Boston Public Library Lecture Series Focuses on Boston Neighborhoods
Chinatown, West End, and Harbor Islands featured
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For Immediate Release
December 28, 2012
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BPL Communications Office

Boston Public Library's Local & Family History lecture series is in its 10th year of sharing information about the history of Boston and providing guidance to those beginning their own genealogical research. From January through May 2013, the series has a special focus on Boston neighborhoods and is a featured component of the BPL’s ongoing citywide initiative Building Boston.

Topics that will be discussed in the Local & Family History lecture series include Chinatown’s evolution, stories of the Harbor Islands, and the history of the West End neighborhood.  In addition, speakers will discuss family archives, community archives, and memoir writing.

All events noted below take place in the Orientation Room of the Central Library in Copley Square, located at 700 Boylston Street. Lectures include:

  • James Madden speaks about how people, place, and planning interacted throughout history to create the Boston of today. Wednesday, January 9, at 6 p.m.
  • Melissa Mannon presents strategies for protecting and caring for personal papers in her talk “The Unofficial Family Archivist.” Wednesday, January 23, at 6 p.m.
  • Tunney Lee speaks about Boston’s Chinatown and how it has evolved into an active residential neighborhood and a vital commercial and services center for Greater Boston. Wednesday, February 13, at 6 p.m.
  • Alice (Yee) Kane presents a historical overview of Chinese immigration during the 19th and 20th centuries in her talk “They Came for the Gold and Stayed: An Introduction to Chinese-American Genealogy.” Wednesday, February 27, at 6 p.m.
  • Department of Conservation and Recreation Archaeologist Ellen Berkland presents the history of the Harbor Islands and explains why it can be considered a neighborhood. Wednesday, March 13, at 6 p.m.
  • Suzanne Gall Marsh shares stories of the Boston Harbor Islands in her talk “Being a Genealogy Detective for Harbor Islands Stories.” Wednesday, March 27, at 6 p.m.
  • James Campano and Duane Lucia of the West End Museum present a broad look at the West End, an important American urban neighborhood from the seventeenth century to the present time. Wednesday, April 10, at 6 p.m.
  • Professional genealogist Richard Andrew Pierce provides insight on researching family histories in his talk “Tracing the West End Families: Yesterday and Today.”  Wednesday, April 24, at 6 p.m.
  • Tula Mahl, Christopher Castellani, Michelle Seaton, and Judith Klau present “The Memoir Project: Recording the Memoirs of Boston’s Seniors.” The project has gathered senior citizens from Boston neighborhoods to write down their personal memories. Wednesday, May 8, at 6 p.m.
  • Joanne Riley, University Archivist at the University of Massachusetts Boston, shares examples of archival collections used by historians and researchers in her talk “Memories and Mortuary Records: Community Archiving Projects at UMass Boston.” Wednesday, May 22, at 6 p.m.

More information about the Local & Family History Lecture Series is available at More information about Building Boston is available at

The Boston Public Library has a Central Library, twenty-five branches, a literacy center, 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 publicly supported municipal library in America, 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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