Skip to main content

Ford Hall Forum audio tapes

Identifier: M071


The Ford Hall Forum is the nation's oldest free public lecture series. It provides a non-partisan platform for open discussion and debate on topics of public interest. The Ford Hall Forum was started in 1908 by George W. Coleman, a Boston business man and president of the Boston Baptist Social Union (BBSU), as a free series of public lectures designed to engage the public on a diverse range of issues. The model was an opening lecture, and then questions from the audience. Ford Hall Forum was immediately successful and inspired many similar series in cities across the country. In 1928, the Boston Baptist Social Union charged that Ford Hall Forum was anti-Christian and anti-American. The Daughters of the American Revolution also blacklisted Ford Hall Forum for radicalism. Nonetheless, the Ford Hall Forum, which had attracted many eminent supporters, separated from the BBSU to incorporate as a nonprofit educational organization on its own. Meetings were held in Ford Hall on Beacon Hill through 1940 when the hall was acquired by the City of Boston. Since that time, Ford Hall Forum has been held in various Boston locations, including Jordan Hall and Old John Hancock Hall. Currently, programs are held at Northeastern University, Faneuil Hall, Old South Church, and local venues.


  • Creation: 1961-1998


Conditions Governing Access:

The collection is unrestricted.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use:

The following tapes may not be reproduced: Terry Gross, Edward C. Johnson, II, Susan Love, and Robert Pinksy.


1.1 cubic feet (11 containers)



System of Arrangement:

Arranged in one alphabetical sequence by speaker.

Technical Access:

The lectures are recorded audiocassette tapes.

Physical Location


Custodial History:

Audiocassettes in this collection were created by the Ford Hall Forum. The audiocassettes were given to the Northeastern University Libraries between 1991-1998.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

This collection was transferred to Northeastern University Libraries Archives and Special Collections Department from the Northeastern University Libraries Media Center in multiple installments.


Finding aid for the Ford Hall Forum Audio Tapes
Finding aid prepared by Molly Overholt
March 2002
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections Repository

Snell Library
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston MA 02115 US