State Library of Massachusetts to host presentation on “Great Molasses Flood”

John Callahan was among the 21 people who lost their lives in the Molasses Flood. Callahan was a member of the Massachusetts Catholic Order of Foresters, the records of which are held in University Archives & Special Collections.

The death certificate of John Callahan, who was among the 21 people who lost their lives in the Molasses Flood. Callahan was a member of the Massachusetts Catholic Order of Foresters, the records of which are held in University Archives & Special Collections.

When: Thursday, January 23, 2014 | 12:00 – 1:30 pm

Where: State Library of Massachusetts | Room 442, State House

Bring your lunch to the State Library of Massachusetts (in the Massachusetts State House) on Thursday, January 23, and listen to John Horrigan, host of the 2013 Boston/New England Emmy Award™-winning historical television program “The Folklorist,” as he presents a short presentation on “The Great Molasses Flood.”

The Great Molasses Flood of January 15, 1919, as it’s come to be known, is perhaps one of the oddest disasters in New England history, and one that continues to capture the interest of historians and the general public alike. Read more about this presentation, part of the State Library’s Brown Bag discussion series, here…

Of the 21 people who lost their lives in the Molasses Flood, at least two, James Lennon and John Callahan, were members of the Massachusetts Catholic Order of Foresters, the records of which are held in University Archives & Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston. The Massachusetts Catholic Order of Foresters was founded in 1879 by a group of Irish immigrants to provide life insurance benefits for its members. A Foresters member record includes an Application for Membership, health examination information, a Death Certificate, a Death Benefit Payout (with information about beneficiaries), and other supporting documents.

The Death Certificate for John Callahan, seen above, lists his cause of death as “Mult[iple] injuries including fracture of pelvis with consequent infection caused by the bursting of a molasses tank.”

Learn more about the Massachusetts Catholic Order of Foresters and the Foresters Mortuary Records here.

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