By Audrey Martin
Boston University News Service
Much has changed since the first Boston Marathon in 1897. Women were prohibited to participate, the race was only 24.8 miles and there were no cellphones to capture thousands of images of the inaugural race that became a staple of Boston culture.
There was one Boston institution that was there to record everything, from the first marathon to the 125 that have happened since — The Boston Globe.
A new exhibit at the Hopkinton Center for the Arts has brought together more than a century’s worth of newspaper front pages in its new exhibit titled “Coverage: The Boston Marathon as Reported by The Boston Globe.”
“Since its 1897 founding, the Boston Marathon has regularly transformed in its appearance, in its demographics, and in its meaning,” states the gallery’s website. “As its 126th running on April 18 nears, the Lotvin Family Gallery looks at how the marathon’s changes have been reflected in the pages of another Boston institution, The Boston Globe, now celebrating its 150th year of publication.”
According to the gallery’s website, the exhibit draws from the Globe’s archives and “presents blown-up pages of the newspaper reporting eye-catching moments from the race’s 1897 debut to its unusual October running in 2021.”
The exhibit is running in the Hopkinton Center for the Arts’ HCA’s Lotvin Family Gallery through April 23. According to Kris Waldman, who helped curate the exhibit along with Aurthur Dion, the public reception has been great, both from runners and non-runners alike.
“The surprising thing to me is the number of teenage kids who are carefully studying these panels,” Waldman said. “The HCA is adjacent to the Hopkinton Middle School and High School, so oftentimes the kids will either just walk through the building on their way to somewhere else, or they might have a class going on at HCA. And, you know, I imagined after a day spent in the classroom, reading and comprehending words, the last thing they would want to do is look at something that is so type-heavy, but people are, are really engaged with it.”
Throughout the process of shifting through various newspapers to find pieces to display at the gallery, Waldman said there were a number of things that surprised her about the Globe’s coverage over the years, including the vintage ads.
“What struck me was, until recently, runners who were not American, white and male were identified by their race or nationality rather than their name,” Waldman said. This method was later determined outdated and now all runners are referred to by their name.
“This seems like an ideal marriage – oldest marathon and oldest Boston newspaper, together in the display,” wrote Cheryl Howard in the gallery’s virtual guestbook. “Looking forward to attending.”
The exhibit opened on March 18 and will run through April 23.