Census records bring 1940s Boston to life
Block by block, home by home, responses to the 1940 census, only recently unsealed, present history on a personal scale: where people came from, where they worked, how many children they had, even how much they paid in rent. An informal survey of representative city streets conveys the texture of life in Boston at the time and captures a city on the brink of enormous change, historians said. Its economy battered by the Great Depression, Boston was beginning the transition from a blue-collar to professional city. The city as it had been known would soon fade away.