Honor or Omen?

May 10, 2019

May Allquist, 97, and her Boston Post Cane

Over 100 years ago, in 1909, Edwin Grozier, publisher of the Boston Post, had an idea for a publicity stunt. He would send out an ebony cane with a gold top, complete with inscription, to 700 New England towns. The cane was to be given out to the town's oldest male resident (the tradition has since included women). And after that resident passed, it would find its way into the hands of the next oldest resident. 

As time passed, the cane has taken on a life of its own. In some towns, the cane is bestowed as an honor. Other towns have literally locked their canes away for decades fearing its impending doom. 

On today's episode we answer a listener's question about this cane: Is the 110 year tradition still going? And if so, when people receive the cane, is it an honor, or an omen?