Free Public Talk on Eastie’s “Bathtub Madonnas”

If you’ve walked around East Boston, you’ve noticed that the community has many front yard saint shrines, often housed inside of grotto-like protectors that look like bathtubs. That’s because many of them are bathtubs! Most were erected by Italian immigrants and their descendants from the 1940s through the 1990s. As home to Boston’s largest Italian-American population, East Boston has the city’s highest prevalence of front yard shrines – most of them dedicated to the Virgin Mary (known in Italian as La Madonna). Come learn about the history and significance of these creative devotional expressions at a free online talk sponsored by the Friends of the East Boston Library on Nov. 18th at 6:30. The talk will feature Rutgers Professor of Journalism and Media Studies, Regina Marchi, Ph.D., herself a fourth generation East Bostonian. She will speak about her research on these shrines and how their meanings have evolved over time, signifying different things for different people (ranging from religious faith and Italian pride, to nostalgia for the past). Dr. Marchi’s research on East Boston’s yard shrines has been published in Visual Communication Quarterly and the Fall 2021 edition of Primo magazine. This is a live, virtual talk that will take place over the video conferencing platform Zoom. Pre-registration is required. To register, please email the E.B. Public Library (Librarian Margaret Kelly) at: [email protected] or call 617- 569-0271.

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