Category Archives: Cambridge Historical Society

Cambridge Historical Society Virtual Event on Mon, Aug 17 — How Does Cambridge Commemorate?

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.
Advertisement

Cambridge Historical Society: Cambridge & COVID-19 Collection

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.

Cambridge Historical Society Event Tonight: The Pandemic Post: Youth in Cambridge Respond to COVID-19

Join us for a History Café on Monday, August 3, from 6:00-7:00 p.m. for The Pandemic Post: Youth in Cambridge Respond to COVID-19.

Over the last several months, the COVID-19 pandemic has turned all our worlds upside down. But what has this upheaval looked like for young people in Cambridge?

This spring, students at the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School created The Pandemic Post, an online newsletter in which they reflected on their experiences through art, poetry and prose.

During this conversation with CRLS students and faculty we will discuss their work on the project and reflect on their pandemic experiences and the vision they have for a post-COVID Cambridge.

Register here! Free and open to the public.

Next Week’s Open Archives Tour Nearly Sold Out!

For this year’s Open Archives, the Cambridge Room will show you what life was like in 18th Century Cambridge through four objects.  If you’re interested sign up here – tickets are nearly sold out.  This event is FREE but registration is required.  We hope to see you next Wednesday June 21st at either the 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. tour.

Cambridgeport History Day, Saturday October 5th

Flier-final oct 5 2013

Fifth Annual Cambridgeport History Day
Saturday, October 5 (rain or shine)

Join us to learn, explore, exhibit, and re-enact Cambridgeport History. Bring people together, create a sense of place, and share history and common stories. Dana Park, on Magazine Street, between Lawrence and McTernan streets, is the event’s hub.

Events
11:00              
“If This House Could Talk…” booth opens in Dana Park, with sign lists, and historical maps.
11:00-12:30    Industry Tour led by Charles Sullivan of the Cambridge Historic Commission (starts in Dana Park)
12:00-5:00      Activities and music in Dana Park
1:00-4:00        Demonstrations of hand-operated letterpress
1:00-1:30        Marcia Deihl performance
1:00-4:00        Civil War encampment:  talks & demonstrations
2:00-4:00        Accordians
2:30-4:00        Neighborhood tour led by Kit Rawlins of the Cambridge Historic Commission (starts in Dana Park)
5:00                 Neighborhood potluck, hosted by the Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association

Activities in Dana Park provided by:

Cambridge Historical Society
Cambridge Historical Commission
Cambridge Public Library
Riverside Boat Club
Cambridge Arts Council
Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association

Cambridgeport History Day is sponsored by the Cambridgeport History Project, co-chaired by Mayor Henrietta Davis and Michael Kenney. Partners include the Cambridge Historical Society, Cambridge Historical Commission, Cambridge Arts Council, Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association, Riverside Boat Club, and Central Square Business Association.

This neighborhood event was sponsored by Cambridge Trust Company, Cambridge Savings Bank, and Forest City.

Information on past Cambridgeport History Days

Photo Contest: “Cambridge Wouldn’t Be Cambridge without…”

4.5

Librarians at the Cambridge Public Library Delivery Desk beneath the famous Rindge Ccommandments, circa 1920.

In honor of the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Cambridge Historical Commission, the Cambridge Historical Society is hosting a photo contest.  Here’s what the contest is all about:

“We want to know what you think makes Cambridge, Cambridge. We are hosting a photo contest titled “50 for 50.” The fifty winners will be exhibited at our Celebration of Preservation event on November 13, 2013 and their work will hang in a month-long exhibit in the Multicultural Arts Center in East Cambridge.

We are looking for images of what makes Cambridge a special place––a picture of a building, a park, a sculpture, a store, or a street that captures a part of why you love our city. In essence, we want you to use a picture to complete the sentence ‘‘Cambridge wouldn’t be Cambridge without …’’ The First Parish Church, the First Baptist Church, Live Poultry Fresh Killed––you tell us why Cambridge is the place you want to be.”

The Cambridge Room’s entry is above – it’s one of our favorite photographs of the library.  Our caption is “Cambridge wouldn’t be Cambridge without the library!”

Click here, to submit your photo and enter the contest.

Clara Barton Comes to Cambridge Tonight

Clara Barton Comes to Cambridge

When: Thursday, November 15, 2012 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway
Cost: Free and open to the public
More Information:  Here

In honor of the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War, Clara Barton (1821-1912) will be brought vividly to life by character reenactor Jessa Piaia during the original program, Meet Clara Barton: A Journey from Angel of the Battlefield to Founder of the American Red Cross. The event will be in the Lecture Hall in the main branch of the Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway, Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Thursday, November 15, 2012. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for a brief reception, with Miss Barton speaking at 7:00 p.m. The event, sponsored by Swissnex Boston/Consulate of Switzerland and hosted by the Cambridge Public Library, is free and open to the public.

Local organizations will display historic materials on Cambridge during the Civil War found in their collections. The library will exhibit vintage local Red Cross posters and memorabilia. The Local Chapter of the American Red Cross, Cambridge Historical Commission, Cambridge Historical Society, and the Friends of Mount Auburn Cemetery will share original photographs and artifacts.

Throughout America’s Civil War, Clara Barton’s sustained efforts at support ranged from distributing supplies (often purchased with her own funds) to cooking food and assisting wounded soldiers on the battleground. After the war, Miss Barton assisted the federal government in the creation of a recordkeeping system to track missing and dead soldiers; she was instrumental in establishing the first national cemetery at Andersonville, Georgia, in 1866. While visiting Geneva, Switzerland, in the 1870s Miss Barton took part in relief efforts for civilians under the auspices of the International Red Cross during the Franco-Prussian War. This experience inspired her to take a pivotal role in aligning the United States with the International Red Cross in organizing humanitarian aid in combat. In 1881, Congress ratified the Geneva Treaty, and Clara Barton became the first president of the American Red Cross, serving for the next 22 years.

Piaia dramatizes the accomplishments, struggles, and contributions of women to American history. She is acclaimed for “recreating history in the fullest sense” and for using “solid research, compelling writing, and the artistry to bring off a one-woman show.” She performs at educational institutions, museums, and libraries, and for social and cultural organizations throughout New England.
Ms. Piaia studied performance at London’s Oval House Theatre and graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Boston and now works in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University. Research for this program was conducted at the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe Institute, the National Archives, and the Clara Barton Birthplace Museum in North Oxford, Massachusetts.

Free Event This Thursday: Clara Barton Comes to Cambridge

Clara Barton Comes to Cambridge

When: Thursday, November 15, 2012 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway
Cost: Free and open to the public
More Information:  Here

In honor of the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War, Clara Barton (1821-1912) will be brought vividly to life by character reenactor Jessa Piaia during the original program, Meet Clara Barton: A Journey from Angel of the Battlefield to Founder of the American Red Cross. The event will be in the Lecture Hall in the main branch of the Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway, Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Thursday, November 15, 2012. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for a brief reception, with Miss Barton speaking at 7:00 p.m. The event, sponsored by Swissnex Boston/Consulate of Switzerland and hosted by the Cambridge Public Library, is free and open to the public.

Local organizations will display historic materials on Cambridge during the Civil War found in their collections. The library will exhibit vintage local Red Cross posters and memorabilia. The Local Chapter of the American Red Cross, Cambridge Historical Commission, Cambridge Historical Society, and the Friends of Mount Auburn Cemetery will share original photographs and artifacts.

Throughout America’s Civil War, Clara Barton’s sustained efforts at support ranged from distributing supplies (often purchased with her own funds) to cooking food and assisting wounded soldiers on the battleground. After the war, Miss Barton assisted the federal government in the creation of a recordkeeping system to track missing and dead soldiers; she was instrumental in establishing the first national cemetery at Andersonville, Georgia, in 1866. While visiting Geneva, Switzerland, in the 1870s Miss Barton took part in relief efforts for civilians under the auspices of the International Red Cross during the Franco-Prussian War. This experience inspired her to take a pivotal role in aligning the United States with the International Red Cross in organizing humanitarian aid in combat. In 1881, Congress ratified the Geneva Treaty, and Clara Barton became the first president of the American Red Cross, serving for the next 22 years.

Piaia dramatizes the accomplishments, struggles, and contributions of women to American history. She is acclaimed for “recreating history in the fullest sense” and for using “solid research, compelling writing, and the artistry to bring off a one-woman show.” She performs at educational institutions, museums, and libraries, and for social and cultural organizations throughout New England.
Ms. Piaia studied performance at London’s Oval House Theatre and graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Boston and now works in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University. Research for this program was conducted at the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe Institute, the National Archives, and the Clara Barton Birthplace Museum in North Oxford, Massachusetts.

Get in the Halloween Spirit and Do Some Cemetery Research

Gravestone in Cambridge’s Old Burying Ground, courtesy of Ajna Photography.

Cambridge’s spookiest cemetery is by far the Old Burying Ground in Harvard Square, nestled between First Parish and Christ Church.  Set aside from the Common, the land was marked as a cemetery before 1635.  Prior to that Cantabrigians buried their dead, “beyond the Common Pales,” or outside the fence erected between what we now refer to as the corner of Mt. Auburn and Linden Street all the way to East Cambridge.  The Old Burying Ground’s eerie charm comes from both the grisly Puritan tombstone art and its apparent neglect, which has as long a tradition as the city records go back.

Stop by the Old Burying Ground for inspiration or try these free online cemetery resources:

1. Epitaphs from the Old Burying Ground in Cambridge (1845) by William T. Harris available on Google books.

2.  findagrave.com – Lists 34 million graves.

3. Cemetery and Tombstone Transcription – a search engine for free cemetery transcription websites.

4. interment.net – free online library of burial records from thousands of cemeteries around the world.

5. Tombstone Transcription Project – Volunteers have transcribed thousands of cemeteries’ tombstone inscriptions.  You, too, can volunteer.