Boston Remembers

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"Saint-Gaudens lion, Grand Staircase, construction of the McKim Building," ca. 1890-1895. Courtesy of the Boston Public Library Print Department via Digital Commonwealth.


Given the magnitude of the war, there has been a strong desire to honor both individuals and groups that participated. Who is memorialized and the ways in which these memories are portrayed shape our understanding of the past. The war has been memorialized throughout the United States with each locality emphasizing its contribution and loss.  

We pay special tribute to a number of Boston heroes, including three regiments as they are remembered in the Boston Public Library and on the Boston Common. The Massachusetts 2nd and 20th regiments, the latter known colloquially as the Harvard regiment, donated the Lion statues that ‘guard’ the staircase in the Library’s McKim building. The efforts of the 54th, the all black regiment that fought valiantly in the 1863 assault of Fort Wagner, South Carolina, have been preserved in a relief sculpture on Boston Common.