Archive for the ‘Collections’ Category



A flier for the Primer Foro Latino festival, which can be found in the Cambridge Hispanic Commission Records. 

We are pleased to announce that the Cambridge Hispanic Commission Records, circa 1993 – circa 1995 are now available for research.

The Cambridge Hispanic Commission was a grass-roots, non-profit organization that was committed to serving as a voice for the concerns of the Hispanic community of the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts. The CHC also advised, provided input, and promoted and assured their participation in all levels of governance and city and school affairs. The CHC promoted, facilitated, and advocated for the development and empowerment of members of the Hispanic community. They also advised Cambridge officials on improving communication between the city and its Hispanic population on issues such as education, fair employment practices, housing, and health care access.

Collection Overview
This collection contains records that cover the Cambridge Hispanic Commission’s commissioners, agendas and memos, meeting minutes, activities, sign-up sheets, committees, information and jobs, media and out-going correspondance. There are also records on by-laws, Cambridge Public Schools, the Immunization Action Project, the Festival “Amaru Alcarza,” and Foro Latino. The collection also contains newspaper articles that relate to the activities of the Cambridge Hispanic Commission. Parts of the collection have been marked as closed due to containing sensitive personal information preventing them from viewed by the public.

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Signs at Cambridge City Hall during the Unity Rally on 6 February 2017. Courtesy of the
Cambridge Chronicle.

Did you go to the Unity Rally at Cambridge City Hall on February 6th?  Did you go to the “Not My President” vigil this weekend?  If so, we want your signs.  The Cambridge Room is actively signs and other protest ephemera related specifically to Cambridge protests.  For more information about how you can donate signs please contact us here.  Help us build our collection!

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75th Anniversary Banquet Dinner of the Economy Club of Cambridge, 24 November 1947.

We are pleased to announce that the Economy Club of Cambridge Records, 1872-1988 are now available for research.

The Economy Club of Cambridge was a social, debating, and diner club founded in 1872. Its membership was long restricted to men who lived in Cambridge and its original purpose as a “non-sectarian and non-political” group was the study and discussion of economic, social, political, and historical questions.

On November 6, 1872, Clarence H. Blake, William Pearson, Clair Whittemore, and George Whittemore formed a secret society called the Four Socials for the purpose of “social intercourse and also to improve in Literature.” Four Socials was limited to the four originating members who met in each other’s homes. The following year, two additional members were invited to join and the name of the secret society was changed to the Mutual League of Friendship. The fortnight dinner meetings were dedicated to reciting literature, singing, and listening to music. In the fall of 1876, the club held its first “Ladies’ Night”, and in 1878, the club adopted the motto, “Commune Bonum,” meaning the common good.

The club remained a secret society until 1879, when the Mutual League of Friendship became a debating society and meetings took place in halls like the Prospect House or the G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic) Hall rather than in member’s homes.

In 1885, the society adopted a new name, the Economy Club of Cambridge. The 75th Anniversary Program of the Economy Club of Cambridge (1947) defines the meaning of the club’s new name as: “the word ’economy’ being understood as it is used today in schools which teach Economics.”

Debating became the foundation for the meetings and topics ranged from the local (such as the abolition of Cambridge’s Common Council) to the international (such as the Panama Canal). The club held joint debates with similar, local societies such as the Cambridge Prohibition Club, the Young Men’s Republican Club of Somerville, and the Harvard Democratic Club. Guest speakers delivered lectures and scientists gave demonstrations. In 1911, the Economy Club of Cambridge openly supported the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) move from Boston to Cambridge.

Membership has included state and city officials, judges, academics, business people, and professionals. By 2009, the once large membership (over 100) membership had dwindled dramatically to 15 active members. The club continued to meet six times each year at the MIT Faculty Club for drinks, dinner, and the presentation of a guest speaker.

Collection Overview
The collection contains records of the Economy Club of Cambridge including the organization’s founding documents and subsequent amendments; business records and ledgers; bank checks, bank statements, and check registers; membership applications; meeting programs (that include dinner menus), including anniversary events; book of resolutions (labeled “roll book”); correspondence; minute books; two scrapbooks; and three photographs. It also includes two record books kept when the club went by the name “Mutual League of Friendship.”

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Did you know that the Cambridge Room has made available over 350 digital items from our collections?  You can easily search and browse them on our new Flickr site.  Be sure to check back often because we add more digital items all the time.  As always, we will announce new digital collections here first.


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Did you know that the Cambridge Room has 145 unique collections and is growing?   The descriptions of these collections are now easily searchable on our new database.  You can keyword search or browse by collection or subject.  Be sure to check back, we add more collections to the database all the time.  And, we always announce new collections here.

The Cambridge Room collections focus on the social and political history of Cambridge from the mid twentieth century to the present.

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Harvard Square Development Taskforce, 1972, Cornelia B. Wheeler Papers (061)

The Cambridge Room is pleased to announce that the Cornelia B. Wheeler Papers are now available for research.

Cornelia B. Wheeler, née Balch, was born in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, on September 3, 1909. She was one of six children of Franklin G. and Lucy (Bowditch) Balch. She was married to Leonard Wheeler from 1929 until his death in 1995. They lived in Cambridge throughout their marriage and had four children.

Wheeler was very active in Cambridge politics and civic life from the 1930s through the 1990s. She was elected to three terms on the Cambridge City Council (1964-65; 1966-67; 1968-69). After leaving the Council, she organized a citizens group that was involved in the development planning for Harvard Square. She donated a substantial amount of money for the Wheeler Water Garden in Danehy Park in Cambridge and it bears her name. Wheeler died on August 14, 2005.

Collection Overview
This collection documents the work of Cornelia B. Wheeler. The collection reflects Councillor Wheeler’s work on and off the Council. It includes extensive material regarding the Harvard Square Development Taskforce. Records also include meeting agendas, clippings, project material (e.g. Bennett Street Yard; Red Line Extension; parking; traffic; zoning); correspondence, and notes.

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Stone arrowhead from Georgia and North or South Carolina, Charles F. Walcott Archaeological Collection (029).

The Cambridge Room is pleased to announce that the Charles F. Walcott Archaeological Collection is open to research.  The objects have been digitized and made available here.

Charles Folsom Walcott was born in Cambridge on May 14, 1904 to Charles F. Walcott (1875-unknown) and Martha S. Enstos Walcott (ca. 1878-unknown). Walcott, Jr. is a graduate of Harvard College (1926) and Harvard Medical School (1931). Walcott was a general practitioner in Cambridge from 1933 until his retirement in 1986. Walcott was an assistant in medicine at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital until 1944 and an associate physician at Mount Auburn Hospital from 1936 to 1968. He also taught at the Haynes Memorial Contagious Hospital in Roxbury and was a clinical assistant at the medical schools at Boston and Harvard Universities. Walcott’s hobbies were birding and collecting Native American arrowheads, many of which he found in Concord, Massachusetts. He was a member of the Nuttall Ornithological Society and Massachusetts Archaeology Society. His pioneering study of 50 years of bird life in Cambridge, “Changes in Bird Life in Cambridge, Massachusetts From 1860 to 1864,” was published in the Auk, the American Ornithologist Union’s quarterly (volume 91, number 1, 1974).

He married Susan Cabot Walcott (1907-1998) and they had two sons Charles and Benjamin. The Walcott family lived on Sparks Street in Cambridge, where he conducted his famous bird study, until moving to Hancock, New Hampshire. The Walcott’s also had a summer home in North Haven, Maine.

Walcott died on July 1, 1989. Both he and his wife, Susan, are buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery.

Collection Overview
Items came stored in a small gift box. The box contained a small curated collection of Native American archeological artifacts composed of 11 separate envelopes and 2 boxes. Each envelope was numbered, each object within had a numerical label, and the short descriptive label cards inside the envelopes both had the same numeric value assigned to the outer envelope. In total, the items were divided into 13 groups designed to be a small exhibition that was put on display at the Observatory Hill Branch Library (now the Boudreau Branch). No documentation exists to provide evidence as to how most of the objects came into Dr. Walcott’s possession, though he found a few of the items himself at Cambridge’s Fresh Pond in the 1960s and 70s and labeled them as such.

The Charles F. Walcott Archaeological Collection was a gift from Dr. Charles F. Walcott to the Cambridge Public Library sometime in the late 1970s, early 1980s. Items include a variety of Native American tools and implements, mainly arrowheads but also scraping tools for wood, gun flint, quartz, a stone drill, bone, and felcite. Not much is known about the individual items other than what little accompanying information was included – usually at most a single sentence. Some of the items are identified as having come from the American South West, South America, Georgia, and the Carolinas.

The only outlier to the Native American objects in the collection is a box containing two bullets and a minie ball from the Battle of Antietam.

Also accompanying the box is a wooden plaque from a painting of Dr. Walcott’s father, Charles F. Walcott, Sr. A portrait was commissioned, however the location of said portrait is unknown.

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