“A History of Boston” with Author Daniel Dain

Boston was the home of the Great Puritan Migration, the American Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, the first civil rights movement, the abolition movement, and the women’s rights movement. But the city that gave us the first use of ether as anesthesia, the telephone, technicolor film, and the mutual fund was also the hub of the anti-immigration movement, the divisive busing era, and decades of self-inflicted decay. Join Daniel Dain as he acts as your tour guide from the arrival of First Peoples up to the election of Boston’s first woman and person of color as mayor. Click here for the one-hour recording of his presentation by the Massachusetts Historical Society on January 24, 2024.

Dain’s work explores the policies and practices that took Boston from its highest highs to its lowest lows and back again, and examines the central role that density, diversity, and good urban design play in the success of cities like Boston.

Dain begins by describing the Native people as the first “urbanists” since they chose to live in villages rather than in isolated rural settings. He then talks about how Boston was expanded by filling in the water that surrounded it.

In describing the early settler history, he talks about Captain John Smith naming many of the geographical areas around the City, the support that Native people provided to the early settlers, and how William Blaxton became the City’s first settler before he invited the Puritans of the Great Migration to settle on the Shawmut Peninsula.