Skip to main content

30% Off New Releases: Explore the List

Harvard University Press - home
Houses of Boston’s Back Bay

Houses of Boston’s Back Bay

An Architectural History, 1840–1917

Bainbridge Bunting

ISBN 9780674409002

Publication date: 01/01/1967

This superbly illustrated book records the development of Boston's Back Bay during the period of its greatest growth. Bainbridge Bunting focuses his study on one particularly significant architectural form—the town house. He chronicles, both pictorially and verbally, the first appearance, evolution, and eventual discard, during the era, of every local architectural style, all of which later gained national acceptance. He shows how architectural styles were affected by such developments as the electric light, changing preferences in materials, machine production of such interior parts as woodwork and mantels, new fire laws and building restrictions, and rising labor costs. He also provides an extensive account of the pivotal role played by members of the Boston Society of Architects in the growth of the profession throughout the country during this formative period. These Back Bay homes, Bunting points out, reflect to a striking degree the social and cultural attitudes of the community and, in the process of reconstructing the life that was led in them, he offers an absorbing and perceptive commentary on Boston society and its mores.


  • Bunting has made a distinguished contribution to cultural history in his perceptive use of domestic architecture to reflect and interpret the customs, ideas, and interests of an American generation in a setting peculiarly favorable for such a study.

    —Madeleine Hook Rice, Journal of American History


  • Bainbridge Bunting was Director of the Cambridge Historical Commission's Survey of Architectural History in Cambridge.

Book Details

  • 494 pages
  • Belknap Press

From this author

  • Harvard