Hello Day - Salem, Massachusetts

In 1971, Mayor of Salem Samuel E. Zoll proclaimed Saturday, May 1st to be “Hello Day.” The event was one in a series of month-long initiatives to celebrate the inauguration of new Salem State College president, Frank Keegan. The event was conceived by artist Donald Burgy of Bradford Junior College with the intention to revive kindness in Salem and help acquaint citizens with their fellow neighbors. Zoll and Burgy saw a wane in neighborliness with the rise of mass media and automobile travel and hoped “Hello Day” would better unite the community and possibly spawn future events. The two also requested that photographers capture the occasion and submit their images for multiple displays around town. 
At noon on May 1st, fire stations rang their bells and residents gathered in the streets. On Salem Common a rock band performed while a plane circled to take photos. High school student Marian Sonier reported to the Salem News that the event was one of the “best times [she] had in months.”

"Hello Day" celebrations on Salem Common.

Keegan and Zoll, seated, being interviewed by news outlets on Salem Common.

"Hello Day" celebrators gather on Salem Common for an interview with Channel 5 news.
Keegan and Zoll can be seen, seated.

A group of kids gathered on Salem Common for "Hello Day."
Pedestrians wave hello to each other in celebration of "Hello Day" on Essex Street.

*This article was written by Jen Ratliff for use by Salem State University Archives and Special Collections.


  1. I like this a lot! We sure could use a Hello Day again all over the country. :)

    1. I agree! This encouraged neighborliness may have greatly altered your story, after all.


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