Today the Council’s Committee on Arts & Culture held a working session to further discuss establishing a Literary Cultural District in Boston.  The Massachusetts Cultural Council awards cultural district designation to specific geographic areas that are a walkable, compact home to a concentration of cultural facilities, activities, and assets.  So far 25 cultural districts have been recognized, including the Fenway Cultural District in Boston.  The proposed Back Bay/Downtown/Beacon Hill-centered district would be the first literary-focused district in the Commonwealth and the country.  At today’s meeting, we reviewed the application process and goals, discussed diversity and inclusion in representative cultural assets, and spoke about the governance structure.  The next steps are to finalize the application to the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which must include a resolution from the City Council as one component.  Should the MA Cultural Council proceed with a site visit, there will be further discussions and opportunities for public comment about the specific boundaries of the district and assets included.  Here is the list with full descriptions of potential proposed assets within the district.

LCD historic sites and programming/event assets

  1. “Poe Returning to Boston” sculpture, to be unveiled October 5, 2014.


  1. At 5 Park Square, an address that no longer exists but would hard by the Poe Statue just where the The Trolley Shop and Leather World are situated, sat the offices of The Colored American Magazine, where African-American journalist, editor, historian, playwright and novelist Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins pioneered the first monthly publication targeting an exclusively African American readership. You could say The Colored American Magazine was the forerunner to Ebony Magazine.


  1. Back on Boylston Street, just inside the Common, sits the Central Burying Ground, which has a mausoleum that houses the grave of Charles Sprauge, the banker-poet of Boston in the 1800s. One of his descendants is Brunonia Barry, who wrote the gothic novel The Lace Reader.


Walking along Boylston Street, across the street from the Common, you will pass the offices of Grub Street at #162. Grub Street is one of the preeminent writers groups in the country. Next door at 160 Grub Street sits the offices of First Literacy, which provides life-changing opportunities through services that increase adult literacy. As you walk along, the little mews on the right called Boylston Place houses the Tavern Club at #4. A private club, it was founded in 1884 for members who shared an interest in literature, not to mention history, theater, music, and the visual arts.


  1. Walk past the building that contains the offices of Ploughshares at Emerson College, just a bit further along at 120 Boylston Street. Budding writers drool at the thought of being published in Ploughshares, and for good reason. There, at that illustrious magazine, began the literary careers of many famous writers today, including Thomas Lux, Susan Straight, and Carolyn Chute. No wonder Ploughshares has been called “a magazine that has published a good deal of what has become our significant contemporary American literature.” Ploughshares editors have included the likes of such literary luminaries as Tobias Wolff and Russell Banks.


  1. Pass Emerson College’s Colonial Theatre. Rodgers and Hammerstein literally wrote the title song to Oklahoma! in the lobby there and later won a special Pulitzer award for the play.


  1. At the Boylston/Tremont corner of Boston Common begins the Common’s Long Path, which stretches all the way to Joy Street at the edge of Beacon Hill. It was immortalized by Oliver Wendell Holmes in his Autocrat of the Breakfast Table. The shy Holmes proposed to his beloved by asking if she would take the Long Path with him, meaning the path of life. A good place to propose.


Boston Common, the country’s oldest public park, is also a spot that Ralph Waldo Emerson grazed cows as a child. And Poe, who had a distaste for the transcendentalists, dismissed them as frogpondians, for the Common’s Frog Pond on which people ice skate during the winter.


  1. Tremont Street, perpendicular to Boylston Street alongside Boston Common, roughly where the AMC Loews Movie Theater sits today (the address was 174 Tremont Street, which no longer exists), was the location of the Boston Cooking School, which became world-famous following the 1896 publication of the Boston Cooking-School Cook Book by none other than Fannie Farmer. The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, still in print today, became an American classic. If you think a cookbook doesn’t belong in the literary canon, consider the difference between “two cups walnuts, chopped” and “two cups chopped walnuts.”  Bringing recipes to print has become a literary art.


Walking down Tremont Street and crossing over Boylston Street, you will pass Emerson College’s Cutler Majestic Theater on your right. Turn left at the next corner onto Stuart Street.


You will soon come upon


  1. Jacob Wirth Restaurant at #21. A German-style beer hall since it first opened in the 1860s, it was written about by Jack Kerouac who, of course, also drank there. Patrons also include Spencer for Hire writer Robert Parker.


Walking further along Stuart Street, you’ll immediately pass by the Hostelling-International Boston.


Turn left onto Washington Street, which borders the west end of Boston’s Chinatown (the third largest Chinese neighborhood in the U.S.). Walk up Washington Street, passing the Paramount Center at Emerson College, the Boston Opera House, and the Modern Theatre at Suffolk University, and turn left onto West Street.


  1. The Brattle Book Shop is at #9 West Street. With used and rare books, the three-story shop specializes in not specializing. You can buy a signed poster of Ghandi as well as an antiquarian work. Just to the right of the shop, as long as it’s not raining or snowing (or about to rain or snow), you will find rows of open-air book stalls, even in the dead of winter. Look up above the stalls onto the brick walls to see a series of murals with the likenesses of everyone from Dashiell Hammett and Lillian Hellman to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Toni Morrison, Isaac Asimov, Ernest Hemingway, and others.


10. Next door to the Brattle, at #15, is a plaque for Elizabeth Peabody. At that address, one of Boston’s early (and powerful) female publishers maintained a business and home-cum-literary salon that served as a meeting place for intellectuals ranging from Bronson Alcott to Ralph Waldo Emerson. Peabody led an amazing life, founding America’s first kindergarten, publishing Henry David Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience, and helping Nathaniel Hawthorne get a job at the Custom House, among many other things. Allegedly, Miss Birdseye in Henry James’s The Bostonians is based on her.


11. Back on Washington Street, at #486, where the sports clothing enterprise Expressions now has a storefront, once stood the residence of Margaret Fuller, the American journalist, critic, and women’s rights advocate.


12. Across from the spot of Margaret Fuller’s residence, leave Washington Street for a bit to walk up Temple Street. When you reach Tremont Street, right on the corner at #140, is the site of Bronson Alcott’s Temple School. The site, marked by a U Burger and a Lambert’s Marketplace, isn’t much to look at.  But right from there can be had one of the best views of the Massachusetts State House in all its glorious, gold-domed symmetry. Bronson must have enjoyed the scene.


13. Walk back down Temple Street and turn left on Washington Street. Edward Ballamy, in his celebrated 1888 novel Looking Backward, described a utopian Boston in the year 2000 with it’s “Stores! Stores! Stores! Miles of stores!” on Washington Street. His prediction, it’s clear, came true.


14. Amble a ways up Washington Street, then turn right onto Milk Street. On the right, at #1 Milk Street, just above the second-floor windows on top of the Sir Speedy, you’ll see a bust of Benjamin Franklin, marking his birthplace. Philadelphia claimed the prolific writer of Poor Richard’s Almanac, but Boston had him first.


15. Just across the street, at #2 Milk Street, down an outside staircase, is the entrance to Commonwealth Books, housed in the basement of the Old South Meeting House. It contains what it calls “used~old~scarce” texts. A larger Commonwealth Books branch can be found on brick-paved Spring Lane, just up Washington Street a ways on the right. Commonwealth is also a publisher that goes under the name of Black Widow Press, publishing poetry and works translated from other languages.


16. The Transcript Building that stood at #319 Washington Street no longer exists (it must have stood between what is now the CVS and the Walgreen’s), but it was the publishing spot for the newspaper of “Proper Bostonians,” The Boston Evening Transcript. [Needs verification or correction. Hank Cannell at BPL tells me the Transcript Bilding does exist. LL]


17. The Old South Meeting House, at #310 Washington Street, was once the church not only of Ben Franklin (who was baptized there) but also Phillis Wheatley, an enslaved poet whose work was the first published poetry in the U.S. by an African-American. (The Boston Tea Party started at Old South, with the “partiers” making their way from there to the harbor.)


18. At the corner of Washington and School Streets (in the beautiful old building that now has a Chipoltle) stands the building that once housed the Old Corner Bookstore, the original site of the iconic publishing company Ticknor & Fields, which passed on Little Women but published many other important works. The first system of book royalties was devised here. Regulars of the shop included Harriet Beecher Stowe, Emerson, Thoreau, Longfellow, Holmes, and Whittier. It was run by James T. Fields, at one time Boston’s foremost publisher.


  1. 19.  Newspaper Row, largely on Washington Street but also on some of the surrounding streets, once had the offices of the Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, the Boston Advertiser, the Boston Post, the Boston Journal, the Boston Traveler, and the Associated Press.


Walk up Washington Street to State Street, turn left onto State Street at the Old State House, built in 173, then turn left again on Court Square.


20. Inside the lobby of #15 Court Square, behind closed blinds, sits Peter L Stern & Company, antiquarian bookseller. Open by chance and by appointment, they have a museum’s worth of artifacts for sale, including first editions of works like Catcher in the Rye and a signed early edition of Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. If it hasn’t been snatched up by the time you visit, it could be yours for a cool $17,500.


21. When you leave the building Peter L. Stern & Company, turn left and keep walking straight until you hit School Street. “Take” a right, as Bostonians like to say, and you’ll be standing in front of Old City Hall. Legend has it that that’s the setting for Edwin O’Connor’s novel The Last Hurrah. These days it’s the setting for a Ruth Chris Steak House.


22. As you’re facing Old City Hall, to the left of the entrance, fashioned into the sidewalk is a plaque commemorating the first site of the Boston Latin School, founded in 1635. Alumni included Ben Franklin, Cotton Mather, Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Hancock, and many other notables. Just as important, alumni include many people you never heard of. Literacy was extremely important to the Puritans, and even many a common man knew how to read and write.


23. Just a little further up School Street, on the left at #60 (at the corner of Tremont Street), stands the Omni Parker House Hotel.  Members of the legendary Saturday Club, including Emerson, Thoreau, Longfellow, and Holmes, met here regularly. Charles Dickens gave his first reading of A Christmas Carol here. Longfellow drafted “Paul Revere’s Ride” here. The Atlantic Monthly was thought up here. Almost a century later, Malcolm X, author of The Autobiography of Malcolm X, one of the most influential nonfiction books of the 20th century, worked as a busboy here, making the Omni Parker House the site of a literary socioeconomic fault line that marks the intersection of many important periods and happenings in American literary history. (As a side note, poet-turned-Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh worked here as a baker in 1912.)


24. Cross back over School Street and walk just a smidgen along Tremont Street to the King’s Chapel Burial Ground. It is the site of burial for The Scarlet Letter’s Hester Prynne and the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale as well as the actual burial site of one Hezekiah Usher, the first bookseller and printer in the colony. [second part needs verification]


25. Now walk back along Tremont Street past the side of the Omni Parker House Hotel and check out Tremont Temple at 88 Tremont Street. It hosted speakers that included Emerson, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Dickens (for his first public reading of A Christmas Carol), and the writer of a speech that began “Four score and seven years ago….” (The first reading of the Emancipation Proclamation took place here.)


26. When you reach Bosworth Street, look down the narrow way. It’s where Oliver Wendell Holmes lived from 1841 to 1859, but his address (#3) is no longer there. What is there is the Marliave Restaurant, at #10, where every other month a U35 poetry reading takes place. If you’re under 35, you probably know that means the reading features two poets under age 35. (See lettered listings for more information.)


27. At 73 Tremont Street sits Suffolk University’s Rosalie Stahl Center, home to the acclaimed literary journal Salamander and The Clark Collection of African American literature. The collection is a major collaborative effort involving Suffolk University, the Museum of African American History, and the national park Service’s Boston African American national Historic Site. (See lettered sites for more on the Rosalie Stahl Center.)


  1. 28.  Across Tremont Street lies the Granary Burial Ground. Interred here is “Mary Had a Little Lamb” coauthor and publisher Sarah Josepha Hale (who also conceived of the Thanksgiving holiday); and Ben Franklin’s mother Abiah. (There are also several signers of the Declaration of Independence: Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Robert Treat Paine.)


  1. 29.  Back on the other side of Tremont Street, at #101, were the offices of publisher Frederick Gleason and editor Maturin Marray Ballou, who put out the popular illustrated weekly Gleason’s Pictorial and the weekly story paper The Flag of Our Union (which published Poe’s last works while he was alive).


30. Go a little further along and cross Tremont Street once more to find yourself at the Park Street Church. It was here that the New England Society for the Suppression of Vice was founded in 1878. Editor H.L. Mencken was arrested for selling “certain obscene, indecent, and impure printing…manifestly tending to corrupt the morals of youth.” This was in 1926, when Mencken was selling “The Battle of Brimstone Corner.”


  1. 31.  Turn the corner and walk up Park Street to #9. You may want to cross the street to the Common to take in more of the building, half of which was the home of lawyer and writer George Ticknor, known for his scholarly work on Spanish literature.


32. Keep walking up Park Street and Turn right onto Beacon Street. At #10 ½ stands the Boston Athenaeum, one of the oldest independent libraries and all-around cultural institutions in the U.S. Members are a Who’s Who of literary Boston, ranging from Louisa May Alcott to President Kennedy, David McCullough, award-winning children’s book author Jack Gantos, and many, many more. The Athenaeum houses incredible collections, including more of George Washington’s library than any other repository of his works; a first edition of John James Audobon’s Birds of America, a rare first edition of an early Hawthorne novel, and the list goes on and on.


  1. 33.  Walking back along Beacon Street from the direction you came, you will find yourself across the street from the State House, 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 23rd, 1965. (He also had apartments at 397 Massachusetts Avenue and 170 Bosworth Street – both very near Boston’s Symphony Hall outside the Literary Cultural District – while attending Boston University.) The State House has a small bookstore on the lobby level, entered through the General Hooker entrance to the right of the building’s main steps. But titles are along the lines of Child Labor Laws – perhaps useful if your kid protests about making his bed.


  1. 34.  Opposite the State House on Beacon Street, right at the edge of Boston Common, you’ll find a large gold relief — the Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Massachusetts Regiment Memorial. The 54th Regiment, sent to fight in the Civil War by then Massachusetts governor John Andrew, were among the first African Americans to fight for the Union side. Some 75 of them died in battle. The relief inspired both Robert Lowell’s poem “To the Union Dead” and Paul Lawrence Dunbar’s “Robert Gould Shaw.”


  1. 35.  Once again crossing Beacon Street, keep walking along in the same direction, pass Joy Street, and reach 39 Beacon Street, where Henry Wadsworth Longfellow married the love of his life, Fanny Appleton. They had a wonderful marriage until Fanny died tragically in a fire 18 years later at their home in Cambridge.


Come back up Beacon Street and turn left onto Joy Street. You are now entering the heart of Beacon Hill, where so many famous American writers lived.


  1. 36.  Just a little ways up, look to the right into a short mews called Mount Vernon Place. Down that mews, on February 16th, 1838, Henry Adams was born. Adams was the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Education of Henry Adams.


37. Just a little further along Joy Street, you’ll reach Mount Vernon Street. At the far corner is 41 Mount Vernon Street, once the home of the New England Watch and Ward Society.  You might call this Boston’s anti-literary site, as the society sponsored censorship that promoted the phrase “Banned in Boston.” Today the building houses Beacon Press, a department of the Unitarian Universalist Association and an independent publisher of serious fiction and non-fiction that “promote[s] such values as freedom of speech and thought.” Beacon Press has published works by James Baldwin, Marian Wright Edelman, Cornel West, Michael Patrick MacDonald, Rashid Khalidi, and Mary Oliver. [This will all have to be put into past tense, as in, “the site of.” Beacon Press is moving to the waterfront.


38. Keep walking along Joy Street. At #81, a plaque on a modest brick building clinging to the edge of Beacon Hill shows that the edifice was lived in by both Maria Stewart and David Walker. A black abolitionist who lived from 1803-1879, Stewart’s speeches, published by William Lloyd Garrison, were the first publically delivered talks by an American woman on politics and women’s rights. Walker, in 1829, published “Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World,” which decried slavery and racial hatred. A bounty was placed on him by Georgia slave owners.


  1. 39.  Now walk back up Joy Street. (If you’ve harbored any doubt that you’re on Beacon Hill, that will dissipate as it’ll feel a little like San Francisco in your hamstrings.) On the other side of the street, enter tiny Smith Court on your right. Number 3, on the right, is a National Historic Site commemorating the African-American writer and abolitionist William Cooper Nell.


40. On the left is the entrance to the Museum of African American History (whose official address is 46 Joy Street). The oldest surviving black church building in the U.S., it houses exhibits and programs detailing the writings and speeches of people from the Reverend Dr. King to Nelson Mandela.


Keep walking up Joy Street until you reach Pinckney Street. Now hang a right and, if you’d like, get out your camera for a tour of a literal Literary Row.


41. On the left, at #4, is the childhood home of Henry David Thoreau.


42. At #16 lived the poet, essayist, and editor Louise Imogen Guiney.


43. Louisa May Alcott lived at #20 – not as a child, as the plaque says, but at around the age of 20.


  1. 44.  Nathaniel Hawthorne lived for a time at #54.


  1. 45.  At #87 can be found the home of Francis Otto Matthiesson, an influential literary critic in the field of American literature who committed suicide by jumping from a Boston hotel window in 1950. A gay Harvard scholar and political progressive, his life and death inspired May Sarton’s 1995 novel Faithful Are the Wounds and Mark Merlis’s 1994 novel American Studies.


Louisburg Square, which might aptly be called the Beacon Hill of Beacon Hill, is just across the street. We’ll come back to it in a bit. For now, walk a bit further along Pinckney Street and Turn right onto West Cedar Street.


46. At #43 West Cedar you’ll see the home of John Phillips Marquand, who wrote The Late George Apley, a satiric novel about Boston’s upper class.


47. Ambling further along West Cedar Street, you’ll reach Revere Street. Cross over and turn to the right. Just a house or two up is Robert Lowell’s childhood home, at #91 Revere. As an adult, he wrote a prose piece entitled “91 Revere Street” that was published in The Partisan Review. (Later on in his life, Lowell also lived at #s 170 and 239 Marlborough Street, located with the Literary Cultural District in the Back Bay section of Boston.)


  1. 48.  Walk down the Revere Street hill and turn left onto Charles Street, then look for a plaque at #103 Charles. This was the home of Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin, publisher of the Women’s Era Journal, the first newspaper by and for black women.


  1. 49.  Keep going on Charles Street, then turn left on Pinckney to walk back up the hill, then right onto West Cedar Street. Two doors in, at #36, sits the residence of Susan Paul, who wrote the first autobiography of an African American published in the U.S.


Now walk back to Pinckney Street and turn right, then right again onto Louisburg Square.


50. At #16 is the residence of novelist/medical thriller author Robin Cook.


51. Louisa May Alcott purchased #10 Louisburg Square for her father after she was famous. Father and daughter died within two days of each other at that address in 1888.


52. William Dean Howells, Atlantic Monthly editor and “Dean of American Letters,” lived at 4 Louisburg Square.


  1. 53.  When you reach the corner, you’re at Mount Vernon Street. Turn right and walk down to 108 Mount Vernon, whose entrance is actually on West Cedar. That was once the home of The Prophet author Khalil Gibran. (When he lived there, it was considered #18 West Cedar Street.)


  1. 54.  Now come a little ways back up Mount Vernon Street to #102, where Henry James lived in 1882 after the death of his mother.


  1. 55.  A little further up the hill still, at #88 Mount Vernon Street, sits the home of Poet Laureate and four-time Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Frost, who lived there from 1938 to 1941 while teaching poetry at Harvard.


56. You’re now at the corner of Willow Street. Head to #9, where Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes nested for a while in the late 1950s. He wrote a poem to her entitled “9 Willow Street,” which contains the lines:



Either of us might have met with a life.

Siamese-twinned, each of us festering

A unique soul-sepsis for the other,

Each of us was the stake impaling the other.


[Good times.]


57. Keep going along Willow Street and turn right onto Chestnut Street. At #43 lived Richard Henry Dana, Sr., a poet and critic as well as an early practitioner of Gothic literature. It was his son, of the same name followed by “Jr.,” who wrote the memoir Two Years Before the Mast.


58. Across the street sits #50 Chestnut Street, where Oregon Trail author Francis Parkman lived for almost 30 years, from 1865 to his death in 1893. The Beacon Hill Garden Club offers a tour of his garden on the third Thursday of may each year.


  1. 59.  Back down on Charles Street, to the right and across the street at #66 [68???], is an empty storefront that was referenced as a convenience store in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest:


“She buys a .473-liter Pepsi Cola in a blunt plastic bottle at a Store 24…”


60. A bit further along, at the corner of Charles and Mount Vernon Streets, is the former Charles Street Meeting House at #121 Mount Vernon Street.  Built in 1807, it was a stronghold of the anti-slavery movement and the site of notable speeches by such people as Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, William Lloyd Garrison, and Wendell Phillips. (If you were to walk further down Charles Street, you’d reach the Liberty Hotel at #215. Outside the boundaries of the Literary Cultural District, it was formerly the Charles Street Jail, where Malcolm X was incarcerated for a portion of a 1946-1952 prison term during which he became a member of the Nation of Islam.) The Charles Street Meeting House was also the original home of The Gay Community News.


61. Walking away from the hill and toward the Charles River on Mount            Vernon Street, turn left at Brimmer Street and cross over Mount Vernon Street to reach #44 Brimmer on the corner. That’s where two-time Pulitzer prize winner Samuel Eliot Morison lived. He is the author of One Boy’s Boston, 1887-1901.


Keep walking along Brimmer Street until you reach Beacon Street, then turn right, walk until you reach Charles Street, and cross over Beacon Street to enter the Public Garden.


62. You will soon approach the Make Way for Ducklings sculpture, created by Nancy Schön in 1987 as a tribute to Robert McCloskey’s Caldecott medal-winning children’s story. Children love the series of ducklings, and the bronze Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack and the others make for great photo opps.


63. Right near the Charles Street entrance of the Public Garden stands a statue of Edward Everett Hale, author of “The Man Without a Country.”


64. The Public Garden Bridge that spans the Garden’s shallow waterway is the spot at which Louis plays his Trumpet in E.B. White’s The Trumpet of the Swan.


  1. 65.  On the Arlington Street side of the Public Garden, opposite the Charles Street side, you’ll find, at #8 Arlington, the offices of The Atlantic Monthly from 1945 to 2005. The magazine was founded in 1857 in the Old Corner Bookstore, moving to 124 Tremont Street in 1868. In 2005, it moved to Washington, D.C.


66. Walk to the right. Right near the corner of Arlington and Beacon Streets, at #95 Beacon, sits the family home of Harry Crosby, the poet who epitomized the “Lost Generation” that came of age during World War I. Crosby was also the publisher of Black Sun Press, noted for publishing the early works of such modernists as Hart Crane, D.H. Lawrence, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Dorothy Parker, Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, and others.


  1. 67.  Now walk up Beacon Street, crossing Arlington Street, to bring yourself into the heart of Boston’s Back Back neighborhood. Al Capp, the Li’l Abner cartoonist, lived at #122 Beacon from 1969-1977.


68. John Updike lived at 151 Beacon Street from 1974 to 1977, during one of his divorces. [Need to confirm the divorce part.]


  1. 69.  Further along, at #241 Beacon Street, you’ll find the home of Julia Ward Howe, who wrote the words to “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”


70. Walk a little further along Beacon Street until you reach Dartmouth Street. Turn left and go two blocks to Commonwealth Avenue. Right there, in the Commonwealth Avenue mall, you’ll see a sculpture of noted abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, editor of The Liberator.


71.  Two blocks further up the Commonwealth Avenue Mall, between Fairfield and Gloucester Streets, sits the Boston Woman’s Memorial, a sculpture of Abigail Adams, Lucy Stone, and Phillis Wheatley. Abigail Adams was one of early America’s most prestigious women of letters. Lucy Stone was one of the first women from Massachusetts to graduate from college and was a noted woman of letters.


72. Keep walking along Dartmouth Street. In the middle of the next block once stood the Dartmouth Bookstall, which made a landmark anti-censorship legal defense of Erskine Caldwell’s novel Tragic Ground in 1944.


73. Just a bit further on you’ll get to Boylston Street. The large building at #700 Boylston is the Boston Public Library, which was established in 1848 and is one of the oldest and largest publically supported municipal libraries in the U.S. It contains everything from Handel & Haydn Society Archives to letters penned by Jack Benny.


74. At #607 Boylston, right across from Boston’s Copley Square, you’ll find rare and beautiful books at Bromer Booksellers.


75. Very close by at #585 Boylston Street, the Woman’s Journal was published by Lucy Stone. It is also where the Massachusetts Women’s Suffrage Association was located. Lucy Stone was a woman’s rights advocate and an abolitionist in addition to being the first Massachusetts woman to earn a bachelor of arts degree.


76.  Right on Copley Square, on the Dartmouth Street side, is the Khalil Gibran Memorial. It faces the Boston Public Library, where the Lebanese-born artist and poet wrote and illustrated his 1923 book The Prophet.


77. Copley Square also has a Tortoise and Hare sculpture, created by the same sculptor who made the Make Way for Ducklings statues in the Public Garden. It is meant as a metaphor for the Boston Marathon, which ends at Copley Square and which now has added meaning since the Marathon Bombings. “Slow and steady wins the race…”


  1. 78.  Trinity Church on Copley Square contains a stained glass window designed by Boston artist Sarah Wyman Whitman, who also designed book covers for Houghton Mifflin Publishers for authors Holmes, Jewett, Longfellow, and others.


79. Walk down Boylston Street to Berkeley Street and turn right. At #222 Berkeley Street are the offices of Houghton Mifflin, where Curious George was born along with countless other figures in adult and children’s literature. Houghton Mifflin originally began as a publishing house in – where else? – the Old Corner Bookstore in 1832.


  1. 80.  Continue again along Boylston Street until you reach Arlington Street, then turn left and walk one block to the corner of Arlington and Newbury Streets. There sits the Taj Hotel, once known as the Ritz-Carlton and stayed in by the likes of Eugene O’Neill along with many other literari. When Sylvia Plath and Ann Sexton were auditing Robert Lowell’s poetry class at Boston University in 1958 and 1959, they frequently compared notes there over stingers and triple martinis. You’ve had a long walk. Maybe it’s time for a drink of your own.




Event/Programming Sites



  1. Grub Street, 162 Boylston Street
  2. First Literacy, 160 Boylston Street
  3. Emerson Colonial Theatre, 106 Boylston Street
  4. Cutler Majestic Theatre at Emerson College, 219 Tremont Street
  5. Hostelling International Hotel (can hold events for up to 40 for free),
  6. Paramount Center at Emerson College, 559 Washington Street
  7. Boston Opera House, 539 Washington Street
  8. Modern Theatre at Suffolk University, 525 Washington Street
  9. Marliave Restaurant, 10 Bosworth Street
  10. Omni Parker House Hotel, 60 School Street
  11. Suffolk University Poetry Center (venue for poetry readings) at Rosalie Stahl Center, 73 Tremont Street
  12. Boston Athenaeum , 10 ½ Beacon Street
  13. C Walsh Theatre at Suffolk University, 55 Temple Street
  14. Ford Hall Forum at Suffolk University 41 Temple Street
  15. Galleria Atrium, 10 St. James Avenue
  16. Boston Book Festival, Copley Squarei
  17. Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston Street