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This photograph shows the 2000 block of Massachusetts Avenue, which is just north of Porter Square, featuring the business of Alexander Souter, house and decorative painter.  The building also houses a carpenter and a carriage painter and repairer.  The photograph, taken sometime between 1904 and 1909, is from the Cambridge Room’s Glass Plate Negative Collection (002).

Below is painter Alexander Souter’s advertisement from the October 19, 1912 edition of Cambridge Chronicle:
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And here’s what 2015 Massachusetts Avenue looks like today:

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The location of the Charles H. Cutting Fish and Oyster Market, 359 Main Street.

Last week, we asked our readers to help us identify the photograph of the Fish and Oyster Market pictured below.  Thanks to PJN, we learned that it is the Charles H. Cutting Fish and Oyster Market, located at 359  Main Street, on the corner of Moore Street.

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We found this ad in the Cambridge Historic Newspaper Collection, in the May 21st 1887 edition of the Cambridge Chronicle.

359 Main Street is now the location of Newtowne Court – Moore Street no longer exists.

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New Collection at the Cambridge Room, Rico, Jefferson Park, 1974,
© Olive Pierce.

Explore behind-the-scenes at eight unique Cambridge archives.

REGISTER NOW!

Several archives are participating for the first time. The MIT Museum’s Hart Nautical Collection will share its bounty. Visitors will enjoy a rare glimpse of archives at three Harvard museums: the Peabody and Semitic museums, and the Harvard Art Museums. Old favorites will return: Longfellow house, Cambridge Room, Radcliffe’s Schlesinger Library, and MIT Institute Archives.

See the complete schedule below.

How does it work?

Each day, two small groups will be welcomed into two neighboring archives at specific times, for 45 minute tours. Open Archives is a free event, but visitors must register in advance, as space is very limited. To register, please email archives@cambridgema.gov and specify day or days. Registrants will be contacted with tour details. Send general questions to the archives email or call the Cambridge Historical Commission, 617 349 4683.

TOUR SCHEDULE
Tours visit the archive, NOT the site or the museum.

Monday, June 15, 4:00-6:00 PM
Longfellow House-Washington’s HQ National Historic Site AND
Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute

Tuesday, June 16, 3:00-5:00 PM
Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard AND
Harvard Semitic Museum

Wednesday, June 17, 6:00-8:00 PM
The Cambridge Room, Cambridge Public Library AND
Harvard Art Museums

Thursday, June 18, 3:00-5:00 PM
MIT Institute Archives and Special Collections AND
MIT Museum’s Hart Nautical Collection

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On August 21, 1888, the Universalist Church moved from Lafayette Square to its present home on Inman Street.  The picture above shows the church traveling through Central Square.  Today, the church at 8 Inman Street is now St. Mary’s Orthodox Church.

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It’s always very satisfying when people contact us to donate items that fill in gaps in our collections or enrich already rich materials. After our post about Salvatore Valente a few weeks ago, our friends at the City of Cambridge’s Veterans’ Services Department brought us two items previously in their offices that are especially appropriate for the Cambridge Room. One was a replacement Purple Heart for Salvatore Valente, which we’ve added to our small Valente collection. The other was a wooden plaque that clearly belongs with our wonderful World War I memorial plaques collection, recently digitized and available through Digital Commonwealth.

Plaque honoring William J. White, who died in 1918 during his service in World War I.
William J. White from Cambridge, died in World War I, 1918.

William J. White’s plaque will join its comrades online eventually, but for now you can read more about him in this account of his memorial service from the Cambridge Tribune, June 22, 1918.

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Not the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of Thanksgiving, but this certainly is a creative and amusing attempt to get in on the spending frenzy that often accompanies the holiday.

Advertisement for heavy underwear from the Cambridge Chronicle, 22 November 1902

From Cambridge Chronicle, November 22, 1902, issue, available through the Cambridge Room’s Historic Cambridge Newspapers collection

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While some of what we have here in the Cambridge Room relates to the more distant past, we also collect contemporary archival materials to support out mission to document the many facets of the culture and history of Cambridge. I’ve been processing a number of the more recent additions to the collection, and it’s been enlightening to learn more about what was happening in Cambridge during periods that I lived through and remember well in other contexts.

One of these collections is the Sheli Wortis papers. Now retired, Wortis had a long career as an early childhood educator and educational administrator with the Cambridge Public Schools. She was particularly involved in ensuring that diverse viewpoints were incorporated into the Schools’ curricula and programs through her work with the Multicultural Coordinating Committee and Early Childhood Connections. She has also been active in many local causes and groups, and her papers are a rich source of information on some of the progressive organizations that have flourished in Cambridge from the 1970s to the present.

One of these was the Working Committee for the Cambridge Rainbow, later known as Cambridge Rainbow. It began in late 1988 as a series of informal meetings – originally just called “the Saturday group on Cambridge politics” – among friends discussing concerns they had about the political and cultural direction of the city. It soon grew into a strong progressive political action committee that was a force in Cambridge politics for a number of years. The Rainbow’s concerns included affordable housing, racial justice, and human rights and it backed a number of candidates who gained election to the Cambridge City Council or School Committee from the late 1980s through the 1990s. Several of their candidates were elected mayor of Cambridge, and one, E. Denise Simmons, is still on the City Council today. You may recognize a number of the names from the 1989 slate on this flyer advertising a benefit dance party held at the Cambridge Community Center, including former mayors Alice Wolf and Kenneth Reeves, and former mayor and current City Councilor E. Denise Simmons.

Flyer for 1989 Dance Party to benefit the Working Committee for the Cambridge Rainbow

Flyer advertising an October 1989 dance party at the Cambridge Community Center to benefit the Working Committee for the Cambridge Rainbow and its slate of City Council candidates

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