From the Cambridge Chronicle, 21 June 1902, pg. 4.

Despite having a vaccination for the disease, Small Pox was a major threat to communities at the turn of the Twentieth Century.  When an outbreak happened in Cambridgeport (or what we consider today The Port or Area IV), the city was swift to take action.  Libraries, Schools, and Churches closed.   The names of those infected were printed in the paper.  The Board of Health mandated that every inhabitant of Cambridge be vaccinated.  Those who didn’t comply would be prosecuted.

The following Sunday, no church services were held in Cambridge – a historical fact that the Cambridge Chronicle noted.  “Sunday was a remarkable day in the history of Cambridge, in that one might seek a long time and find no church open for public worship.” (Cambridge Chronicle, 28 June 1902, p. 4).

Within a week of taking prompt action and basic public health measures, the Small Pox epidemic in Cambridge was under control.  In the City’s Annual Report for 1902, the Cambridge Board of Health detailed all the cases, deaths, and households affected by the outbreak.  The Board of Health also detailed vaccination rates.  


Joyce London Alexander, first black chief magistrate in the United States, featured as one of seven Cambridge Black Trailblazers.

Stop by any of the Cambridge Public Library’s branches to pick up a Cambridge Black Trailblazer bookmark.  Made by Cambridge’s Black History Project, the bookmarks, beautifully designed and printed by CRLS students, feature the following individuals:

Entrepreneur Henry Owens
Civil Rights Activist Gertrude Wright Morgan
Renowned New Orleans Chef Leon West
Judge Joyce London Alexander, the first Black chief magistrate in America
Charles Leroy Gittens, the first Black Secret Service Agent
Educator and Simmons College Dean Elizabeth Rawlins
Roy Allen, one of the nation’s first Black television producers

You can find out more information about each of the above trailblazers as well as Cambridge’s Black History Project here.  Additionally, Cambridge Day recently published a piece about the project.

Bookmarks are going fast!


Researching the History of Your Cambridge House at the New Valente Branch
Are you interested in learning more about where you live or the property you own? This hour-long 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 whom. Find out who lived in your house and how your neighborhood has changed.  Registration is mandatory.

Date, Time & Location:
6:30pm – 7:30pm, Monday, November 18, Valente Branch, REGISTER HERE

This workshop will prepare you to easily interview family members.  We will cover an introduction to oral history, interviewing techniques, the use of a digital recorder, and methods to preserve your recording.

Date & Time:
6:30pm – 8:00pm, Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Main Library, Community Room

Robert Johnson’s signature from the Johnson Family Bible, a new Cambridge Room acquisition.

Join us to commemorate Juneteenth, the holiday celebrating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the former Confederate States of America, by exploring the fascinating life of Robert Johnson, fugitive slave and abolitionist, and his connection to Cambridge.

We will offer two programs on the same evening:  a genealogy workshop and a reception and talk.

Workshop:  The Robert Johnson Family Tree:  Researching an African American Abolitionist Family
We will explore the paths our genealogical research took, plot out the Robert Johnson Family tree and his connection to Cambridge, and offer tips for researching African American genealogy.

Date & Time:
6:00pm – 6:45pm, Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Main Library, Cambridge Room

Talk and Reception:  The Robert Johnson Family Bible
Come see an important new Cambridge Room acquisition and learn about Robert Johnson, fugitive slave and abolitionist, and his family’s connection to Cambridge.  This is the first in a series of programs featuring gems from the Library’s Archives and Special Collections.

Date & Time:
7:00pm – 8:00pm, Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Main Library, Cambridge Room

This is a recipe from Anthony Simeone’s memoir, Recipes from Papa:  Food, Family & Memories of Growing Up Italian American.  His father, Salvatore, founded Simeone’s Italian American Restaurant, which was on Brookline Street in Cambridge for 30 years from 1946 to 1976.  The excerpt of the book is from Simeone’s Italian American Restaurant Memorabilia Collection.