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by Jacob Marmor (pseudonym)

Friday, August 1, 1941 (Extra)

in What's New In Town

W. J. Sidis


        In a recent issue of “What’s New in Town” appeared an article by a certain Mr. Marquand, of New York, entitled “My Boston.”

        It was a bit of the type of propaganda New Yorkers, and other outsiders, are only too apt to turn on Boston―the basic idea being that anything from hereabouts must be ridiculed or belittled, regardless of other circumstances.

        “His Boston” Mr. Marquand illustrates by the old satiric verses about the Cabots and the Lowells, and about “Berekely Copley’s son.” It may be that these things are appropriate to the self-styled aristocracy in the Back Bay and points west; but, whether that is true or not, Mr. Marquand himself admits that that is only a small percentage of Boston, which he refers to as a “hinterland.” Mr. Marquand appears to have no knowledge at all, yet he presumes to write books and articles on Boston, from the point of view of the insular Manhattanite determined to see no good in this part of the world. Of our Boston, of the vast metropolis that exceeds anything of its kind on earth, with its cosmopolitan population of well over two million people, Mr. Marquand knows nothing,―yet he poses as an authority, much on the order of many European visitors to America who visit New York for a week or two then lecture us on the faults of our country. The fact is, that what is “hinterland” to him is to us the Great Metropolis, and “his Boston” is just a tiny community which really forms no part of the city’s life.

        Mr. Marquand’s idea of Boston, besides Back Bay and Beacon Hill, includes some of the standard tourist sights, of the kind that unfortunately give the visitor the false impression of a quaint old village that does not know of the modern world at all. As for the age of colonial settlement, New York is definitely older than Boston; while it is hardly fair to treat as a quaint historical relic the city that produced the telephone, the apartment house, the sewing machine, the subway, the safety razor, the colored motion picture, and numerous other modern inventions which little insular Manhattan was slow to adopt but quick to claim as her own after the adoption.

        Mr. Marquand mentions “Puritanism” as part of “his


(continued on page twelve)



[For more on John P. Marquand, see

http://www.harvardsquarelibrary.org/unitarians/marquand.html ]


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