Massachusetts at a Glance

A User's Guide to the Bay State
An A-to-Z guide to the rich heritage and current attractions of the Bay State


Designed for both residents and visitors, this book offers an alphabetically arranged compendium of information about people, places, and events—past and present—in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Its aim is to provide a handy one-volume reference guide to a state that has played a central role in American history since the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620.

Site of the first Thanksgiving in the seventeenth century and seedbed of revolutionary sentiment during the eighteenth, the Bay State became a center of industrialization during the nineteenth and of the high tech revolution during the twentieth. It has served as home to some of the nation’s most renowned writers, from Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson to Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath, as well as some of its most prominent public figures, including Samuel Adams, Daniel Webster, W. E. B. Du Bois, and John F. Kennedy.

A professional historian with a long-standing interest in the history of Massachusetts, Jack Tager has organized the book to allow readers to find answers to questions in an efficient and reliable manner. He begins with a compilation of basic facts about Massachusetts, including population data drawn from the latest census, state motto and seal, even the state bird. This is followed by the main section of the book, an A-to-Z list of individuals, events, and sites of interest.

Additional information about the state can be found in a year-by-year chronology of key historical developments, a statistical profile of the state’s 351 towns and cities, and lists of the state’s museums, historic sites, and state parks as well as its many colleges and universities, with addresses, telephone numbers, and websites for readers who might wish to contact these institutions directly. Finally, an extensive listing of suggested readings is included for those who would like to explore further any of the topics covered in the book.

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