About the 1919 Boston Police Strike Project

Four of the more than 1,100 men who went out on strike on Sept. 9, 1919.

Four of the more than 1,100 men who went out on strike on Sept. 9, 1919. (Source: Tappen, G. Arthur. The officers and the men, the stations without and within of the Boston Police (1901))

The 1919 Boston Police Strike Project aims to document and preserve the stories of the more than 1,100 police officers who were involved in this highly influential labor strike which had lasting effects in the City of Boston and across the United States.

By September 9th, 2019 – the centennial of the strike – we plan to have compiled a biographical encyclopedia documenting each of the officers who went out on strike, for the benefit of researchers, historians, students and others, including family members of the strikers.

The project is a collaboration between the Boston Police Department Archives, the University of Massachusetts Boston and a group of wonderful volunteers drawn from local organizations, classrooms and the general public.

If you would like to get involved in the 1919 Boston Police Strike Project, please fill out this quick form to let us know of your interest.

The stages of the project are:

  1. Digitize all of the “duty roster cards” of the striking officers, most of which are stamped “Abandoned His Duty Sep 9, 1919.”  
    Status: 100% complete!  
    This stage was completed at UMass Boston in 2013 and 2014.
  2. Transcribe the contents of each card into a structured database, thus creating a master list of the striking officers along with information about their promotions, disciplinary actions and division (precinct) assignments.
    Status: 100% complete!  This stage was completed in the Fall of 2015, thanks to the dedicated efforts of the following volunteers and project team members:
    – Marie Ahearn
    – Carlyn Cox
    – Pat Deal
    – Marie Dorsey
    – Nancy Fennessey
    – Carolyn Jack
    – Joan O’Donnell
    – Johanna Paltrineri
    – Joanne Riley
    – Julie Rizzello
    – Diane Rogers
    – Susan Steele
    – Kathy Sullivan
    – Margaret Sullivan
    – Virginia Wright
  3. Add 1919 street address to each officer’s record from 1919 Boston Employee Directory of police officers.  This address provides an essential foundation for identifying officers and distinguishing between officers with the same name.
    Status: 100% complete!  This stage was completed in the Spring of 2016, thanks to the dedicated effort of volunteer Carolyn Jack.
  4. Research background information on each officer, locating census records, vital records, photographs, obituaries and more.
    Status: in process now!  [Would you like to help?  See Getting Involved]
  5. Enter all information into a searchable online database system at UMass Boston.
    Status: Not yet begun.
  6. Create a biographical profile online for each officer using the information compiled during the research process, hopefully including a portrait image of each officer.  The profiles will be published online in time for the strike centennial, September 9, 2019.
    Status: Not yet begun.
  7. Celebrate the completion of the project with public events and exhibits on the 100th anniversary of the strike, September 9th, 2019.  

If you would like to get involved in the 1919 Boston Police Strike Project,
please fill out this quick form to let us know of your interest.

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