Bill McEvoy on the History of Rainsford Island in Boston Harbor

Bill McEvoy on the History of Rainsford Island in Boston Harbor

Local Author Talk–Tuesday, February 18th at 7 pm at the ACL
Join us when author and longtime Auburndale resident Bill McEvoy leads us on an Eye Opening Journey Through the Interesting History of Rainsford Island in Boston Harbor on Tuesday, February 18th at 7 PM at the Auburndale Community Library in Newton.
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Rainsford was occasionally a place of quarantine, as well as a summer resort for the wealthy. In 1854, while under the ownership of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the island’s use took a turn beginning sixty-six years as an off-shore repository for Boston’s unwanted. Its inmates were victims of: poverty, lack of health care, mental illness, senility, addiction, lack of proper housing, poor sanitary conditions, inability to pay a small fine, men unable to find work, incarcerated as paupers, and unwed pregnant women. Alice Lincoln and Louis Brandeis’ efforts resulted in the City ending Rainsford Island as a warehouse for the poor, the unwanted, and the mentally ill. Later Rainsford served for twenty-six years as the site of the Boys’ House of Reformation which led to further examples of inept management, cruelty, neglect, and death, of “Unfortunate” boys ages eight to eighteen. Sentences were for offenses that ranged from playing ball on Sundays to murder, and the boys were commingled on the 11 acre island.

Bill McEvoy is a US Army Veteran (1968-1971). He earned a BA from Bentley University, an MBA from Suffolk University, and a MA in Political Science from Boston College. Bill is a retired Massachusetts District Court Magistrate, and he has volunteered with the No Veteran Dies Alone program at the Bedford Veterans Hospital, as well as performing pro bono work as a Magistrate. Bill has performed many large-scale cemetery research projects, several as a volunteer at Mount Auburn Cemetery (MAC). He has recently published a book about the cemetery, as well as the people buried there.

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