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Mill Talks

How Dickens Helped Bring Christmas to Boston

In partnership with:
With support from: Lowell Institute
Date and time
Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Readings and performances of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol have played an integral part in winter holiday festivities since longer than most of us can remember. What fewer people know, however, is that the British literary superstar and his popular novella actually helped bring Christmas back to Boston.

Accompanied by a beautiful slide show, Susan Wilson—the Official House Historian of the Parker House—traces the history of Christmas celebrations, which were discouraged and even banned in the Puritan stronghold of colonial Boston. Wilson explains how and why Christmas finally began to be embraced in the mid 19th century, and how Charles Dickens' arrival in 1867—when he made his home at the Parker House for 5 months—really added fuel to the yule log.

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Susan Wilson is a widely respected photographer, author, and public historian who has written and lectured about Boston history for the past three decades.

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