Paul Revere
The Bloody Massacre...
Hand-colored engraving
1770
Peabody Essex Museum
Full Title: The Bloody Massacre Perpetrated in King Street Boston on March 5th 1770, by a Party of the 29th Regt (see more below)

Revere produced and began selling this image less than a month after a riot broke out next to the building now known as the Old State House in Boston. Tensions over the presence of British troops in Boston erupted in violence on the evening of 5 March, 1770; five men died and six others were wounded. Accounts suggest that both sides were unruly, but this is not indicated in Revere's image. Revere also does not accurately portray the death of Crispus Attucks, an African-American who was among those killed. Attucks is heralded as the first African-American to die in the Revolution, and there is a plaque at the site to commemorate the event and his death.

Similar versions of the "Boston Massacre," as it was called, were created at the time, but Revere printed his first. Its early and wide distribution and strong political bias ensured its success.

In December, 2004, the Massachusetts Secretary of State elected to use Revere's original engraved copper plates to strike new prints as a fundraiser for the State Archives. His decision stirred controversy. Object experts pointed out that the process of cleaning and using the plates would degrade the engraved surface of artifacts that possess great significance for the state and nation.