Posts Tagged ‘Cambridge Historical Society’

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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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.



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Mon, 06/17/2013 (All day) – Fri, 06/21/2013 (All day)

Tour the amazing resources of Cambridge with behind the scenes tours of 12 archives in the city. Coordinated by the Cambridge Historical Society, the tour will feature:

Cambridge Historical Commission
Cambridge Public Library’s Cambridge Room
Cambridge Public Works
Christ Church
First Church of Cambridge
Freemasons Lodge
Harvard Graduate School of Design
Harvard Property Information Resource Center
Harvard University Archives
MIT Institute Archives & Special Collections
MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies Special Collection
MIT Rotch Library

See amazing things you never knew were in our city and hear from the people who care for them.

For more information and to register, please visit Cambridgearchives.org

Can you figure out which item in the photo below belongs to which institution? Hint:  The library’s an easy one!



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Boston Woven Hose and Rubber Company is one of the industrial giants of 19th Century Cambridge.   Boston Woven Hose was founded in Cambridge in 1880, and over the thirty years prior to the beginning of WWI, demand for its products grew and the company expanded first to an 18,000 square foot factory on Hampshire Street and then to a 250,000 square foot factory on Broadway – both buildings typical of 19th Century mills.   In 1957, after several years of decreased efficiency and standards in the manufacturing process, the American Biltrite Rubber Company took over, and the Boston Woven Hose and Rubber Company was established.

The company produced a cotton-jacketed rubber hose, and it soon became the industry standard for manufacturing fire hoses.  The Boston Bulldog was created as a trademark to identify this high quality brand of hose.

A few more readings about industry history in Cambridge:

The Cambridge Historical Society’s Industry in Cambridge


**Generously researched and written by E. Bento.**

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The paper collar industry started during the Civil War when the South’s control of cotton cut off the supply of cloth collars, according to a 1956 Crimson article. People wore the paper collar a few times, and threw it away.  The Reversible Collar Company was invented by Harvard alumnus in 1866, and the business hit its peak between 1870 and 1914.  During the time, the production was about 3,000,000 items monthly.   Many people preferred the substitute and continued to wear them after the Civil War

The Reversible Collar Company Building in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The fact that the last surviving Paper Collar Company was located in 111 Putnam Avenue, Cambridge makes the city more unique.

**Generously researched and written by E. Bento.**

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McCrehan Pool, circa 1965, courtesy of Anne Sirois, digital copy Cambridge Historical Society.
The Cambridge Historical Society’s public scanning project was recently featured in the Cambridge Chronicle as part of this year’s Discovery Days.  In exchange for a scoop of Toscanini’s ice cream, those who participated allowed the CHS to scan personal photos featuring Cambridge to be permanently preserved in CHS’s digital archives.    What a great idea to help preserve Cambridge history.

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Last night at the city’s Fourth Annual Archives Crawl (theme:  Cambridge’s Famous and Infamous), I pulled the above photograph looking for some collective wisedom.  At first, I thought it might be the building of Harvard’s stadium.  The location with the river and train tracks look plausible the dates are all wrong (the Harvard Stadium was built in 1903 and the Coliseum is 1872)  as are the residential building to the left of the structure – (although I made a wild assumption that Harvard may have had them removed to build the Buisness School – stranger things have happened in Cambridge.)

Several of us, including Gavin Kleespies of the Cambridge Historical Society, threw around some ideas and checked maps.  Was it the velodrome?  Was it an early predecessor to the expo buildings in Cambridgeport?  We thought it might have been built in Cambridgeport near the traintracks before the river was filled in.  But it still didn’t seem right.

Today, I received tips from two people on last night’s tour:  could it be the building for World’s Peace Jubilee and International Musical Festival built in 1872 on the banks of the Charles River in Boston’s Back Bay?  Thanks to the blog,  And This is Good Old Boston, I think we’ve found the answer.  With a detailed description of the Jubilee and photographs of the finished building’s interior and exterior, it looks like we have a match.  I think what really gives it away is the church spire that is visible in both photographs .

(Photograph courtesy of the Boston Public Library via Good Old Boston.)

**Special thanks to TCunha and ECurley for their expert sleuthing!**

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