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Banned Books & Censorship

Primary Sources

Upton SinclairOil
Sherwood Anderson, Dark Laughter
St. John ErvineThe Wayward Man
Arthur TrainHigh Winds
Conrad AikenBlue Voyage
St. John ErvineThe Irishman
Bertrand RussellWhat I Believe
Jim Tully, Circus Parade
E. PettitMove Over
Olive SchreinerFrom Man to Man
William FaulknerMosquitoes
Edith ManninPilgrims
Robert Corse, Horizon
Andre SavignonThe Sorrows of Elsie
Carl Van VechtenNigger Heaven
Leon FeutchtwangerPower
Count Keyserling,Twilight
Julia PeterkinBlack April
Theodore DreiserAn American Tragedy
H. G. WellsThe World of William Clissold
John Dos PassosManhattan Transfer
GerardThe Fruit of Eden
Ben HechtCount Bruga
Brock (?)Alister, McAllister, Kink
John GuntherRed Pavillion
Claude AnetAriane
BourdetThe Captive

Beverly Nichols, Crazy Pavements
Michael ArlenYoung Men in Love
Babette DeutschOn Such a Night

Doris LeslieThe Starling
William GerhardtPretty Creatures
DekobraThe Madonna of the Sleeping Car
Thorne SmithDream’s End
Eden PhillpottsTomok the Sculptor
Percy MarksThe Plastic Age
F. NewmanThe Hard Boiled Virgin
D. Patrick, The Rebel Bird
J. DeveningThe Butcher Shop
E. GreenbergThe Ancient Hunger
Herbert FootnerAntennae
E. Roscoe, The Marriage Bed
P. SmithThe Beadle
H.T. , As It Was
Sinclair LewisElmer Gantry
Warwick DeepingDoomsday
Ernest HemingwayThe Sun Also Rises
Kessel & IswolskyBlended KingsWardSpread Circles
I. GlennLittle Pitchers
ServiceMaster of the Microbe
C.F. HummelEvelyn Grainger
ThompsonCleopatra’s Diary
May SinclairThe Allinghams


...regarding censorship in boston

Robert T. Bushnell, “Banned in Boston.” The North American Review 229 (May 1930): 518-25. (Watch and Ward Society) Mugar Library AP2 .E15

“Banned in Boston: Commercial culture and the politics of moral reform in Boston during the 1920s”

P.D. Kemeny, pp. 133-52 in Giggie, John M., Faith in the market: religion and the rise of urban commercial culture, 2002. Mugar Library BL2525 .F34 2002

Banned in Boston: The Watch and Ward’s Society’s Crusade Against Books, Burlesque, and the Social Evil.

Neil Miller. Boston: Beacon Press, 2010.

“Boston discusses its censorship problem”

Publisher’s Weekly 111 (May 28 1927): 2118-2120. Mugar Microforms: Microfilm Z 1219 E72

“Boston shocks Moscow”

G.A. Miloradovitch, Bookman 72 (November 1930): 266-9. Mugar Library AP2 E95

“Boston stays pure”

K. Schriftglesser, The New Republic 58 (May 8, 1929): 327-9. Mugar Microforms: Microfilm AP2 .F142

“Censorship in Boston”

Commonweal 12 (October 29, 1930): 656. Mugar Microforms: Microfilm AP 2 F24

Censorship in Boston. Constantine Aristides.

Boston, MA: Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts [1938]. Pamphlet. Pappas Law Rare P96.C46 A75 1938.

“Censorship in New York and Boston”

Library Journal 54 (May 1, 1929): 411. Mugar Microforms: Microfilm Z671 .E77 Mugar Microforms: Microfilm Z671 .E77

“Censorship rears its head in Boston”

Publishers’ Weekly 139 (April 12, 1941): 1549. Mugar Microforms: Microfilm Z 1219 E72

“Class, culture, and campaigns against vice in three American cities, 1872-1892″

Nicola Beisel. American Sociological Review 55:1 (February 1990): 44-62.

“Margaret Fuller as Cultural Reformer: The Conversations in Boston”

Charles Capper. American Quarterly 39 (4) (1987): 509-28.

“Publishers speak out against censorship: cooperative advertisement in Boston Herald and Boston Traveler”

Publishers’ Weekly 148 (October 20, 1945): 1830-1. Mugar Microforms: Microfilm Z 1219 E72

“‘Put to patriotic use': Negotiating free speech at Boston’s Old South Meeting House, 1925-1933″

Jonathan B. Voegels. New England Quarterly 72:1 (March 1999): 3-27.

“Richard Sinnott–‘City Censor’ of bluenose Boston,” obituary.  Tom Long, Boston Globe, May 2, 2003. “From 1955 until 1982, when the position was eliminated, Mr. Sinnott was chief of the Licensing Division of the city of Boston — but everyone knew him as the “City Censor.” It was his job to view movies, strip acts, rock concerts and other touring shows to determine whether the productions met city standards or would be “Banned in Boston” — a determination that ended their runs in Beantown, but often increased business substantially for their runs in other towns. Some producers avoided being banned, but others sought it.”


Dissertation: University of Michigan, 1990.  BU

...regarding book censorship

“Banned in Boston”

Paul S. Boyer, in Paul S. Boyer, Purity in Print: The Vice-Society Movement and Book Censorship in America. New York: Charles Schribner’s Sons, 1968. Mugar Library KF 477.F68

“Banned in Boston”

Paul S. Boyer, in Paul S. Boyer, Purity in Print: Book Censorship in America from the Gilded Age to the Computer Age. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2002. Pappas Law Annex KF 4775. B69 2002

“Books and plays banned in Boston”

Boston Globe, August 8, 2010. Includes list of banned books with dustjacket images.

“Boston bans Forever amber”

Publishers’ Weekly 146 (November 4, 1944): 1838. Mugar Microforms: Microfilm Z 1219 E72

“Boston’s book censorship”

Literary Digest 93 (April 2, 1927): 31-2.

“Boston Book Censorship in the Twenties”

Paul S. Boyer. American Quarterly 1963 15(1): 3-24. BU (Reproduced with additional primary and secondary source references as “Banned in Boston” in Purity in Print: The Vice-Society Movement and Book Censorship in America. Paul S. Boyer. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1968 Mugar KF 4775 .F68 and in Purity in Print: Book Censorship in America from the Gilded Age to the Computer Age. Paul S. Boyer. Madison WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2002 Pappas Law Annex KF4775 .B69 2002).

“Boston is afraid of books”

William T. Matchett, Saturday Review of Literature 27 (July 15, 1944): 6-7+. (Watch and Ward Society) Mugar Microforms: Microfilm AP2 .S273

“Experts testify in Boston for Cain, Caldwell books”

Publishers’ Weekly 155 (March 26, 1949): 1438. Mugar Microforms: Microfilm Z 1219 E72

“Forever amber: defendant at trial in Suffolk county superior court, Boston”

J. Mitchell Morse, The New Republic 116 (Janyary 6, 1947): 39-40. Mugar Microforms: Microfilm AP2 .F142

Pernicious Books: address by Bliss Perry

delivered at the annual public meeting of the New England Watch and Ward Society at the Old South Church, Copley Square, Boston, Mass., April 22, 1923. Boston, MA: The Society, 1923, 15 pp. Mugar Library Z658.U5 P47 1923.

...regarding booksellers and bookselling

“Boston bans sale of ‘Elmer Gantry': will prosecute any who sell Lewis novel under law against ‘indecent and obscene’ books”

New York Times (April 13, 1927): 16.

“Boston bookseller arraigned for selling Caldwell novel, Tragic ground”

Publishers’ Weekly 146 (December 23, 1944): 2366. Mugar Microforms: Microfilm Z 1219 E72

“Boston bookseller cleared of obsenity charge in Tragic ground case”

Publishers’ Weekly 147 (January 6, 1945): 40. Mugar Microforms: Microfilm Z 1219 E72

“Boston booksellers’ role in Forever Amber decision”

Publishers’ Weekly 151 (April 5, 1947) 1905. Mugar Microforms: Microfilm Z 1219 E72

“Boston’s bogy-man, “

Helena Huntington Smith, The Outlook 149 (June 6, 1928): 214-16.

“Confer in Boston on banned books; Arthur G. Hys for Boni & Liveright consults attorneys and booksellers”

New York Times (March 13, 1927): 2.

“Embattled booksellers: a review of the hearing on book censorship before the Committee on legal affairs in Massachusetts”

The case for the Boston booksellers, against the present method of enforcing the law against illegal books (House n0. 577), Harold Williams, Jr.  Publisher’s Weekly 113 (February 4, 1928): 443-7. Mugar Microforms: Microfilm Z 1219 E72

“Rome Hanks removed from sale by Boston booksellers”

Publishers’ Weekly 146 (August 12, 1944): 499 (Joseph Stanley Pennell, 1908-1963) Mugar Microforms: Microfilm Z 1219 E72

“Strange Fruit banned by Boston booksellers”

Publishers’ Weekly 145 (March 25, 1944): 1289. (Lillian Eugenia Smith, 1897-1966) Mugar Microforms: Microfilm Z 1219 E72

...regarding movies

“Boston and the movie censorship”

Amy Woods, The Survey (1909) 44 (April 17, 1920): 108-9.

Birth of a nation

“Boston, Mass.–State legislature has passed a bill, backed by opponents of the phot0-play, ‘The Birth of a Nation,’ to vest unlimited powers of play censorship in Boston with the mayor, police comr. and chief justice of the municipal court. An objectionable production can be stopped by a majority vote of the new censors. Formerly censorship was vested in the mayor and police comr., who had power to stop plays of an immoral or obscene nature [Descriptive Statement].” 1915. Source not given. PAIS Archive AN: 1915-5016.

“Comstock lives: Censoring Deep Throat and Caligula”

David Brudnoy, National Review 32 (October 3, 1980): 1197-8. Mugar Microforms: Microfilm AP2 .F55

...regarding music

“Banned in red scare Boston: the forgotten story of Charlie and the M.T.A.”

Peter Dreier and Jim Vrabel, Dissent, Spring 2008)  “THE IDEA FOR “M.T.A.” came one day when Sam and Arnold Berman were joking about one of the peculiar aspects of the recent fare increase. Although riders of the Boston system were still only charged ten cents to enter underground subway stations, they were now being charged an additional five cents to get off trolleys at aboveground stops. “Arnold and I were saying that if you didn’t have a nickel, then you could never get off the subway and you’d never get home,” Sam Berman recalls.”

“Not one-way traffic: Boston Symphony Orchestra and Bach’s St. John Passion”

W.L. Sperry, The Christian Century 69 (June 11 1952): 702. Theo Periodical C 428

“Road to Boston: 1858 censorship problems of G. Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera”

Marl Jane Philips Matz, Opera News 44 (February 23, 1980): 12-14+. Mugar Microforms: Microfilm ML1 .F09

...regarding theater

Banned in Boston: A study of theatrical censorship in Boston from 1630 to 1950, William Robert Reardon.

Dissertation: Stanford University, 1953. Citation

“Boston censorship comm., April 13, 1916, drafted a new rule forbidding disrobing acts on the stage.

The rule applies particularly to feminine acrobats who enter clothed in a profusion of apparel and gradually eliminate, in view of the audience, such clothing as might hinder their actions upon the trapeze. [Descriptive Statement]” Source not given. PAIS Archive AN: 1916-7513

“Boston protects itself”

The Nation 127 (December 5, 1928): 593.

“Boston’s Drama League”

New York Times (May 16, 1911) 12.

Censorship of the Theatre in Boston.

Daniel M. Doherty. Thesis (M.S.)–Boston University, 1950. Mugar SPR MS 1950 do.

Dangerous Theatre: The Federal Theatre Project as a Forum for New Plays.

George Kazacoff.  Chapter VII: The East, pp. 185-197.  “Because of Boston’s tradition of censoring plays, FTP tread lightly in that city to avoid controversy–anything reflecting economic conditions, politics, or the contemporary social scene in a way that would not be ‘traditional.'”  Plays discussed:  Lucy Stone, 1936; Created Equal, 1938; A Moral Entertainment, 1938.  Mugar PN 2270 F43 K39 2011

Interred in concrete: The censorship of Boston’s Old Howard Theatre (Massachusetts), Theresa Lang.

Dissertation: Tufts University, 2004. Abstract

“Joseph Harper and Boston’s Board Alley theatre, 1792-1793″

L. K. Ruff. Educational Theatre Journal 26:1 (March 1974) p. 45-52.

“New censorship in Boston”

New York Times (March 20, 1898): 7. (theatre posters)


“Richard Sinnott–‘City Censor’ of bluenose Boston,” obituary.  Tom Long, Boston Globe, May 2, 2003.

“Every Monday when the new shows came to town, Mr. Sinnott would leave his third-floor office in Old City Hall — with the bust of Cardinal Cushing on the desk and the picture of President Kennedy on the wall — and take a leisurely stroll to the Casino or the Old Howard Theater. He would take his customary seat backstage, so he could view the new shows without being seen by the audience, while he made sure the pasties and G-strings were where they ought to be on  Lily St. Cyr, Crystal Las Vegas and Angela the Upside Down Girl.”

“Scandal on the stage: banned theatre in Boston”

John D. Anderson, professor, communications, Emerson College; Matthew Chapuran, managing director, Nora Theatre Company; Tom Connolly, professor, English, Suffolk University; Maureen Dezell, arts reporter, Boston Globe. “‘Banned in Boston’ is a theme this city finds hard to shake. This program includes vignettes of censored plays in Boston, beginning with the Puritan censorship of Morton’s May Pole and climaxing with the 1929 banning of Eugene O’Neill’s Freudian theatrical experiment, Strange Interlude. Afterwards, a panel discusses the performances and the ideas of censorship. Though it is not institutionalized, as it was with the ‘Watch and Ward Society’, what form does censorship take today?” WGBH Forum Network, Thursday, May 1, 2003, Old South Meeting House. 24 July2006.

“Tradition behind Bostonian censorship”

W. R. Reardon. Educational Theatre Journal 7:2 (May 1955) p. 97-101.

...regarding newspapers

“Boston: A Journalistic Poor-Farm.”

in Some Newspapers and Newspaper-men. Oswald Garrison Villard. New York: A. A. Knopf, 1926. Mugar Library PN4855 F26.

“Toward an Understanding of the First Amendment: Boston Newspapers, 1782-1791″

Gerald J. Baldasty. Journalism History 3 (1976): 25-30, 32.

...regarding the Boston Public Library

“Boston Post continues to heckle Boston library”

Publishers’ Weekly 162 (November 1, 1952): 1880. Mugar Microforms: Microfilm Z 1219 E72

“Boston Public Library rejects demand to suppress books”

Publishers’ Weekly 162 (October 11, 1952): 1634-5. Mugar Microforms: Microfilm Z 1219 E72

“Boston’s battle of the books”

E. Weston, The Nation 175 (November 1, 1952): inside cover.

“Boston’s right to read”

Publishers’ Weekly 162 (October 25, 1952): 1792. Mugar Microforms: Microfilm Z 1219 E72

“Censors and the library: symposium”

Lois Purdin, et al. Saturday Review 38 (July 2, 1955): 10. Mugar Microforms: Microfilm AP2 .S273

“Library censorship”

New York Times (August 14, 1881): 6.

“Library censorship”

New York Times (March 2, 1901): BR8.

“Report from Boston”

Laurence J. Kipp, Library Journal 77 (November 1, 1952): 1843-6+. (Boston Post) Mugar Microforms: Microfilm Z671 .E77

“Strong in the faith: Boston Public Library case”

Library Journal 77 (November 15, 1952): 1942. Mugar Microforms: Microfilm Z671 .E77

...regarding magazines

“Banned in Boston, ltd; Life magazine and two reproductions by Doris Lee and Angelo di Benedetto”

Art Digest 21 (December 1, 1946), p. 3. Mugar Library N1 .F26

“Cultural censorship: Life banned in Boston”

P. Boswell, Art Digest 16 (April 15, 1942), p. 3. Mugar Library N1 .F26

The editor, the blue nose and the prostitute

H. L. Mencken’s history of the “Hatrack” censorship case, ed. Carl A. Bode. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1988. (Reviewed by James Edward Long, Jr. : New England Quarterly 63:3 (September 1990) 514-516 BU)

“American Headlines: Postal censorship against H.L. Mencken”

Eric Longley, 2002. 24 July 2006  (Hatrack case)

...regarding literature

Banned in Boston: The development of literary censorship in Massachusetts, Ralph Edward McCoy.

Dissertation: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1956.  BU

“Boston has not fought for freedom of expression in literature”

B. DeVoto, Harper’s Magazine 188 (May 1944), 525-8. Mugar Microforms: Microfilm AP2 .E50

“Censorship and a Farewell to Arms”

Scott Donaldson, Studies in American Fiction 19:1 (Spring 1991): 85-93. Mugar Library PS370 .S87

Contemporary Literary Censorship: the Case History of Burroughs’ Naked Lunch.

Michael Barry Goodman. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1981. Obsenity trial in Boston. Mugar Library KF224.B873 G66

“Eugene O’Neill’s ‘Woman Play’ in Boston”

John H. Houchin, Eugene O’Neill Review 22:1-2 (Spring-Fall 1998): 48-62. Mugar Library PS3529 .N5Z639

“H.L. Mencken and the Wowsers”

Jason D. Duberman, American Book Collector 7:5 (May 1986): 3-14.

Lillian Smith: Thorn in the flesh of crackerdom, Pat Bryan Brewer.

Dissertation: University of Georgia, 1982. ( Strange Fruit, 1944)  BU

Out of the chrysalis: Lillian Smith and the transformation of the South, Kathleeen Atkinson Miller.

Dissertation: Emory University, 1984. (Strange Fruit, 1944) BU

“Poor me and pure Boston”

Upton Sinclair, The Nation 124 (June 29, 1927): 713-14.