Doyle’s Cafe Lives…Online Through Image Gallery

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While locals work to establish Doyle's Cafe as a historic landmark, a new online digital gallery debuted displaying the many items that once decorated the walls of the beloved restaurant.

The Boston Public Library, Digital Commonwealth, and the Jamaica Plain Historical Society worked together to launch the new online collection.

During the November 6th auction of many things, including the memorabilia on the walls, the fixtures, kitchen equipment and more, dozens of Doyle's regulars worked with the BPL to create the online collection. Buyers agreed to loan their items to the BPL, where they were digitized in the library’s on-site digitization lab.

“Digitizing the history of Doyle’s was an easy choice for the library,” said Tom Blake, Director of Content Discovery at the Boston Public Library via press release. “Doyle's was more than a community pub; its history is not only the history of European immigrants in the late 1800s, but it was also a key part of establishing the economy of Boston through the American Brewery movement. As one of the stewards of our city’s history, it felt important for future generations to be able to experience Doyle’s in some way."

Fittingly, the online gallery launched before St. Patrick's Day.

"This project, at this time, served as a reminder of the important role our local institutions play in the social fabric of Boston and their fragility in the face of the economic challenges posed by this public health crisis," wrote Ziba Cranmer via email, who's a leader of the Save Doyle's Group.

“It is wonderful to see the BPL documenting the people's history of Boston and we hope that we will be able to someday continue this history in person at a future Doyle's Cafe," said Cranmer.

Cranmer said the Save Doyle's Group has petitioned Boston's Landmark Commission to make Doyle's a historic landmark. The group has exhaustively researched the history of Doyle's, which can be seen here.

The walls were decorated with items including a series of New Deal Era murals painted onto the plaster of the interior walls by Jamaica Plain artist Max Beichel. Those works were commissioned by the Public Works of Art Project, according to a BPL press release.

Doyle's history is tied to the political fabric of Boston. All throughout the restaurant there were images of senators, governors, presidents, Sam Adams beer items, and more.

Boston Mayor and Vatican Ambassador Ray Flynn once said, “You could learn more about politics at Doyle’s than at Harvard’s JFK School of Government.”

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