Police Brutality Hearing, January 1971, George Greenidge (right) and friends testifying to police beatings, copyright Olive Pierce

Former Cambridge resident and lifelong political activist, Olive Pierce captures the every day tension in ordinary people’s lives.  This important collection of photographs spans Pierce’s 40-year career and features three projects focusing on Cambridge, two in mid-coast Maine, and one in Iraq.  View the description of the collection and finding aid here.

Olive Pierce’s photograph Collection


Sumako Cohn and the Art of Origami
Exhibit located in the Children’s Room on the Third Floor

Sumako (Ohashi) Cohn was born in Hokkaido, Japan. From 1968-1969, she studied oil painting at the Asagaya School of Art in Tokyo. Cohn moved to Boston in 1976, where she began to make watercolors of houses and local landmarks. Cohn has taught workshops on Japanese ceramics, tea ceremonies, and zori, Japanese sandal weaving. Her artwork has focused on acrylic paintings, portraits, landscapes, still lifes, ink drawings, watercolors, paper doll collages, origami, and pop-out cards. She has exhibited her work in Massachusetts, Japan, and Hawaii.

Carriage House, Highland Avenue, February 25, 1979, from the Sumako Cohn Prints (019), copyright Sumako Cohn.

When Sumako Cohn came to Boston in 1976 from her native Japan, she was fascinated by the varied shapes, sizes, colors, textures, and moods of the old houses of New England.  She began making watercolors of the houses in Cambridge that most peaked her interest.  This recently acquired collection of watercolor prints is an artist’s rendering of Cambridge’s most unique houses.

View the description of the collection and finding aid here.



Anti War Riots in Harvard Square, April 15, 1970, from the Boston Herald Photograph Collection, copyright United Press International Photo.

The following photograph collections are now available for researchers to use:

Adams, Bertram (Bertram Adams Photographs, ca. 1960-1969)
Barnes, James (James Barnes Photographs, 1980-1989)
Boston Herald Photographs, 1924-1997
Cambridge Chronicle Photographs, 1973
Glass Plate Negatives, ca. 1904-1909
Half-tone Blocks, ca. 1909
Photographs, 1872-1998

Search all collections here.

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:



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