James Library and Center for the Arts presents ‘Jordan Marsh’

The original Jordan Marsh building in Boston, Massachusetts
courtesy image
City photo (1)
The original Jordan Marsh building in Boston, Massachusetts courtesy image

WICKED LOCAL NORWELL – The James Library and Center for the Arts, 24 West St., will present the literary lecture “Jordan Marsh: New England’s Largest Store” with author Anthony Sammarco at 7 p.m. Nov. 21.

The event is sponsored by benefactors Axiom Architects and Joseph’s Garage, of Norwell.

Anthony Sammarco, noted historian and author of more than 60 books, delves into the heritage and history of Boston’s first department store, Jordan Marsh.

Founded in 1851 by Eben Dyer Jordan and Benjamin Lloyd Marsh, the first store opened selling linen, silk, calicos, ribbons and assorted dry goods to Victorian Bostonians. Following the Civil War, the store moved several times wherein its new five story building, designed by Bradlee, Winslow and Wetherell, they unveiled the novel concept of “department shopping” under one roof.

From the late 19th century onward, Jordan Marsh offered a selection of goods including clothing, furniture, children’s toys and a plethora of others. Hallmarks of personal service, easy credit, art exhibitions, musical performances and The Enchanted Village of Saint Nicholas during the holiday season made the store a treasured part of life for shoppers. By the 1970s, it was the largest chain in New England. Many people mourned when Jordan Marsh was sold, and Macy’s occupied its stores in 1995.

An author on topics related to Boston, Sammarco lectures on the history and development of his native city. He majored in history at the UMass Boston College of Liberal Arts.

Anthony Sammarco, author

Since 1997, Sammarco has taught history at the Urban College of Boston, where he was named educator of the year in 2003 and where he serves on the Leadership Council. His course, Boston’s Immigrants, was developed especially for the Urban College and its multicultural and diverse student base, and his book “Boston’s Immigrants” was written to highlight the diversity of the city and is used in his course.

He has received the Bulfinch Award from the Doric Dames of the Massachusetts State House and the Washington Medal from Freedom Foundation and was named Dorchester town historian by Raymond L. Flynn, mayor of Boston, for his work in history. He was elected a fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society, is a member of the Boston Author’s Club and is a proprietor of the Boston Athenaeum. In his volunteer work, he is a director of the Victorian Society, New England Chapter, and a trustee of the Forest Hills Cemetery Educational Trust. He is a past president of the Bay State Historical League and the Dorchester Historical Society.

Tickets for the event are $20 for adults and $10 for students.

For more information or to order tickets, call 781-659-7100 or visit http://www.jameslibrary.org.

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