Who Are the Best Bostonians of All Time?

Boston magazine announces an all-star panel ahead of the January 2016 issue. Voting is now open!

People love to rank things. You love to rank things. Best shortstops; best sandwiches; best Scorsese movies. And now: Best Bostonians.

When Mayor Marty Walsh announced his “Boston 2030” plan to prepare for the city’s 400th anniversary, we decided to do our part by celebrating—and ranking—the very best of its greatest citizens.

To wit: the Best Bostonians of all time.

An all-star advisory panel (below) helped us compile a wide-ranging list of 400 nominees. They come from throughout Boston’s neighborhoods (and beyond) and include politicians, inventors, writers, reformers, athletes, and entertainers. There are pioneers of business, medicine, education, arts, and science.

The advisory panel has done its job—and now we’re asking you to become our advisors.

Today, we’re unveiling an online Best Bostonians game and asking you to play along. By doing so, you’ll vote on where all of these great Bostonians should rank.

Our online game serves up the contenders in random pairs—you choose the winner. You’ll likely never see the same matchup twice. But if you find a battle you can’t keep to yourself—like, say, Cotton Mather vs. Marky Mark—you can share it with friends on Twitter and Facebook. (And also feel free to Tweet your favorite matchups to us at @BestBostonians.) Over time, the more a Bostonian wins, the higher she or he rises. So vote early and often!

We’ll publish our definitive list of the 100 Best Bostonians—drawn from a combination of audience voting, panel debate, and editorial curation—in our January 2016 issue.

Voting will begin next month, so stay tuned—you can follow updates on Twitter @BestBostonians. This is Boston, after all—we expect you to vote early and often.

Best Bostonians Advisory Panel

Robert Allison, History Department chair, Suffolk University
Jim Brett, CEO, New England Council
Congresswoman Katherine Clark
Peter Drummey, Stephen T. Riley Librarian, Massachusetts Historical Society
Ruth Ellen Fitch, former CEO, Dimock Community Health Center
William Fowler, Distinguished Professor of History, Northeastern University
William Galvin, Secretary of the Commonwealth
Alex Goldfeld, president, North End Historical Society
Bob Krim, director, Entrepreneur Innovation Center, Framingham State University
Brian LeMay, president and executive director, Bostonian Society
Christopher Lydon, host, Radio Open Source
Mary Jo Meisner, vice president, The Boston Foundation
Lawrence O’Donnell, host, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell
Thomas P. O’Neill III, CEO, O’Neill & Associates
Marita Rivero, interim executive director, Museum of African American History
Bob Ryan, retired journalist, Boston Globe
Stephanie Schorow, assistant professor, Regis College
Earl Taylor, president, Dorchester Historical Society
David Tebaldi, executive director, Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities
Marie Turley, former director, Boston Women’s Commission
Anita Walker, executive director, Massachusetts Cultural Council
Gov. William Weld, principal, ML Strategies