Photograph by AP Wirephoto, Cambridge Public Library Archives and Special Collections, Boston Herald Photographs (008).

This post is for all the baseball fans out there.  The caption from the Boston Herald reads

Ted’s Recuperating, March 13, 1954
Smiling Ted Williams looks up from reading a fishing story at a Cambridge, Mass. hospital where he is recuperating from an operation to speed mending of his fractured left collarbone.  Ted suffered the injury on the opening day of  Boston Red Sox Spring Training.

Portrait of William Dawes, courtesy of the Paul Revere House.

Everyone remembers Paul Revere’s famous ride through Boston to Lexington to warn the Minutemen of the British impending arrival.  But few remember that it was William Dawes who rode through Cambridge, waking up the Cantabrigia militia.

Thanks to our friends at the Old South Meeting House, we’ve learned one way in which Dawes was celebrated despite the tall shadow of Revere.  In 1896, Helen F. Moore published a response to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s 1860 poem, Paul Revere’s Ride, showing the whimsy of history.

The Midnight Ride of William Dawes
by Helen F. Moore

I am a wandering, bitter shade,
Never of me was a hero made;
Poets have never sung my praise,
Nobody crowned my brow with bays;
And if you ask me the fatal cause,
I answer only, “My name was Dawes”

‘Tis all very well for the children to hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere;
But why should my name be quite forgot,
Who rode as boldly and well, God wot?
Why should I ask? The reason is clear –
My name was Dawes and his Revere.

When the lights from the old North Church flashed out,
Paul Revere was waiting about,
But I was already on my way.
The shadows of night fell cold and gray
As I rode, with never a break or a pause;
But what was the use, when my name was Dawes!

History rings with his silvery name;
Closed to me are the portals of fame.
Had he been Dawes and I Revere,
No one had heard of him, I fear.
No one has heard of me because
He was Revere and I was Dawes.



Does anyone know what is going on in the photo?  We’ll give you extra credit if you can name the year (or the approximate year) and the institution.  Good luck!

18 April 1914 edition of the  Cambridge Chronicle.

Do you read the Cambridge Chronicle?  Have you ever used the Historic Cambridge Newspaper Collection?  We’re conducting a brief survey to learn about the ways that users read and access Cambridge news, specifically the Cambridge Chronicle.   Take our short, 10 question survey here.

Thank you for your participation!


From the Cambridge Public Library Annual Report, 1908.

The photograph of Caroline Frances Orne, the CPL’s first librarian, is a real treasurer.  It’s the only one we have!  Click on the image to enlarge.


The image above comes from the 1908 Cambridge Public Library Board of Trustees report.  The chart shows how dramatically circulation at the Cambridge public library increased once the library became “free and open to the public.”  Although it is important to note that the chart is a little misleading.

Between 1858 and 1979, the public library was free to all Cambridge citizens – not a subscription library as noted above.   During this time, it was called the Dana Library in honor of Edmund Dana, who led a group of citizens to establish the Cambridge Athenaeum, the membership fee based predecessor to the Dana Library.  The Dana Library was free to all but only open limited hours.  In 1848, it was open Saturdays from 4 to 8 and the following year Wednesdays were added to the schedule - most likely accounting for low circulation rates.

Not realizing that the library was free, many citizens stayed away thinking it was privately owned by Edmund Dana.  In 1879, the Library Trustees remedied the problem by officially changing the name to the Cambridge Public Library.  And by now, the library was open 6 days a week.

Either way, this chart illustrates how important it is to make information free and accessible.  If it is free -  people will use it!

To get a full view of the chart, Click on the image to enlarge.


The Cambridge Public Library:  Free and Confidential Since 1858

Exhibition Location: Entrance and 2nd Floor, Glass Building

The Cambridge Public Library became “free and open to all” during the first great wave of American public libraries. Since then, the CPL has championed a free and open exchange of knowledge.

Cambridge’s first public librarians welcomed all visitors, answered questions, and made books and resources as accessible as possible, paving the way for the CPL to be known as the “People’s University.”   This notion of free and open to all – radical at the time, but the norm today – has been the cornerstone of the CPL for over 155 years.

In honor of National Library Week, the CPL wishes to remind everyone that the protection of privacy is a fundamental right of every library patron. Free access to information without bias, censorship, cost, or fear of repercussion is the very reason for which the library exists.


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