J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Preserving the Memories of Lesser-Known Bostonians

This month the city of Boston announced that it had established a “pattern library” for city websites and applications.

One purpose is to ensure that city websites have a common look so citizens recognize them as official and familiar. Another is to cut down on the number of decisions that city employees and contractors must make in setting up a new webpage.

Boston’s pattern library is named Fleet. That name also probably has two purposes. One is to signal the speed that it’s supposed to bring to the task of communicating with constituents.

The second is to keep alive the memory of Peter Fleet, the enslaved engraver and printer who worked on the Boston Evening-Post and many books and pamphlets in eighteenth-century Boston. In making that announcement, the city linked to this Boston 1775 posting about Peter Fleet.

So that’s cool.

Another piece of news this week: The Old North Church has received a generous “Mars Wrigley Confectionery US, LLC Forrest E. Mars, Jr. Chocolate History Research Grant” to fund new research into the life of Capt. Newark Jackson, owner of a chocolate mill in the North End in the early 1700s, and to share that work with the public in various forms, including a comic. I played a small part in that grant application and look forward to tasting the results.

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