About The Sports Temples of
Welcome to Sports Temples 2.0 (Beta)!
Photographer: Abdalian, Leon H., 1884-1967
Back Bay, Massachusetts
When we first launched the Sports Temples of Boston online collection in 2003, we could scarcely predict the enthusiastic response it would produce. It has remained one of the most-used digital resources developed by BPL staff. Local historians, writers, researchers, and sports fans alike have found an abundance of material here to fuel their enthusiasm. We are delighted to announce the relaunch of Sports Temples in a more dynamic, detailed, and usable interface.
Some of the key improvements from version 1.0:
- A simple single-box search interface that automatically anticipates many relevant search terms
- The ability to further narrow search results by additional keywords or headings
- Multiple resolution downloadable images
- Single-screen display of images that avoid excessive "back button clicking"
- An ever-expanding collection that will include any images of these 15 venues automatically as they are digitized
I hope you will enjoy the new face we've put on Sports Temples. This release is a completely usable interface, but it is still in beta. That means that we'll continue to improve access to this collection based on your feedback, so please email any suggestions you have about the site to firstname.lastname@example.org. Any questions about the physical collections or reproductions should still be addressed to the Print Department of the Central Library.
Online and Web Services Manager,
A Note from the Curator
Boston has a rich history in many areas including government, culture and of course, sports!
Some of the greatest victories, most accomplished athletes and exciting teams have made history in Boston. From the earliest days of the colony, sports have been a part of the social fabric. And by the 19th century, the playing of sports was an accepted part of life as more sports became with local sports clubs being founded and professional leagues formed.
As sports grew in popularity, venues were built where the games could be played. In 1872, the first baseball park in Boston was built in the South End. It was the first building built specifically for the viewing of sporting events. Fans could now sit and watch the game from grandstand seats and the team could charge a small admission fee.
Over time more elaborate buildings were erected for the playing and watching of
sports and at the dawn of the 20th century, sports had become a sort of religion with a devoted and loyal following (the word fan is short for fanatic). The ballparks, arenas, stadiums and racetracks where
sports were regularly played became centers of the community and social
life of Boston. Older 19th century
buildings like the Cyclorama in the South End and Mechanics Hall on
Huntington Avenue which had been built for other purposes, became
important temples for the worship of sports. Buildings such as the
Boston Garden were built for a variety of major events, but sports were
the center and soul of their purpose.
Many of these sports temples no longer exist. Thanks to the diligent care of the many
participating institutions, these
images survive to provide evidence of the great events and great
happenings experienced by so many fans and athletes over the years in
Boston’s Sports Temples.
It is our hope that this assortment of images will provide enjoyment to sports fans of
all ages, as well as serve as a useful resource for historical, societal
and architectural research. Think of it as a virtual scrapbook,
filled with the memories of a hundred years of Boston sports.
Boston Public Library Collections Represented in the Sports Temples of Boston:
The Central Library’s research collection is made up of many smaller
collections housed in different departments. For information on the collections represented, click on the links below.
- Aaron Schmidt, Project Director
- Alice Kane, Website Design
- Joe Fisher, Database Design
- Evelyn Francis, Data Entry/Quality Control
- Linda DeSimone, Christina McIntosh and Regina Cotter, Data Entry
Thanks to BPL Staff
Completing the Sports Temples of Boston website was a team effort. The
following BPL staff helped the project cross the finish line:
Jan Chadbourne, Fine Arts Department; Mary Beth
Dunhouse, Special Collections; Bobbie Zonghi, Rare Books Department; John
Dorsey, Research Library; Katherine Dibble, Mary Frances O’Brien and Cindy
Phillips, Community Library Services Office; Carolyn Coulter, Jean Antoine
, Systems & Services; Ed Maheigan and Diane Collins,
Business Office; Sean Monahan, Accounting; Jennifer Latchford and Kathleen
Kirleis, President’s Office; Cate Zannino, Mary Bender and Camille White,
Communications Office; Marta Pardee-King, Social Sciences; Jane Duggan,
The participation of the contributing institutions greatly enhanced the richness and comprehensiveness of the project. We would like to thank the following people for their effort and time in searching their collections for great images and helping us add them to the project:
Catharina Slautterback and Lina Coffey, The Boston Athenaeum; Nancy Richard and
Anne Vosikas, The Bostonian Society; Dick Johnson, New England Sports
Museum; Lorna Condon, Society for the Preservation of New England
Antiquities; Betsy Lowenstein, State Library of Massachusetts; Nicholas
Graham, Massachusetts Historical Society.
Many people contributed their knowledge and expertise
during the course of the project. A special thanks go out to the following people:
Mel Klayman; P.A. d’Arbeloff; Glenn Stout; Gregor
Trinkaus-Randall; Walter Barrett, Jr.; Jennifer Goold.
If you have additional questions, comments or if you are searching for a particular topic of photo, please feel free to e-mail your question or comment about the Sports Temples of Boston.
Temples of Boston: Images of Historic Ballparks, Arenas and Stadiums,
has been made possible through a Library Services and
Technology Act grant
administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library