Prussia, Poland, Posen, and Pomerania. In 1844 the Boston City Council, reversing an earlier refusal, permitted the congregation to purchase land for a cemetery. That same year, the congregation held services in a house and in 1852 its first synagogue was dedicated. In 1854 a secession, apparently of the Southwestern German element in Ohabei Shalom, led to the formation of a second congregation, Adath Israel (generally known as Temple Israel). A third congregation, Mishkan Israel (later Mishkan Tefilla), was formed in 1858 largely by immigrants from Krotoszyn. Boston Jewry was small and more Polish than German, unlike the communities of the Midwest. In 1875, the Jewish population was estimated to number only 3,000. By 1900, thanks to immigrants from Eastern Europe, it had reached 40,000. East European Jews dominated the community by World War i, when some 80,000–90,000 Jews lived in Boston, mostly recent immigrants or their children.
The earliest settlers resided in the South End, but from the early 1880s growing numbers of East European Jews settled in the North End. As the immigration from Eastern Europe increased, the Jewish community spread over to the West End. Both these areas stood at the tip of the peninsula forming the oldest part of the city. Subsequently, the Jewish community spread southward to Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan, and later to Sharon, westward to Brookline and later to Newton, and northward, across Boston Harbor to Chelsea and Malden. These movements were followed by further dispersion to the outer suburbs and along the shores of Massachusetts Bay, and synagogues were established in those areas. In 2004, the core of the Jewish community was in Brookline, Newton, and Sharon, but the community was rapidly dispersing to remote suburbs north, south, and west of the city.
The substantial immigration and the subsequent dispersal of the community produced a wide variety of organizations. Late 19th-and 20th-century Boston was divided between the Yankees who controlled its social, cultural, and financial institutions, and the Irish who dominated its politics, and this did not make it easy for the largely immigrant Jewish group to find a recognized place. Anti-Jewish violence peaked in Boston during the depression and World War ii, partly inspired by Father Charles E. Coughlin and his Christian Front movement. The city was known as one of the most antisemitic in the United States. This changed in the postwar era as Catholic-Jewish relations improved and Jews departed to safer suburbs. Whereas at the beginning of the 20th century there was a substantial proletarian element, particularly in the garment industry, by 1969 71% of heads of families were in white-collar occupations. For a time, in the 1960s and 1970s, the largest group of Jews consisted of transient students, but by 2000 the community had aged. It nevertheless continues to boast the highest proportion of Jewish academics and students of any American community.
Religious reform came late to Boston owing to its small German-Jewish population. It developed only in the 1870s when Ohabei Shalom and Temple Israel shortened their services and introduced choirs and organs. Reform of a more radical kind found expression in Temple Israel during the ministry of Solomon Schindler (1874–93) and was carried further by his successor Charles *Fleischer (1894–1911), who eventually left Judaism entirely. Under Harry Levi (1911–39) the congregation, while continuing Sunday services, returned to the Reform pattern usual in its day and embraced Zionism. Under the leadership of Rabbi Herman Rubenovitz, who served during 1910–45, Congregation Mishkan Tefilla became the standard-bearer of Conservative Judaism. Rabbi Louis M. Epstein, who served Kehillath Israel in Brookline during 1925–48, was among the most distinguished scholars in the Conservative movement. The immigration from Eastern Europe produced many Orthodox congregations, great and small. Among the more important were Beth Israel in the North End, Beth Jacob and Shaare Jerusalem, both in the West End, and Adath Israel (the Blue Hill Avenue Shul) in Roxbury. Among the leading Orthodox rabbis were Morris S. Margolies, who served during 1889–1906, and Gabriel *Margolis, 1907–10. From 1932 to 1993, Rabbi Dr. Joseph B. *Soloveitchik, one of the leading figures in American Orthodoxy, was identified with the Boston community. Levi I. Horowitz (1920– ), reputedly the first American-born ḥasidic rebbe, returned to Boston in 1944, succeeding his father, Pinchas Dovid, who established the Bostoner ḥasidic line in 1915.
Of some 174 congregations in the Greater Boston area and its environs, 53 were Orthodox, 37 Conservative, 34 Reform, 5 Reconstructionist, and 45 other (2001). A survey of religious preferences indicated that 3 per cent of the Jewish population considered itself Orthodox, 33 per cent Conservative, 41 per cent Reform, 2 per cent Reconstructionist, and 20 per cent "other" or no preference. (1995). The Vaad Harabonim of Massachusetts provides kashrut supervision, while the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts, created in 1981, seeks to "promote and strengthen the synagogue, and to nurture a respect for diversity" within the community.
The first specifically charitable institution was the United Hebrew Benevolent Association, founded in 1864. To this were added the Hebrew Ladies Sewing Society (organized in 1869 and revived in 1878), the Hebrew Industrial School (1890), the Free Burial Association (1891), and the Hebrew Sheltering Home (1891). By 1895 demand far exceeded income, resulting in the creation of the Federation of Jewish Charities of Boston, the first Jewish federation in the United States, later known as the Association of Jewish Philanthropies, later changed to Combined Jewish Philanthropies. At first the Federation and organized philanthropy made slow headway. Under the leadership of Louis E. Kirstein (1867–1942) the Federation developed considerably and became more comprehensive in its appeal. In 1902, against considerable opposition from some sections of the Jewish community, the Mt. Sinai Hospital, an outpatient clinic, was established in the West End. This was replaced in 1917 by the Beth Israel Hospital in Roxbury, which in 1928 moved to Brookline Avenue. In 1996, Beth Israel merged with New England Deaconess Hospital.
Schools and Colleges
In 1858 Congregation Ohabei Shalom established a day school for secular and religious subjects, which closed, however, in 1863. As the community grew, many congregational and other schools were founded. A Jewish Education Society was established in 1915. This organization promoted the association of Boston Hebrew Schools (1917) and the Bureau of Jewish Religious Schools (1918), which merged in 1920 to form the Bureau of Jewish Education. By 2000, it served as the central educational service agency for more than 140 Jewish schools, youth groups, summer camps, and adult education programs throughout the region, including 14 independent Jewish day schools under Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and "transdenominational" auspices.
In 1921 the Bureau established Hebrew Teachers College (later *Hebrew College), and in 1927 the Commonwealth of Massachusetts granted the college a charter enabling it to confer degrees. At first established in Roxbury, it moved to Brookline in 1951 and to Newton in 2001.
The support given to the Bureau of Jewish Education and Hebrew College reflects an interest in Jewish education and culture far more extensive than in most communities. Seeking to "vastly expand Jewish literacy and learning and facilitate a Jewish cultural renaissance," Boston beginning in 1998 pioneered highly innovative programs in Jewish education, and became a national center for Jewish educational initiatives of every sort. Indeed, education – "quality educational programming for children, adults, and families" – became one of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies' top priorities. The engine underlying many of the Jewish educational advances in Boston is the area's remarkable community of academics who constitute, per capita, the largest number of Jewish scholars anywhere outside of Israel. In 2004, there were approximately 90 dedicated staff positions in Jewish studies at seven major private universities in the Boston area, with over 30 more similar positions at the colleges in Worcester and the Amherst area.
Boston was an early stronghold of the Zionist movement. Partly under the influence of Jacob de Haas, who edited the Jewish Advocate from 1908 to 1918, Louis D. Brandeis assumed a leading role in the movement, and his prestige had considerable influence in gaining support for it. By World War ii, more than 90 per cent of Boston and New England Jews supported Zionism, a record unmatched anywhere in the United States.
In 2000, the Greater Boston metropolitan area, embracing large sections of New England, was the sixth largest Jewish metropolitan area in the United States, including some 10,500 Jews from the former Soviet Union, most of whom arrived after 1985. More than half of the community's Jews were engaged in professional and technical work, and 40 per cent of Jewish adults held advanced degrees.
M. Axelrod, et al., Community Survey for Long Range Planning: A Study of the Jewish Population of Greater Boston (1967); S. Broches, Jews in New England, 1 (1942); A. Ehrenfried,Chronicle of Boston Jewry from the Colonial Settlement to 1900 (1963); A. Mann (ed.), Growth and Achievement: Temple Israel, 1854–1954 (1954); Neusner, in: ajhsq, 46 (1956), 71–85; Reznikoff, in: Commentary, 15 (1963), 490–9; B.M. Solomon, Pioneers in Service (1956); A.A. Wieder, Early Jewish Community of Boston's North End (1962); A. Libman Lebeson, Jewish Pioneers in America (1931), incl. bibliography. Various essays by L.M. Friedman are collected in Early American Jews (1934), Jewish Pioneers and Patriots (1942), and Pilgrims in a New Land (1948). Descriptions of the life of the immigrant community are given in novels by M. Antin: From Polotzk to Boston (1899), The Promised Land (1912), and They Who Knock at Our Gates (1914); and in the novels of C. Angoff: Journey to the Dawn (1951), In the Morning Light (1952), and Between Day and Dark (1959). add. bibliography: J.D. Sarna and E. Smith (eds.), The Jews of Boston (1995, 2005)
[Sefton D. Temkin /
Jonathan D. Sarna (2nd ed.)]
Boston, an MIT grad’s high-tech idea of a rock band. membership: Tom Scholz, voc, various inst. (b. Toledo, Ohio, March 10, 1947); Barry Goudreau, gtr. (b. Boston, Nov. 29, 1951); Brad Delp, voc. (b. Boston, June 12, 1951); Fran Sheehan, bs. (b. Boston, March 26, 1949); Sib Hashian, drm. (b. Boston, Aug. 17, 1949).
Boston started in the Tom Scholz’s basement. Scholz had moved to Boston after earning a full scholarship to MIT, graduating with a 4.8 GPA. Polaroid signed him up to work on their ill-fated instant sound movies (obviated by the rise of videotape). During his off-hours, he recorded his songs, paying meticulous attention to the sound. By the time the Boston demos reached Epic Records, they had been in the works for six years. Epic signed the “band,” which forced Scholz to put a band together! He brought in some local scene bar band cronies—Brad Delp, voc. (b. Boston, June 12, 1951); Fran Sheehan, bs. (b. Boston, March 26, 1949); Barry Goudreau, gtr. (b. Boston, Nov. 29, 1951); Sib Hashian, drm. (b. Boston, Aug. 17, 1949)—to work as the actual band, but in the studio, nearly everything is played by Scholz. He took a leave of absence from Polaroid to promote Boston’s debut—and never returned.
Capitalizing on this element of Scholz’s past, Epic’s marketing department began selling Boston’s debut with the slogan “better music through science” in an ad featuring the 6’ 5” Scholz in a space suit. One critic called the band’s sound “non-violent hard rock.” On the strength of the singles “More Than a Feeling” (#5), “Long Time,” and “Peace of Mind,” along with album rock staples like “Rock and Roll Band,” Boston’s debut sold over 16 million records, holding the record for sales by a debut album for nearly a quarter of a century. The album got as high as #3 on the LP charts. The band went on tour, opening for the likes of Sammy Hagar, even though their album sold much faster than his. Scholz brought some of his technical inventions on tour to help them approximate the band’s studio sheen.
Epic released the follow up Don’t Look Back in 1978. The title track went to #4, and the album topped the charts for two weeks. A second single, “A Man I’ll Never Be,” went top 30. However, “Feeling Satisfied” didn’t fare that well. The band toured through 1979 and then disappeared for eight years.
In part, the layoff was due to a wave of legal problems. A management deal went sour. Then Scholz started having problems with his record company. First, they refused to let him produce a record for Hagar, ordering him into the studio to complete an album for Boston. Goudreau, growing impatient for a new Boston project, recorded his own solo album with the help of Delp and Hashian. The album bombed, but Scholz took exception to his record company marketing it as “Almost Boston.”
Scholz’s work on the third Boston album did not proceed quickly enough for Epic Records, who needed their million-selling acts to record with somewhat more regularity. By 1982, the company started to withhold royalties in hopes that might motivate Scholz to finish the third Boston album. When Scholz complained, they laid a $20 million breach of contract suit on him. Scholz countersued, and the artist and his label spent the next five years in various legal wrangling. The record company got an injunction preventing the release of any Boston album, which didn’t get lifted until 1985.
In the meantime, Scholz formed Scholz Research and Development and started to work on technological solutions to problems he had as a musician. He came out with the Rockman line of amplifiers, effects, and personal practice units. They had 3, 000 orders before the first unit left the factory and did millions of dollars worth of business a year, helping to finance the third Boston album. In the mean time, Godreau left the band to form Orion The Hunter, a band featuring vocalist--guitarist Fran Cosmo.
By 1986, Boston’s Third Stage came out, zooming to the top of the charts and staying there for four weeks. The single “Amanda” topped the charts, and the fol-lowup, “We’re Ready,” reached #9. The album became the first compact disc to go gold, and sold four million copies in four weeks. The band toured off and on through 1989.
In 1990, Scholz started working on a fourth recording. None of the original members of the band remained. Hashian, Sheehan, and percussionist Jim Mas-dea sued Scholz for royalties (he settled out of court). He finally won his suits against the record company, but lost against his old manager. Meanwhile, Delp and Goudreau, along with several others, formed a band called RTZ. Their first album Return to Zero, spent the years 1991–92 on the verge of breaking through, but never quite made it.
Four years in the making, Boston next released Walk On. Fran Cosmo replaced Brad Delp. The record debuted at #7, got as high as #5, then plummeted off the charts. Still the band did a spectacular tour, featuring a massive pipe organ that Scholz would swing to on a rope during the show. Another tour in 1996 got cancelled when Scholz hurt his hand playing basketball.
The band hit the road in 1997, supporting a Greatest Hits package. Delp returned to the fold and shared vocal and guitar chores with Cosmo. Boston went into the studio sometime in 1998, but as of yet, nothing has been released.
Boston (1976); Don’t Look Back (1978); Third Stage (1986); Walk On (1994); Greatest Hits: Rock & Roll Band (1997).
Boston was the site chosen in 1630 by the English Puritans for their political, administrative, and religious capital. Located on a promontory, it offered both a defensive position and a central location for the other settlements of Massachusetts Bay. Under the leadership of John Winthrop (1588–1649) the town grew rapidly, sustained by a stream of immigrants from England and the presence of a good harbor. For the first ten years, Boston's commerce was largely with the mother country. The outbreak of the English Civil War (1642–1651), however, prompted its merchants to open new markets in the Chesapeake and West Indies. Despite the Navigation Acts of 1660 and 1663, Boston continued to prosper, as witnessed by its expanding fleet and numerous wharfs and warehouses. By the end of the seventeenth century its population had reached almost 8,000, making it the largest overseas English town. Unsurprisingly its inhabitants played a leading role in the overthrow of the Dominion of New England in 1689.
During the first half of the eighteenth century, Boston did not enjoy such unremitting growth. One reason for this was the emergence of New York and Philadelphia as rivals for the carrying trade. In addition, Boston lacked a dynamic internal market, because the region's rocky soils limited its agricultural potential. During the wars of the eighteenth century, Boston did profit from military contracting and the equipping of privateers. But the coming of peace invariably led to economic dislocation and unemployment, though the population continued to grow, reaching 16,000 by 1760. Boston, as a result, was the first American town to experience urban poverty. However, it remained a center of politics, culture, and ideas because of the presence of nearby Harvard College. It also was the most democratically governed town in British North America, having a franchise that effectively included all white males. Boston had a heady mixture of an educated elite and working-class majority citizens that Samuel Adams (1722–1803) and his patriot colleagues exploited against Britain during the Stamp Act riots, the Boston Massacre, and final separation from Britain in 1776.
Rutman, Darett B. Winthrop's Boston, Portrait of a Puritan Town, 1630–1649. Williamsburg, VA: University of North Carolina Press, 1965.
Whitehill, Walter Muir, and Lawrence W. Kennedy. Boston: A Topographical History, 3rd ed. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2000.
BOSTON. Founded in 1630 by a group of Puritans led by John Winthrop, Boston was intended to serve as an example to the Protestant world, especially to Anglicans. Boston was the initial settlement and the capital of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, whose towns spread rapidly west into the forests of Massachusetts.
Settled by families rather than soldiers or single men, Boston quickly established schools, churches, and social institutions, including a proto-democratic local government. The Great Migration, which brought more than twenty thousand Puritans to Massachusetts by 1640, contributed to the rapid growth of business, especially shipping and boat building. Like New York and Philadelphia, Boston engaged in extensive shipping and trade with England and the Caribbean. The rich forests of New England contributed wood for boat building, pitch and tar for repairs and export, and a variety of animal products. In addition, Bostonians were deeply involved in the shipping of rum, sugar, and slaves. Business was so successful, in fact, that by the end of the seventeenth century many Puritan leaders grew worried that material gain would weaken religious sentiment among the young.
By the middle of the eighteenth century, the "city on a hill" had indeed moved away from its Puritan roots. Populated by more than sixteen thousand literate, prosperous, politically active citizens of a variety of faiths, Boston became the earliest center of rebellion against Britain. The crown responded with a series of repressive measures, the ultimate effect of which was to radicalize both the local population and other British North American colonies. While Philadelphia gave the Revolution documents, Boston gave men such as John and Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Paul Revere.
Although Boston's successes were not those envisioned by its founders, it was a remarkable example of orderly colony building in British North America. Free of most disease, growing fast in families and wealth, replete with colleges, churches, artisans, and craftsmen, Boston was unique among early colonies.
Morgan, Edmund Sears. The Puritan Dilemma; the Story of John Winthrop, edited by Oscar Handlin. Boston, 1958.
Nash, Gary B. The Urban Crucible: The Northern Seaports and the Origins of the American Revolution. Cambridge, Mass., 1979.
Fiona Deans Halloran
Boston: Geography and Climate
Boston: Population Profile
Boston: Municipal Government
Boston: Education and Research
Boston: Health Care
Boston: Convention Facilities
The City in Brief
Founded: 1630 (chartered, 1822)
Head Official: Mayor Thomas M. Menino (D) (since 1994)
2003 estimate: 581,616
Percent change, 1990–2000: 2.6%
U.S. rank in 1980: 20th
U.S. rank in 1990: 20th (State rank: 1st)
U.S. rank in 2000: 23rd (State rank: 1st)
Metropolitan Area Population (PMSA)
Percent change, 1990–2000: 6.2%
U.S. rank in 1980: 7th (CMSA)
U.S. rank in 1990: 7th (CMSA)
U.S. rank in 2000: 7th (CMSA)
Area: 48 square miles (2000)
Elevation: Ranges from 15 to 29 feet above sea level
Average Annual Temperature: 51.6° F
Average Annual Precipitation: 42.53 inches of rain; 42.6 inches of snow
Major Economic Sectors: Services, trade, manufacturing, government
Unemployment Rate: 4.9% (March 2005)
Per Capita Income: $23,353 (1999)
2003 FBI Crime Index Total: 35,049
Major Colleges and Universities: Boston University; Tufts
University Medical School; Harvard University School of Medicine; Boston College; New England Conserva-tory of Music; School of the Museum of Fine Arts; University of Massachusetts at Boston; Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Daily Newspapers: The Boston Globe ; Boston Herald