How We Elect Cambridge Officials: A Discussion on Proportional Representation
Monday, November 6, 6:30 PM
Lecture Hall, Cambridge Main Library

Cambridge municipal elections happen on Tuesday, November 7th. Do you find it curious that we rank our candidates numerically when we vote? Did you know that this process of voting is called Proportional Representation? Do you know how Proportional Representation works? Do you know how it came to be that Cambridge adopted this system?

Join us for a lively panel discussion with experts on Cambridge political history. Discover how Proportional Representation works in our city. Learn just how much your vote counts to be better prepared for the November 7th election.

Panelists include Howie Fain (Co-founder of Fair Vote), Glenn Koocher (former Cambridge School Committee Member), Susana Segat (former Cambridge School Committee Member), and Robert Winters (founder of Cambridge Civic Journal).

Howie Fain
In 1992, Fain Co-founded Fair Vote, a nonpartisan champion of electoral reforms that give voters greater choice. He served as the President of the Fair Ballot Alliance of Massachusetts from 1991-1997. Fain has been a consultant to the Cambridge Election Commission, authoring the 1994 report, Computerizing a Cambridge Tradition. Fain serves as an Executive Committee Member of VoterChoice Massachusetts and is a science teacher in the Worcester Public Schools.

Glenn Koocher
A native of Cambridge, Mass., Koocher served on the Cambridge School Committee from 1974-1985. He was the budget chair during the implementation of Proposition 2 1/2 and was actively engaged in the city’s multi-year desegregation effort. Koocher was the founding host of Cambridge InsideOut, a weekly TV show on CCTV focusing on current events that aired from 1989-2000. He has written extensively on the political history of Cambridge. Koocher is currently the executive director of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees.

Susana Segat
Segat was a member of the Cambridge School Committee from 1996-2001. She was the first Hispanic elected official in Cambridge to serve a full term and win re-election.  Segat was the founding chair of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women, on which she served from 1999-2008.  A longtime union official, Segat was the President of the Local Service Employees International Union (SEIU) from 2003-2009.  In 2013, she cofounded CCTV’s Cambridge InsideOut, a remake of Glenn Koocher’s original TV show, focusing on Cambridge politics.  Segat cohosts the biannual Cambridge municipal election night on CCTV.  She is currently the Chief of Staff at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

Robert Winters
Winters is the founding editor of the Cambridge Civic Journal, an online news source that monitors the Cambridge political scene. Starting in 1989, he spearheaded the campaign to bring curbside recycling to Cambridge. He ran for City Council several times in the 1990’s. Since 2013 he has been the co-host of CCTV’s Cambridge InsideOut, a remake of Glenn Koocher’s original TV show, focusing on Cambridge politics. Currently, Winters is a Lecturer in Mathematics at MIT and the Harvard Extension School.


Researchers at Mount Auburn Cemetery.

Cambridge Digitization Day
Friday October 20
11 AM – 4 PM
Community Room

Join us for a Digitization Day and help preserve Cambridge history. Bring in your paper-based historical material, such as photographs and letters, that tell the story of our city and your community.  We are also interested in digitizing the personal histories of those buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery.  Your material will be scanned and rehoused in archival enclosures, and you will leave with digital copies on a flash drive.  Throughout the day, we will hold a series of informational sessions about preserving and digitizing family collections.  All free of charge!  This program is cosponsored by the Mount Auburn Cemetery and the Northeast Document Conservation Center with funding from the National Endowment of the Humanities.

Info-Session Schedule

  • 11:30- Preserving Family Collections
  • 12:15- Digitizing Family Collections
  • 1:00-Caring for Personal Digital Collections
  • 1:30-Preserving Family Collections
  • 2:15-Digitizing Family Collections
  • 3:00-Caring for Personal Digital Collections

Fosgate’s Groceries and Provisions, circa 1894-1902, 1853 Massachusetts Avenue, From the Glass Plate Negatives, circa 1904-1909 (002).

Researching the History of Your House with the City of Cambridge
Join staff members from the Cambridge Historical Commission, the City of Cambridge Department of Public Works and the Cambridge Room at the Cambridge Public Library for a three-week series on researching the history of your house or building.

Registration is mandatory, though you do not have to attend all three sessions (though we highly recommend it!). For your convenience, each department will offer two days of the same session – one in the evening and one in the afternoon.

To register, please check out the schedule below and contact the person listed. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Session 1: The Cambridge Room at the Cambridge Public Library
This hour-long, hands-on workshop will guide you through a variety of online resources that will help you research your home from the comfort of your home. Discover when your building was built and by who.  Find out who lived in your house and how your neighborhood has changed.  We will provide laptops. Registration is mandatory.

Monday, October 16
6:00 – 7:00 PM
Community Room


Wednesday, October 18
3:00 – 4:00 PM
Beech Room

Led by Alyssa Pacy, Archivist at the Cambridge Public Library.  To register, email: apacy@cambridgema.gov or call 617-349-7757

Session 2: Cambridge Historical Commission
The Commission’s research collection is founded on an architectural inventory that contains survey forms, photographs, and documentation on all 13,000+ buildings in the City. Participants will learn how individual homes can be researched using these inventory files, as well as the Commission’s collection of city directories, atlases, maps, photographs, books on the City’s different neighborhoods, and some deed, tax, and building permit records.

Monday, October 23

6:00 – 7:00 PM


Wednesday, October 25

2:00 – 3:00 PM

Led by Cambridge Historical Commission staff.  To register, email: egonzalez@cambridgema.gov or call: 617-349-4070

Session 3: Cambridge Department of Public Works
The public works collection is primarily focused on sewer & drain utility drawings and plans showing the boundaries of the public rights of way. But many of these and other records, which go as far back as 1840, also include interesting historical facts such as previous building, street, and water body configurations as well as ancient industries, property owner names and assessment values. Participants will learn how individual locations can be researched with geographic, database, and online indexes and they’ll see how those indexes have evolved.

Monday, October 30
6:00 – 7:00  PM


Wednesday, November 1
2:00 – 3:00 PM

Led by George Stylianopoulos, City of Cambridge Department of Public Works.  To register, email: sgeorge@cambridgema.gov

General questions about the series? Call 617-349-4683.

Beginner’s Genealogy Workshop Series
Join us for a 4-week, beginner’s genealogy workshop.  For an hour each week, we will demystify the overwhelming process of sorting through online records as well as give tips for how best to make use of research visits to local repositories.  We will help you find ancestors, organize your research, and start a family tree.  Come with a new question every week and leave with an answer and something tangible to bring home, such as a copy of a birth certificate. Attend all four classes and receive a certificate of completion.

Registration is mandatory and you must attend the first class as the workshop series is cumulative. Please note, we will be offering an evening workshop series later in the Fall.

To register, please call 857-235-9829  or e-mail dgriffin@cambridgema.gov.

Class Schedule
September 8
10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Computer Classroom

Session 1: Introduction Resources
Discover what an archive is and what kinds of records will you find there.  Learn about vital records, military records, and immigration and naturalization records, and obituaries.  Learn how to use city directories, church and religious institution records, and cemetery records.

September 15
10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Computer Classroom
Session 2:  Document Your Research
This session teaches you to think like a historian.  We will show you how to document your research and help you decide how to organize your physical files and online research.

September 29
10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Computer Classroom
Session 3:  Online Resources

We will delve into Ancestry.com and offer tips to maximize your searches.  We will explore Family Search, Heritage Quest, and African American Heritage Quest, as well as genealogy portals.  Learn how to search online newspapers for free and get a Boston Public Library ecard to search their online genealogy resources.

October 13
10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Computer Classroom
Session 4: Build Your Family Tree

We will go over a variety of options that are free and for sale, including web based family trees, software, printable forms, and custom-made family trees.   We will help you start your family tree.

E. W. Clark Company, Dry Goods, located at the corner of Centre St. and Seaverns Ave. Courtesy of the Boston Public Library.  Undated.

Our friends at the Jamaica Plain Historical Society offer historic walking tours every Saturday morning during the summer months.  The popular program is in its 22nd year!  View the schedule here.  All tours are free and open to the public.

If you find yourselves on the other side of the river…

An advertisement for Sparrow’s Chocolates, courtesy of the Boston Candy Museum at Spindler Confections.

The Sweet History of Cambridge

Exhibition Location: 2nd Floor of the Main Library

A fantastic selection of candy boxes from Cambridge-based companies are currently on display.  This exhibition was curated by Nicole Hosette.  The items are on loan from items on loan from the Boston Candy Museum at Spindler Confections. 

The Sweet History of Cambridge
Cambridge’s candied past goes back to the early 19th century, when Isaac Lum opened the first confectionery in the city around 1820, on Broadway Street near Hampshire. His apprentice, Robert Douglass, opened his own confectionery in 1826 that went on to become the first large-scale candy manufacturer in Cambridge. One hundred years later, the industry reached its peak. By 1928, candy was Cambridge’s second largest industry, only behind soap. That year 26 candy factories employed 9000 workers who produced $15,860,000 worth of candy.  Over the next 40 years, the industry consolidated until only a few big players remained. Today, the only one still producing is the New England Confectionery Company, makers of the famous NECCO wafers. They moved their production out of Cambridge to Revere in 2004.

The following Cambridge candy companies are featured:

Page & Shaw
1888-ca. 1960
18-20 Ames Street

Page & Shaw, originally a small shop on West St. in Boston, opened their Cambridge factory on Ames St. in 1911. After earning international success, the company went bankrupt in 1930 and was bought by Daggett Co. in 1931. Page & Shaw chocolates were produced at least through 1960 when Daggett was bought by NECCO, but they stopped using the Ames Street factory. MIT bought the land and built a new structure, the Wiesner Building, in 1985.

62 Hampshire Street
814-822 Main

The Sparrow brand went through several transformations. From 1892 to 1907, it was operated by the H.F. Sparrow Co.; in 1907, ownership changed, and with that the name changed to Imperial Chocolates. Imperial merged with another Cambridge company, Lydian Confections, in 1908, and together they were renamed the Boston Confectionery Co. After this merger, the original factory at 62 Hampshire Street was sold to a box making company, and they moved candy production to 814 Main Street. But candy politics is tricky, and Arthur Potter, original owner of Lydian, split from the company in 1913. After a 1921 sale to H.D. Foss & Co., Potter bought BCC back in 1925. Finally, it was sold to Daggett in 1934.

1895- ca. 1930s
253 Norfolk Street

Elmer A Russell and his nephew Henry W Russell started Russell & Co. on Broadway in 1895, moving to the Norfolk factory after the first year. Due to poor health, the company was sold in 1927 to Apex Chocolates, a division of Daggett. Russell’s branded chocolates continued to be produced into the 1930s, but an exact production-end date is unknown.

40 Ames Street
Durand’s began as a candy and ice cream shop in Boston’s Post Office Square in 1914. Around 1929, Durand Company merged with Brigham’s, an ice cream manufacturer and seller, and moved operations from Boston to 40 Ames Street in Cambridge. The company stopped producing Durand branded chocolates in the early 1960s, and eventually the Ames Street property became part of MIT. Brigham’s continued to succeed in ice cream, and today still sells its products at grocery stores nationwide.

134 Cambridge Street
Deran S. Hintlian began acquiring bankrupt candy companies in 1929, thus founding Deran’s Confectionery Co. After operating in Somerville and then Boston, Deran’s opened a factory on Cambridge Street. After Hintlian’s death in 1966, international corporation Borden bought the company in 1970. It was bought again by Great American Brands in 1993, and finally by NECCO in 1994. NECCO continued production at the Lechmere Square factory until 2003. One of Deran’s chocolate brands, Haviland, is still produced and sold by NECCO.

253 Norfolk Street
Gobelin originally operated out of the same factory previously owned by Russell & Co on Norfolk Street. Eventually they were acquired by Daggett, and their operations moved to Daggett headquarters on Main Street.

Cedar Cliff
Ca. 1940s
408 Main Street
Not much is known about Cedar Cliff Chocolates, including its founding or production years, but during the 1940s it was a part of Daggett Chocolates portfolio. According to city directories, operations happened out of Daggett headquarters on Main Street.
Cedar Cliff was at one point part of the Daggett Chocolates portfolio, and operated out of the Daggett headquarters on Main Street.

Other players not on display:
New England Confectionery Company
254 Massachusetts Avenue
NECCO has a long history, but is best known for the NECCO Wafers, Sweethearts, Candy Buttons, and Clark Bars. They built a massive factory at Mass Ave and Landsdowne Street in 1927, which employed 1,300 people when it was built. At the time, it was the largest candy factory in the country. Over the years, they acquired other candy manufacturers, including many from Cambridge. They finally moved all production from Cambridge to a larger facility in Revere in 2003.

Daggett Chocolate Company
1892 – ca. 1960s
400 Main Street
Fred L. Daggett started the company in 1892 in Boston, and in 1925 consolidated several factories into a newly built factory in Cambridge. Along with NECCO, Daggett swept up other candy companies into their portfolio and eventually manufactured more than 40 brands of chocolates. Five of the companies showcased in this exhibit were eventually bought by Daggett. But after Fred Daggett’s death in the late 1950s, the company began to suffer and closed in the early 1960s. NECCO bought the equipment and recipes, and the land was sold to MIT.

James O. Welch Company/Tootsie Roll Industries
810 Main Street
Today, the original factory of the James O. Welch Company, makers of Junior Mints, Sugar Daddies, Sugar Mamas, and Sugar Babies, is the last local factory still in operation. Tootsie Roll Industries, which began in New York in 1896 and adopted the Tootsie Roll name in 1966, bought the Welch brands in 1993, and today uses this factory on Main Street to produce Tootsie Rolls.