Born October 16, 1888 in New York, renowned American playwright Eugene O’Neill made Boston history when his Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Strange Interlude, was barred from production here. Neil Miller, author of Banned in Boston: The Watch and Ward Society’s Crusade against Books, Burlesque, and the Social Evil, tells the story of how the city canceled Hollis Street Theatre’s scheduled run of the 1928 play, effecting its exile to nearby Quincy. The demand for a public forum on this incident of censorship precipitated the formation of Old South Meeting House’s free speech policy. This drama unfolded against the backdrop of a powerful group of moral crusaders who transformed Boston into the most straight-laced city in America—forever linked with the catchphrase “Banned in Boston.” After the lecture, visit the museum’s exhibits to learn more about the history of censorship in Boston and Old South Meeting House’s free speech legacy.
Part of the Series Bibliophile Birthdays: Celebrating the Authors of OSMH. $6; FREE FOR OSMH MEMBERS.
Certain books were “banned in Boston” at least as far back as 1651, when one William Pynchon wrote a book criticizing Puritanism.