About the Boston Collection

The Boston Collection focuses on the experiences of people living and working in Greater Boston during the 2020 COVID-19 crisis. As we work to preserve a public record of this time, we invite users to share stories, pictures, documents, and other material that illuminates how life has changed as a result of the pandemic.

What should you contribute? Anything you think might be of interest or use to future historians. What do you think best captures the impact of the pandemic on Boston’s neighborhoods, cultural institutions, universities, hospitals, and residents? We want to preserve the extraordinary moments, but also whatever ordinary objects and stories best represent the diversity of Bostonians’ daily experiences during this historical event.

Led by faculty, staff and students at Northeastern University and Suffolk University, the Boston Collection branch of the Journal of the Plague Year project is a trans-institutional collaboration. For more information about how to get involved, please contact a member of our team. For specific information about the larger project, visit the Journal of the Plague Year main website.

The Boston Collection is part of the broader Journal of the Plague Year digital archive. Inspired by Daniel Defoe’s novel of the same name, this archive also seeks to chronicle daily life during a pandemic. A Journal of the Plague Year was initiated by Catherine O'Donnell, Richard Amesbury, and Mark Tebeau in the School for Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies at Arizona State University. The Journal of the Plague Year is supported financially by the public history endowment at Arizona State University, a fund endowed by Noel Stowe. The Boston Collection is supported by Northeastern University's College of Social Sciences and Humanities.

Recent Additions to the Collection

  • Not Expecting the Reality

    Coming to Phillips Academy Andover Summer Session during the quarantine phase of the school helped me notice a positive thing Covid had brought at the boarding school. Along with a funny story to help cheer everyone up.
  • Quarantine with the Breakfast Club

    I tried something new. And that’s not something that I do often. I pushed myself to go to boarding school… During a pandemic. I spent one (Covid safe) month at a boarding school and kept a journal every night for the first week. Here’s my experience of sweaty masks, making friends, and living in my dorm.
  • Together, But Alone: Quarantine Life at Andover

    My name is Maya Watt, I am 17 and I am from Memphis, TN. I am currently attending Phillips Academy Andover during their Andover Summer program before senior year. I have met many people, learned new things, and worked on my worth ethic. This is the story of my quarantine during my first week and a half at the camp. There are some highs and lows, but throughout my slightly rough quarantine/transition into the camp, I realized the purpose of my attendance at this school.
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