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Archive for the ‘City of Cambridge’ Category

Maps and drawings of the Inner Belt Expressway that was planned for Cambridgeport in 1964 in the Cambridge City Documents Collection.

We are pleased to announce that the Cambridge City Documents, 1910-2012 are now available for research.

Collection Overview

This collection contains reports and other documents pertaining to various aspects of Cambridge government and life, mostly prepared by or for various City of Cambridge departments and agencies. Some documents pertain to Cambridge but were not prepared by or for by a city department or agency. Some documents pertain to Boston or Massachusetts more broadly.

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045_02_05_004
Bodybuilders, 1984, from the No Easy Roses series, Olive Pierce Photographs (045), copyright Olive Pierce

Documentary photographer and political activist Olive Pierce spent the better half of the 1970s and 1980s photographing Cambridge.  Her first project in the early 1970s was to document the turbulent Cambridge City Council meetings that polarized the community around issues like rent control and police brutality, in particular 17 year-old Larry Largey who died in police custody.  Later in the decade, Pierce photographed the children of Jefferson Park, a housing project in North Cambridge, capturing their daily lives.

Pierce founded the photography program at Cambridge Rindge and Latin, and in 1986 published No Easy Roses: A Look at the Lives of City Teenagers, featuring photographs she took of students during her tenure.

Moving beyond Cambridge, Pierce photographed a rural Maine fishing village in the 1990s and Iraqi children during the interwar years.

The 78 photographs that Pierce donated to the Cambridge Room in 2014 are now available to view online.  The description of Pierce’s collection, along with her biography, is available here.

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We are pleased to announce that the City of Cambridge Reports, Microform, 1940-1998 are open to research.

History
The City of Cambridge is located in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in Middlesex County. It is a part of Greater Boston and borders the Charles River. The area was settled by Puritans in 1631 hoping to populate the land between Charlestown and Watertown. Its original name was Newe Towne, which changed to Newetowne soon after, and it was planned to be a fortified town, as well as the prospective place of government by Governor Winthrop and his council. However, these ideas were eventually abandoned in favor of Boston. Still, many moved to Newetowne, and William Wood, an English chronicler of New England said the town was, “one of the neatest and best-compacted towns in New England, having many fair structures with many handsome-contrived streets.” By 1636, Harvard College had been established, and Newetowne became home to the first institution of higher learning in the Americas. Therefore, in 1638, the town was christened Cambridge, in honor of the English college.

For the first two centuries after its birth, Cambridge was most closely associated with education and Harvard. It grew as a town, but it was still considered an agricultural community. However, the town experienced rapid growth following the American Revolution after the West Boston Bridge was built in 1792, thus connecting the town directly to Boston. By this time, the town had become a place of prosperous businesses, increased transportation, and higher learning. Therefore, it became an industrial town that was also known for its fisheries along the Alewife and Charles Rivers. In 1846, Cambridge was officially named a city.

Cambridge also boasted some of the most influential literary poets of the nineteenth century, including Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, James Russell Lowell, and Oliver Wendell Holmes. During this period of time, many progressive ideas were brought forth, such as feminism. Margaret Fuller (1810-1850) was a Cambridge native who advocated for women’s rights. From 1839-1844, she offered a series of seminars for women, and out of that came the publication of the influential feminist tract Women in the Nineteenth Century in 1845. She was also part of the transcendentalism movement that developed around Harvard University and included Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, among many others. Abolitionism was another progressive movement in Cambridge during the nineteenth century. Thomas Wentworth Higginson (1823-1911) was a graduate from the Harvard Divinity School, and he was a captain of African American volunteers during the Civil War. This was the nation’s first black military unit, and it became the model for later units.

Throughout the rest of the century, the city continued to grow, and with the help of philanthropist Frederick Hastings Rindge (1857-1905), many city buildings were established. Between 1888 and 1990, he funded the construction of the public library, a new city hall, and the Manual Training School, a vocational school for boys. This expansion continued into the twentieth century, and Cambridge experienced some defining changes. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology moved its campus from Boston, and the subway was engineered to connect the two cities. A melting pot of different cultures formed as more immigrants moved to the city. Political and social movements revolved around social services, education, regulation of the economy, and religion. In 1902, Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House was established, and it was inspired by Fuller. Its main goal was to help immigrants successfully assimilate into American culture.

The government at the time was a bicameral system with a mayor, a twenty-one member council, and a board of aldermen. The non-partisan era ended in 1902 when John H. H. McNamee, a bookbinder was elected the city’s first Irish Catholic mayor. After that, political parties played a strong role, which brought about charges of political favoritism and nepotism. Many citizens initiated reform movements to combat the corruption. Political reformers introduced Plan E in 1937, which changed the structure of government. Now, there was a nine-member council. The new plan encouraged proportional representation, which means all voters and political groups deserve representation in government based on voting numbers. Plan E changed how candidates campaigned because slate balloting was very important. This influenced the politically-charged atmosphere of the time, something that continued throughout the century. When the City of Cambridge entered the new millennium, many of the social issues of the twentieth century were still relevant. A process of urban renewal and economic development, from women’s suffrage to rent control, helped the city retain its appeal.

Collection Overview
This collection contains 17 rolls of microfilm and approximately 300 cards of microfiche of various city reports. The bulk of the reports are from 1978 to 1997. Many of the originals of these reports exist and are individually cataloged, accessible through the online catalog. If more than one card exists for each report it is noted in the finding aid.

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A map of Boston from 1871 in the Atlas Collection in the Cambridge Room.

We are pleased to announce that the Atlases, 1873-1930 Collection is now available for research.

Collection Overview
This collection contains atlases on the subjects of Cambridge, Middlesex County, and Massachusetts by various surveyors, including G. M. Hopkins, G. W. Bromley, and George H. Waker.

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These 1942 Postcards can be found in the Henry M. Nevin Correspondence.

We are pleased to announce to the Henry M. Nevin Correspondence, 1942-1949 is open for research.

History
Henry Miller Nevin was born November 5, 1914 in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, to Franklin T., a lawyer, and Elizabeth B. Nevin. He had a sister, Margaret, who was eight years older than him, and an older brother, Franklin, Jr., died in 1920. His family moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts in the mid-1930s and lived at various addresses, including 43 Thorndike Street and 34 Ash Street.

Nevin received an A.B. from Williams College in 1936 and an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1938. After his father’s death, Nevin lived at 1 Waterhouse Street in Cambridge with his widowed mother. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on December 16, 1942. For most of his term of service, he was stationed in Darjeeling, India.

Nevin worked in finance when he returned to the United States after his military service. He was an analyst and wrote a weekly investment advice column for United Business Service until his retirement in 1984. He was also on the board of the Pax World Fund, a mutual fund with a mission to make socially responsible investments, in its early years.

Nevin was a deacon of the Cambridge Congregational Church and was involved with a number of charitable and human services organizations, including the Massachusetts Fair Housing Commission, the City Mission Society, the Margaret Fuller House, and Interfaith Housing, Inc. He also served on the City of Cambridge Civic Unity Committee. Nevin died on July 12, 1992.

Collection Overview
The Henry M. Nevin correspondence consists of letters, postcards, and V-mail written by or to Nevin while he was serving in the military during World War II. The largest portion of the collection consists of letters and V-mail written by Nevin to his mother, Elizabeth (Mrs. Frederick Nevin). Many of the letters are very detailed and provide interesting information about Nevin’s daily routines, activities, and surroundings. There are about 40 letters and V-mails written by Nevin’s mother to him which provide glimpses of life back in Cambridge. The other major correspondent is James Barraclough, a friend who also served in the military; there are about 10 pieces of correspondence from Barraclough, some from the years after the war’s conclusion. The collection also includes a small number of pieces of correspondence to or from other people, as well as Nevin’s Office of Dependency Benefits application approval card and some address lists and notes.

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A delegate badge from the 1988 Democratic National Convention in the Alice K. Wolf Papers.

We are pleased to announce that the Alice Wolf Papers, 1963-2011 are now available for research.

History
Alice Koerner Wolf was born December 24, 1933, in Austria. Her Jewish family left Austria in 1938 because of Nazi persecution and immigrated to Brighton, Massachusetts. She attended high school at Boston Girls’ Latin School. Wolf received her B.A. in Experimental Psychology from Simmons College in 1955. Her first professional job was with MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory, where she conducted research using the Memory Test Computer. She later worked for several technology companies before shifting her focus to politics. Wolf earned a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 1978.

Wolf has been an active figure in Cambridge, state, and national Democratic politics for more than five decades. Wolf’s interest in public service and politics began with her involvement in the Parent Teacher Association at Peabody School. She then was elected to the Cambridge School Committee, serving from 1974 to 1982. She lost her first election to Cambridge City Council in 1981, but won in 1983 and four more times after that, serving from 1984 to 1994. She was elected the Vice Mayor of Cambridge from 1988 to 1989 and the Mayor of Cambridge from January 1990 to January 1992. Wolf decided not to seek reelection in 1993 and instead set her sights on a higher office. She won her first election to the Massachusetts State House of Representatives in 1996, and served in that body until her retirement at the conclusion of her term in January 2013.

Wolf’s major areas of interest include services to the poor and homeless, education, affordable housing and rent control, elder services, child and family services, and gay and lesbian issues. She has received many awards and honors for her public service activities, including an honorary doctorate from Wheelock College in 2001.

Wolf married Robert Wolf and they are longtime residents of Cambridge and have two sons.

Collection Overview
The collection contains correspondence, reports, meeting minutes, news clippings, and printed materials related to Alice Wolf and the various public offices she held throughout her political career as well as materials related to local, state, and national Democratic politics more generally. The collection also contains photographs, audiovisual materials, and realia related to Wolf’s career. All phases of Wolf’s political career are represented, with the City Council tenure documented most thoroughly. Most of the material from her tenure as Massachusetts State Representative relates to elections. There is relatively little material related to Wolf’s activities outside of politics and public life, though some biographical materials are included

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Cambridge Public Library Annual Report 1990/1991 available in the Library 21 Records.

We are pleased to announce that the Library 21 records, 1989-2001 are now available for research.

History
Library 21 was a citizens’ advisory committee appointed by the Cambridge City Manager in May 1996 to make a comprehensive study of the needs of the community in re-conceptualizing the Cambridge Public Library for the 21st century. The committee was composed of Cambridge residents and city officials. It was co-chaired by Nancy Woods and Richard Rossi. Its goals were to 1) identify the roles and services for a new library system and 2) translate those into physical requirements for a main library building. Library 21 presented its recommendations in a report to the City Manager that focused on public education and outreach. They concentrated during this process on surveying and gathering input from the residents of Cambridge for what services and programs they envisioned for the new library. Their interim report positioned the Committee as advisors to the City Manager during the creation of the new library in order to impart the knowledge they gained during their two-year studying of the community and its connection to the library.

Collection Overview
The collection contains organizational records from the Library 21 committee. It includes information on committee members; meeting agenda, minutes, and planning materials; background research and reference materials; media coverage; information on community involvement; and information on various aspects of study, including site selection

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