Illustration from The Union boot and shoe worker, 1900-1902. Courtesy of University of Wisconsin via HathiTrust.

Check out this great new online exhibit featuring the Massachusetts show industry, courtesy of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).  The DPLA has created several online exhibitions with material from collections all over the U.S.  There are some great topics, like Activism in the US, a History of US Public Libraries, and Patent Medicine Advertisements.

CR Collections

Our collections are now searchable online!  We’ll be adding new collections every week.  Search collections here.


This photograph shows the 2000 block of Massachusetts Avenue, which is just north of Porter Square, featuring the business of Alexander Souter, house and decorative painter.  The building also houses a carpenter and a carriage painter and repairer.  The photograph, taken sometime between 1904 and 1909, is from the Cambridge Room’s Glass Plate Negative Collection (002).

Below is painter Alexander Souter’s advertisement from the October 19, 1912 edition of Cambridge Chronicle:

And here’s what 2015 Massachusetts Avenue looks like today:


Graduation photograph of Elizabeth A’Hearn Dorety Conway, class of 1948, from the Elizabeth A’Hearn Dorety Conway Papers (067).

Cambridge City Hospital School of Nursing:
Elizabeth Conway’48 Memorabilia

Exhibition Location: 2nd Floor of the Main Library

Six months after the Cambridge City Hospital opened to the public on June 1, 1917, it began a three-year program to train and graduate nurses.  The school was open to women “desirous of learning nursing” who had “a good education” and a doctor’s certificate of health.  Seven students enrolled in the first year and three graduated in the first class in June, 1920.

The school curriculum included practical work in the medical, surgical, obstetrical and children’s wards, operating room, X-ray and Out Patient Departments, and the “accident room.”  Students also took classes in various subjects ranging from Anatomy to Theoretical Nursing.  Students received a small monthly allowance that increased to $10 in their final year.  The nurses-in-training were expected to live at the hospital, a tradition that continued until the last of its students graduated in 1965. Featured in the exhibit is memorabilia from the Elizabeth A’Hearn Dorety Conway Papers.

Elizabeth A’Hearn Dorety Conway was born on March 11th, 1927 to William and Elizabeth A’Hearn.  Along with her seven siblings, Elizabeth grew up in an apartment on Raymond Street in North Cambridge.  She enrolled in the Cambridge City Hospital nursing program in 1945 and lived for the next three years on Camelia Avenue where the students were housed. One of Conway’s fondest memories in school was receiving her first nursing cape as a gift from her older brother Billy.  She also enjoyed the camaraderie of her classmates, teachers, and doctors.  She cherished her nurse’s bib signed by her friends and instructors.   Elizabeth graduated as a Registered Nurse in February of 1948.

After graduation, Elizabeth moved to Philadelphia where she held various nursing positions before marrying and having eight children.  She returned to nursing in the late 1970s.  Before she retired in 1990, Elizabeth was recognized by the City of Philadelphia for her dedication to nursing.  Conway died at the age of 87 on June 21, 2014.

001 005
Elizabeth A’Hearn Dorety Conway’s Nursing bib, signed by classmates, teachers, and doctors.

93 Inman Street (1870), Before.

This year’s Preservation Awards are being highlighted in a special exhibition on the library’s second floor case. Winners include the Lesley University’s Lunder Arts Center, Harvard Art Museum, and the NEGEA Building at 130 Bishop Allen Drive among many other commercial and residential projects. The Cambridge Historical Commission presented the awards on May 27th. View the fantastic slideshow here and see how the buildings have been transformed.

93 Inman Street (1870), After.

Photograph of the Cambridge Public Library from the Timothy Dungan-Levant Photographs (046). 

The Cambridge Room has a new collection of photographs by local photographer, Timothy Dungan-Levant.  The collection includes photographs of the Library as well as street scenes of Cambridge.  See the full gallery here.

The location of the Charles H. Cutting Fish and Oyster Market, 359 Main Street.

Last week, we asked our readers to help us identify the photograph of the Fish and Oyster Market pictured below.  Thanks to PJN, we learned that it is the Charles H. Cutting Fish and Oyster Market, located at 359  Main Street, on the corner of Moore Street.


We found this ad in the Cambridge Historic Newspaper Collection, in the May 21st 1887 edition of the Cambridge Chronicle.

359 Main Street is now the location of Newtowne Court – Moore Street no longer exists.



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