The Atlas of Boston History

About the Atlas

This landmark volume captures all aspects of Boston’s past in a series of fifty-seven stunning full-color spreads. Each section features newly created thematic maps that focus on topics and moments in that history.

These maps are accompanied by hundreds of historical and contemporary illustrations and explanatory text from historians and other expert contributors. They illuminate a wide range of topics including Boston’s physical and economic development, changing demography, and social and cultural life. In lavishly produced detail, The Atlas of Boston History offers a vivid, refreshing perspective on the development of this iconic American city.

“The Atlas of Boston History is a visual feast and a triumph of storytelling through words and images. Mapping the forces that have shaped and reshaped the city, from the Ice Age to the Big Dig to Global Warming, this panoramic narrative also encompasses the human saga of a diverse population and its ongoing struggles to forge a just society.”

—Barnet Schecter, author of George Washington’s America: A Biography Through His Maps

“The Atlas of Boston History excavates four centuries of the city’s rise, fall, and rise again. With thoughtful essays that introduce both new and historic maps, the authors guide the reader through the city’s evolution from multiple angles. The result is a chronological picture of the environmental, social, cultural, and intellectual history of one of North America’s most enduring urban centers. General readers will appreciate its clear explanation of the city’s spatial history, while scholars will profit from a vital reference work that also serves as a source of new discovery.”

—Susan Schulten, author of A History of America in 100 Maps


Robert J. Allison, Professor of History, Suffolk University

Robert Charles Anderson, Director, Great Migration Study Project at New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston

John Avault, Chief Economist, Boston Redevelopment Authority (retired)

Joseph Bagley, City Archaeologist, City of Boston

Charles Bahne, Independent Scholar

Laurie Baise, Professor and Chair, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Tufts University

J. L. Bell,

Rebekah Bryer, Ph.D. student, Northwestern University

Aubrey Butts, Oral History Researcher, The HistoryMakers

Benjamin L. Carp, Associate Professor of History, Brooklyn College, City University of New York

Amy D. Finstein, Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Visual Arts, College of the Holy Cross

Gerald Gamm, Professor of Political Science and History, University of Rochester

Richard Garver, Deputy Director of Boston Redevelopment Authority (retired); Fellow, Massachusetts Historical Society

Katherine Grandjean, Associate Professor of History, Wellesley College

Michelle Granshaw, Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts, University of Pittsburgh

James Green, Professor Emeritus of History, University of Massachusetts/Boston (deceased)

Dean Grodzins, Senior Researcher, Harvard Business School; Visiting Scholar, Massachusetts Historical Society

Karl Haglund, Senior Planner, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation; Fellow, Massachusetts Historical Society

Ruth-Ann M. Harris, Adjunct Professor of History and Irish Studies, Boston College (deceased)

Arthur Krim, Faculty, Boston Architectural College

Stephanie Kruel, Senior Environmental Planner, VHB

Kerima M. Lewis, Adjunct History Instructor, Quincy College

Noam Maggor, Assistant Professor, School of History, Queen Mary University of London

Dane A. Morrison, Professor of Early American History, Salem State University

James C. O’Connell, Adjunct Professor, City Planning-Urban Affairs Program, Boston University

Mark Peterson, Professor of History, Yale University

Marshall Pontrelli, Master’s student, Tufts University

Gayle Sawtelle, Independent Scholar

Nancy S. Seasholes, Independent Scholar; author, Gaining Ground: A History of Landmaking in Boston

Reed Ueda, Professor of History, Tufts University

Lawrence J. Vale, Ford Professor of Urban Design and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Jim Vrabel, Independent Scholar; author, A People’s History of the New Boston

Sam Bass Warner, Visiting Professor, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (retired)

Jay Wickersham, Partner, Noble, Wickersham & Heart LLP

Susan Wilson, Resident Scholar, Brandeis University WSRC; House Historian, Omni Parker House