Boston: Parks, Land, Harbor Use and Natural History
This guide highlights sources for Allison Blyler’s WR 150 classes on “Public Gardens and Urban Wilds: Boston’s Natural History.” There are also sources for Andrea Volpe’s WR 150 classes on “Mapping Boston.” Remember to use Guide Index to find books, indexes to journal and newspaper articles, websites, and more!
For additional resources, see
- Inventing the Charles River. Mugar Library F72.C46 H33 2003
- Paradise of all these parts: a natural history of Boston. (ebook)
- Eden on the Charles: the making of Boston. (ebook)
Boston Public Library online resources
Boston Landmark Commission Study Reports are available on the City of Boston website. They include “Homeowner Handbooks for neighborhoods listed in the National Register of Historic Places, brochures outlining the history of Boston’s neighborhoods, and Boston Landmarks Commission Study Reports, which are produced to assist the BLC in evaluating a property for potential designation as a Boston Landmark.”
Boston Public Library: Online Collections: Regional and Boston. Historical Government Documents such as Boston Street Lists (1880-1976), Building Codes Relating to Boston (1873-2008), Tools for Statistical Research of the Census for Boston (1930-2000), Boston [personal and corporate] Tax Lists (1826-1865).
Boston Public Library on the Internet Archive. Nearly 40,000 documents are available here. Title and Author access as well as keyword in main search box. Go directly to the Internet Archive for keyword, e.g., back bay boston, and title searches.
Planning and Development of Copley Square. Doreve Nicholaeff. Master of Architecture in Advanced Studies, M.I.T., 1979.
Collection by Location (Boston plus individual entries, e.g., West End)
Boston Public Library non-online formats
- Check catalog for materials available in print, microform, etc.
City of Boston online resources
- Boston Redevelopment Authority Planning Initiatives Select a neighborhood. Many of these planning documents include sections on the history of the site.
- Boston: A City of Neighborhoods
- Landmarks Commission: Historic Districts
Boston Preservation Allliance Newsletter
- AllianceLetter : monthly newsletter of the Boston Preservation Alliance :
Mugar Memorial Library Stacks NA108.B67 B667 V.7-21 1986-2000 (missing V.11#4 V.12#1,3)
- M.I.T. Rotch Library provides a volume/issue index to the AllianceLetter by neighborhood. Click the Boston Preservation AllianceLetter tab.
- Boston Preservation Alliance Letter. V.23(2)-v.28(2) 2007-2012 and 2012-2014 (For earlier years in print: Mugar Memorial Library Stacks NA108.B67 B667 V.7-21 1986-2000 (missing V.11#4 V.12#1,3)
See Newspapers below for historical and current accounts of projects and developments in Boston.
Selected list of titles in print and electronic format.
- Bay Cities and Water Politics: The Battle for Resources in Boston and Oakland. Sarah Elkind. University Press of Kansas. Mugar Library HD4464.B67E45 1998.
- Book of Boston. Robert Shackleton. 1917. (IA)
- Boston Firsts : 40 Feats of Innovation and Invention that Happened First in Boston and Helped Make America Great. Lynda Morgenroth. Boston: Beacon Press, 2006. Chapters: Recreation & Celebration, Nature & the Environment.
- Boston : a topographical history. Walter Muir Whitehill. Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2000. Mugar Library F73.3 .W57 2000.
- “Boston: Parks and Parkways–a Green Ribbon” in ed. S.B Sutton, Civilizing American Cities: A Selection of Frederick Law Olmsted’s Writings on City Landscapes, 1971, pp. 221-262. Mugar Library HT 167 F71.
- Boston Then and Now. Elizabeth McNulty. San Diego, Calif. : Thunder Bay Press, c1999. Mugar Reserve XF73.37 .M38 1999.
- Boston then & now : 59 Boston sites photographed in the past and present. Peter Vanderwarker. New York : Dover Publications, c1982. Mugar F73.37 .V36 1982.
- Boston’s “changeful times” : origins of preservation & planning in America. Michael Holleran. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001, c1998. Also available at Mugar Memorial Library Stacks (F73.37 .H5 1998 )
- “Boston’s Emerald Necklace,” in Charles Waldheim, Landscape Urbanism Reader, 2006, p. 186-187. For additional references to Boston, type “Boston” in the search box.
- Built Environment: A Guide to State Government Records of Massachusetts. [Boston, Mass.] : Massachusetts Archives, Office of the Secretary of State, . Mugar Library CD 3294 B85 1993.
- Changing Face of Boston over 350 Years. Boston : Massachusetts Historical Society, 1980. Mugar Library F73.37 .M35 1980.
- Cityscapes of Boston : an American city through time. Robert Campbell. Boston : Houghton Mifflin Co., 1992. Mugar Ref. XNA735.B7 C36 1992.
- East of Boston: notes from the Harbor Islands. Stephanie Schorow. Charleston: History Press, 2008. Mugar Library F73.63 .S36 2008.
- Eden on the Charles: the making of Boston. Michael Rawson. Also in print: Mugar Library F73.44 R39 2010.
- Frederick Law Olmsted and the Boston park system. Cynthia Zaitzevsky. Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1982. Mugar Library SB483.B73 Z34.
- Gaining Ground: A History of Landmaking in Boston. Nancy Seasholes. MIT Press, 2003. Mugar Library F73.3 .S46 2003.
- Garden Squares of Boston. Phebe S. Goodman. Hanover, NH: University of New England Press, 2003. Mugar Library SB466.U65 B6728 2003.
- Greater Boston : adapting regional traditions to the present. Sam Bass Warner, Jr. Mugar Library F73.3 .W37 2001.
- Guide to Public Art in Greater Boston: from Newburyport to Plymouth. Marty Carlock. Rev. ed. Boston: Harvard Common Press. Mugar Library N 884.5 B67 C37 1993.
- Hub’s Metropolis: greater Boston’s Development from Railroad Suburbs to Smart Growth. James C. O’Connell. Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, 2013. In print: Mugar Memorial Library Stacks HC108.B65 O26 2013
- “Indicators and standards at Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area” Chapter 12 in Parks and carrying capacity : commons without tragedy. Robert E. Manning. Washington, DC : Island Press, c2007. Science/Engineering Library SB486.P83 M36 2007. Online.
- Insuring the City: The Prudential Center and the Postwar Urban Landscape. Elihu Rubin. Mugar Library NA9053.O3R83 2012.
- Invented cities : the creation of landscape in nineteenth-century New York and Boston. Mona Domosh. New Haven : Yale University Press, c1996. Mugar Library HT168.N5 D66 1996.
- Inventing the Charles River. Karl Haglund. Cambridge, MA : MIT Press, 2003.Mugar Library F72.C46 H33 2003.
- Large Boston Garden sketchbook. Maurice Brazil Prendergast. New York: G. Brazilier in association with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987. In storage–see Circ ND 1839.P74 A4 1987.
- “Locating Boston’s Place in Environmental History,” Andrew W. Kahrt, Journal of Planning History, 2012: 12(1) 78-85. This article reviews five books in this list: Bay Cities and Water Politics; Eden on the Charles; Remaking Boston; Mastering Boston Harbor; and Gaining Ground. The article provides a capsule overview covering the 1700’s to the present.
- Lost Boston. Jane Holtz Kay. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, c1980. Mugar NA735.B7 K39.
- Mastering Boston Harbor: Courts, Dolphins, and Imperiled Waters. Charles Haar. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005. Also in print: Law Annex KF228.Q56 H32 2005.
- Olmsted Bibliography (1982). Franklin Park Coalition, Inc. IA Olmsted’s park system as vehicle in Boston : urban open space history, analysis & proposals, 1875-1975-? Cambridge, Mass. : Dept. of Landscape Architecture, Harvard University, . Stone Science Library SB483.B73 O5 1973.
- Paradise of all these parts : a natural history of Boston. John Hanson Mitchell. Boston : Beacon Press, c2008. Also in print: Science/Eng QH105.M4 M58 2008.
- Planning the city upon a hill : Boston since 1630. Lawrence W. Kennedy. Amherst : University of Massachusetts Press, c1992. Mugar HT168.B6 K46 1992.
- Portrait of a port: Boston, 1852-1914. William Henry Bunting. Cambridge, Mass., Belknap Press, 1971. Mugar HE767.B7 B8.
- Prendergast : the large Boston Public Garden sketchbook: [exhibition] Oklahoma Museum of Art, October 18 until November 22, 1981 Mugar Library ND1839.P74 A4 1981.
- Province of reason. Sam Bass Warner, Jr. Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1984. Mugar Library F73.25 .W37 1984.
- Remaking Boston : an environmental history of the city and its surroundings. Edited by Anthony N. Penna and Conrad Edick Wright. Pittsburgh, Pa. : University of Pittsburgh Press, c2009. Science/Engineering Library GE 155.M4 R46 2009.
- Streetcar suburbs: the process of growth in Boston, 1870-1900. Sam Bass Warner. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1962. Mugar Library HN80.B7 W3 1962.
- To dwell is to garden : a history of Boston’s community gardens. Sam Bass Warner, Jr. ; photographs by Hansi Durlach. Boston : Northeastern University Press, c1987. Mugar Library SB 457.3 .W37 1987.
- A topographical and historical description of Boston. Nathaniel B. Shurtleff. 2d. & rev. ed. Mugar F73.3 .E71. The 1871 edition available online via Internet Archive.
- “Toward the Boston Public Library, 1881-1892,” in Guastavino Vaulting : The Art of Structural Tile. John Allen Ochsendorf. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2010.
- Vita Brevis : history, landscape, and art, 1998-2003. Jill Medvedow. Boston : Institute of Contemporary Art ; Gottingen : Steidl Publishers, 2004. Mugar Library N8845.B67 M43 2004.
- Walking Tours of Boston’s Made Land. Nancy C. Seasholes. 2006. MIT Press. Mugar Reference XF73.18 .S43 2006.
Selected Recent Newspaper articles
Neyfakh, Leon. “Grown in Boston.” Boston Globe Jan 19 2014. ProQuest. Web. 13 Feb. 2014 (no images). For images in articles, see Proquest Digital Microfilm, from 2008+ (3 month time lag) or ask for our paper copies in the Reserve Room.
“A body of water so foul, : a century ago, a bold environmental idea was hatched right in the center of Boston [Emerald Necklace].” Justin Martin, Boston Globe May 29, 2011.
“Boston’s water: public or private? In the 19th century, the city fought over who should own our infrastructure–and made a choice that spoke volumes,” Carl Smith
Boston Globe May 5, 2013, K1, K4.
“Defending Boston from the sea,” Drake Bennett. Boston Globe June 6, 2010, K1, K3
“Tracing the Changing Face of Kenmore Square: with the Hotel Commonwealth sale, a look at BU’s famous neighbor,” Patrick Kennedy. BU Today 1-24-2013.
Finding journal and newspaper articles
The databases below index many journals that publish articles on open space, urban planning, etc. Some of these journals are Journal of Urban Affairs, Journal of Urban History, Landscape Architecture, Landscape Design, Landscape Journal, Progressive Architecture, Places, and Urban Land–all are available either online or in print. The databases make it easier to find articles on specific topics. Click the button to get to your article(s).
Boston Globe, 1997–.
Boston Globe, 1980-1996.
HarpWeek: online Harper’s Weekly, 1857-1912
Places Journal: Print Archive, 1983–. Places “is an interdisciplinary journal of contemporary architecture, landscape and urbanism, with a particular focus on the public realm as both physical place and social ideal.” Academic. Articles indexed in Avery Index.
- Ancient Fishweir Project.
- Arnold Arboretum: an historic park partnership. Sheila Connor, Horticultural Research Archivis tat theArnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain.
- Boston African American National Historic Site, National Park Service
- Boston By Boat, special project of Save the Harbor / Save the Bay.
- Boston Green Ribbon Commission. .. .group of business, institutional and civic leaders in Boston working to develop shared strategies for fighting climate change in coordination with the city’s Climate Action Plan.
- Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, National Park Service
- Bostonharbor.com, “Your definitive source for information on where to go and what to do on Boston Harbor and Boston’s waterfront.” Bruce Berman.
- Boston Harbor Island Alliance, ” promotes the use, enjoyment, and awareness of the Boston Harbor Islands national park area by creating vibrant public spaces, facilities, and programming on the islands, raising and managing the public and private resources necessary to do so.”
- Boston Harbor Islands. National Park Service.
- Boston: History of the Landfills, Digital Archive of American Architecture, Boston College. Slide shows!
- Boston Indicators Project: Environment and Energy.
- Boston National Historical Park, National Park Service
- Boston Natural Areas Network (BNAN). Community Gardens, Urban Wilds, and Greenways. Urban & Green, BNAN Newsletter, 2006–.
- Boston Public Art Walk. Boston Art Commission. Map, key, and images.
- Boston SAND: Seaport Alliance for Neighborhood Design
- Boston Sewage Outfall: The Fate of Sediments and Contaminants in Massachusetts Bay. Woods Hole Science Center and USGS (US Geological Survey)
- Boston’s Emerald Necklace by F.L. Olmsted. American Memory, Library of Congress.
- Boston’s Urban Forestry Coalition (BUFC). “… to transform Boston’s urban forest in order to improve the urban ecosystem, public health and the quality of life of Boston’s residents.
- Boston’s water: public or private? Carl Smith, Boston Globe, May 5, 2013, K1, K4. “In the 19th century, the city fought over who should own our infrastructure–and made a choice that spoke volumes.”
- Charles Eliot, Landscape Architect: an introduction to his life and work, prepared by Keith Morgan, Director of Architectural Studies, Boston University, and Professor, American and European Architecture, Boston University.
- Creating Land in Boston’s Back Bay. Website created for Brookline Public Schools. Boston Rocks! An exploration into the geology, land use and engineering of the Boston area. Sidebars on the left take you to other Boston places.
- “Defending Boston from the sea,” Drake Bennett. Boston Globe, June 6, 2010, K1, K3.
- Detroit Publishing Company Postcards: 210 postcards depicting Boston buildings, parks, etc.
- Emerald Necklace. CityofBoston.gov. Map.
- Emerald Necklace Conservancy.
- Emerald Necklace Parks. Map. Emerald Necklace Conservancy.
- Esplanade Association. “Working to restore and enhance the historic Charles River Esplanade.”
- Freedom Trail Map of Boston. Boston Freedom Foundation.
- Greening of Boston,” by Eric Moskowitz, Boston Sunday Globe, July 4, 2010, Page A 1. Esplanade and Greenway.
- History of Land Fill in Boston, 1630-1890.
- How to Research a Historic Building in Boston. Boston Landmarks Commission. City of Boston: The Environment Department.
- Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Expansion. The landscaping was done by Stoss, a Boston-based, collaborative design and planning studio that works at the intersection of landscape architecture, urban design, and planning – in an emerging field known as landscape urbanism.”
- LALH: Library of American Landscape History, Inc. “… founded in 1992, is a not-for-profit organization that produces books and exhibitions about North American landscape history.” For Boston resources, type “Boston” in the search box.
- Luna Preservation Society. “…a non-profit organization dedicated to the restoration and preservation of the tugboat Luna, a National Historic Landmark moored in Boston, MA.
- Mapping Massachusetts: Water and Land Development: Boston Harbor/Back Bay and Boston area
- Massachusetts: a guide to its places and people. (IA) Federal Writers’ Project of the Works Progress Administration of Massachusetts.
- Metropolitan Beaches Commission: “Beaches We Can Be Proud Of.”
- NOAA Soundings Map of Boston Harbor
- Norman B. Leventhal Map Center, Boston Public Library
- Old landmarks and personnages of Boston. Samuel Adams Drake. Boston: J.R. Osgood & Company, 1873. (Making of America)
- Penny Postcards from Massachusetts: Suffolk County. Undated except that all postcards were printed before 1940.
- PPS: Project for Public Spaces…” a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public places that build communities.” International in scope. Type “Boston” in search box.
- Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway.Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy. About.
- Save the Harbor / Save the Bay, “… mission is to restore and protect Boston Harbor, Massachusetts Bay, and the marine environment…”
- “Tracing the Changing Face of Kenmore Square.” Patrick L. Kennedy; slideshow by David Keefe, in BU Today, January 24, 2013.
- Trust for Public Land: Boston. Short papers, many on TPL’s East Boston project to convert an abandoned rail corridor into a bicycle and pedestrian trail. Use search box to find articles on Boston.
- Urban Ecology Institute: State of the Urban Forest (Spring, 2008):” Provides the results of Boston’s first-ever urban tree canopy analysis and street tree inventory. Boston’s tree canopy cover 29% of the city’s land area, and from 6% to 49% in individual neighborhoods.
- USGS Boston Harbor/Massachusetts Bay. Woods Hole Science Center.
- Waterworks Museum. “The Waterworks Museum interprets unique stories of one of the country’s first metropolitan water systems through exhibitions and educational programs on engineering, architecture, social history, and public health.”
- “What Lies Beneath Science, Nature, and the Making of Boston Harbor,” M. Rawson. Journal of Urban History 2009, Vol. 35(5), 675–.
- WTS-Boston (Women’s Transportation Seminar) Public Art Project
Mugar Memorial Library, Boston University