During my two weeks in Boston, Lincolnshire in the summer of 1998 I met with local people interested in local history and tourism. Those meetings educated me about the original Boston and its historical ties to our Boston. Alan Day, a Blue Badge Guide and the Mayor of Boston at the time, attended all four meetings and began to plan a visit to Boston, Massachusetts in August. Before my visit there Mayor Day suggested making the two Boston’s “Sister Cities.”
Mayor Day met Mayor Menino, and we learned that our Mayor felt he already had too many Sister Cities with which to deal. Discussions with people here led John Sears of Beacon Hill to say, “You can have many sisters, but only one mother!” Plans went forward, and in the fall of 1999 the Mayors of both Bostons signed an agreement between the Mother Town and Daughter City. The Partnership in Lincolnshire is led by Judy Cammack, a former Mayor of the town. In our Boston the organizational meetings were at the Four Seasons Hotel because the Manager, Robin Brown, had grown up in Boston, England. Early on, participants included John Sears, Leo Collins, Charles and Miriam Butts, Ralph Buonopane, Rose Doherty, Chris Peterson, and others.
The Boston Charter Day tradition was started by the Massachusetts Historical Society and the Rappaport Foundation in about 2000, with the Partnership playing a minor role for three years. Then the original founders lost interest, and our Partnership took over, expanding the Boston Charter Day celebration each September. We select a new theme each year relating to the early colonial period and include all of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Highlights include “We Are the Massachuset” on Native American legacies in 2008, and the celebrations for the past three years::”Women in Early Massachusetts,” “Crime and Punishment in early Massachusetts,” and “Survival: Boston 1630.”
From our beginning with Boston Charter Day we developed partnerships with larger organizations sharing similar interests that provide cosponsored programs, venues, speakers, and exhibits on our themes. We owe thanks to the First Church Boston, The Bostonian Society, the Commonwealth Museum, the Congregational Library, the Boston Public Library, and other nonprofits. This allows us to mount impressive programs on small budgets. In 2008 and 2012, Rose Doherty wrote grant proposals that brought us vital small grants from MassHumanities.
In 2001, when Mayor George Danby from Lincolnshire visited our Boston and signed an agreement with Mayor Menino, we produced a travelling exhibit called “St. Botolph’s Town” that has been displayed in many libraries, museums, schools, and other locations in Eastern Massachusetts. A committee planned the “kiosk” that stands seven feet tall, a technician at Northeastern University, did the computer work and printing, and Vice President Ralph Buonopane built the fine wooden frame in his basement. There are now permanent installations in our Boston Latin School and St, Botolph’s Church in Lincolnshire. Large and table-top versions of the kiosk are now available for use to educate the public.
In recent years our Partnership has an excellent website and Facebook page, managed by Ralph Buopnopane and Rose Doherty, respectively. Our Charter Day audiences are larger, younger, and more diverse ethnically because we have hired Karin Turer of Tugboat 23 to do our publicity. She has used social media and linked us with the e-mail newsletters of several organizations, and used a free reservation system that also allows people to make on-line donations.
Our Board is very active with monthly meetings. A new member in 2013, Sarah Stewart, has contributed greatly to the creation of two new and successful walking tours. With Rose Doherty willing to serve as our President, now is the time for me to take on other roles with The Partnership of the Historic Bostons. I know that it has a very hopeful future.