Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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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Dreaming of Summer

From the Cambridge Room Postcard Collection (028).

The Charles River Basin, circa 1980.

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Bruce Adams former archivist at the Division of Old Records, courtesy of the New York Times.

The New York Times recently wrote a Character Study on Bruce Adams, a newly retired archivist with a tenure of 30 years at the Division of Old Records in Manhattan.  The Division of Old Records contains courtroom journals dating back to 1674 – that means there’s a lot of paper.  There’s so much paper that Adams decided that immediately upon retiring, he would continue to work as a volunteer.  Now he’s doing his old job with no pay.

Don’t let the name of the archives fool you – the collection is filled with great artifacts, like the 1909 letter from Typhoid Mary asking to be set free from quarantine from the North Brother Island and Aaron Burr’s 1804 indictment for dueling as well as his divorce filing.  Who wouldn’t want to keep filing those papers?  Take it from us, archivists can be obsessive about their work!  Read the article on Adams here.

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Harvard Square looking west, circa 1870s.

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13 St. John’s Road, circa 1960s, copyright Bertram Adams.

Thanks to our friend, Charlie Sullivan, at Cambridge Historical Commission, we have identified another in our mystery photo series.  The house was originally built on 14 Appian Way in 1821 but was moved to its new location at St. John’s Road in 1963, presumably to build Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.

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If you’re looking for a last minute holiday or New Year’s gift, we recommend Frank Bidart’s latest publication of Metaphysical Dog:  Poems.  Bidart was listed on several best book lists of 2013, including the New York Times Book Review and Publisher’s Weekly.  If you are interested in learning more about Metaphysical Dog, NPR has put together a few reviews on Mr. Bidart’s latest book.

Frank Bidart visited the library earlier this month as part of the Louisa Solano Poetry Series for a wonderful reading from his 2013 Metaphysical Dog.

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The recently launched Boston TV News Digital Library contains the archives of the Ten O’Clock News, WCVB, WHDH, and Cambridge’s CCTV.  This amazing and free resource contains over 50,000 news stories.  Users can search directly within each collection.  Our personal favorite is this 1967 clip of Cambridge Mayor Daniel Hayes being interviewed about the presence of hippies in Cambridge. He objects to there being over 2,000 hippies living in “pads” in Cambridge especially in the residential areas.  It is a must watch.


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Tags are a new feature of the Historic Cambridge Newspaper Collection upgrade.

The latest version of our Historic Cambridge Newspaper Collection incorporates several new features that give you the ability to interact with digital collections and personalize your experience.

Tags – Placing tags on an article, an image, or an audio or video file helps group items into categories, making it easier for you to browse and search through collections by common themes.

Comments – Add comments about an article or item of any type.  Comments can be especially useful for adding context to historical photographs, maps,and manuscripts. Comments become instantly searchable by all everyone.

Private Lists – Bookmark items in the Historic Cambridge Newspaper Collection and add them to “private lists.”  You can easily rename items, e-mail selections, and add or edit notes related to the items.  Delete lists, move items between lists, and remove items from lists.  Keep track of interesting content and set specific materials aside for easy access at a later date.  Lists are managed on the “My Account” page.

User History – The Historic Cambridge Newspaper Collection now remembers your recently viewed items and your most recently added tags and comments.  When logged in, access your history of interactions under “My Account.”

To start using the Collection’s new features, log in or register.

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Frank Bidart, Louisa Solano, and Dan Chiasson.

Last Tuesday evening was the third and final reading in the Library’s new poetry series in honor of Louisa Solano.  The turnout was great.  The evening began with a personal and wonderful introduction by poet and critic Dan Chiasson.  Frank Bidart took the stage and read for about 30 minutes.  After his thought-provoking reading, Bidart answered questions from the audience.  The night was perfect.

The Library would like to thank everyone who came to the readings.  For our new poetry series, it was an honor to host four critically acclaimed poets:  Gail Mazur, Robert Pinsky, David Ferry, and Frank Bidart.  Now its time for the Cambridge Room to prepare Louisa Solano’s materials for use by researchers.  Stay tuned for updates!

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