The map shows both event and program spaces located throughout the Literary District where readings, conferences, and other literary gatherings take place, and historic literary sites. The event venues and historic literary sites are listed in separate columns.
Feel like taking a leisurely walk past the homes of Robert Frost and Henry James, or the “birthplace” of Curious George? Click on District Historic Sites. Want to see where writers’ conferences, readings, book festivals, signings, and workshops take place? Click on Event Programming.
Edgar Allan Poe was born near this spot in 1809. This sculpture, unveiled in 2014, depicts him carrying a suitcase spilling with pages from his work. Also emerging from the case: a heart, referencing his 1843 story “The Tell-Tale Heart.” A spread-winged raven is perched on his shoulder, a nod to his greatest success, the 1845 poem: “The Raven.”
(Address no longer exists but would be just where the The Trolley Shop and Leather World are situated.) First monthly publication targeting an exclusively African American readership.
Burial plot of the banker-poet of Boston in the 1800s.
Ploughshares was named after a Cambridge pub called The Plough and Stars. Today it’s one of the world’s most esteemed literary journals.
Rodgers and Hammerstein literally wrote the title song to Oklahoma! in the lobby there and later won a special Pulitzer for the play.
Immortalized by Oliver Wendell Holmes in his Autocrat of the Breakfast Table. (Boston Common, the country’s oldest public park, is also a spot that Ralph Waldo Emerson grazed cows as a child. And Poe, who had a distaste for the transcendentalists, dismissed them as frogpondians, for the Common’s Frog Pond on which people ice skate during the winter.)
Jacob Wirth is a historic German-American restaurant and bar which was once frequented by Beat poet and novelist Jack Kerouac. It even boasts a cameo in his 1950 novel, The Town and the City.
Established in 1825, the Brattle is one of America’s oldest and largest antiquarian booksellers. It features two floors of general used books, a third floor of rare and antiquarian books, and an outside sale lot.
Fuller (1810-1850) was a 19th century critic and pioneering female reporter for the New York Tribune. Along with Ralph Waldo Emerson, she helped establish the American transcendentalism movement.
Bronson Alcott was a progressive transcendentalist and father of Louisa May Alcott.
Edward Bellamy, in his celebrated 1888 novel Looking Backward, described a utopian Boston in the year 2000 with its “Stores! Stores! Stores! Miles of stores!” on Washington Street.
American Founding Father, polymath, and co-author of the Declaration of Independence was born here—the 15th of 16 children. The house’s exact location is disputed as a fire destroyed the original structure in 1811.
Specializes in “used~old~scarce” texts. Commonwealth is also a publisher that goes under the name of Black Widow Press, publishing poetry and works translated from other languages.
The Evening Transcript was one of the newspapers that made up the “cradle of American journalism.” It published an early draft of “America the Beautiful” in 1904 and ran from 1830 to 1941. When the original editor died in 1872, it was taken over by his sister, Cornelia Wells Walter, now widely regarded as the first female editor of a major daily paper.
Members of Old South’s congregation included Samuel Adams and the young Benjamin Franklin and his family. Phillis Wheatley joined the church in 1771. Although she was an African-born slave, she became one of the best-known poets in pre-nineteenth century America.
This 19th century literary center revolutionized literature by publishing the first bestselling works by American authors, including Harriet Beecher Stowe, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
Once had the offices of the Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, the Boston Advertiser, the Boston Post, the Boston Journal, the Boston Traveler, and the Associated Press. Look for the plaque at 1 Devonshire Place between 266 Washington Street and Devonshire Street.
This veteran antiquarian seller of used and rare books specializes in 19th and 20th century literature, inscribed books, and manuscripts. Its open “by chance” or “by appointment.”
Old City Hall is rumored to be the inspiration for Edwin O’Connor’s Pulitzer-winning 1956 novel, The Last Hurrah. In 1969 City Hall was moved to its current location in Government Center.
Founded in 1635, the Boston Latin School was the first public school in the United States. Its alumni includes Ben Franklin, Cotton Mather, Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Hancock, and many other notables.
Site of the private, all-male “Saturday Club” where, in 1855, writers like Emerson, Thoreau and Longfellow mixed with contemporary historians, philosophers and the Presidents of Harvard over cigars and drinks. A young Malcolm X used to work in the Parker House kitchen.
The only cemetery in Boston between the years 1630 and 1660, King’s Chapel Burial Ground is believed to contain the inspiration for the gravestone of Hester Prynne, the fictional heroine of Nathanial Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.
Formerly the site of the Tremont House, where Charles Dickens and Davy Crocket once stayed, it’s now the home of literary journal Salamander and The Clark Collection of African American literature.
Founded on the principle that worship should be free, The Tremont Temple hosted speakers including Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and President Abraham Lincoln. Dickens performed his first public reading of A Christmas Carol here.
The poet, physician, and father of America’s most famous jurist lived here from 1841-1859. Many of Holmes’ works were published in The Atlantic Monthly, a magazine that he named
Originally built as a classical music venue, the climax of Henry James’ novel The Bostonians takes place here. The Orpheum also hosted lectures by Oscar Wilde and Harriet Beecher Stowe.
Burial site of the parents of Benjamin Franklin, victims of the Boston Massacre, poet Phillis Wheatley’s master, and the woman once believed to be the original Mother Goose.
The building at 101 Tremont began its life as the Boston Museum, which hosted works of fine art, a collection of wax figures, a theater, and a zoo. In the mid-1800s, the Museum Building, as it was then called, was taken over by Gleason’s Publishing Hall, which became the first company in the country to integrate all aspects of the publishing process under one roof.
New England Society for the Suppression of Vice was founded here in 1878. Later, editor H.L. Mencken was arrested for selling “certain obscene, indecent, and impure printing…manifestly tending to corrupt the morals of youth.”
Margaret Rey, Rachel Carson, and others published from those offices.
This journal was published by women’s rights advocate and abolitionist Lucy Stone.
Lawyer and writer known for his scholarly work on Spanish literature.
Founded in 1807, the Boston Athenæum is one of the oldest independent libraries in the United States. It was relocated to is present site in 1849.
Free lending library of more than 3,000 titles on abolitionism, slavery, social movements.
Devoted to the history and archives of the Congregational Church, coextensive with much of early Boston’s literary history.
The bookstore on the first floor of the State House sells printed documents from the Code of Massachusetts Regulations (CMR), election statistics, guides from the historical society, books on the history of Boston, and souvenirs.
Gould Shaw led one of the first African-American units to fight in the Civil War. The large bronze relief created to memorialize him inspired both Robert Lowell’s poem, “For the Union Dead” and Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poem, “Robert Gould Shaw.”
The original, 1837 offices of Little, Brown publisher of Louisa May Alcott’s beloved classic, Little Women.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow unsuccessfully courted Frances “Fanny” Appleton for years, when he received a letter in which Fanny finally agreed to marry him. Longfellow walked to see Fanny, “too restless to sit in a carriage,” he later wrote, and the two were married in July, in Appleton’s house at 39 Beacon Street.
One of the first English-speaking historians to write about the Spanish empire; heralded as the first American scientific historian.
(Exact address no longer exists). Pulitzer-prize winning author, journalist.
Founded as the New England Society for the Suppression of Vice, this Boston organization was involved in the censorship of books and the performing arts from the late 19th century to the middle of the 20th century, prompting the phrase “Banned in Boston.” Until recently the building housed Beacon Press, a department of the Unitarian Universalist Association and an independent publisher of serious fiction and nonfiction by Michael Patrick MacDonald, Rashid Khalidi, Mary Oliver and others.
Designed covers for famous authors at Houghton Mifflin. Also the site of an annual competition dinner between Little Brown, Houghton Mifflin and the Atlantic Monthly Press for who sold the most books in the previous year in five categories.
Stewart was a black abolitionist whose speeches were the first publicly delivered talks by an American woman on politics and women’s rights. Walker, in 1829, published “Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World,” which decried slavery and racial hatred.
National historic site commemorating the African-American writer and abolitionist.
Among the most important National Historic Landmarks in the nation, the African Meeting House and Abiel Smith School on Beacon Hill were built in the early 1800’s and are two of the museum’s most valuable assets.
Lowry (1937-) is the award-winning author of The Giver (1993), the first YA dystopian novel, and Number the Stars (1990) about the escape of a Jewish family in WWII Europe.
The abolitionist, naturalist, philosopher, and author of the book Walden and the essay “Civil Disobedience” lived here from 1821-1823.
Nineteenth- and 20th-century essayist, poet, and editor.
Alcott (1832 –1888), the poet and novelist best known for Little Women (1868) and its sequels, lived here as a young woman.
Hawthorne (1804-1864) best known for The Scarlet Letter and Young Goodman Brown lived here from January 1839 to October 1840.
Twentieth-century literary critic influential in the field of American literature.
Wrote The Late George Apley, a satiric novel about Boston’s upper class.
Robert Lowell (1917- 1977) was a poet born into a Boston Brahmin family that could trace its origins back to the Mayflower. He wrote “91 Revere Street,” a prose piece that was published in The Partisan Review but is best known for his poetry volume, Life Studies. (Later in his life, Lowell also lived at #s 170 and 239 Marlborough Street in Boston’s Back Bay.)
Publisher of the Woman’s Era Journal, the first newspaper by and for black women.
Paul (1809–1841) was an African-American abolitionist, a primary school teacher and member of the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society. In 1835 year she wrote the first biography of an African American published in the United States: Memoir of James Jackson.
Contemporary New York Times best-selling author and master of the medical thriller.
The Little Women author lived here in the latter part of her life.
Howells (1837–1920) helped midwife American realism, and was known as the “Dean of American Letters.” In addition to being a playwright, literary critic, and novelist (The Rise of Silas Lapham) he was an editor for The Atlantic Monthly.
Gibran (1883–1931) was a Lebanese-American painter, poet, writer and a key figure in a Romantic movement that transformed Arabic literature in the first half of the twentieth century. Gibran is the third best-selling poet of all time, behind William Shakespeare and Laozi. He’s best known for The Prophet (1923).
Nineteenth- and early-20th century novelist who wrote The Turn of the Screw, What Maisie Knew, and other well-known works.
Frost (1874–1963) was among the most celebrated American poets, well-known for his realistic depictions of rural life and his command of American colloquial speech. On January 20, 1961, he recited “The Gift Outright” at John F. Kennedy’s Presidential Inauguration.
Popular novelist at the turn of the 20th century, having written more than 25 works of fiction.
American writer Sylvia Plath (1932–1963) moved here with her husband, English poet Ted Hughes (1930–1998), after leaving Northampton, MA. in 1958. By the time she took her own life at age of 30, she already had a following for her poetry and her only published novel, The Bell Jar.
Poet, critic, and early practitioner of Gothic literature.
Wrote The Oregon Trail.
Stronghold of the anti-slavery movement and the site of notable speeches by such people as Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, and William Lloyd Garrison.
Morison (1887–1976) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning maritime author famous for his eyewitness accounts of the Navy during World War II.
Created by Nancy Schön in 1987 as a tribute to Robert McCloskey’s Caldecott medal-winning children’s story of the same name, this sculpture is among the most beloved in Boston, often sporting the jerseys of local teams during playoffs.
Wrote “Man Without a Country.”
Spot at which the character Louis, a trumpeter swan born without a voice, plays his trumpet in E.B. White’s The Trumpet of the Swan (1970).
Created as a literary and cultural commentary magazine in 1857, The Atlantic Monthly resided at this address until it moved to Washington DC in 2006. The periodical was named Magazine of the Year by the American Society of Magazine Editors in 2016.
Epitomized the “Lost Generation” that came of age during World War I.
Li’l Abner cartoonist.
Updike (1932–2009) was an American novelist, poet, short story writer, and critic. Celebrated for his realistic but subtle depiction of protestant, suburban, middle-class life, he’s best known for his Rabbit series, which earned him two Pulitzer prizes.
A poet and writer, Howe (1819–1910) wrote the lyrics to The Battle Hymn of the Republic. She also was an active abolitionist and, following the Civil War, became a leader in the Woman’s Suffrage movement.
Garrison (1805–1879) was a prominent abolitionist, journalist, and suffragist. He’s best known as the editor of the abolitionist newspaper The Liberator, which he cofounded in 1831 and published until slavery was abolished after the Civil War.
Morison (1887–1976) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning maritime author famous for his eyewitness accounts of the Navy during World War II.
Sculpture of Abigail Adams, Lucy Stone, and Phillis Wheatley. Adams’s important letters were published after her death; Stone was first woman in Massachusetts to earn a bachelor’s degree and also edited important publications; Wheatley was first African American poet to publish in the Colonies.
Made a landmark anti-censorship legal defense of Erskine Caldwell’s novel Tragic Ground in 1944.
Established in 1848, the Boston Public Library is one of the oldest and largest publicly supported libraries in the United States. Today it features murals by prominent artists, including a series by John Singer Sargent and an Italian Renaissance-inspired interior courtyard.
The Lebanese-American artist, writer, and philosopher Kahlil Gibran immigrated to the United States in 1895, at the age of 12. While living in Boston, he wrote and illustrated his most famous book, The Prophet, a poetic treatise on such topics as family, religion, and death.
In 1996, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Boston Marathon, the city installed this sculpture by Boston-native Nancy Schön. The sculpture references the famous line from the Aesop fable: “Slow and steady wins the race.”
Contains a stained glass window designed by Boston artist Sarah Wyman Whitman, who also designed book covers for Houghton Mifflin Publishers for authors Holmes, Jewett, Longfellow, and others.
Large Boston publisher with a long history stretching back to the 19th century.
(Now the Taj.) Guests (including bar guests) included Eugene O’Neill, Sylvia Plath, and Anne Sexton.