Saturday, May 26, 2007

Watch and Ward Society:

The Watch and Ward Society was a Boston, Massachusetts organization involved in the censorship of books and the performing arts from the late 19th Century to the middle of the 20th Century.

Founded by John Frank Chase in 1878 as the New England Society for the Suppression of Vice (inspired by Anthony Comstock's New York Society for the Suppression of Vice), it held its first annual meeting in the Park Street Church in 1879. In 1891, it was renamed the Watch and Ward Society after an old volunteer police force, adopting the mission to "watch and ward off evildoers."

At the height of the society's power, the Boston Public Library kept books that had been deemed objectionable in a locked room, publishers and booksellers held back publications for fear of the organization's influence with prosecutors and judges, and plays were performed in a bowdlerized "Boston Version". Elsewhere, the phrase, "Banned in Boston," became a target of parody and a marketing slogan.

4:44 PM