Cover image for Boston A to Z
Boston A to Z
O'Connor, Thomas H., 1922-2012.
Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
xii, 370 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F73.36 .O37 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



From its origins as a Puritan settlement on the Shawmut Peninsula to the multicultural capital of the knowledge industry that it is today, the city of Boston has played a significant role in our nation's history. In this book, the preeminent historian of Boston, Thomas H. O'Connor, takes readers on a delightful tour of the city, past and present. Drawing on lifelong acquaintance as a native son and scholar, O'Connor has assembled a personal, informal, and eclectic series of essays about Boston's people, places, and events.

Along the way you will meet figures of national significance and local heroes (or rogues), from John Adams and Phillis Wheatley to "Honey Fitz" and the Brink's gang; visit spaces sacred and profane, from the African Meeting House and Holy Cross Cathedral to Filene's Basement and the L Street Bathhouse; learn about institutions of civic importance and local color, from the Museum of Fine Arts and Massachusetts General Hospital to private clubs and nightspots; and be enlightened about the lore surrounding such quintessentially Boston topics as baked beans, the Curse of the Bambino, and the Steaming Kettle.

Boston A to Z wears its learning lightly but never fails to inform as it entertains. While celebrating some of Boston's finest achievements, it doesn't shy away from darker episodes. Longtime residents will find enlightenment about familiar and arcane aspects of their city, and visitors or newcomers will enjoy an engaging introduction to the life, culture, and history of Boston.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Getting the low-down on Bean Town has never been particularly easy. Capturing the soul of this unique metropolis means that some compromises have to be made. Readers who want to wave the flag as they wander through Boston are not going to be thrilled to learn about its sordid racial tensions, while ethnic groups demanding that their leaders be placed just as prominently as the ol' white dudes must still contend with history. The author has done all sides a service by focusing on facts and ignoring wishes. His book may not please partisans, but for the rest of us, especially those who have not visited Boston before, the guide will provide a witty, balanced, well-researched look at the unique things that make up Boston. Readers will come away appreciate a writer who treats his subject and his readers with the same degree of respect. New England public libraries should buy several copies; other libraries will appreciate seeing just how a love song to a city is supposed to be written.DJospeh L. Carlson, Lompoc P.L., CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Travels with My Aunt
Nellie Map of Boston Abigail Adams John
Adams Sam Adams African Meeting House Ancient and Honorables
Arnold Arboretum Athenaeum Crispus Attucks Bathhouses Beacon Hill
The Big Dig
The Birth of a Nation
William Blackstone
Blue Hill Avenue Boston, England
Boston Accent
Boston Associates
Boston Baked Beans
Boston College
Boston Cream Pie
Boston Latin School
Boston Marathon
Boston Marriage
Boston Massacre
Boston Public Library
Boston Stock Exchange
Boston Stone
Boston Strangler
The Boston Strong Boy
Boston Tea Party
Boston Terrier
Boston University
The Bostonian Society Anne Bradstreet Brahmins Bridges
The Brink's Robbery Broad Street Riot
The Broadcloth Mob Brook Farm Charles Bulfinch Bunker Hill Monument
Busing Melnea Cass Castle Island
The Cathedral Cemeteries Children's Hospital Chinatown
Christian Science Church Citgo Sign City Hall
Clubs Cocoanut Grove Fire T
he Combat Zone
The Common USS Constitution John Singleton
Copley Curse of the Bambino Frances Greely Curtis
Custom House Durgin-Park Mary Dyer
Emerald Necklace Leif Ericsson
Evacuation Day Famine Memorial Faneuil Hall
Fannie Farmer
Fenway Park Fidelity Investments
The 54th Regiment Filene's Basement
Floating Hospital Freedom Trail Fugitive Slaves "Gangplank Bill"
The Garden William Lloyd Garrison
The Great Fire Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce
Sarah Hale Harvard University Hatch Shell
The Hi-Hat Holocaust Memorial "Honey Fitz" Julia Ward Howe
The Hub Anne Hutchinson
"The Ice King" Influenza Epidemic "Mrs. Jack" Jimmy's Harborside Jordan Marsh
The Steaming Kettle King Philip's War King's Chapel "Know-Nothings"
The Last Hurrah The Late George Apley
The Liberty Tree Locke-Ober's Logan International Airport
Louisburg Square Lowell Institute "The Mahatma" Make Way for Ducklings Massachusetts
General Hospital Massachusetts Historical Society
Mechanics Hall "Mister Boston"
The Molasses Explosion Museum of Fine Arts
The "New Boston" Newspaper Row North End
Northeastern University
Old Corner Bookstore
The Old Howard Old North Church
Old South Meeting House
Old State House John Boyle O'Reilly Park Street Church
Parker House Elizabeth Palmer Peabody Perkins School for the Blind Pine Street Inn
The Police Strike The Ponzi Scheme
The Pops The Pru Public Garden