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Spy Hub Talk Continues Local and Family History Series

Posted on February 12th, 2016 by BPL News in General
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IMG_1277Charles R. Gallagher, SJ, an Assistant Professor of History at Boston College, addressed an audience of 100 people, detailing the work of the Christian Front in Boston during World War II. A Catholic anti-Semitic fraternal organization, the group’s propaganda efforts for the Nazis were so successful that British intelligence established its own organization in Boston, the Irish-American Defense Association. Gallagher posed his research question to listeners – Why did the Christian Front get shut down for terrorism in New York in January of 1940, but remain active until 1943 in Boston? Why should we care?

The Boston group’s leader, Francis Moran, held meetings for the thousands of members in Hibernian Hall in Roxbury, regularly showing Nazi propaganda films. At one point, Moran attempted to link the group to the Archdiocese of Boston, but the Cardinal said no. Interestingly, Moran always said that the Christian Front was about war and peace, not Catholicism. While British intelligence was a presence in Boston during the early 1940s, Gallagher noted that the Boston FBI office had no idea this was happening.

The answer to “Why should we care?,” says Gallagher, is that this time in Boston’s history raises questions of democracy and security, which are issues still prevalent today. Gallagher plans to write the book this summer and have it to press by the fall.

The Local & Family History Series runs through May and continues on February 24 with Marta Crilly’s talk “History of the Hub: Resources for Local and Family History at the Boston City Archives.” See the full schedule via

Chavannes Mural Successfully Removed from Central Library’s Grand Staircase

Posted on February 9th, 2016 by BPL News in General

After weeks of careful preparation, conservators have detached the Central Library’s Chavannes’ Philosophy mural panel from its backing wall. The panel, one of eight Chavannes’ murals that surround the Central Library’s grand staircase, was originally adhered to the library walls in 1895-96 using the “marouflage” technique of binding canvas to plaster support with an adhesive paste. Over the years this adhesive weakened, making it necessary for conservators to remove the panel from its backing for repairs – an ambitious procedure that has rarely been attempted on marouflaged canvas.

In order to safely remove the panel, conservators Gianfranco Pocobene and Ian Hodkinson spent the first weeks of the project securing the mural surface with protective layers of rice paper, canvas, and a network of supportive wood braces. On Wednesday, February 3, the conservators cut away at the remaining adhesive and plaster behind it, succeeding in detaching the panel.

A team was at the ready to help lower the panel onto scaffolding and carry it upstairs to the Cheverus room, where it will undergo relining and restoration for the next six to eight weeks. The restored panel is expected to return to its location on the grand staircase in April 2016.

Boston Public Library Locations to Close at 5 p.m. Today

Posted on February 8th, 2016 by BPL News in General

Due to the inclement weather, all locations of the Boston Public Library will close today at 5 p.m. Please view the BPL calendar for the status of programs today. Visit to access BPL resources remotely.

WHERE: All locations of Boston Public Library

WHEN: February 8, 2016 at 5 p.m.



Boston Public Library’s Top Ten Books for Black History Month

Posted on February 3rd, 2016 by BPL News in General
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2016 low resIn honor of Black History month, Boston Public Library publishes the annual “Black Is” book list, a compilation of recent works by and about African Americans for adult readers. BPL staff have undertaken the difficult task of narrowing down the list of titles to bring you their top ten favorite books from 2016’s “Black Is” book list.



To view the full “Black Is” book list, download a PDF or pick up a copy at any Boston Public Library location.

Boston Public Library Celebrates Black History Month with Booklist, Programs

Posted on February 1st, 2016 by BPL News in Media Releases

blackis2016coverBoston Public Library honors Black History Month at locations throughout the city with a plethora of lectures, music celebrations, workshops, and crafts this February. The BPL published its annual “Black Is” booklist, a list of recent books concerning the African American experience compiled by staff members for all to enjoy. Categories of books include international and urban fiction, biography/memoir, expressions, and history and contemporary issues in nonfiction. Authors featured include Toni Morrison, Shonda Rimes, Whoopi Goldberg, and more. Copies of the booklist will be available at the Central Library and all branch locations this week.

The BPL also honors Black History Month through a variety of themed programming. Highlights include:

  • The Triumph! Black Military Unsung Heroes exhibition takes viewers through the rich history of how heroes contributed mightily to the history of our nation and secured the freedoms that, for many of them, were delayed over time. On display at the Grove Hall Branch, located at 41 Geneva Avenue in Dorchester, from Wednesday, February 3, through March 18.
  • Desiree Taylor takes audiences on an investigative journey through story into the Harlem Renaissance at the Charlestown, Uphams Corner, South Boston, and West Roxbury branches throughout the month of February.
  • Learn about an important African American inventor or innovator each week, beginning on Wednesday, February 3, at 4 p.m. at the Adams Street Branch, located at 690 Adams Street in Dorchester. For children and teens.
  • Roxbury’s own Valerie Stephens shares tales of freedom in a storytelling series based on the courageous actions of Americans during the American abolitionist movement and slavery. Thursday, February 4, at 6 p.m. at the Grove Hall Branch, located at 41 Geneva Avenue.
  • Children make music together featuring African American musicians on Saturday, February 6, at 11 a.m. in the Children’s Library at the Central Library in Copley Square, located at 700 Boylston Street.
  • Discover and access the BPL’s online resources to help enrich learning about African American history, life, and culture on Wednesday, February 10, at 2:30 p.m. at the Central Library in Copley Square, located at 700 Boylston Street.
  • A Black History Month film series take place at the Lower Mills Branch on Fridays throughout February at 27 Richmond Street and a film fest occurs on Thursday, February 11, from 12 to 7 p.m. at the Mattapan Branch, located at 1350 Blue Hill Avenue.
  • Youth make mobiles honoring Black History Month on Tuesday, February 23, at 4 p.m. at the West Roxbury Branch, located at 1961 Centre Street.
  • Listen to d’Allegro’s take on classic and inspirational tunes by African American artists on Thursday, February 25, at 6 p.m. at the Mattapan Branch, located at 1350 Blue Hill Avenue.
  • The Grove Hall Branch holds the Kevin Harris Project jazz concert on Saturday, February 27, at 2 p.m.

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