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Posts Tagged ‘books’

Boston Public Library Commemorates 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s Death with Shakespeare Unauthorized Exhibition and Citywide Initiative

Posted on October 14th, 2016 by rlavery in Media Releases


Free exhibition opens today, presented by Iron Mountain Incorporated

2016 marks the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, and Boston Public Library honors the Bard’s lasting legacy with its Shakespeare Unauthorized exhibition, opening today in the McKim Exhibition Hall at the Central Library in Copley Square. The exhibition is presented in conjunction with the BPL citywide initiative All the City’s a Stage: A Season of Shakespeare at the Boston Public Library, connecting audiences to theater and the dramatic arts with programs throughout the library system. Boston Public Library holds one of the largest and most comprehensive publicly-held collections of Shakespeare, including the first four folios of his collected works, 45 early quarto editions of individual plays, and thousands of volumes of early source material, commentaries, translations, manuscripts, and more. Visit to view the complete offerings of the initiative.

“At some point in life, everyone has experienced the work of Shakespeare,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “These opportunities at the Boston Public Library give all the chance to learn more about the creative genius of Shakespeare and how his legacy lives on today.”

“Shakespeare Unauthorized is sure to engage and inspire people of all ages, and we hope visitors leave with a better understanding of not only Shakespeare’s works, but an appreciation for the world-class Shakespeare holdings of one of Boston’s finest cultural institutions,” said Julie Burros, Chief of Arts & Culture for the City of Boston. “We applaud the Boston Public Library for ensuring these works are accessible to everyone.” (more…)

Boston Public Library’s Local and Family History Series

Posted on September 28th, 2016 by rlavery in Media Releases

collage-9-28Boston Public Library’s fall Local & Family History Series continues, offering a wide range of topics from the Gilded Age and researching ancestors’ artifacts to today’s notable restaurants and the history of Haymarket:


  • Stephen T. Moskey, author of Larz and Isabel Anderson: Wealth and Celebrity in the Gilded Age explores the intersection of wealth, celebrity, politics, gender, and race on Wednesday, September 28, at 6 p.m. in the Commonwealth Salon at the Central Library in Copley Square, located at 700 Boylston Street.
  • Pamela Holland helps attendees find the stories of their ancestors and locate sources such as newspapers, diaries, letters, digitized books, photographs, and ephemera, many of which are now freely available online, to incorporate into colorful narratives of their ancestors’ lives. Wednesday, October 12, at 6 p.m. in the Commonwealth Salon at the Central Library in Copley Square, located at 700 Boylston Street.
  • Lindsay Fulton discusses the tabulation of the federal censuses from 1790-1840, the records that survive, and the questions that were asked during each enumeration on Wednesday, October 19, at 6 p.m. in the Commonwealth Salon at the Central Library in Copley Square, located at 700 Boylston Street.
  • The BPL’s own Justin Goodstein explores the history of Haymarket, from its beginnings as an expansion of Quincy Market in the first half of the nineteenth century to its current incarnation as a host of an ever-changing and diverse population. Wednesday, November 2, at 6 p.m. in the Commonwealth Salon at the Central Library in Copley Square, located at 700 Boylston Street.
  • James C. O’Connell shares stories of the most-beloved Boston restaurants of yesterday and today—illustrated with an extensive collection of historic menus, postcards, and photos, discussing Dining out in Boston: A Culinary History on Wednesday, November 16, at 6 p.m. in the Commonwealth Salon at the Central Library in Copley Square, located at 700 Boylston Street.
  • David A. Lambert helps attendees research World War I and World War II veterans through exploring how key resources such as family ephemera related to the service of the veteran, including dog tags, personal letters, or discharge papers, can give clues to the unit or the vessel to which their relative was attached. This Local & Family History Series lecture is presented on the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Wednesday, December 7, at 6 p.m. in the Commonwealth Salon at the Central Library in Copley Square, located at 700 Boylston Street.


Boston Public Library has a Central Library, twenty-four branches, map center, business library, and a website filled with digital content and services. Established in 1848, the Boston Public Library has pioneered public library service in America. It was the first large free municipal library in the United States, the first public library to lend books, the first to have a branch library, and the first to have a children’s room. Each year, the Boston Public Library hosts thousands of programs and serves millions of people. All of its programs and exhibitions are free and open to the public. At the Boston Public Library, books are just the beginning. To learn more, visit


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Karin Tanabe Discusses “The Gilded Years” at BPL

Posted on September 16th, 2016 by rlavery in General

img_1869The Gilded Years author Karin Tanabe visited the Central Library on Thursday, September 15 to discuss her historical fiction work, which tells the story of Anita Hemmings, the first black woman to attend and graduate Vassar College by passing as a white woman in the late 1890s. Anita has local ties – she grew up in Roxbury and worked at the Boston Public Library as a cataloguer, and likely met her husband at the BPL. Tanabe is a Vassar alumna and first got the idea for the book in 2014, when she flipped through her alumni magazine and saw mention of Anita. She began researching the woman and quickly found that not too much information could be found, but the subject of her next book was quickly brewing in her head.

Tanabe and some of her friends visited Vassar to search through their archives to find correspondence and details about Anita Hemmings. She was active in school, a member of the debate club and choir, and a very intelligent woman. Though no “majors” existed at Vassar at the time, Anita focused on languages and wanted to be a teacher. The year after she graduated, her college roommate of two years leaked the news that she was an African-American woman after her suspicions were raised in their senior year. After college, Anita married and lived with her husband in Tennessee before relocated to New York City. Anita did not pursue a teaching career after marrying and having children.

A question and answer period followed the reading of a passage. Audience members were curious to know if Anita was related to Peter or Sally Hemmings (maybe), and if Tanabe had communicated with any of Anita’s ancestors; Tanabe has been in touch with Anita’s great granddaughter. Listeners also asked if Anita was involved in civil rights issues, and Tanabe said she was not, to her knowledge, but Anita had a best friend who went to Wellesley College who was. One of the most challenging aspects of writing this book, Tanabe said, was tracking down the name of Anita’s roommate; she wrote most of the book without knowing. Tanabe also discussed how the book has relevance today, as racial tensions and acceptance of others is still an issue more than 100 years later.

Tanabe concluded the talk by signing books and showing photographs of Anita and others related to The Gilded Years.

The next Author Talk is Tuesday, September 20, at 6 p.m. in Rabb Hall at the Central Library in Copley Square, featuring Stacy Schiff, author of The Witches: Salem, 1692.

Boston Public Library Loans Centuries-Old Illuminated Manuscripts for Collaborative Beyond Words Exhibition

Posted on September 16th, 2016 by rlavery in Media Releases

januarius_0212Exhibitions opening this month at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the McMullen Museum at Boston College, and Houghton Library at Harvard University

Boston Public Library is loaning 36 medieval and early Renaissance manuscripts and printed books from its collections to three area cultural institutions, part of an ambitious collaborative project entitled Beyond Words: Illuminated Manuscripts in Boston Collections. The largest ever exhibition of medieval and Renaissance books held in North America, the BPL items date from the 10th century to the early 16th century, part of the Library’s Medieval and Early Renaissance Manuscripts Collection of Distinction. The materials will be featured at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the McMullen Museum at Boston College, and Houghton Library at Harvard University from September 2016 to January 2017. For more information about the exhibitions, visit

“These illuminated manuscripts and bound books represent a crucial period in the Western evolution of writing and reading,” said David Leonard, President of the Boston Public Library. “This first of its kind collaborative exhibition is an exciting opportunity for the Boston Public Library to put our collection on display, and make these objects viewable and easily accessible to the public.”

“The Boston Public Library’s early manuscripts collection is astounding in its breadth and overall quality. Scholars come to Boston from around the world in order to study these artifacts,” said Jay Moschella, Curator of Rare Books at the Boston Public Library and one of the facilitators of the exhibition for the library. (more…)

Michael Patrick MacDonald Kicks Off Fall Author Talk Series

Posted on September 14th, 2016 by kmiller in General

mpm_1Michael Patrick MacDonald, the author of All Souls and Easter Rising, spoke to a captivated audience that filled the newly renovated Rabb Hall at the Central Library in Copley Square last night. MacDonald spent the hour reading from his debut novel All Souls and exploring his emotional journey and experience in South Boston during the 1980s and 1990s. A slideshow of his family and the South Boston Old Colony Housing Project where he grew up played in the background, giving a quiet but powerful context to the memories MacDonald related.

The first reading included an ode to the time MacDonald spent at the Boston Public Library during his high school years. He described the library as his shelter and safe haven. He spent so much time at the library, he added, that he eventually got a job shelving books—an anecdote that garnered applause from the audience. Fond memories of the library segued into his relationship with the world of punk rock. MacDonald’s story of stalking the band Sex Pistols, who were staying at the Central Library’s neighbor the Lenox Hotel, illustrated his sense of living in two worlds: South Boston and the punk rock scene, which allowed him to escape the harsh realities of Southie life.

MacDonald also explored the tragedies that took the lives of four of his eleven siblings and informed the writing of All Souls. His grief over these losses manifested as physical ailments. After going to see doctors all over the city, MacDonald finally was recommended to a therapist, an experience that made him realize that what happened to his family and his circumstances in Southie were not “normal.” Even more importantly, it helped MacDonald acknowledge the tragic events in his life.

The night concluded with numerous questions from the audience. MacDonald talked about his community organizing and the importance of that work as a way for him to transform his pain into good. MacDonald’s new book, with the working title The Echoes, focuses on the heroin epidemic in South Boston and Charlestown in the 90s and is slated for release in 2017.

This talk is part of the Boston Public Library’s Lowell Lecture Series and is generously sponsored by the Lowell Institute, established in 1836 with the specific mission of making great ideas accessible to all people, free of charge.

The next  Author Talk is on Thursday, September 15, at 6 p.m. featuring Karin Tanabe, author of Gilded Years, and takes place in the Commonwealth Salon at the Central Library in Copley Square.