The Cambridge Historical Commission has a fantastic blog, filled with highlights from their collection and intriguing tales of Cambridge.  One of our favorite features is Torn Down Tuesday – although you’ll probably be pained to see the beautiful houses and buildings that were demolished.  Either way, you’re certain to pick up some interesting tidbits of Cambridge history.  Enjoy!

Are you looking for something to do to celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in America? Take a feminist history walking tour of Inman Square! The Cambridge Commission on the Status of Women put together this excellent and safe outdoor local history tour.

Learn about the Bread and Roses Restaurant, gourmet and vegetarian (137 Hampshire Street) or the Gypsy Wagon Collective (204 Hampshire Street), a group making, teaching, and selling crafts. Discover how organizations like the Massachusetts Feminist Credit Union (186 Hampshire Street) fostered economic independence in women, offering loans and financial education.

The walking tour is available here.

Like many cities, Cambridge’s public spaces are filled with statues, plaques, and memorials commemorating people and events deemed important to its history.  

Religious and political figures, heroic soldiers and starving immigrants are all immortalized in bronze and stone, but how were these chosen to become part of the city’s public memory? Who decides what is worthy of commemoration, and how?  

This program will highlight several of Cambridge’s most famous monuments, and will then ask, “Who or what is not memorialized in Cambridge, but should be?”  

We will be joined by Kim and Sofia Bernstein, honorary members of the Cambridge Nineteenth Amendment Centennial Committee who provided the impetus for the city to create a monument to women. We invite participants to submit their suggestions for other “missing memorials” in Cambridge.  

Event Details
Monday, August 17
12-1 PM via Zoom
Free (donations welcome)
Registration is required. After registration, you will be emailed information about accessing the program.

The Mount Auburn Cemetery has produced a video series, called Stay Home Sweet Auburn, to highlight individuals buried in one of America’s most famous cemeteries.

One video highlights Harriet Jacobs, the author of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, who lived during her later years in Cambridge, running a boarding house with her daughter.

Attorney and Cambridge Alderman Clement Morgan is also featured. Morgan’s long list of accomplishments include being the first African American to graduate from Harvard College and Harvard Law School, the first African American to deliver Harvard’s senior oration, the first Black Alderman elected in New England, and founding member of the Niagara Movement and the Boston Branch of the NAACP.

Watch all the episodes of Stay Home Sweet Auburn.

If you’re looking for another free, safe activity to do this summer, try a self-guided walking tour of the Loyalist Women of Cambridge created by MaryKate Smolenski of the Cambridge Historical Society. Enjoy!

Do you have a copy of the August 1, 2019 edition of the Cambridge Chronicle?  If you’re willing to part with it, we’d love to be able to microfilm it.  We keep the Cambridge Chronicle in perpetuity and 2019 is incomplete.  Please help us preserve Cambridge’s newspaper of record!  E-mail cplresearch@cambridgema.gov.

The Schlesinger Library has produced several, short videos in which a guest instructor “opens” a primary source from the Schlesinger’s collections, helping us to understand both the text (or object) and its historical context. Each lesson includes a link to the digitized documents, questions to guide further reflection, and—in some cases—additional readings.

Initial installments explore the ways in which Susan B. Anthony and Sojourner Truth leveraged the power of images and why the suffragist and abolitionist Lucy Stone and her husband published marriage vows “under protest.” Leading scholars also examine the role of Congress in the battle for women’s suffrage and why the example of the American West was so important to organizers who wanted to “finish the fight.” 

To start taking classes at Suffrage School, click here.


Founded in 2010, Suffrage100MA was originally formed to commemorate the 90th anniversary of women receiving the right to vote. So the organization has had a lot of time to plan for this month’s big event: the 100th anniversary of woman’s suffrage in America.

Suffrage100MA is committed to telling the story of the remarkable achievements of the suffragists, including the tireless work and essential contributions of women of color, who were often intentionally excluded by white women’s suffrage organizations, and whose role in the suffrage movement has been largely overlooked.

The website is an amazing resource that offers a monthly newsletter, delivered directly to your inbox. There is a woman’s suffrage centennial toolkit and featured suffragists that you can explore.

There’s a special section on Black suffragists of Massachusetts featuring Cambridge’s Maria L. Baldwin, along side with Sojourner Truth, and Josephine St Pierre Ruffin.

Lastly, mark your calendars for a virtual commemoration on August 24th with speakers Senator Elizabeth Warren and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley. More information to follow.

The Cambridge Historical Society recently launched a project to collect the stories of individual Cantabrigians and their response to the COVID-19 crisis. This is what we in the archives business call collective memory. Here’s what the project entails:

The ongoing public health crisis is affecting the lives of people all over the world, including Cantabrigians. We want to know how you have been affected, so we’ve created the Cambridge & COVID-19 Collection. If you’re a resident of Cambridge, consider this a chance to add your voice to the historical record. Please take a few minutes to tell us about how you’re coping with crisis.

Complete the questionnaire here.

For more information on the project, visit the Cambridge Historical Society’s website here.