Boston Uncovered: Tourism in the 1960s


This box is from the Mayor John Collins
collection. John Collins was mayor from 1960 to 1968. Now, in the 1960s, Boston was just as much of a summer tourist destination as it is now, and so one of
my favorite records from the John Collins records is this comic book that
the administration put together for Boston’s tourists. And the comic book is
all about all of the innovations in Boston but it also looks back to
Boston’s past and it guides Boston’s visitors through the Freedom Trail. You
can see this family on vacation visiting all of these different Freedom Trail
sites that you would visit today, but the book also makes a point to talk about
all of the kind of new innovative things that are happening. So for example, on
this page they tout all of Boston’s universities and schools they talk about
how there are over 200 colleges and universities in Greater Boston, actually
this part of the pamphlet is also really interesting because as the family walks
through the public garden the mother says, “Isn’t it wonderful how Boston has
managed to preserve so many of its historic places among all the new
buildings, expressways, and new housing?” so in the 60s you can really see how Boston
was trying to honor its the history but also tried to tell people that this was
a place with a lot of new innovation, a lot of new opportunities. And then the
pamphlet ends when the family drives away in their really snazzy car and
one of the kids says, “After I graduate from school, do you think I can work in
Boston?” and the father replies that “Boston received the All-American City
Award as a result of its people working together to build a new Boston, this will
create many opportunities and plenty of jobs in the years to come.” The mayoral
administration was definitely interested in attracting tourists but they also
wanted to tout Boston as a great place to live and work.
It’s really wonderful, like so much of this is so, what I think is interesting,
so this is the State House but I don’t recognize this like glassy building
unless it’s supposed to be, this is before the Hancock building, which is
nowhere near the State House so I’m not sure, I mean I think this is something right
out of their imagination, that’s what I think, but I also, like, I mean this is like an
atomic sign, but I’m not sure…

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