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Actor Tony Curtis, 1965, Associated Press.

To answer last week’s challenge, the customers at Simeone’s must have been thrilled to be dining in the midst of Tony Curtis, who signed the place mat below.

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Enlarged image of Tony Curtis’ signature on Simeone’s Italian American Restaurant Place Mat.  

See the original here.

 

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Simeone’s Italian American Restaurant Place Mat from a recent Cambridge Room acquisition.

Simeone’s Italian American Restaurant was located at 21-29 Brookline Street in Cambridge.  The restaurant was known for drawing a celebrity or two.  The Kennedy family (both John and Ted) stopped by Simeone’s while on the campaign trail.  This recent acquisition features a place mat from the restaurant signed by a famous American actor.  Can anyone decipher whose signature it belongs to (upper right hand corner in pencil)?  Hint:  he’s not from Cambridge.  Bonus points for anyone who ordered a Simeone’s Venetian Sling.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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From the 1964 Annual School Report.

We love this photograph of Cambridge High Schools’ Driver’s Ed class.  We especially love that the car used came from Porter Chevrolet.  Does anyone have a great story from 1960s Driver’s Ed classes in Cambridge?  Does anyone remember Porter Chevrolet?  Better yet – did you (or your parents) buy a car from Porter Chevrolet?

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From the Annual Report of the School Committee and the Superintendent of Schools, 1954, p. 7.

We recently stumbled upon this photo spread of young women in the Cambridge Public Schools, “preparing for Marriage and Family Life.”  It’s from the 1954 Annual Report of the School Committee and Superintendent of Schools.  This is a really interesting example for anyone interested in the history of gender and education.

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Originally posted on Books, Health and History:

By Christina Amato, Book Conservator, Gladys Brooks Book & Paper Conservation Laboratory

How simple is a box?

It is often overlooked, but creating appropriate enclosures, or housing, for collection materials is an important part of the work of a library conservation lab. A well made box can have a huge impact on the longevity of a book. Conservators have to weigh many factors when deciding what kind of enclosure is appropriate to use. When is a clamshell box the best choice, and when would a phase box be better? Scroll down to see some examples of typical enclosures made at the Gladys Brooks Book and Paper Conservation Laboratory.

First, the clamshell box. This type of enclosure is one of the most traditional you will find in a library. Each one is custom made for each book. They provide an enormous amount of protection to the book, and can be very…

View original 530 more words

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Invitation to the Graduation Exercises for the Class of 1865, Cambridge High School.

On July 14th, 1865, 43 students graduated from Cambridge High School.  The next day the Cambridge Chronicle covered the ceremony in detail.  Read all about it here.  After the ceremony, a dance was held.  The Cambridge Room recently acquired the invitation pictured above as well as a dance card.  See if you recognize any of the dances that all the 18 year olds knew in 1865.

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Cambridge High School, Class of 1865 Dance Card, 14 July 1865.

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The Cambridge Room recently acquired this great little trading card from the James O. Welch, Co.  The Welch Company was one of Cambridge’s many confectioners who was famous for introducing the world to Junior Mints, Sugar Daddys, Sugar Babies, and Sugar Mamas.  Welch’s produced 50 trading cards each with their own character.  The cards are fairly small, measuring 1.5 inches in width by 2.75 inches in length.

Does anyone remember these trading cards?

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The Cambridge Public Library is now officially part of the Digital Public Library of America or as it is informally called DPLA.  The Cambridge City Directories are now available at the DPLA.  As we digitize more and more historical materials, we’ll add more items to the DPLA.

You can search the Cambridge Public Library’s collection here.  The DPLA has a nice timeline feature that you can search here.

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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.

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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.

 

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