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Archive for the ‘The Cambridge Room’ Category

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Alice Ronchetti outside the Cambridge Public Library Branch No.1 in 1935.

 

 

We are pleased to announce that the Alice M. Ronchetti Papers, 1935-1973, have been digitized and can now be viewed online, in addition to the original hard copies being available for research at the Cambridge Public Library.

Alice Ronchetti worked as a librarian for the Cambridge Public Library for 38 years, from 1935 until her retirement in 1973. During her professional life, Ronchetti dedicated herself to the needs of both young people and adults. Her “unselfish and outstanding service to the citizens of Cambridge” was noted by the Board of Library Trustees in their resolution to accept her retirement from her position of head librarian.

This collection contains Alice Ronchetti’s professional documents and photographs. The documents include her Certificate of Librarianship and two letters that document her retirement: one acceptance letter from library Director Joseph G. Sakey and one resolution passed by the Board of Library Trustees. The photographs in this collection were taken at East Cambridge (now the O’Connell Branch) and Mount Auburn (now the Collins Branch). They depict Alice Ronchetti’s work life in the Cambridge Public Library system, including her co-workers, children she worked with, and events held at the library. Some of the photographs were undated and the dates have been estimated.

Alice Mary Ronchetti was born on May 24, 1912 to Cesar Ronchetti (b. 1884) and Clotilde Nicoli (1883-1974) in Boston, Massachusetts. She was one of six siblings (Alfred, Joseph, Rose Mary, Mary, and James). Her family moved to Cambridge around 1921. Ronchetti died on October 1, 1986 at age 74 and is buried in the North Cambridge Catholic Cemetery.

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Join us for the 9th Annual Cambridge Open Archives, June 19-22, 2017! 

This event is FREE but registration is required. Sign up here.

What is Open Archives? For four days, seven Cambridge repositories and special collections will open their doors to the public to showcase some of their most interesting materials — and the tales that go along with them. This year, our participants will present collections materials that fit with the theme of “living and dying in Cambridge.”

Our participants this year: Mount Auburn Cemetery, The Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology at Harvard University, the Harvard Semitic Museum, Longfellow House – Washington’s Headquarters, The Cambridge Historical Society, The Cambridge Room (Cambridge Public Library), and the Harvard Art Museums Archives.

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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 in the fall.

To register, please call 617-349-7757 or e-mail apacy@cambridgema.gov.

Class Schedule
June 5
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.

June 12
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.

June 19
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.

June 26
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.

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For those interested, you can view the presentation from our Beginner’s Genealogy Workshop, Session 4:  Build Your Family Tree.  We will post presentations after each class.

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Genealogy Workshop Series – No Registration Required
April 26
6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
William A. McEvoy, Jr., Local Historian “The Forgotten Irish of Mount Auburn Catholic Cemetery”
Location:  Community Room

William McEvoy has embarked on several ambitious research projects involving local cemeteries, such as Mount Auburn Cemetery and the cemetery at Rainsford Island in Boston Harbor.  His most recent project, documenting those buried at the Catholic Mount Auburn Cemetery in East Watertown, was the result of a four-year, 7,000+ hour, in-depth study of the 23,000+ people buried there, the vast majority of whom were Irish fleeing the Great Famine of the 1840s.  McEvoy will present his findings, including a complete statistical analysis of those buried at the cemetery. No Registration required.

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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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For those interested, you can view the presentation from our Beginner’s Genealogy Workshop, Session 3:  Online Resources.  We will post presentations after each class.

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