Boston Political Bibliography

These materials were used in the research of Political Places of Boston. Many of these are standard works.
Follow the links to purchase the latest edition of the books on Amazon (most are available only as used copies).


The guidebook started with the stories found in biographies.


Autobiographies provide wonderful insider accounts, although they are generally unindexed and more prone to inaccuracies.

Bulger, William M. While the Music Lasts: My Life in Politics. Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1996

Curley, James Michael. I'd Do It Again: A Record of All my Uproarious Years. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1957. (Arno Press reprint 1976)

The indispensible Boston political book. John Henry Cutler contributed.

O'Neill, Tip. Man of the House. Random House, New York, 1987

Saltonstall, Leverett. Salty: Recollections of a Yankee in Politics. Boston Globe, Boston, 1976.

X, Malcolm and Alex Haley. The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Ballantine Books, New York, 1965


Ainley, Leslie. Boston Mahatma: The Public Career of Martin M. Lomasney. Bruce Humphries, New York, 1949.

Local newspaperman had access to the Lomasney papers.

Baxter, Maurice. One and Inseparable: Daniel Webster and the Union. Belknap Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1984.

Beatty, Jack. The Rascal King: The Life and Times of James Michael Curley. Addison Wesley, Reading, MA, 1992.

A more critical biography of Curley.

Blair, Joan and Clay. The Search for J.F.K. Berkeley Publishing, New York, 1976.

Cutler, John Henry. "Honey Fitz" Three Steps to the White House. Bobbs Merrill, Indianapolis, 1962.

Cutler, John Henry. Ed Brooke, biography of a Senator. Bobbs-Merrill, Indianapolis, 1972.

Dineen, Joseph F. The Purple Shamrock: The Hon. James Michael Curley of Boston. W. W. Norton & Co., New York, 1949.

By a Boston newspaper reporter. "The Purple Shamrock" is also the name of one of four pubs in Boston with a Curley theme.

Farrell, John A. Tip O'Neill and the Democratic Century. Little Brown, Boston, 2001.

Fox, Stephen B. The Guardian of Boston: William Monroe Trotter. Atheneum, New York, 1970.

Goodwin, Doris Kearns. The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys. St. Martins Press, New York, 1987.

Hamilton, Nigel. JFK, Reckless Youth. Random House, New York, 1992.

Harris, Leon. Only To God: The Extraordinary Life of Godfrey Cabot Lowell. Atheneum, New York, 1967.

Hersh, Burton. The Education of Edward Kennedy. William Morrow & Co., New York, 1972.

Higgins, George V. Style versus substance: Boston, Kevin White, and the politics of illusion. Macmillan, New York, 1984.

Holli, Melvin G. and Peter d'A. Jones, eds. Biographical dictionary of American mayors, 1820-1980. Greenwood Press, Westport, Conn., 1981.

Kilgore, Kathleen. John Volpe: The Life of an Immigrant's Son. Yankee Publishing, Dublin, NH, 1987

Volpe cooperated in this biography by a local writer.

LaPlante, Eve. American Jezebel: the uncommon life of Anne Hutchinson, the woman who defied the Puritans. Harper, New York, 2004.

McGinniss, Joe. The Last Brother. Simon and Schuster, New York, 1993.

Edward M. Kennedy biography.

Perret, Geoffrey. Jack: A Life Like No Other. Random House, New York, 2001.

Randall, Mercedes M. Improper Bostonian: Emily Greene Balch. Twayne Publishers, New York, 1964.

By Balch's literary executor.

Strum, Philippa. Louis D. Brandeis: Justice for the People. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1984.

Wilson, Dorothy Clarke. Bright Eyes: The Story of Susette La Flesche, an Omaha Indian. McGraw-Hill, New York, 1974.


Barbrook, Alec. God Save the Commonwealth: An Electoral History of the Commonwealth. Univ. of Massachusetts Press, Amherst, 1973.

Baltzell, E. Digby. Provincial Boston and Cosmopolitan Philadelphia. Free Press, New York, 1979.

Dentler, Robert A. & Marvin B. Scott. Schools on Trial: an inside account of the Boston desegregation case. Abt Books, Cambridge, Mass., 1981.

Court-appointed planning experts, Boston University Dean of Education Robert A. Dentler and Associate Dean Marvin B. Scott, assisted the masters and the court.

Fisher, Sean and Carolyn Hughes, eds. The Last Tenement: Confronting Community and Urban Renewal in Boston's West End. Bostonian Society, Boston, 1992.

Formisano, Ronald. Boston Against Busing: race, class, and ethnicity in the 1960s and 1970s. Univ. of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1991.

Handlin, Oscar. Boston's Immigrants. Belknap Press, Cambridge, 1979.

Hennessy, Michael E. Four Decades of Massachusetts Politics: 1890-1935. Norwood Press, Norwood, MA, 1935.

Boston Globe Reporter.

Horton, James Oliver and Lois E. Horton. Black Bostonians. Holmes & Meier, NY, 1979.

Jennings, James and Mel King. From Access to Power: Black Politics in Boston. Schenkman Books, Cambridge, 1976.

Kenny, Herbert A. Newspaper Row: Journalism in the Pre-Television Era. Globe Pequot Press, Chester, CT, 1987.

Former newspaperman.

King, Mel. Chain of Change. South End Press, Boston, 1981.

King participated as a leader in the history he describes.

Levine, Hillel and Lawrence Harmon. The Death of an American Jewish Community: A Tragedy of Good Intentions. Free Press, New York, 1992.

The story of the community in Dorchester and Mattapan. Harmon, former editor of Boston's Jewish Advocate.

Lupo, Alan et al. Rites of Way: politics of transportation in Boston and the U.S. city. Little, Brown, Boston, 1971.

Local reporter.

Lurie, Reuben Levi. The Challenge of the Forum: The Story Of Ford Hall And The Open Forum Movement. Gorham Press, Boston, 1930.

Lyons, Louis M. Newspaper Story, 100 years of the Boston Globe. Belknap Press, Cambridge, 1971.

Mann, Arthur. Urban Yankee reformers in the urban age: social reform in Boston, 1880-1900. Harper & Row, New York, 1954.

Marchione, William P. The Bull in the Garden: A History of Allston-Brighton. Boston Public Library, Boston, 1986.

Nelkin, Dorothy. Jetport: The Boston Airport Controversy. Transaction Books, New Brunswick, N.J., 1974.

O'Connor, Thomas H. Civil War Boston: home front and battlefield. Northeastern University Press, Boston, 1997.

O'Connor, Thomas H. The Boston Irish: a political history. Back Bay Books, Boston, 1995.

O'Connor, Thomas H. South Boston: My Home Town: The History of an Ethnic Neighborhood. Quinlan Press, Boston, 1988.

O'Connor, Thomas H. Building a New Boston: Politics & Urban Renewal, 1950-1970. Northeastern University Press, Boston, 1993.

Russell, Francis. A City in Terror: The 1919 Boston Police Strike. Viking Press, New York, 1975.

Russell, Francis. The Knave of Boston & other ambiguous Massachusetts characters. Quinlan Press, Boston, 1987.

Schneider, Mark R. Boston Confronts Jim Crow. Northeastern Univ. Press, Boston, 1997.

Snow, Edward Rowe. The Islands of Boston Harbor, 1630-1971. New York, Dodd, Mead, 1971. (Commonwealth Editions, Beverly, Mass., 2002).

Tager, Jack. Boston Riots: Three Centuries of Social Violence. Northeastern University Press, Boston, 2001.

Taylor, Steven J. L. Desegregation in Boston and Buffalo: The influence of local leaders. State University of New York Press, Albany, 1998.

Tsipis, Yanni K. Building the Massachusetts Turnpike. Arcadia, Charleston, S.C., 2002.

Justin Winsor, ed. The Memorial History of Boston. James R. Osgood & Co., Boston, 1881.

Guidebooks, architectural and geographic histories

These books help fill out the settings of history.

Bacon, Edwin M. Boston: A Guide Book. Ginn & Co., Boston, 1908 & 1928 editions.

Boston Post editor. He worked on King's handbook.

Kay, Jane Holtz. Lost Boston. Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1980.

Harrell, Pauline Chase and Margaret Supplee Smith. Victorian Boston Today. New England Chapter of the Victorian Society of America, Boston, 1975.

Harrington, Michael. Who Rules Boston? Institute for Democratic Socialism, Boston, 1984.

Kaufman, Polly Welts et al. Boston Women's Heritage Trail. 2nd ed. Curious Traveller Press, Gloucester, MA, 1999.

King, Moses. King's Hand-book of Boston. 9th ed., 1889.

Seasholes, Nancy S. Gaining Ground: A History of Landmaking in Boston. MIT Press, Cambridge, 2003.

Southworth, Susan and Michael. AIA Guide to Boston. Globe Pequot Press, Chester, CT, 1984.

Vanderwarker, Peter. Boston Then and Now. Dover Publications, New York, 1982.

Whitehill, Walter Muir. Boston: A Topographic History. 2nd ed. Belknap Press, Cambridge, 1968.

Wilson, Susan. Sites and Insights. 2nd ed. Beacon Press, Boston, 2004.


The guide provides dates, so that those who wish to may consult the original newspaper articles. The newspaper columnists' collections provide a unique point of view, and complement the politicians' autobiographies.

The Boston Globe, microfilm and online

The Boston Herald, microfilm and online

The Boston Post, microfilm

The Boston Transcript, microfilm

The Boston City Directories, microfilm and microfiche

Boston White Pages, microfilm and print.

Worcester Telegram & Gazette, online

Newsweek, "Hand of the Law," Oct. 6, 1941, p. 15-16

The story of Sheriff Dowd at the Charles Street Jail.

Dineen, Joseph F. "Corruption, Boston Style", The American Mercury, June 1940. p. 168-175.

The story of Sheriff Dowd.

Lucas, Peter. Pols and Politics. Boston Herald, Boston, 1983

Boston Herald collected columns.

Murphy, Jeremiah. Jeremiah Murphy's Boston. Marlborough House, Boston, 1974.

Boston Globe columns.

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