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Boston Tercentenary Committee records

Identifier: 0200.002

Scope and Contents note

This collection includes records relating to the celebration of the 300th anniversary of the founding of Boston. Mayor James M. Curley served as the honorary chairman of the Boston Tercentenary Committee. Included in the collection is a time capsule that was created by the city government for the bicentennial celebration with instructions to be opened by the Mayor on September 17, 1930. The materials in the time capsule document the 200th anniversary celebration. Also included is a letter from the Grand Marshal of the 200th anniversary parade to the Grand Marshal of the 300th anniversary parade handing over to him a truncheon. The location of this truncheon is unknown.

The rest of the collection includes records documenting the year-long celebration in 1930. These records include tickets, programs, catalogues, brochures, publications, posters advertising events and scrapbooks. The four volumes of scrapbooks include news clippings documenting all types of events and activities relating to the celebration and are arranged chronologically.

The collection is divided into 6 series: Bicentennial time capsule and correspondence; Tercentenary Celebration programs, tickets, etc.; Publications; Posters; Scrapbooks; and News clippings.


  • 1829-1830, 1928-1930 (bulk, 1930)

Historical note

The Boston Tercentenary Committee was reorganized at a meeting held for the purpose in the Old South Meeting House on January 30, 1930, by His Honor, James M. Curley, Mayor of Boston, who presided at the meeting. The basis of organization was the plan and personnel which had been agreed upon and started by Mayor Curley in approval of a recommendation from a committee of the Citizens' Public Celebrations Association in November, 1925. Municipal preparations were mostly dormant during four years of an intervening municipal administration; but another citizens' organization developed a comprehensive state-wide plan for the 300th anniversary celebration of Massachusetts Bay.

Immediately after the reappointment of the Boston Tercentenary Committee of 1930 and the naming of a Plan and Scope committee and some 50 sub-committees to which were assigned members of the General committee of eight hundred interested men and women of Boston, headquarters were established in City Hall. Weekly meetings of the Executive Committee and frequent meetings of sub-committees rapidly formulated the necessary plans, this enabling Boston to resume its proper place with the rest of the state.

The Boston Committee recognized the pioneer work and considerable progress of the state-wide program which had been made by the two citizens' organizations; and the State's official commission; and the Boston Committee, with the approval of the Mayor, arranged to co-ordinate its celebration program with that of the Commonwealth, as laid out by the Massachusetts Bay Colony Tercentenary Commission and also with the Tercentenary Conference of City and Town Committees, Inc., as well as with the pioneer general promotion organization, Massachusetts Bay Tercentenary, Inc.

The policy decided for Boston's own participation in the Tercentenary was to designate September 14-20 inclusive as "Boston Week": this including September 17, which is the date of the official founding of Boston by the General Court of Massachusetts Bay Company under Governor John Winthrop in 1630. At the "Towne Meeting and Public Reception", on the evening of September 16th, Governors of several states and Mayors of New England and Canadian cities were present as municipal guests together with His Worship, Mayor Reuben Salter of Boston, England. The historic civic parade on the 17th of September used as a precedent the 250th anniversary with a great procession of the organizations and interests of the Boston of today with the story of the developments of three hundred years.

It was decided throughout the year all established holidays should focus attention on the 300th anniversary and this policy started with a combined Washington-Lincoln public meeting on February 16, followed by Tercentenary events in the Evacuation Day program of March 17, on Patriots' Day, April 19, again on Bunker Hill Day, June 17th; and then on Independence Day, July 4, particular attention was given in the regular celebration features, with a pageant of Boston given twice on Boston Common on the 4th.

Source: History of the Tercentenary Committee by Everett B. Mero in the "Official Tercentenary Program of the City of Boston" 1930.


3.5 Cubic feet

Language of Materials


Guide to the Boston Tercentenary Committee records
Kristen Swett
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the City of Boston Archives Repository

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