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Bulletin de la Conference Haitienne Une Nouvelle Strategie, May 1984, from the Eddy Toussaint Tontongi Papers (034)

The  Cambridge Room is pleased to announce that the Eddy Toussaint Tontongi Papers, 1984-2014 are now available to research.

Eddy Toussaint (aka Tontongi) was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. After studying poetry in high school in Port-au-Prince in the 1960s, Toussaint moved to Paris in 1974 and later to Reims to study French literature and philosophy. He has lived in the United States, in the Cambridge area, since 1976. In the 1980s, Toussaint adopted the name his mother gave him as a baby – Tontongi (Uncle Guy or Uncle Gi) – as a pen name.

Poet, critic, essayist, Toussaint writes in Haitian Creole, French, and English. His books of poetry include Cri de Rêve: La Manifeste Poétique de la Poésie Exilée, The Dream of Being: Liberation Poetry, the epic poem, The Vodou Gods’ Joy / Rejwisans Lwa Yo (about his experience growing up in a Voodoo temple), and In the Beast’s Alley: Poems of Conscience. His essays include a study of the first Aristide presidency, La Présidence d’Aristide: Entre Le Défi l’Espoir.

Toussaint has published several newspapers and magazines related to the Haitian Diaspora in the Boston area, including Nouvelle Stratégie (first published in 1984), Haiti-Progrès, Haiti en Marche, Boston Haitian Reporter, Left Curve, and Tanbou. He has contributed to several anthologies, including Vodou: Visions and Voices of Haiti, Open Gate: Anthology of Haitian Creole Poetry (the first translated poetry book of Haitian Creole), Revolution/Revolisyon/ Révolution: An Artistic Commemoration of the Haitian Revolution, and Liberation Poetry: An Anthology, Poetica Agwe: Essays, Poems, and Testimonials on Resistance, Peace and the Ideal of Being.

Toussaint is the editor of the trilingual literary-political journal, Tanbou (available online at tanbou.com), and the founder of Trilingual Press based in Cambridge, Mass. Tanbou, founded in 1992, seeks to “embody a written, artistic expression of a consciousness that is trapped, mystified and oppressed but which still maintains the struggle against the domination of the absurd.” Works are published in English, French, or Haitian Creole without translations so that equal importance is placed on each language. The first issue was published in January 1994.

Trilingual Press was founded in 2003, as a collective, collaborative and non-commercial press, which advocates the concept of koumbit (helping hand) to help publish work of interest in Haitian Creole, French, English, and other world languages and literatures. In 2004,Trilingual Press published its first book: Love and Other Poems by Haitian Youths by Paul Germain. The Press features local poets, including Dumas F. Lafontant, who lives in Cambridge.

Collection Overview
This collection contains journals, pamphlets, and books either written by or published by Eddy Toussaint Tontongi through Trilingual Press. The publications, which include poems, essays, and translations, are bilingual (English/Haitian Creole or French/Haitian Creole) or trilingual (English/French/Haitian Creole) and promote the Haitian Creole language or describe the Haitian Diaspora in the Boston area. The Trilingual Press publishes poetry, novels, essays, and translations.

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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.

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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.



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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.


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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…



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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?

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