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Showing posts from September, 2020

Silent John Kerrigan of South Boston, was Acting Mayor of Boston in 1938 and 1945

John E. Kerrigan, a career politician who was called upon twice to serve as Acting Mayor of Boston, was born on October 1, 1908 in South Boston.  Kerrigan attended St. Augustine Grade School and South Boston High School and lived on West Eighth Street in South Boston all of his life.  In addition to serving as Acting Mayor, Kerrigan was elected one term as a State Senator. But it was in the Boston City Council that Kerrigan made his mark.   He served 15 terms, non-consecutively, and was the City Council President three times.  In 1951, Kerrigan won 11 consecutive terms, serving 22 consecutive years Kerrigan's mayoral duties both came when he was City Council President.  In 1938, when then-Mayor Maurice Tobin  was attending the American Legion Conference in Los Angeles, a sudden hurricane hit Boston.  Kerrigan temporarily stepped into the role of mayor and officially declared a State of Emergency.  He quickly engaged the Department of Public Works, Police and Fire, Hospitals and oth

Irish Poet William B. Yeats Lectures in Boston on the Irish National Theater on September 28, 1911

Photo courtesy of the Burns Library at Boston College Irish poet and playwright  William Butler Yeats  addressed an audience at the Plymouth Theatre in Boston on Thursday, September 28, 1911 on the subject, History of the Irish National Theatre and its Purposes. As managing director of Dublin's  Abbey Theatre , Yeats was in the United States to introduce a new literary movement taking place in Ireland that he hoped would be "the awakening of the mind of Ireland." The  Plymouth Theatre , located at Eliot Street (now Stuart) and Tremont Street, was a brand new playhouse, described as "a cozy, compact and home like-arrangement, with the seats in all parts of the house as near the stage as possible."  The Abbey players christened the new theatre with their productions. The Irish plays on opening night included The Shadow of the Glenn by John M. Synge, Birthright by T.C. Murray, and Hyacinth Halvey by Lady Gregory Yeats was introduced to the audience by  George Pierc

War Anthem, 'When Johnny Comes Marching Home,' was first Performed on September 26, 1863 at Boston's Tremont Temple

The classic war anthem, " When Johnny Comes Marching Home ," was first performed at Tremont Temple in Boston on Saturday, September 26, 1863 by  Patrick S. Gilmore  and his Orchestra.  Gilmore originally published the song - also known as the "Soldiers Return March" - under the pseudonym Louis Lambert for reasons unknown, but later acknowledged that he authored the piece.  The song appeared during the height of the American Civil War, and was meant as an optimistic tribute "dedicated to the Army and Navy of the Union."   Henry Tolman & Company of Boston was the publisher.  The late Gilmore historian  Michael Cummings ,  founder of the Patrick S. Gilmore Society, wrote that Gilmore took the song for an earlier Irish marching song called "Johnie I Hardly Knew Ye," which was apparently sung by Irish regiments fighting for the British in Ceylon in the early 19th century.  According to Cummings, Gilmore never claimed to have written the melody, q

Tom Burke of Boston's West End Breaks the World Record in the 600 Yard Dash

Tom Burke of Boston's West End set a new world record in the 600 yard dash on September 20, 1896 at the prestigious Knickerbocker Athletic Club track & field meet in New York City. Burke, representing the Boston Athletic Association (BAA), won the race in 1 minute, 11 seconds, beating the old record by 4/10s of a second, held by Lon Myers (1882) and Billy Downs (1890). The New York Times described Burke as "a slight, graceful, wiry, swift-moving boy from Boston." He can be "described by no other word than marvelous."  By this time,  Thomas Edmund Burke (1875- 1929) was already a household name in track and field and certainly in Boston running circles.  The previous Apri, he became the first athlete in the Modern Olympic Games to win two races, the 100 yard dash and the 440 yard run.   Burke, just 20 years old at the time, was one of  six Boston athletes  who made the trip to Athens, Greece in April 1896 to participate in the revival of the Olympics. He han