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Boston Arts Festival records

Identifier: 0272.001
Records of the Boston Arts Festival. The bulk of the materials in this collection are newsclippings and scrapbooks, 1952-1954 and 1962-1963, covering all aspects of the festival including performances, award winning works, events and programming, community involvement, and critical response. Also included in the collection are the 10th Anniversary Report from 1962, covering expenses, fundraising, and programming; Executive Committee minutes, 1958-1964; trustees meeting minutes, 1952, 1954-1958; income sources; membership mailings; and press releases.

Scrapbooks in good condition were retained, but two binders from 1963 were disassembled and became the News clippings series. Additional loose materials from the various scrapbooks were photocopied and filed chronologically at the end of the collection.

The materials are arranged in three series: I. 10th Anniversary Report, 1962, II. Aministrative records, 1952-1964, III. News clippings, 1952-1954 and 1962-1963.


  • 1952-1964



1.75 Cubic feet (1 records carton, 6 volumes)

Historical note

The Boston Arts Festival, originally called the Boston Art Festival, began in June 12, 1952 with Nelson W. Aldrich, a Boston architect, as the general chairman of the committee in charge of the festival. The Festival began under the auspices of Daniel J. Ahern, the executive chairman of the New Boston Committee along with Mayor Hynes.

The first festival included a free program of painting, sculpture and music presented outdoors at the Boston Public Garden. Over the years, the Festival would expand upon this program by adding film, dance, and theater. The duration of the Festival was gradually increased as well. At various times, the jurying of the art shows and the perceived focus on modern arts attracted controversy, and the Festival often faced budget shortfalls due in part to the decision to allow free admittance to all performances while trying to provide quality programming on a large scale. Nonetheless, the Festival continued to operate with the goal of presenting a mass audience with a "broad cross-section of the arts of our time [and arts] of as high an artistic standard as economically possible" until 1964.
Guide to the Boston Arts Festival records
Jessica Bitely

Repository Details

Part of the Boston City Archives Repository

201 Rivermoor St.
West Roxbury MA 02132 United States
617-635-1194 (Fax)