Watch and Ward Society  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The New England Watch and Ward Society (founded as the New England Society for the Suppression of Vice) was a Boston, Massachusetts organization involved in the censorship of books and the performing arts from the late 19th century to the middle of the 20th century. After the 1920s, its emphasis changed to combating the spread of gambling. In 1957 the organization's name was changed to the New England Citizens Crime Commission, and in 1967 it became the Massachusetts Council on Crime and Correction. In 1975 it was merged with another organization to form Community Resources for Justice, a group that promotes prison reform and rights for ex-convicts.

At the height of the society's power in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Boston Public Library kept books that had been deemed objectionable in a locked room, publishers and booksellers held back publications for fear of the organization's influence with prosecutors and judges, and plays were performed in a bowdlerized "Boston Version". The society's activities contributed to the popularization of the phrase "Banned in Boston", which became a target of parody and a marketing slogan.

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