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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

This Week in Boston History


October 16(1846) Boston dentist William T. G. Morton demonstrates first use of ether as an anesthetic at Massachusetts General Hospital. The dentist famously remarked to spectators, “Gentlemen, this is no humbug.”

October 17(1787) Prince Hall filed a petition with Boston’s School Committee for equality in the town’s public schools. The leader gathered signatures from over forty members of Boston’s growing African American community in an attempt to remediate racist legislation and constant harassment faced by the town’s black residents.

October 18(1648) Boston Shoemakers, America’s first labor organization, formed in Beantown.

October 19(1735) John Adams born in North Braintree, now Quincy. The American statesman would serve as a diplomat, congressman, and vice president before succeeding George Washington as president. Adams lost his bid for reelection to Thomas Jefferson in the contentious election of 1800.

October 20(2004) The Boston Red Sox beat the New York Yankees, 10-3 in game seven of Major League Baseball’s ALCS playoffs series, advancing the team to its first World Series in eighteen years. Boston’s “Dirt Dogs” had battled back from a 0-3 series deficit, to defeat their bitter rivals in what has been called the biggest upset in sports history.

(1979) JFK Library dedicated at Dorchester’s Columbia Point.

October 21(1797) USS Constitution launched in Boston. The vessel earned the nickname “Old Ironsides” when an American sailor observed that British cannonballs seemed to bounce off her hull. The oldest commissioned warship in the world, the Constitution resides at the Charlestown Navy Yard.

October 22(1844) As many as 100,000 religious followers of William Miller gathered in Massachusetts to await the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The Baptist preacher had projected the Armageddon’s date based on figures he extracted from the Bible. Needless to say, his figures were a smidge off. The incident is known as ‘The Great Disappointment.’

October 23(1788) Sarah Hale born in Newport, New Hampshire. Her novels and poems made her a prominent literary figure, and earned her an appointment as editor of the well-respected Ladies’ Magazine, later known as Godey’s Lady Book. The great “lady editor” served the Boston community as president of the Seaman’s Aid Society, training local women in trades while providing nurseries for their children.