Forgotten Chapters

“The streets of Boston are haunted by the ghosts of forgotten writers and editors.”

I hope you had the chance to stop by the exhibit at the Boston Public Library this summer (also featured at the Massachusetts Historical Society). The explanatory text and audio from the exhibit can be found here at BostonLiteraryHistory.com. (Unfortunately you could only see the documents when the exhibit was up.)

The exhibit is broken down into “chapters” that trace an element of forgotten Boston history. According to the website, “Chapter One exhumes Charles Sprague, the poet buried on Boston Common. Chapter Two considers a problem faced by African American, women, and Irish authors. Chapter Three shares poems buried in early Boston magazines, some powerful enough to be treasures, some awkward enough to be turkeys. Chapter Four follows the rise of children’s literature in Boston. Chapter Five explores a little-known episode from Edgar Allan Poe’s career-long obsession with the Boston literati. And Chapter Six, at the Massachusetts Historical Society, looks at the first seasons of the Federal Street Theatre, 1794–98.”

The website also has an interactive map of Boston showing the exact places for forgotten literary Boston. You can find out fun facts like where Edgar Allen Poe was born, where The Boston Literary Magazine was published, and where Nathaniel Hawthorne lived in Beacon Hill.

You can find out more about the Boston College professor and students behind the curation of the exhibit here.