1957 August 10

End of an Era in Censorship: Boston Watch and Ward Society Gives Up


The Boston Watch and Ward Society, leader of censorship campaigns in Boston since its founding in 1878, changed its name to the New England Citizens Crime Commission on this day and refocused its efforts on gambling and other crimes. The activities of the Society over the years gave rise to the well-known phrase “banned in Boston.” For some of the chapters in that history, see the ban on birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger on April 16, 1929, and the arrest of journalist H. L. Mencken on April 5, 1926.

Learn more: Neil Miller: Banned in Boston: The Watch and Ward Society’s Crusade Against Books, Burlesque, and the Social Evil (2010)

Learn more at the National Coalition Against Censorship here.

Digitized records of the Watch and Ward Society are now available on line here.

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