Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Kathryn Van Horn Leaving the White House after Receiving the Legion of Valor medal, from the Library of Congress Print & Photograph Online Collection.

Thanks to our colleagues in the CPL’s Teen Room, we recently learned all about Miss Van Horn:

Miss Kathryn Van Horn of White City, Ohio, leaving the White House just after President Roosevelt had presented her with the medal and the certificate for her brave act of saving two boys. Photo shows Miss Van Horn building the certificate and the Medal is pinned on her dress.  September 12, 1936.

Clara Kathryn Van Horn was the first person awarded the Legion of Valor medal.  According to the Chicago Tribune, twelve year old Clara “threw herself in front of a sled on which two boys were speeding helplessly into the path of an onrushing train.”Clara, an Ohio farm girl, was also given a scholarship to the Russell School in Cambridge, MA.

We did some research to trace Miss Van Horn’s life in Cambridge.  According to a Boston Globe article, published on 30 December 1936, Kathryn lived on Lexington Avenue with the Robart Family, Ralph W. Robart (Chairman of the State Division on the Necessities of Life), his wife (who is unnamed), Beatrice Robart (their 19 year-old daughter – a student at Framingham Teacher’s College), and the family dog Mitzi.  She attended the 7th Grade at the Russell School where her teachers were pleased with her work.  Kathryn planned to stay in Cambridge for another 9 months.

Unfortunately, the December 30th Globe article is where the trail ends.  Kathryn didn’t graduate from any of the Cambridge High Schools so she must have returned to Ohio at the end of the 8th Grade.

Read Full Post »


The signature “CPL Red” was developed in the planning stages of the main library expansion project. The paint sample and interior design drawings are now part of the library’s archives and special collections. Paint Color Diagram, copyright William Rawn Associates Architects, Inc.

After 23 years as the Director of the Cambridge Public Library, Susan Flannery retires on April 1st, 2016.  During her tenure, Flannery has strongly upheld the librarian’s principals of free and open access to everyone, confidentiality, and customer service.  One of Flannery’s greatest accomplishments was her role envisioning, planning, and completion of the main library’s renovation, a 15 year-long project, that is the capstone to a career dedicated to public service.

Susan Flannery often wrote about equal access to library resources, freedom to information, and the protection of patron privacy in On & Off Broadway, a publication that had a 19 year print run.  In the July/August 2009 edition, Flannery wrote the following:

“Excellent customer service and responsiveness to the community are hallmarks of the Cambridge Public Library. We recognize that our mission extends beyond the provision of materials to a broader vision of the library that promotes free availability of information, the lively interaction of people and an open exchange of ideas that animate and extend our democratic aspirations.”

The Cambridge Room is looking forward to collecting and processing Susan’s 23-year history at the Cambridge Public Library.



Read Full Post »

Library Page in the former metal stacks of the pre renovated Cambridge Public Library, ca. 1970s-1980s, from the Cambridge Public Library Records (011)

The Cambridge Public Library Pages of 40 years past could be identified in the building by their bright orange or blue smocks.  We have two smocks on display right now on the second floor of the main library.


Read Full Post »


Read Full Post »

Article about Fosgate’s Grocery and Provision Store from the Historic Cambridge Newspaper Collection, Cambridge Chronicle 6 May 1911.

Thank you to Robert Winters and Dan Sullivan for helping us locate Charles H. Fosgate Grocery and Provisions on Massachusetts Avenue.   As it turns out, there are hundreds of hits for Fosgate, including many advertisements, when searching the Historic Cambridge Newspaper Collection that we overlooked!  (It happens sometimes…)  Fosgate’s, located at 1876 Massachusetts Avenue, opened in 1899 and always had the advertising slogan, “right at the bridge.”  It later moved to 1853 Massachusetts Avenue, which is essentially across the street, where the Commonwealth Lock Company is currently located.

Advertisement From the Historic Cambridge Newspaper Collection, Cambridge Tribune, 15 June 1912.

Today, 1876 Massachusetts Avenue houses Bruegger’s Bagles.


As you can see, the original building looks nothing like Fosgate’s in 1911 nor like the building today.

Fosgate’s Groceries and Provisions, circa 1904-1909, From the Glass Plate Negatives, circa 1904-1909 (002).

And, what is this bridge Fosgate’s advertisements mention?  The mystery continues…



Read Full Post »

Charles Fosgate Groceries and Provisions, Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts, circa 1904-1909.  From the Glass Plate Negatives, circa 1904-1909 (002).

We need your help for today’s Throwback Thursday.  Does anyone know where on Massachusetts Avenue this grocery store was?

Read Full Post »

Mayor Al Vellucci was the Cambridge politician who threatened to pave over Harvard Yard to create more public parking in Cambridge.   The Cambridge Historical Society published a great tribute to the former Mayor in the Cambridge Historian (Spring of 2013), by Gavin Kleepsies titled “Al Vellucci: Political Maverick.”  Read Vellucci’s rise to political fame here.



Read Full Post »

Older Posts »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,283 other followers