Early Boston aeronauts used balloons to perform scientific experiments, cross the English channel, take the first aerial photographs, and provide public entertainment. Whether by hot air or hydrogen, these pioneers made their way into the air, and into the history books.
The Skin Book was written by highwayman George Walton and dedicated to the only man to best him in combat. While he was a prisoner at Charlestown Penitentiary, Walton wrote a memoir. According to his wishes, after his death, the book was bound in Walton’s own skin and given to the man who defeated him. Today, this example of anthropodermic bibliopegy is a prized possession of the Boston Athenaeum.
Since 1651, Boston has had a legal responsibility to mark and measure its boundaries every few years. Despite advances in technology, the practice of “perambulating the bounds” means that someone has to go out and walk the town lines. This law is one of the oldest still on the books, but when was the last time Boston perambulated its bounds? Listen now!
This is why the “Oxford” or “Harvard” comma is important in a list of three or more items…
Otherwise, you end up with this: Continue reading Blooper: Oxford Comma
When young Albert Tirrell killed his lover Maria Bickford on Beacon Hill, it sparked a scandal that rocked Victorian Boston in the 1840s. It was a tale of seduction, murder, and the unlikeliest of defenses. In the end, he would be found not guilty, in the first successful use of sleepwalking as a defense against murder.
We apologize for Nikki’s head cold, some rough cuts that resulted from editing out her sniffles, and the couple of sniffles that made it into the final cut.
In which co-host Jake just has to say the name “Quock Walker,” and completely loses it.
Your humble hosts are traveling this week, trying to see the first total eclipse of our lifetimes. While we’re gone, listen to the story of the 1806 eclipse, the first total eclipse seen in Boston after European colonization.
During a late nineteenth century canoe craze, recreational canoeing became Boston’s hottest leisure time activity. Young lovers took advantage of the privacy and intimacy of a canoe to engage in a little bit of illicit romance, leading a humorless state police agency to ban kissing in canoes on the Charles River.
Despite our liberal reputation today, for years Boston was a bastion of official censorship. Authors and playwrights whose works were considered obscene had to create a watered-down “Boston version.” The Watch and Ward Society decided what art, theater, and literature was permissible, and what would be Banned in Boston!