It’s a Thursday morning, and you’re sitting around with nothing to do. You had a job, but it exploded, so now you’re stuck here in your boring house. Suddenly, your phone rings. Murder, Cheat, and Fuck Your Way Through Boston
Cotton Mather's career is defined by two episodes of mass panic. In 1721 he found himself the target of public anger in Boston when he advocated for small pox inoculation after inoculating his own children on the advice of his West African slave, Onesimus. Three decades earlier, in 1692, he was one of the instigators and defenders of the Salem Witch Trials. For more on the latter, visit the comprehensive Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive (previously).
From the Boston Public Library's Postcard Collection, enjoy approximately 25,000 office proofs of postcards of the United States published by the Boston firm Tichnor Brothers Inc. The collection is sorted by state, plus a few miscellaneous US-related cards and other postcards, including two different color charts. Some images are also available on Digital Commonwealth, and Wikimedia Commons.
"Turkey drives" were an autumnal tradition from the 1800s to the early 1900s, and involved the overland strolling of flocks of turkeys from all corners of Vermont to their destination — and demise — in Boston.
For the first time since the 1950s, Boston's Charles River opened for public swimming. [more inside]
What started as a report of a convenience store robbery near the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology last night has sprawled into a chaotic manhunt for the perpetrators of the recent terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon. The deadly pursuit, involving a policeman's murder, a carjacking, a violent chase with thrown explosives, and the death of one suspect, has resulted in Governor Deval Patrick ordering an unprecedented lockdown of the entire Boston metropolitan area as an army of law enforcement searches house by house for the remaining gunman. The Associated Press has identified the duo as Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and his 19-year-old brother Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, who remains at large. Both are immigrants from wartorn Chechnya in southwestern Russia. The Guardian liveblog is good for quick updates, and Reddit's updating crowdsourced timeline of events that has often outpaced mainstream media coverage of the situation. You can also get real-time reports straight from the (Java-based) local police scanner.
"People haven’t been fascinated by this book because the translation is mellifluous or beautiful,” said Michael F. Suarez, a professor of English at the University of Virginia who directs the Rare Book School there. “People haven’t been attracted to this book because the presswork is beautiful. It’s not.” Instead, the Bay Psalm Book is treasured for being the first surviving piece of printing done in the British North American colonies. Only 11 copies, many incomplete, today survive. Remarkably two of those copies belong to the same owner, Boston's Old South Church. This month, the church made the controversial decision to sell one (the first such sale in 65 years), and it could bring as much as $20 million for the church's endowment.
The Tech, a newspaper at MIT, has published a report about MIT students' stress. (via) [more inside]
Fenway Park, in Boston, is a lyric little bandbox of a ballpark. Everything is painted green and seems in curiously sharp focus, like the inside of an old-fashioned peeping-type Easter egg. It was built in 1912 and rebuilt in 1934, and offers, as do most Boston artifacts, a compromise between Man's Euclidean determinations and Nature's beguiling irregularities. So wrote John Updike in his moving tribute to Red Sox legend Ted Williams -- an appropriately pedigreed account for this oldest and most fabled of ballfields that saw its first major league game played one century ago today. As a team in flux hopes to recapture the magic with an old-school face-off against the New York
Highlanders Yankees, it's hard to imagine the soul of the Sox faced the specter of demolition not too long ago. Now legally preserved, in a sport crowded with corporate-branded superdome behemoths, Fenway abides, bursting with history, idiosyncrasy, record crowds, and occasional song. [more inside]
What does a day's worth of activity look like for Boston's transportation system? Via bostonography, which has been featured previously.
Bostonography is the study of Greater Boston, Massachusetts through maps and graphics. This site is run by a pair of cartography geeks; Andy Woodruff of Axis Maps, and Tim Wallace. [more inside]
Boston water emergency: millions affected by break in aqueduct and ordered to boil water before drinking.
Massachusetts witnesses the end of Greyhound Racing. Today is the last day of Greyhound racing at The Revere, Massachusetts Wonderland Greyhound track. After a 2008 referendum vote put on the ballot by Grey2K and others the 74 year tradition of Greyhound racing at the former Victorian era Wonderland amusment park will end with a slate of 12 races tonight. Some say this is a great day to be at the dogs, some say this is a great day for the dogs. Still others say that the majority of dogs will be moved to other states and lose out on the hoped for opportunity to be adopted. In the end hundreds will lose their jobs in a state with 9.7% unemployment. The fate of the dogs is uncertain, and Boston's famed Revere Beach loses its final attraction.
Wild turkeys up to 4 feet tall are strolling on the sidewalks of Boston, Cambridge, and Brookline, Mass. Animal control officer Pierre Verrier suggests shooing turkeys away with a purse. But some people need to be near the turkeys.
Sarah Roberts vs. Boston In 1848, five-year-old Sarah Roberts was barred from the local primary school because she was black. Her father sued the City (.pdf file). The lawsuit was part of an organized effort by the African-American community to end racially segregated schools. The book "Sarah's Long Walk: The Free Blacks of Boston and How Their Struggle for Equality Changed America" tells the story of the case of Roberts v. City of Boston, that remains a little-known landmark in the civil rights movement.
Virgin Mary lurks in Boston hospital. Or something.
The catch-22 of prison therapy. The biggest criticism of sex offender justice is that imprisonment does not mean rehabilitation. In Massachusetts because of stringent anti-sex offender laws, lawyers are advising their clients to turn down prison therapy because it will be used against them. Even used against them after they're done with their sentence. These are serious violations of double jeopardy and doctor patient privilege.