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The Athens of America

Boston: From cradle of the American Revolution to cradle of American Elitism.Created by: PICRYLDated: 2017
[Suffragist Margaret Foley distributing the Woman's Journal and Suffrage News]
Boston was once a center for shipbuilding and it has always been a neighborhood of immigrants. It was part of the New England corner of triangular trade, receiving sugar from the Caribbean and refining it into rum and molasses, partly for export to Europe. Boston was chartered as a city only in 1822 as a result of a transformation from a small and economically stagnant town in 1780 to a bustling seaport and cosmopolitan center by 1800. It had become one of the world's wealthiest international trading ports, exporting products like rum, fish, salt and tobacco.
By the mid-19th century Boston was one of the largest manufacturing centers in the nation, noted for its garment production, leather goods, and machinery industries. Manufacturing overtook international trade to dominate the local economy. A network of small rivers bordering the city and connecting it to the surrounding region made for easy shipment of goods and allowed for a proliferation of mills and factories.
Boston's "Brahmin elite" developed a particular semi-aristocratic value system by the 1840s—cultivated, urbane, and dignified, the Brahmin was the very essence of an enlightened aristocracy. He was not only wealthy, but displayed personal virtues and character traits. The Brahmin had expectations to meet: to cultivate the arts, support charities such as hospitals and colleges, and assume the role of community leader. In 1831, William Lloyd Garrison founded The Liberator, an abolitionist newsletter, in Boston. It advocated "immediate and complete emancipation of all slaves" in the United States, and established Boston as the center of the abolitionist movement.
The earliest Irish settlers began arriving in the early 18th century and they were forced to hide their religious roots since Catholicism was banned in the Bay Colony but later, throughout the 19th century, Boston became a haven for Irish Catholic immigrants. Today, Boston has the largest percentage of Irish-descended people of any city in the United States. The Irish took political control of the city, leaving the Yankees in charge of finance, business, and higher education.
From the mid-to-late-19th century, the Boston Brahmins flourished culturally. Higher education became increasingly important, principally at Harvard (based across the river in Cambridge).
The Brahmins were the foremost authors and audiences of high culture, despite being a minority. Emerging Irish, Jewish, and Italian cultures made little to no impact on the elite. From the late 19th century until the mid-20th century, the phrase "Banned in Boston" was used to describe a literary work, motion picture, or play prohibited from distribution or exhibition. During this time, Boston city officials took it upon themselves to "ban" anything that they found to be salacious, immoral, or offensive: theatrical shows were run out of town, books confiscated, and motion pictures were prevented from being shown—sometimes stopped in mid-showing after an official had "seen enough".
1739
1739
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2008
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2008
1,625 Media in collectionpage 1 of 17
[Bird's-eye view of Boston, Massachusetts, with two vignettes of Natives hunting] / J. Turner, Boston, sculpt.

[Bird's-eye view of Boston, Massachusetts, with two vignettes of Nativ...

Title devised by Library staff. Similar view of Boston incorporating lower left vignette of Native hunting was engraved by J. Turner and published in the American Magazine, 1745 August, title page.

The massacre perpetrated in King Street Boston on March 5th 1770, ...

The massacre perpetrated in King Street Boston on March 5th 1770, ...

Print shows British troops firing on citizens in Boston. Title from item. Caption continues: in which Messrs Saml. Gray, Saml. Maverick, James Caldwell, Crispus Attucks, Patrick Carr were killed, six other woun... more

A view of the lines thrown up, on Boston Neck, by the Ministerial Army / B. Romans.

A view of the lines thrown up, on Boston Neck, by the Ministerial Army...

Print with legend shows and identifies several locations in the vicinity of Boston, including John Hancock's house, Beacon Hill, the British encampment on McHill, and a blockhouse. Title from item. Illus. on ma... more

The death of Warren / M inv. ; Norman sc.

The death of Warren / M inv. ; Norman sc.

Print shows Joseph Warren on bended knee, right hand over chest, left hand on rifle for support, after being mortally wounded during the battle of Bunker Hill, three soldiers stand nearby. Title from item. Illu... more

Contemplez l'ouvrage de pouvoir arbitraire / Le Barbier l'aîné inv. del. ; Patas sculp.

Contemplez l'ouvrage de pouvoir arbitraire / Le Barbier l'aîné inv. de...

Print shows an imaginary scene depicting the funeral of Joseph Warren. Title from item. Illus. in: Essais historiques et politiques sur les Anglo-Américains, ... / par M. Hilliard d'Auberteuil .... Bruxelles : ... more

John Malcom / dessiné et gravé par F. Godefroy.

John Malcom / dessiné et gravé par F. Godefroy.

Depicts event of January 25, 1774 when Boston Commissioner of Customs John Malcom (or Malcomb) was tarred and feathered and hung out his window by an angry mob.

John Malcom / dessiné et gravé par F. Godefroy de l'Académie Imple. et Rle. de Vienne &c.

John Malcom / dessiné et gravé par F. Godefroy de l'Académie Imple. et...

Print shows John Malcolm, a customs officer, standing in a two-wheeled cart on a street crowded with onlookers as men prepare to tar and feather him. Title from item. Illus. in: Recueil d'estampes representant ... more

A south east view of Christ's [i.e., Christ] Church

A south east view of Christ's [i.e., Christ] Church

Title from item. Illus. in: The Columbian magazine, or, Monthly miscellany. Philadelphia : Printed for Seddon, Spotswood, Cist, and Trenchard, 1787, opp. p. 839. Published in: The American Revolution in drawing... more

An east view of the meeting house in Hollis Street, Boston, now erecting on the ruins of one lately destroyed by fire / C. Bulfinch delin. ; Vallance sc.

An east view of the meeting house in Hollis Street, Boston, now erecti...

Title from item. Illus. in: The Columbian magazine, or, Monthly miscellany. Philadelphia : Printed for Seddon, Spotswood, Cist, and Trenchard, 1788 April, opp. p. 175. Stauffer, 3341 Published in: The American ... more

An east view of the new meeting house in Hollis Street, Boston / S. Hill sc.

An east view of the new meeting house in Hollis Street, Boston / S. Hi...

Print shows a perspective view of the front and side of the Hollis Street Church, Boston, Massachusetts.

The bloody massacre perpetrated in King Street Boston on March 5th 1770 by a party of the 29th Regt. / engrav'd, printed & sold by Paul Revere, Boston.

The bloody massacre perpetrated in King Street Boston on March 5th 177...

Print shows British troops firing on a group of citizens on a street in Boston, Massachusetts, with the Royal Custom House known as "Butcher's Hall" on the right, the First Church and Town House in the backgrou... more

Monument on Beacon Hill, Boston / Sully, del. ; K. Turner, sc.

Monument on Beacon Hill, Boston / Sully, del. ; K. Turner, sc.

Designed by Charles Bulfinch. Illus. in: Portfolio (Nov. 1811), p. facing p. 409.

Massachusetts General Hospital / J.R. Penniman, del. ; A. Bowen.

Massachusetts General Hospital / J.R. Penniman, del. ; A. Bowen.

Illustration showing exterior view of front of building. Illus. in: A history of Boston, the metropolis of Massachusetts, from its origin to the present period, 2d ed. / Caleb Hopkins Snow. Boston: A. Bowen, 18... more

A New method of Macarony making as practised at Boston / copied on stone by D. C. Johnston from a print published in London 1774.

A New method of Macarony making as practised at Boston / copied on sto...

Print shows two American revolutionaries tarring and feathering the tax collector. In the background, a gallows.

The Bostons paying the excise-man or tarring & feathering / copied on stone by D. C. Johnston from a print published in London 1774.

The Bostons paying the excise-man or tarring & feathering / copied on ...

Print shows a mob pouring tea into the mouth of a Loyalist who has been tarred and feathered. Behind the group, on the right, is the "Liberty Tree" from which hangs a noose and a sign "Stamp Act" written upside... more

The grand national caravan moving east. / drawn by Hassan Straightshanks, under the immediate Superintendence of Maj. Jack Downing.

The grand national caravan moving east. / drawn by Hassan Straightshan...

A burlesque parade, led by Andrew Jackson and satirizing various aspects of his administration. The procession moves from right to left. At its head is Jackson, seated on a horse with Martin Van Buren cross-le... more

The decapitation of a great block head by the mysterious agency of the claret coloured coat

The decapitation of a great block head by the mysterious agency of the...

A cryptic and anonymous satire probably referring to the 1834 "decapitation" of the wooden figure-head of Andrew Jackson, placed on the ship "Constitution" when it was refitted at Boston. The deed was perpetrat... more

U.S. Custom House, Boston, Massachusetts, Traverse Section of Winning Design

U.S. Custom House, Boston, Massachusetts, Traverse Section of Winning ...

The Boston Custom House, constructed 1837-1847, is among the earliest federal buildings erected outside the nation's capital. After Congress authorized a new custom house for the city of Boston, a local board o... more

New Custom House in Boston / Drawn by C.H. Billings; engraved by G.G. Smith.

New Custom House in Boston / Drawn by C.H. Billings; engraved by G.G. ...

In album: Benjamin Brown French "Photographs," p. 152. Title from item. Reference copy in LOT 12251, v. 1. Original in PR 12 LOT 12251.

[Bunker Hill]

[Bunker Hill]

Soldiers digging and pulling artillery, horse pulling, and battle scene. Title devised by cataloger. Purchase; Childs Gallery; (DLC/PP-1984:368). Forms part of: Cabinet of American illustration (Library of Congress).

View of the merchants exchange. Boston, Mass.

View of the merchants exchange. Boston, Mass.

This record contains unverified data from PGA shelflist card. Associated name on shelflist card: Thayer, B.W., & Co. Copyright deposit, District Court of Mass.: 1842

From the Cambria steamer, starting from Boston, U.S. Bunker's Hill Monument

From the Cambria steamer, starting from Boston, U.S. Bunker's Hill Mon...

Drawing shows view of ships in Boston Harbor. To the right, Bunker Hill Monument. Purchase; William Reese Company; 2000; (DLC/PP-2000:086). Title from item. Accession box no. DLC/PP-2000:086

Mendelssohn Quintette Club of Boston (organized 1849) / Armstrong & Co. Lith. 1 Somerset St. Boston and Riverside Press, Cambridge.

Mendelssohn Quintette Club of Boston (organized 1849) / Armstrong & Co...

Print shows a group portrait of six members of the Mendelssohn Quintette Club of Boston with their instruments; shown are, from left, Bernhard Listemann, E.M. Heindl, Rudolph Hennig, Ludwig Emanuel Manoly, Thom... more

Second ward. Register. William J. McCormick Z. K. Offutt, Peter M. Pearson. Collector. Robert J. Roche. Surveyor. Henry W. Ball. Alderman. Beniah Willett ... Common Council. Nicholas Callan ... Assessor. George H. Plant ... [Boston 1853].

Second ward. Register. William J. McCormick Z. K. Offutt, Peter M. Pea...

Available also through the Library of Congress web site in two forms: as facsimile page images and as full text in SGML. Printed Ephemera Collection; Portfolio 61, Folder 21a.

Vicinity of Boston, from Bunker Hill monument, 1853 / engraved by James Smillie.

Vicinity of Boston, from Bunker Hill monument, 1853 / engraved by Jame...

Print showing a bird's-eye view, looking north and west, of the city of Boston and notable landmarks of the surrounding communities. Includes numbered key identifying prominent features.

Sketch of a house in the streets at Boston Mass: being raised from its foundations for the purpsoe of permanent elevation

Sketch of a house in the streets at Boston Mass: being raised from its...

Drawing shows a three-story house in Boston, raised off its foundations on stones and logs to increase its elevation. Wallis was a British Commissioner from the Foreign Office to the United States in 1853. Orig... more

Public market houses in Boston / Kilburn, del ; Tarbell, sc.

Public market houses in Boston / Kilburn, del ; Tarbell, sc.

Print shows South Market, Williams Market, Gerrish Market, Boylston Market and Faneuil Hall Market. Illus. in: Ballou's pictorial, v. 9, no. 7 (1855 Aug. 18), p. 97. Title from item.

[Interior view of the main floor of the Boston Public Library] / John Andrew.

[Interior view of the main floor of the Boston Public Library] / John ...

Illus. in: Proceedings at the dedication of the building for the Public library of the city of Boston. Boston : prepared and printed by authority of the city council, 1858, frontispiece. Title devised by Library staff.

Principal floor

Principal floor

Print shows a floor plan for the Boston Public Library. Illus. in: Proceedings at the dedication of the building for the Public library of the city of Boston. Boston : prepared and printed by authority of the c... more

[Exterior view of the Boston Public Library] / John Andrew.

[Exterior view of the Boston Public Library] / John Andrew.

Illus. in: Proceedings at the dedication of the building for the Public library of the city of Boston. Boston : prepared and printed by authority of the city council, 1858, opposite p. 163. Title devised by Lib... more

Transverse section

Transverse section

Print shows the transverse section view of the Boston Public Library. Illus. in: Proceedings at the dedication of the building for the Public library of the city of Boston. Boston : prepared and printed by auth... more

First story

First story

Print shows the first floor plan for the Boston Public Library. Illus. in: Proceedings at the dedication of the building for the Public library of the city of Boston. Boston : prepared and printed by authority ... more

Clothing. J. W. Smith & Co. merchant tailors and clothers, Dock Square, corner of Elm Street Boston. Our stock of ready-made clothing is large, fresh, fashionable ... B.F. Allen, engraver and printer [1858].

Clothing. J. W. Smith & Co. merchant tailors and clothers, Dock Square...

Handwritten on verso: 1858. Available also through the Library of Congress web site in two forms: as facsimile page images and as full text in SGML. Printed Ephemera Collection; Portfolio 63, Folder 25.

Honor to Washington. A national ode

Honor to Washington. A national ode

An elaborate emblem to the memory of George Washington, illustrating the cover of a song in his honor composed by B. A. Burditt. The song, according to the text, was written "Expressly for the celebration of th... more

Welcome to the Prince of Wales

Welcome to the Prince of Wales

Masthead and illustration showing crowd of people gathered on balcony in Boston to greet the Prince of Wales. Illustration in oval on upper left labeled "Washington--Out rolled" showing woman hitting a strike ... more

Portland star match factory, Portland, Me. / JC [monogram] ; Geo. H. Walker & Co. Lith. Boston.

Portland star match factory, Portland, Me. / JC [monogram] ; Geo. H. W...

Print shows a bird's-eye view of the Portland Star Match Factory in Portland, Maine, with a Boston & Maine Railroad passenger train passing on the lower right foreground, men unloading timber from railroad cars... more

Expulsion of Negroes and abolitionists from Tremont Temple, Boston, Massachusetts, on December 3, 1860

Expulsion of Negroes and abolitionists from Tremont Temple, Boston, Ma...

Illus. in Harper's weekly, Dec. 15, 1860, p. 788.

The Methodist : the largest and best paper in the denomination / John A. Gray, Printer, Stereotyper, and Binder, Cor. of Frankfort and Jacob Sts., New York.

The Methodist : the largest and best paper in the denomination / John ...

Print shows a large advertisement for "The Methodist" a denominational newspaper published in New York; includes portraits of Rev. Henry Slicer, D.D., of the East-Baltimore Conference, Rev. George Peck, D.D., o... more

Banner gas burner!! Consumes all the gases! Ventilates the room. Keeps fire through the entire season without rekindling ... For sale by Thomas A. Westscott, 16, 17, 18 & 19 Marshall, corner of Union Streets, Boston [1861].

Banner gas burner!! Consumes all the gases! Ventilates the room. Keeps...

Available also through the Library of Congress web site in two forms: as facsimile page images and as full text in SGML. Printed Ephemera Collection; Portfolio 68, Folder 21d.

[Banknote for $500 from the Boylston Bank, Boston, Massachusetts] / American Bank Note Co.

[Banknote for $500 from the Boylston Bank, Boston, Massachusetts] / Am...

Banknote showing an explorer, possibly Columbus, a woman holding dividers to a globe, and the head of a woman with grapes in her hair.

The solar gaz machine. O. P. Drake's latest improvement for lighting with gas. factories, hotels, stores, and dwellings ... Manufactured and sold by O. P. Drake & company 6 & 8 Bedford Street, Boston, Mass. [1866].

The solar gaz machine. O. P. Drake's latest improvement for lighting w...

Available also through the Library of Congress web site in two forms: as facsimile page images and as full text in SGML. Printed Ephemera Collection; Portfolio 72, Folder 12.

[Maquette of Union soldier for Roxbury Soldiers' Monument and other sculptures at the studio of Martin Milmore in Boston, Massachusetts]

[Maquette of Union soldier for Roxbury Soldiers' Monument and other sc...

47274 U.S. Copyright Office. Transfer; Manuscript Division; July 2, 1928; (DLC/PP-1928:47274) Title devised by Library staff.

Mr. Charles Dickens and his former American acquaintances - "not at home" / drawn by C.G. Bush.

Mr. Charles Dickens and his former American acquaintances - "not at ho...

Two panel illustration showing a distraught Charles Dickens standing with another man behind the door to his hotel room, on the other side of which is a group of people portraying characters from Dickens' novel... more

Charles Dickens as he appears when reading / sketched by C.A. Barry.

Charles Dickens as he appears when reading / sketched by C.A. Barry.

Charles Dickens, full-length portrait, facing front, standing at lectern. Title from item. Illus. in: Harper's weekly, v. 11, no. 571 (1867 December 7), p. 777.

Preparation for the great national peace jubilee, at Boston, Mass. - the members of the mammoth oratorio chorus, numbering three thousand, rehearsing at the Boston Music Hall, May 19th / from a sketch by A. Berghaus.

Preparation for the great national peace jubilee, at Boston, Mass. - t...

Wood engraving from sketch. Illus. in: Frank Leslie's illustrated newspaper, 1869 June 5, p. 188.

Boston, after the fire, November 9th & 10th, 1872

Boston, after the fire, November 9th & 10th, 1872

12410C1 U.S. Copyright Office Copyright deposit; Joshua Smith; November 25, 1872. Copyright claimant's address: Chicago.

World's Peace Jubilee, 1872 -- Boston Coliseum

World's Peace Jubilee, 1872 -- Boston Coliseum

Stereograph shows an interior view of the Boston Coliseum decorated for the 182 World's Peace Jubilee. Title from item. Entered according to act of Congress, A.D. 1872, by Chas. Pollock, in the Office of Librar... more

The cradle of liberty in danger / Th. Nast.

The cradle of liberty in danger / Th. Nast.

Print shows General Benjamin Butler as a monstrous genie frightening an infant lableled "Boston, Mass." in a cradle labeled "Common Wealth of Mass." Title from item. Captioned: "Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum!" The Genie of Mas... more

Boston Harbor, 1876

Boston Harbor, 1876

J201208 U.S. Copyright Office Copyright deposit; Irving Underhill; March 15, 1915; DLC/PP-1915:44944. Copyright claimant's address: N.Y. No. H.57.

[First Church, Boston. Perspective rendering] / F. M. Howe, del.

[First Church, Boston. Perspective rendering] / F. M. Howe, del.

Title devised by Library staff. Illustration in American Architect and Building News, Feb. 12, 1876. Gift ; American Institute of Architects / American Architectural Foundation ; 2010 ; (DLC/PP-2010:100) Forms ... more

Massachusetts--The kindergarten in the North-end Industrial Home, Boston / from a sketch by Chas. Upham.

Massachusetts--The kindergarten in the North-end Industrial Home, Bost...

Children with teachers in class. Illus. in: Frank Leslie's illustrated newspaper, v. 52, no. 1,340 (1881 June 4), p. 229.

John L. Sullivan, champion pugilist of the world. Born in Boston, October 15th, 1858.

John L. Sullivan, champion pugilist of the world. Born in Boston, Octo...

Print showing Sullivan in a boxing stance. 17342 U.S. Copyright Office. Original artwork signed E. W. Kemble. Copyright by E. W. Kemble.

Bench show. New England Kennel Club

Bench show. New England Kennel Club

Poster showing a variety of dogs at the New England Kennel Club's dog show. 9730(1?) U.S. Copyright Office. Mechanic's Hall, Huntington Ave., Boston. Title from item.

Style 17 - upright piano-forte designed and manufactured by Henry F. Miller & Sons Piano Co., Boston, Mass., U.S.A.
Boston national bloomer girl's base ball club, L.J. Galbreath, originator and owner

Boston national bloomer girl's base ball club, L.J. Galbreath, origina...

Post card showing nine members of the Boston National Bloomer Girls Base Ball Club, wearing baseball uniforms, posed with L.J. Galbreath in the center. Title from item. Gift; Harry L. Katz; 2008; (DLC/PP-2008:0... more

[Boston, Mass., Gov. John Hancock mansion with carriage drawn by six horses in foreground]

[Boston, Mass., Gov. John Hancock mansion with carriage drawn by six h...

Photo by(?) W.H. Halliday of a drawing(?). No. 10556.

East from Ames Building

East from Ames Building

25755Z1 U.S. Copyright Office Copyright deposit; N. L. Stebbins; July 5, 1894.

South from Ames Building

South from Ames Building

25757Z1 U.S. Copyright Office Copyright deposit; N. L. Stebbins; July 5, 1894. Copyright claimant's address: Boston.

North from Ames Building

North from Ames Building

25754Z1 U.S. Copyright Office Copyright deposit; N. L. Stebbins; July 5, 1894. Copyright claimant's address: Boston.

West, from Ames Building

West, from Ames Building

25756Z1 U.S. Copyright Office Copyright deposit; N. L. Stebbins; July 5, 1894. Copyright claimant's address: Boston.