Margaret Sullivan to present about 1919 Boston Police Strike at James Green Memorial Lecture on Saturday, October 20

Abandoned His Duty Sept. 9, 1919Join the Labor Resource Center and History Department Master’s Program at UMass Boston and the Massachusetts AFL-CIO at Democracy Brewing on Saturday, October 20 for the second annual James Green Memorial Lecture and People’s History Walking Tour of Boston.

The event will begin at 9:30 a.m. with a talk by Boston Police Department Records Manager and Archivist Margaret R. Sullivan. She will present “The 1919 Boston Police Strike Project: Researching the Men Behind the Strike.” Attendees will then embark on a 3-mile guided tour through downtown Boston before returning for food and drinks at Democracy Brewing.

Seats fill up quickly, so register now to reserve your spot!


Visit the 1919 Boston Police Strike Project blog to listen to an audio interview with Dr. James Green, or read about last year’s event from the perspective of two public history graduate student tour leaders. Unable to make it? Check out Dr. Cristina V. Groeger’s People’s History Walking Tour of Boston website, hosted by the Labor Resource Center at UMass Boston.

Invitation: Meet-up for all current 1919 Boston Police Strike Project volunteers!

Patrolmen attached to the Sixth Division, 1901 Boston Police Department Yearbook. At least one of these officers, Joseph O. Hodgkins, was a striker.

Patrolmen attached to the Sixth Division, 1901 Boston Police Department Yearbook. At least one of these officers, Joseph O. Hodgkins, was a striker.

Please join us on Friday, September 21, 2018, for a gathering at UMass Boston to review the progress of the 1919 Boston Police Strike Project. We invite you to bring tales of your most vexing and interesting inquiries. We’ll share research tips and tricks, field each others’ questions, and take a look at the upcoming stages of the project (reviewing, data entry, biographical profiles, website development, and culminating event planning). We’ll gather at 10 a.m. in the Archives Research Room on the 5th floor of the Healey Library on the UMass Boston campus. Coffee and light refreshments will be served.

All current volunteers are welcome, including those in the process of taking the online training course.

Directions to campus are available here, and a campus map is available here.

Kindly RSVP to bpstrike@live.umb.edu by Wednesday, September 19. We look forward to seeing you there!

The word is getting out!

UMass Boston Dean of University Libraries Joanne Riley, Boston Police Department Archivist Margaret Sullivan, and dedicated volunteer researchers Maryellen McDonagh and Maureen Egan spoke with Edgar B. Herwick III of WGBH’s Curiosity Desk about the 1919 Boston Police Strike Project.

The segment described the development of the Project, from Sullivan’s discovery of records in a Boston attic to UMass Boston’s development of an online course on doing biographical research. McDonagh and Egan shared their experiences as volunteers with the Project:

“I was especially interested because one of my great uncles was one of the strikers,” said volunteer Maryellen McDonagh, who got so hooked learning about her great uncle she’s now completed nearly 50 profiles. What drives her to keep at it? “The joy of the hunt,” she explained. “I’m determined that I’m going to find that missing piece.”

Another volunteer, Maureen Egan says she’s found the research equal parts illuminating- and moving. “After you’ve known so much about this person — who they were married to, what their kids names were — you start to feel like they’re almost real to you,” she explained.

Earlier this summer, Margaret Sullivan was interviewed about the history of the strike in a Boston Globe article “Chronicling ‘the most significant event’ in the history of Boston police”. Descendants of Boston police officers recounted how their own families understood and experienced the strike.

Both media pieces noted that volunteers are still welcome to join in this “crowd-fueled” project to research 1,100+ officers before the strike centennial in September, 2019.


Listen to the full WGBH piece, “How a Team of Citizen Researchers Are Finding New Layers in the Story of the 1919 Boston Police Strike“, or check out “Chronicling ‘the most significant event’ in the history of Boston police” at bostonglobe.com.