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  • 88-BAC 1X1-Mayor James Michael Curley
  • 89-Mayor_Curley

Mayor James Michael Curley

Artist:

Lloyd Lillie

Location:

Curley Memorial Park, at Congress St. and North St.  

Location

Curley Memorial Park, at Congress St. and North St.
United States
42° 21' 37.8288" N, 71° 3' 25.236" W

Neighborhood:

Downtown

Type:

Sculpture

Year:

1980

Medium:

Bronze

Collection:

Funders:

Browne Fund

Description:

During a political career lasting 50 years, filled with peaks and valleys, James Michael Curley achieved his status as a Boston legend. He began his political career as a ward boss in the South End, then a neighborhood of Irish immigrants. Beginning in 1914, he served four terms as mayor, though none of them consecutive. In between his terms, Curley was elected to the House of Representatives and the Governor’s Office, and he also spent several months in jail for fraud. Though he never lacked enemies, Curley remained popular among his constituents, who benefited from the major public improvements he sponsored. Most notably, he renovated public spaces, created new jobs, and expanded access to healthcare and transportation.

This tribute to Curley was funded by the Edward Ingersoll Browne Fund, created in 1892 to beautify the City of Boston. Local artist Lloyd Lillie won the commission with two bronze likenesses of the former mayor, one standing wearing a campaign button and one seated casually on a bench. At the statue’s unveiling, Mayor Kevin White (see above) claimed that the two statues illustrated “the duality of Curley’s appeal” as both “a man of authority and a man with a genuine concern and compassion for the public he served.” On the accompanying plaque, an inscription from Shakespeare’s Hamlet acknowledges Curley’s extraordinary personality, as well as his imperfections.

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