Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

James R. Green

Second Advisor

Timothy A. Hacsi

Third Advisor

Julie P. Winch


In the 1870s, the Old South Meeting House, located on the corner of Washington and Milk Streets in downtown Boston, Massachusetts, faced sale and subsequent demolition when the Old South congregation built a new church in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston. This thesis investigates the vast public preservation movement that ensued in 1876 to save the Old South, a prodigious task, considering the political, economic, and social climate and culture of the late nineteenth century. The preservationists, a collection of Boston's most affluent citizens, succeeded in preserving the Meeting House, which as the first building in New England saved for its historical association, set a precedent in historic preservation in Boston and throughout the nation.


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