Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Brown Bag on “The Great Molasses Flood”

Join us for a Brown Bag Lunch
on Thursday January 23rd
State Library of Massachusetts
Room 442, State House
12 until 1:30 PM

Bring your lunch and listen to John Horrigan, host of the 2013 Boston/New England Emmy Award(™)-winning historical television program "The Folklorist," as he presents a short presentation on "The Great Molasses Flood.”   

You've probably learned of this compelling story through Steve Puleo's great book Dark Tide. The Purity Distilling Company hustled (and cut corners) to have a large storage tank built in Boston's North End to store a valuable cargo that was inbound to Boston. Molasses was a multi-purpose commodity. It was used to make explosives, confections and alcohol. There was a profit to be made. An unseasonably mild January day in 1919 followed some bitterly cold weather. Pressure built within the 50-foot tall tank and the structure suddenly collapsed, sending a 30-40 foot high wave of molasses at 35 MPH down Commercial Street during lunch hour. Twenty one people lost their lives. Please join us as Mr. Horrigan recounts this iconic part of Boston's history and shows the Molasses Flood segment from his television program.

To register, please go to: You may also call the Reference Department at 617-727-2590 or e-mail to to let us know you will attend.

Future Brown Bags which are planned for 2014
  • February 13th  Daniel Leclerc, Historian and Educator, The Yankee Division in the Great War
  • March 18th – Mary Ellen Grogan and colleagues from the Massachusetts Genealogy Council will do a second presentation on Genealogy
  • April 17th – Beth Carroll-Horrocks, Head of Special Collections, State Library of Massachusetts, Treasures of the State Library
  • May 22nd – Nancy Lusignan Schultz, author of Fire and Roses: the Burning of Charlestown Convent, 1934
  • date to be determined  Stephen Puleo, author of The Caning: The Assault that Drove America to the civil War”