Untold stories

Published: September 2008


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Total time: 16:07

Who was the most remarkable woman in the history of Boston College? Which University president has been underrated? What will future scholars say were significant events on the Heights at the beginning of the 21st century? These were some of the questions put to Thomas O’Connor ’49, MA’50, University Historian and professor emeritus, in an interview with @BC on July 18. He is author of Ascending the Heights: A Brief History of Boston College From Its Founding to 2008 (Linden Lane Press, 2008), a succinct account of the University from when it was a gleam in the eye of Boston Bishop John Fitzpatrick to the 14,000-student, cosmopolitan institution it is today, comprising some 135 buildings on 384 acres.

O’Connor began teaching history at Boston College in 1950 and served as department chair from 1962 to 1970. In addition to several textbooks and general works on 19th-century America, he has written 14 works on the city of Boston, including Bibles, Brahmins and Bosses: A Short History of Boston (Boston Public Library, 1976); Civil War Boston: Homefront and Battlefield (Northeastern, 1997); the bestselling The Boston Irish: A Political History (Northwestern University, 1995); and The Athens of America: Boston, 1825-1845 (University of Massachusetts, 2006). He won an Emmy Award in 1996 for his role as historical consultant and narrator for the WGBH documentary Boston: The Way It Was. Since 1999 he has served as University Historian, a role he describes as being “part of the collective memory of Boston College.”

This feature was posted on Wednesday, September 17, 2008 and is filed under Audio.
Writer:Dan Soyer, Producer: Paul Dagnello