Past Programs

Photo Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Past Programs

Thank you to Dom Capossela and Carl Ameno of the Nazzaro Center for sponsoring this event!


Thank you to Michele Topor of North End Market Tours and Carl Ameno of the Nazzaro Center for sponsoring this event!

Cannoli2 3cannoli


On October 4, at the Otis House Museum, Barbara Berenson, senior attorney with the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, outlined the famous case of Sacco & Vanzetti. She provided the context of the case within the history of Italian immigration, and reviewed the significance of the case and its impact on the twentieth century.


This program was presented in partnership with Historic New England and was FREE to Historic New England and North End Historical Society members. Thirty people attended the lecture.

Barbara Berenson works on a variety of legal and policy issues for the Justices and, additionally, leads many of the court’s civic education efforts. She created the court’s exhibits Sacco & Vanzetti: Justice on Trial and John Adams: Architect of American Government.

A lifelong student of history, she is the author of Walking Tours of Civil War Boston: Hub of Abolitionism and an editor of Skirting the Barriers: The Unfinished History of Women Lawyers and Judges in Massachusetts (forthcoming 2012). She is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.


On April 26, at Sacred Heart Church Hall, Dr. Augusto Ferraiuolo discussed his book on the North End feasts, entitled Religious Festive Practices in Boston's North End. Ferraiuolo is an anthropologist, and he carried out fieldwork in the North End between 2002 and 2005. He compares the feasts in Boston to each other as well as to those in Italy. He shared his conclusions about the role of the church, religious societies, cultural symbols, and what they say about Italian-American identity in the historic North End.

Ferraiulo is a native of Italy and a visiting Lecturer at Boston University, Department of Anthropology.



On March 29, at Sacred Heart Church Hall, North End, Lori Rogers-Stokes, Ph.D., a public historian and a member of the Board of Directors of the Arlington Historical Society, discussed Arlington’s role as a watch post along the spy road from Boston to the Provincial Congress in Concord.  She beautifully illuminated the long partnership between the town of Boston and neighboring communities as well as the revolutionary spirit in Massachusetts dating from the 1630s.

This event was cosponsored by the Arlington Historical Society, founded 1897.

ahs logo1

Thanks to Sacred Heart for Hosting!


Melissa Mannon, M.S., gave a very informative talk about caring for your family’s valuable informational materials on February 28th. Mannon is the author of The Unofficial Family Archivist: A Guide to Creating and Maintaining Family Papers, Photographs, and Memorabilia.

mannon book2

She discussed very practical methods for maintaining your family's records, be they photos, letters, newspaper clippings, books, or any other materials.

Mannon also discussed the need for developing a narrative and for organizing your collection in the context of the events of your (or your relatives') life and times.

Mannon is the proprietor of and is an archivist and cultural heritage consultant with twenty years of experience.

Thanks to the Old North Foundation for Hosting!



Thanks to Dr. Eileen Botting of the University of Notre Dame for a great talk on January 12, 2012 about her book Reminiscences and Traditions of Boston.


Dr. Botting recently edited and published, for the first time, this manuscript history of Boston by Hannah Mather Crocker (1752-1829). Crocker was the granddaughter of Cotton Mather and the niece of Thomas Hutchinson, she lived near North Square for most of her life (the St. John School now covers the small alley where her house was), and she inherited the invaluable Mather library. She used her reminiscences of her long life as well as her library and other documents to write a history of Boston that she hoped would one day be published -- and now it has happened, albeit about 200 years later!


ABOVE: Dr. Botting discusses the religious views of Hannah Mather Crocker with nearly 40 participants.

Thanks to Sacred Heart Church and the New England Historic Genealogical Society for helping to produce this program.


Thanks to the small group of members who took the customized tour of the USS Constitution Museum on December 3rd! Gary Foreman, Manager of Gallery Operations and a 20-year veteran of the U. S. Navy, told us all about the need, design, launch, and career of Old Ironsides ... including stories about the North Enders who made it all happen.


ABOVE: Gary Foreman with a piece of copper plating from the hull of Constitution.

BELOW: A model of the famous frigate.


We are grateful to the staff at the USS Constitution Museum for providing us with this special tour.


Thanks to the nearly 20 members and guests who came out on Saturday, November 12, to the New England Historic Genealogical Society!

The NEHGS was founded in 1845, and Marie Daly, Director of the Library, gave us a tour of their research center, located on Newbury Street, which houses more than 20 million documents, artifacts, records, diaries, journals, books, photographs, family papers, bibles, and other items dating back more than four centuries.

 hisgen3 hisgen12

They have an enormous collection of documents and resources for people of all ethnic groups from all of the 50 states as well as some foreign nations who are interested in learning about their genealogy and family history.

In addition to the tour of their beautiful building Marie provided a thorough introduction on how to use their resources, with special emphasis on researching Italian ancestry.

We are grateful to the staff at the New England Historic Genealogical Society for providing us with this special tour.


Thanks to the 20 people who came out on November 1 to the Massachusetts Historical Society, which was founded in 1791 by a small group of men including several North Enders, and is the oldest of its kind in the country.


Anne Bentley, Curator of Art, gave us a tour of some of the portraits and other artwork on display in the building. We saw Paul and Rachel Revere, George Washington, the Marquis de Lafayette, John Hancock, Edward Everett, Daniel Webster, and the earliest paintings of John and Abigail Adams, among many others.

Elaine Grublin, Head of Reader Services, provided
an informative introduction to the society and how to use their resources. Lastly, Peter Drummey, Librarian of the MHS,
displayed the original record book from the Seamen's Bethel, now Sacred Heart Church; Paul Revere's handwritten letter describing his famous ride in 1775; stock certificates from the Commercial Wharf Company, which built the wharf buildings still standing; a letter from Abraham Lincoln about his talk at Gettysburg in 1863; and many other fascinating items!

We are grateful to the staff at the Massachusetts Historical Society for providing us with this specialized tour.


Thanks to the over 30 People who Took a Trolley Tour of Paul Revere’s Ride with us June 18!

We took Revere's actual route and went to places Revere himself stopped or passed by on the night of April 18, 1775, including:


  • The Royall House and Slave Quarters in Medford, home of a loyalist who lost his property.  The mansion was used by the Continental Army, and General George Washington helped plan the Siege of Boston from there;

hancock clarke5

  • The Jason Russell House in Arlington, site of some of the bloodiest fighting during the first day of the Revolutionary War;

  • The Hancock-Clarke House in Lexington (pictured above), which was Revere’s destination and where John Hancock and Samuel Adams were staying and about to be arrested.


The North End Historical Society thanks the Arlington Historical Society, Lexington Historical Society, Royall House and Slave Quarters, and Old Town Trolley Tours for working with us to bring this program to our members and friends.


osh model

On February 8, at the Old State House,
206 Washington Street, Downtown Crossing, The Bostonian Society, which operates the 1713 Old State House as a museum, offered the NEHS a behind-the-scenes tour of the 298-year-old tower, along with a tour of the museum as well as a selection of artifacts NOT NORMALLY ON VIEW TO THE PUBLIC.

osh1 osh2



On January 19, 2011, at the Otis House Museum, 141 Cambridge Street, West End, Lorna Condon, the Curator of the Historic New England Library and Archives, led a rare and exclusive showing of photographs, advertisements, postcards, architectural drawings, and other bits of ephemera, with an emphasis on the North End.

Participants were also treated to a tour of the historic 1796 mansion, which houses the Library and Archives. It was designed by Charles Bulfinch for attorney, real estate developer, politician, and mayor of Boston, Harrison Gray Otis.

More information on Bulfinch and Otis, and this National Historic Landmark, can be found here.

otis dining room


The North End Historical Society and Caffe Graffiti presented
A Book Signing and Presentation with Dom Capossela on December 14 at Caffe Graffiti, 64 Cross Street, North End. Dom Capossela, author of Dom’s: An Odyssey, is a lawyer, restaurant operator, and “an Italo,” which, as he describes in his book, is an American, born and raised, having substantial exposure to Italian culture. The book is a memoir in the form of a plethora of short stories in the North End. These stories unfold on the night of April 8, 1976, at Dom’s, his then-famous Italian restaurant on the waterfront in Boston’s Italian North End, where he was born and raised. Dom shared some very interesting tales from his youth and his book.


Otis House


On December 12, there was a NEHS open housefrom at the Old North Church Gift Shop, 193 Salem Street, North End.
ALL NORTH END RESIDENTS (and NEHS members) were extended a discount of 20% on any item in the store during the open house. thanks to everyone who came out.

dom dec 14 ONC



On October 23 Elisabeth Nevins, NEHS Board Member and Treasurer, gave free Behind the Scenes tours at the Old North Church for NEHS members. Visitors went up to the BELL RINGING CHAMBER, where the teen-aged Paul Revere worked as a bell ringer, and down into the CRYPT, which has 37 tombs constructed under the church between 1732 and 1860. Participants learned about the construction of the tombs, viewed artifacts found in the crypt, and heard the story of the people who are buried there, including the church’s first rector, Dr. Timothy Cutler, and Samuel Nicholson, the first captain of the North End's own U.S.S. Constitution.

onc dec 12

On November 13 Paul Revere Memorial Association Executive Director, Nina Zannieri, gave NEHS members an exclusive look behind the scenes at the construction on the grounds of the PRMA.  Two structures dating from the 1830s, built on property once owned by Paul Revere, are currently being renovated for educational, programmatic, and visitor services uses by the PRMA.  This was a unique opportunity to see rare architectural and archaeological details of dwellings that were common in the North End two centuries ago.  A tour of the Paul Revere House, the oldest building in downtown Boston, was also included as part of this event.


Also on October 23, the NEHS held an open house on the Prado/Paul Revere Mall.  Board Members answered questions and discussed ideas for sharing and preserving North End history.  Over a dozen new memberships were completed at the open house!

In conjunction with our events on October 23, the Old North Church Gift Shop extended a discount of 15% to ALL NORTH END RESIDENTS for the entire day.  This is a great local place to shop for gifts for all occasions.

The NEHS sincerely thanks Ed Pignone, Pam Bennett, and the Old North Foundation, and Nina Zannieri and the Paul Revere Memorial Association, for making these experiences available to our members; and our members for supporting us and the history of our unique neighborhood.


Oscar Andersson, Ph.D., of  Malmö University, Sweden, gave two talks based on his work translating Street Corner Society into Swedish. The talks were co-sponsored by The UMASS Boston Department of Anthropology and the North End's Nazzaro Community Center.

Unfortunately, a planned video presentation on June 16 was unable to be shown because of sound problems. The full 40 minute video can be at It contains interviews with the author, William Foote Whyte, as well as North End ‘corner boys’ in the book, Ralph Orlandella and Al Natale.



On June 15 Dr. Andersson discussed William Foote Whyte’s sociological classic Street Corner Society in light of Whyte’s field notes, letters, and other archival material. He examined the genesis of the book, its main influences, and its relationship to the Chicago School’s emphasis on social disorganization in urban areas.


ABOVE: Dr. Oscar Andersson with members of the NEHS Board of Directors in front of the Nazzaro Community Center. Completed in 1908, this building served the neighborhood as a bathhouse for over 60 years.

On June 16 Dr. Andersson discussed Street Corner Society, its author, and its impact. Written in 1943, the book has become a world renowned classic of sociology and anthropology. Whyte lived in the North End from 1936 to 1940. Street Corner Society has been translated into many languages, including, most recently, Swedish.

SCS_1943 english

BELOW: Nearly 50 people turned out to hear Dr. Andersson on June 16. In the crowd was Christopher Iannella, Jr., the son of one of the central characters in Street Corner Society. Also in attendance was Dr. Martin Whyte, the son of William Foote Whyte. Martin Whyte, a professor of sociology at Harvard University, commented that he was glad to see so many people still interested in his father's work. He also joked that all of his books combined have not reached the level of sales and fame as his father's book.



THANKS to EVERYONE who joined us FOR OUR FIRST PROGRAM on April 24, 2010!

It was...

A "Holy Thursday" walk to five religious and historical locations in the North End. At each site we shared the local history associated with the building and grounds as well as some of the origins and background associated with the Holy Days of Christianity, including the old tradition of visiting 5 (or 7) churches on the Thursday before Easter.

The program was facilitated by NEHS president and historian Alex Goldfeld and Dr. Mary Kantor,who is currently the Catholic Chaplain at Phillips Academy in Andover.


ABOVE: Dr. Mary Kantor in the Washington Memorial Garden at the Old North Church in Boston's North End.

Dr. Kantor completed her doctoral work at Harvard Divinity School where she focused on contemporary Catholicism, public ritual, and liturgical studies.  Dr. Kantor has over twenty-five years of ministry experience in the Catholic Church, as well as in ecumenical and interfaith settings.  She has taught at Harvard and Boston College, and she is also a writer, musician, consultant, and lecturer.

BELOW: Dr. Kantor addressing the crowd of about 25 people at the beginning of the April 24 tour in the courtyard behind the Old North Church.

MKantor3 MKantor2