Proposed Boston Literary Cultural District: A Map, Survey Report, & Testimony to the Boston City Council Subcommittee on Arts & Culture, by Dan Currie
A SURVEY OF THE LITERARY CULTURAL DISTRICT
by Dan Currie, an independent consultant
March 4, 2014
(DC NOTE: A “Boston Literary District” was subsequently, officially established — without acknowledgement to any of the following work — at http://bostonlitdistrict.org)
II. Literary Cultural District Asset Survey
III. Revised LCD Map
The purpose of this survey is to offer an independent report and several recommendations regarding the proposal to establish of a “Literary Cultural District” (LCD) in the city of Boston. The report is informed by the efforts of the original proponents of the proposal and their working groups spearheaded by Grub Street, the independent creative writing center. It also relies on the research of many others who have documented Boston’s rich literary heritage in the past.
This report recommends approximately 156 sites (including about 50 that have already been proposed) to be considered as prospective literary heritage and/or literary events programming “assets” of the proposed LCD.
The inclusion of these assets will require an expansion of the originally proposed LCD boundaries. This report recommends an expansion that is illustrated by a separately attached revised map of the district. Essentially as so expanded, Boston’s LCD would be anchored by the Longfellow Bridge in the north, by Edgar Allan Poe Square in the south, by Boston City Hall in the east, and by the Boston Women’s Memorial in the west.
The entire area the expanded Literary Cultural Districy would be approximately three-quarters of a square mile — in a city that contains a total of 48.28 square miles of land. The perimeter of the LCD would be roughly 3.5 miles.
The entire district is readily accessible not only on foot, but by automobile and from available parking, as well as via public transportation by bus, and by the subway system which offers convenient stops inside the LCD at Copley Square, Arlington St, Tremont and Boylston streets, Park St, Downtown Crossing, State Street, Bowdoin Square, Haymarket, Charles/MGH, and Government Center (once its renovated station is reopened in 2016).
Please note that the proposed redefinition of LCD boundaries stipulates that when a given street is described as a border, that boundary is presumed to include properties adjacent to both sides of the street. Also, due to the limited time available to assemble this survey, please be advised that the addresses, map designations, asset descriptions and other enumerations it contains must be subject to additional improvements and verifications before they may be considered fully authenticated.
For now, it is hoped that this preliminary survey will be helpful in advancing the Literary Cultural District project. Thank you for the opportunity to present it to you. -Dan Currie (firstname.lastname@example.org)
II. Literary Cultural District Asset Survey: Heritage & Programming Assets (156 total)
A. Downtown (70 assets)
1. “Poe Returning to Boston,” a sculpture of Boston-born author, poet, editor and literary critic Edgar Allan Poe scheduled to be installed at the corner of Charles Street South and Boylston streets around October 2014. (Poe’s nearby birthplace, at 62 Charles St South — formerly Carver St — in Bay Village, was torn down in 1959.)
2. The Colored American Magazine, 5 Park Square, where Boston African-American journalist, editor, historian, playwright and novelist Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins pioneered the use of the romantic novel to explore social and racial themes 1901–1903
3. “Piano Row,” a National Historic District on Boylston St between Tremont and Charles streets, so designated due to the concentration of piano showrooms and music-related industries there especially from 1890 to 1930
4. Grub Street, 162 Boylston St, Boston’s independent creative writing center
5. First Literacy, 160 Boylston St, opening life-changing opportunities through services that increase adult literacy
6. Charles Sprague grave, Central Burying Ground on Boston Common, known as “the banker-poet of Boston”
7. Tavern Club, 4 Boylston Place, founded in 1884 for members who share interest in literature, history, theater, music and the visual arts (see Boylston Place Foundation)
8. Emerson/Colonial Theatre, 106 Boylston St (see the Theater District, generally)
9. Ploughshares, 120 Boylston St, one of the country’s finest literary magazines, published three times a year by Emerson College; also the headquarters for ArtsEmerson, expanding the cultural landscape of Boston by supporting new works of art
10. Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theatre, 219 Tremont St
11. Charles Playhouse, 74 Warrenton St
12. Shubert Theatre, 263–265 Tremont St (opened 1910)
13. Wilbur Theatre, 246 Tremont St (since 1914)
14. Jacob Wirth Restaurant, 21 Stuart St
15. AMC Loews Boston Common 19, movie theater, 175 Tremont (formerly the Haymarket Theatre, Boston’s second legitimate theater, est. 1796)
16. Fannie Farmer, 174 Tremont St, former location of Boston Cooking School which became world famous following the 1896 publication of the Boston Cooking-School Cook Book by its Boston-born principal at the time, Fannie Merritt Farmer. The Fannie Farmer Cookbook became an American classic that revolutionized cooking and it is still in print today.
17. Emerson/Paramount Center, 559 Washington St
18. Boston Opera House, 539 Washington St (since 1928)
19. Margaret Fuller, 486 Washington St (when it was 1–2 Avon Place), residence while working at nearby Temple School and The Dial Magazine
20. Modern Theatre, Suffolk University, 525 Washington St (since 1913)
21. Godfrey Hotel Boston, 505 Washington St (under construction) 243-room boutique hotel with ground floor retail (opening in 2015)
22. Elizabeth Peabody Bookstore, 15 West St. Peabody, the first female publisher in Boston, maintained a home and business here in the 1840s. The shop was a meeting place for intellectuals including Bronson Alcott, William Ellery Channing, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller and Theodore Parker. The transcendentalist periodical The Dial was published here. (see existing plaque and photo of previous one)
23. Brattle Book Shop, 9 West St, one of America’s oldest and largest used and antiquarian book shops (founded in 1825)
24. Transcendentalist writer, philosopher and education reformer Bronson Alcott’s Temple School, 140 Tremont St, teachers included Margaret Fuller and Elizabeth Peabody; father of Louisa May
25. Boston Common Visitors Center, 139 Tremont St (at Parkman Plaza)
26. Brewer Fountain Plaza, Boston Common, Tremont St (near Park St)
27. Parkman Bandstand, Boston Common, 139 Tremont St
28. Boston Common, the oldest public park in America, a source of solace, communion and inspiration since 1634
29. Boston Common Frog Pond (see Poe’s literary “Frogpondians”)
30. Amory-Ticknor House, 9 Park St, home of lawyer, journalist George Ticknor beginning in 1829
31. Union Club, 8 Park St, founded 1863, hosts “Authors Among Us” series
32. Park Street Church, New England Society for the Suppression of Vice was founded here May 1878; editor H.L. Mencken was arrested for selling “certain obscene, indecent, and impure printing … manifestly tending to corrupt the morals of youth” outside in April 1926 in “The Battle of Brimstone Corner” (also see opposite corner on Boston Common)
33. Orpheum Theatre, 1 Hamilton Place (opened 1852), the original home of Boston Symphony Orchestra, 1881–1900
34. Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward, celebrated novel written in 1888, describing utopian Boston in the year 2000, and “Stores! Stores! Stores! Miles of stores!” on Washington St (such as Macy’s)
35. Poet, essayist and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson’s birthplace, 27 Summer St, May 25, 1803 (see plaque next to Macy’s entrance opposite Hawley St)
36. Statue of Scottish poet and lyricist Robert Burns, Winthrop Square
37. Federal Street Theatre, now 1 Federal St, was Boston’s first official theatre, 1793–1852, also called the Boston Theatre, later the Odeon
38. Susana Haswell Rowson, novelist, playwright, actress, founded Academy for Young Ladies near 1 Federal St in 1797
39. Judith Sargent Murray, 77 Franklin St (at Arch St) (was 5 Franklin Place in Tontine Crescent) residence 1794–1819, “Boston’s first great literary feminist”
40. The Board Alley Theatre a.k.a. the New Exhibition Room, on Hawley St (probably where Filene’s), the first theater in Boston (although it was illegal), 1792, shutdown by Governor John Hancock in June 1793
41. Transcript Building, 319 Washington St, where newspaper of “Proper Bostonians” the Boston Evening Transcript (1830–1941) was published (also see connections to Horatio Alger Jr and the Loring Book Shop)
42. Birthplace of leading author, printer and Founding Father Benjamin Franklin,
1 Milk St, January 17, 1706 (also see Franklin statue at Old City Hall, 45 School St)
43. Old South Meeting House, 310 Washington St, stagehouse of the American Revolution dubbed “Boston’s Sanctuary of Freedom.” Members of Old South congregation included African-American slave and poet Phillis Wheatley, patriot leader Samuel Adams and Founding Father Benjamin Franklin.
44. Commonwealth Books, 2 Milk St. formerly Goodspeed’s Book Shop, in Old South basement which has been associated with bookselling since colonial times (Commonwealth Books has a second location at nearby 9 Spring Lane.)
45. Old Corner Book Store, 3 School St, the original site of publishing company Ticknor & Fields, meeting place of Emerson, Holmes, Longfellow, Lowell, Stowe, Thoreau, Whittier, headquarters of Boston’s foremost publisher James T. Fields
46. Edwin O’Connor, Old City Hall, 45 School St, presumed setting for his bestselling 1956 novel The Last Hurrah (see film adaptation starring Spencer Tracy)
47. Boston Latin School, founded in 1635, first location of both the first public school and oldest existing school in the U.S., alumni include Adams, Winthrop, Franklin, Cotton Mather, Emerson, Santayana, Kennedy, Fitzgerald, Hancock, Bernstein, see colorful plaque on sidewalk outside 45 School St
48. Poet, author, professor, physician Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr residence 1841–59,
3 Bosworth St (formerly 8 Montgomery Place)
49. Marliave Restaurant, 10 Bosworth St
50. Granary Burying Ground, burial place of Phillis Wheatley’s owner (and possibly Phillis herself); Mary (Mother?) Goose (Elizabeth Vergoose); Sarah Josepha Hale, author of the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” who conceived Thanksgiving holiday; Abiah Franklin, Benjamin’s mother; and 1776 signers of the “Declaration of Independence”: Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Robert Treat Paine
51. 101 Tremont St, former home of Bowen’s museum (later Boston Museum) owned by “Boston’s pioneer museumkeeper” Daniel Bowen, included theatre ballroom where actresses Elizabeth & Eliza Arnold (Poe’s grandmother & mother) last performed together in Boston; later home of publisher Frederick Gleason and editor Maturin Murray Ballou’s popular illustrated weekly Gleason’s Pictorial and weekly story paper The Flag of Our Union (which published Poe’s last works while he was alive)
52. Tremont Temple, 88 Tremont St, which hosted speakers like Emerson, Douglass, Lincoln (in 1848), Webster, Dickens (for his first public reading of “A Christmas Carol” in the U.S. in 1867), Stowe, Mary Rice Livermore, and Mary Baker Eddy
53. Omni Parker House, 60 School St, “Boston’s Literary Hotel,” where writers from “America’s Golden Age of Literature” met regularly here in the legendary “Saturday Club” starting in 1855
54. King’s Chapel Burying Ground, burial place of John Winthrop, author of “A Model of Christian Charity,” “city on a hill,” one of the Massachusetts Bay Colony’s original founders; and Hezekiah Usher, the first bookseller and printer in the colony; also the site of Hester Prynne and Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale’s burial in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1850 novel The Scarlet Letter
55. Novelist and short story writer Nathaniel Hawthorne described 26 Court St, the “Old Prison” in The Scarlet Letter (Hawthorne married Sophia Peabody at 15 West St; he frequented Old Corner Bookstore; and lived at 54 Pinckney St 1839–1840)
56. New England Courant, plaque at 17 Court St, founded by editor James Franklin in 1721, the first American newspaper to use literary content; brother Benjamin was a typesetter and wrote articles as “Silence Dogood”
57. “Pi Alley,” near 241 Washington St, so-named because newspapermen would drop mixed-up, loose type (called “pi” in printing business) there
58. David R. Godine, Publisher, with Black Sparrow Books, independent publisher since 1970, 15 Court Square
59. Peter L. Stern & Company, antiquarian bookseller, 15 Court Square
60. Boston’s “Newspaper Row” plaque, between 266 Washington St & 1 Devonshire Place (former locations: 244 Washington St, Boston Globe, est.1872; 246 Boston Advertiser, 255 Boston Herald, 262 Boston Journal, 264 Boston Traveler)
61. Richard Fairbanks plaque, ran the first post office in the American colonies, 1639, see plaque between 266 Washington St & 1 Devonshire Place
62. National Park Service Visitors Center, 15 State St
63. One State St., where Edgar Allan Poe’s first book, Tamerlane and Other Poems By a Bostonian, was printed by Calvin F.S. Thomas in 1827
64. Bostonian Society & Old State House Museum, 206 Washington St
65. One Boston Place, was home of poet, critic and editor James Russell Lowell’s short-lived magazine The Pioneer (which published “The Tell-Tale Heart” in 1843)
66. Old State House, 206 Washington St, built in 1713, former seat of the Massachusetts legislature, the oldest surviving public building in Boston
67. City Hall Plaza, 1 City Hall Avenue, Government Center, a large, open space for public gatherings and special events, such as the “Outside the Box” arts festival
68. Boston City Hall, 1 City Hall Avenue, Government Center, headquarters of the mayor’s cabinet office of Arts & Culture, the Boston Arts Commission, and the Boston Cultural Council
69. Boston By Foot, 4 Faneuil Hall Marketplace, providing walking tours promoting appreciation for the rich history of “The Athens of America”
70. Union Oyster House, 41 Union St, since 1826 oldest continuously operating restaurant in U.S.; site of Massachusetts Spy newspaper, founded by printer Isaiah Thomas in 1770
• Little Brown and Company, the publishing house founded in 1837 (was at 254 Washington St in 1892), whose early lists featured Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Emily Dickinson’s poetry, and Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations. The publisher traces its roots back to 1784 and bookstores opened on State St and Marlborough St by Ebenezer Battelle, a partner with Isaiah Thomas (see Union Oyster House and Massachusetts Spy)
• Writers’ Room of Boston, 111 State St, a nonprofit organization supporting the creation of new literature by providing space and community for writers in downtown Boston (near corner of Broad St, outside LCD)
B. Beacon Hill (53 assets)
71. Boston Athenaeum, 10 1/2 Beacon St, one of the oldest independent libraries in the U.S., founded in 1807, and moved to this location in 1849
72. Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Massachusetts Regiment Memorial, Boston Common on Beacon St, opposite the State House, inspired poet Robert Lowell’s
“To the Union Dead” and the Paul Lawrence Dunbar poem “Robert Gould Shaw”
73. Massachusetts State House, Beacon and Park streets, which houses the State Bookstore and the State Library, where civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr reprised portions of his “I Have A Dream” speech before a joint session of the legislature on April 23, 1965, and before which President-Elect John F. Kennedy delivered his “City Upon a Hill” speech on January 9, 1961
74. John F. Kennedy, Pulitzer Prize-winning politician author of Profiles in Courage, residence 122 Bowdoin St (also see JFK statue on State House grounds, Beacon St)
75. Social Law Library, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square; the library, which hosts an author’s series, was established in 1804, making it one of oldest law libraries in U.S. (also see public art podium in front of the courthouse in Pemberton Square)
76. The Revere House, Bowdoin Square — where 100 Cambridge St (and the park behind it) is today — Boston’s other literary hotel, where Daniel Webster, Charles Dickens, Walt Whitman, Ulysses S. Grant, Mark Twain, and singer Jenny Lind were among the guests. It was destroyed by fire in 1912.
77. F. Holland Day, the first photographer in the U.S. who advocated that photography should be considered a fine art, and the publisher who co-foundered the publishing house of Copeland & Day which maintained offices in the Revere House in Bowdoin Square from 1893–1899
78. Historic New England, 141 Cambridge St (in the Harrison Gray Otis House), a museum of cultural history
79. Suffolk University Bookstore, 148 Cambridge St
80. Boston Public Library, West End Branch, 151 Cambridge St
81. Maria Stewart, 81 Joy St, black abolitionist, essayist, lecturer and religious activist whose speeches were the first publicly-delivered speeches by an American woman on politics and women’s rights
82. David Walker, 81 Joy St, in 1829 published an “Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World” decrying American slavery and summoning his fellow African-Americans to resist it.
83. C. Walsh Theatre, Suffolk University, 55 Temple St
84. Ford Hall Forum at Suffolk University & Salamander, a magazine for poetry, fiction and memoirs, published by Suffolk University, 41 Temple St
85. Horace Mann statue on the grounds of the Massachusetts State House, Beacon St, education reformer, “Father of the Common School Movement,” politician, and brother-in-law to author Nathaniel Hawthorne
86. Beacon Press, 41 Mt. Vernon St, at the corner of Joy St, founded 1854
86.5 Nichols House Museum, 55 Mount Vernon St, home of suffragist and writer Rose Standish Nichols, 1935–1960
87. The offices of the New England Watch & Ward Society, 41 Mount Vernon St, sponsors of censorship that promoted the phrase “Banned in Boston” (also see the “Boston Booksellers Committee” book jury started in 1915)
88. Henry Adams birthplace, 57 Mount Vernon Place, on Feb 16, 1838, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Education of Henry Adams
89. Parkman House, the city-owned mansion at 33 Beacon St (next to the State House) that is the Boston mayor’s official reception hall. George Francis Parkman lived here 1823–1908, his father George was infamously “Murdered at Harvard” (at what is now Mass. General Hospital) in 1849.
90. 39 Beacon St, the mansion of textile magnate Nathan Appleton, where poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow married daughter Fanny Appleton in 1843
91. Thomas Bailey Aldrich, 59 Mt Vernon St, writer, author of the 1870 semi-autobiographical novel The Story of a Bad Boy
92. Author, poet, philosopher Henry David Thoreau’s home, 4 Pinckney St, 1821–1823
93. Louisa May Alcott, 20 Pinckney St, the Little Women author’s childhood home.
94. Louise Imogen Guiney, 16 Pinckney, the poet, essayist and editor
95. Alice Brown, 11 Pinckney St, the writer, biographer, best known as a writer of local color
96. John Joseph Wieners, the Boston poet and “Hipster of Joy Street” who lived at 44 Joy St from 1971 until his death in 2002
97. Museum of African American History, 46 Joy St, New England’s largest black history museum, in the oldest surviving black church building in the U.S.
98. William Cooper Nell, 3 Smith Court, a National Historic Site commemorating the African-American writer and abolitionist
99. Vilna Shul, 18 Phillips St, Boston’s Center for Jewish Culture, where local scholars, authors, lecturers honor the past and support a creative future
100. William Ellery Channing, residence 83 Mt Vernon St, from 1835 until death in 1842, where hosted Charles Dickens and Elizabeth Peabody (also see the Channing statue, Boston Public Garden, facing Arlington St at the corner of Boylston St)
101. Francis Otto Matthiesson, 87 Pinckney St, a gay man, political progressive, Harvard scholar, and influential literary critic in the fields of American literature and American studies. F.O. committed suicide by jumping from a Boston hotel window in 1950. His life and death inspired May Sarton’s 1955 novel Faithful are the Wounds and Mark Merlis’s 1994 novel American Studies.
102. Novelist and medical thriller author Robin Cook’s residence, 16 Louisburg Square
103. In 1885, novelist Louisa May Alcott purchased a home at 10 Louisburg Square for her father, educator and famed Transcendentalist Bronson Alcott, where she would die within two days of him in 1888.
104. William Dean Howells, 4 Louisburg Square, home of the author and Atlantic Monthly editor once known as “The Dean of American Letters”
105. Poets Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes resided at 9 Willow St in the late 1950s. Hughes wrote a poem to Plath entitled “9 Willow Street.”
106. Robert Frost, 88 Mount Vernon St, where the poet lived while teaching at Harvard from 1938 to 1941
106.5. Writer Henry James lived at 102 Mount Vernon St in 1882, after the death of his mother (also see the house at 13 Ashburton Place where he lived when starting to be a writer)
107. Richard Henry Dana Sr., 43 Chestnut, 1830s until death in 1876, the poet, critic and lawyer was an early practitioner of Gothic literature; his son wrote the memoir Two Years Before the Mast
108. Francis Parkman residence, 50 Chestnut St, from 1865 until his death in 1893, historian, author of The Oregon Trail; the Beacon Hill Garden Club offers a tour of his garden (and others) on the third Thursday of May each year
109. William H. Prescott, residence 55 Beacon St, the influential intellectual, first American scientific historian, author of classic works of Hispanic scholarship
110. Harry Crosby’s family home, 95 Beacon, the poet who epitomized the “Lost Generation” that came of age during World War I; publisher of the Black Sun Press, noted for publishing the early works of modernists including Hart Crane, D.H. Lawrence, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Dorothy Parker, Ezra Pound, Kay Boyle, T.S. Eliot and Charles Bukowski
111. David Foster Wallace’s 1996 novel Infinite Jest, largely set in Boston including at the Store 24 formerly located at 78 Charles St
112. The former Charles Meeting House, 121 Mount Vernon St, built in 1807. a stronghold of the anti-slavery movement; site of notable speeches by Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips, Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth
113. Samuel Eliot Morison, 44 Brimmer St, maritime historian, winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, author of One Boy’s Boston, 1887–1901 (also see Back Bay statue)
114. Brimmer Street School — now Park Street Elementary School — at 67 Brimmer St which poet Robert Lowell entered at age eight
115. Charles River Esplanade and Hatch Memorial Shell
116. John Phillips Marquand residence 43 West Cedar St, novelist and author of The Late George Apley, a satire of Boston’s upper class
117. Susan Paul residence 36 West Cedar St, the abolitionist and Liberator contributor who wrote the first autobiography of an African-American published in U.S.
119. Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin, 103 Charles St, publisher of the first newspaper by and for black women
120. 91 Revere St, Robert Lowell’s childhood home from his birth on March 1, 1917 (see the memoral plaque there)
121. Lucretia Peabody Hale, 127 Charles St, journalist and author, sister of author Edward Everett Hale
122. James T. & Annie Adams Fields residence, 160 Charles St (formerly 148 Charles), site of famed literary salons, many celebrated authors as guests, now a parking garage, but the Fields garden still exists (see Beacon Hill Garden Club about annual tour; also see Old Corner Bookstore; Fields’ 1st Boston residence was 84 Pinckney St)
123. The Longfellow Bridge, named by the Massachusetts legislature in 1927 to honor Henry Wadsworth Longfellow who had written about the predecessor West Boston Bridge (originally constructed in 1793) in his 1845 poem “The Bridge”
124. The Liberty Hotel, 215 Charles St, formerly the Charles Street Jail where Malcolm X, the Muslim minister, human rights activist and author of The Autobiography of Malcolm X, one of the most influential nonfiction books of the 20th century, was incarcerated for a portion of a 1946 to 1952 prison term during which he became a member of the Nation of Islam (also see the Parker House where Malcolm X was busboy in the early 1940s, and Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh was a baker 1912.)
C. Back Bay (31 assets)
125. Make Way for Ducklings sculpture, Boston Public Garden, sculptor Nancy Schön’s 1987 tribute to Robert McCloskey’s children’s story
126. Writer, historian Edward Everett Hale statue, Public Garden (near Charles Street South entrance) author of short story “The Man Without a Country”
127. Public Garden bridge, where Louis plays his trumpet in E.B. White’s novel The Trumpet of the Swan
128. Arlington Street Church, 351 Boylston St
129. Al Capp, 122 Beacon St, where the Li’l Abner cartoonist lived 1969–1977
130. Ritz-Carlton Hotel, 15 Arlington St, where Pulitzer Prize-winning poets Sylvia Plath and Ann Sexton, sometimes joined by Houghton Mifflin editor George Starbuck, frequently compared notes over stingers and triple martinis when they were auditing Robert Lowell’s poetry class at BU in 1958 and 1959. (The Ritz became the Taj Boston Hotel in 2007.)
131. The Atlantic Magazine, founded 1857 in Old Corner Bookstore (in 1868 was at 124 Tremont St), then located at 8–9 Arlington St for 60 years until it moved to Washington, D.C. in 2005
132. Julia Ward Howe, 241 Beacon St, home of social activist, poet, and author of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” (also see 13 Chestnut St residence 1862–1866)
133. Fisher College, 118 Beacon St, see speaker series
134. Goethe-Institut Boston, 170 Beacon St, center for anyone interested in German culture
135. French Cultural Center, 53 Marlborough St, providing French cultural events and experiences. Its library has second largest private collection of French books and periodicals in the U.S.
136. John Hancock Hall, the events center at 180 Berkeley St
137. Houghton Mifflin, 222 Berkeley St, Boston publishing house founded in 1832 by William Ticknor at the Old Corner Bookstore
138. 10 Saint James Galleria Atrium (10 Saint James Ave — 75 Arlington St)
139. Massachusetts Cultural Council, 10 Saint James St, a state agency promoting the arts, sciences, and humanities across the Commonwealth
140. Revere Hotel Boston Common, 200 Stuart St
141. Trinity Church, Copley Square, inspired Boston artist Sarah Wyman Whitman, who designed stained glass window there, and book covers for Houghton Mifflin for authors Holmes, Jewett, Longfellow and others
142. Tortoise and Hare sculpture, Copley Square, sculptor Nancy Schön’s 1995 metaphor for the Boston Marathon inspired by Greek fablist Aesop’s theme “slow and steady wins the race”
143. Khalil Gibran Memorial, Copley Square, facing the Boston Public Library on Dartmouth St, where the Lebanese artist and poet wrote and illustrated his 1923 book The Prophet
144. The Annual Boston Book Festival, Copley Square
145. First Night Boston, Copley Square, the country’s oldest and largest New Year’s arts festival
146. Lucy Stone, founded Woman’s Journal newspaper 1870 at 5 Park St later moved to Chauncy Hall, 585 Boylston, where the Massachusetts Women’s Suffrage Association was based; the first woman from Massachusetts to earn a BA degree, teacher, orator, abolitionist, and women’s rights advocate
147. Sculpture of William Lloyd Garrison, abolitionist editor of The Liberator, Commonwealth Avenue Mall between Dartmouth and Exeter streets
148. Dartmouth Bookstall, 265 Dartmouth St (under the Hotel Victoria, both now closed), which made a landmark anti-censorship legal defense of Erskine Caldwell’s novel Tragic Ground in 1944.
149. St. Botolph Club, known for its support of arts and letters, 199 Commonwealth Avenue
150. Samuel Eliot Morison statue, Commonwealth Avenue Mall between Exeter and Fairfield streets, maritime historian, winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, author of One Boy’s Boston, 1887–1901 (also see residence 44 Brimmer St)
151. Old South Church, 645 Boylston St (affiliated with Old South Meeting House), congregants included Phillis Wheatley and Elizabeth Vergoose (Mother Goose?)
152. Bromer Booksellers, 607 Boylston St, on Copley Square, rare and beautiful books
153. Residence of poet Robert Lowell and writer Elizabeth Hardwick, 239 Marlborough St
154. Boston Women’s Memorial, Commonwealth Avenue Mall between Gloucester and Fairfield streets, Meredith Bergmann’s 2003 sculpture featuring Abigail Adams, confidant and advisor to her husband President John Adams; poet Phillis Wheatley, the first published African-American; and the abolitionist, suffragist and publisher Lucy Stone
155. Raven Used Books, 263 Newbury St (between Fairfield and Gloucester streets), evening reading events
156. Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St, established in 1848, one of the oldest and largest publicly-supported municipal libraries in the U.S., host of the Lowell Lecture Series
• Eugene O’Neill, playwright and Nobel Laureate, final residence, 91 Bay State Rd, Shelton Hall at BU (outside LCD)
• Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair, Hynes Convention Center, the 38th annual fall gathering for booklovers will take place Nov. 14–16, 2014 (outside LCD)
III. Revised LCD Map (draft attached separately)
Boston City Council Committee on Arts & Culture Docket #0675 Hearing Testimony Notes* by Dan Currie, May 6, 2014
Good evening. My name is Dan Currie. I’m a lifetime Boston resident and independent research consultant. In fact, I prepared a research report for this project.**
Before that, as founding president of the Edgar Allan Poe Foundation of Boston, I managed the Poe statue public art project for four-and-a-half years. So I am closely familiar with the city’s process guidelines for creating permanent public art.
Basically what I want to share with you is the most important lesson I learned from that experience.
[There are important similarities between the Boston Art Commission’s public art process and the process of applying to the Mass Cultural Council for approval of a cultural district.
And there are two ways that both sets of guidelines can be read. Managers can look at them to define the least they need to do to get through the process — or they can ask what more can be done, in addition to that, to best advance the spirit of the guidelines and what we’re trying to accomplish.
That’s especially true regarding the issue of community [involvement — which is what I am most concerned about here.]
According to the public art process, the Poe Foundation and its executive partners might have gotten by with minimum community involvement by scheduling two public presentations, and by producing a few newspaper articles with comments, before making their decisions behind closed doors.
The cultural district approval process requires only one public hearing — and I’m kind of assuming this is it.
But for the Poe project, I decided that we were going to create as many opportunities for public involvement as possible.
Now there isn’t time for me to list the ways. Suffice it to say: process regulations didn’t require most of them.
But because we did obtain this added public input, it became abundantly clear that there was one design for the Poe statue (from among the three everyone looked at) that the vast majority of the public liked much more than the others.
But here’s the rub: That design was NOT the one the executive partners preferred. … Including me, at least initially.
So what’s the lesson? Well, the executive partners learned a lot from the public. And it’s quite possible they avoided a big mistake because we hosted a process that was more inclusive than it had to be.
[In any case, one thing’s for sure: The Poe statue that will be unveiled five blocks from here (near the writer’s birthplace) on October 5th — a work of public art that will be one of the primary assets of the literary cultural district when it’s approved — was the people’s choice.
And when criticisms come forward in the future as they always do, [it will be a comfort to remember that.]
In conclusion, I encourage the city council and the LCD project’s executive partners to open up the process to more community involvement — to publicly reveal the assets and programs and cultural district governance structure you’ve been discussing privately — and to invest more in publicizing another hearing to address further questions and comments before you submit a final application to the MCC.
[If you do, I believe you may also earn comfort from criticism.]
Thank you all very much.
* Paragraphs in brackets were not included in oral testimony due to hearing time constraints. The May 6, 2014, hearing was recorded by Boston City Council Television. Also see “A Survey of the Literary Cultural District” by Dan Currie, an independent consultant, March 3, 2014, (hand-delivered to Grub Street on that date).