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Posts Tagged ‘Cambridge Public Library’

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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Cambridge Public Library Annual Report 1990/1991 available in the Library 21 Records.

We are pleased to announce that the Library 21 records, 1989-2001 are now available for research.

History
Library 21 was a citizens’ advisory committee appointed by the Cambridge City Manager in May 1996 to make a comprehensive study of the needs of the community in re-conceptualizing the Cambridge Public Library for the 21st century. The committee was composed of Cambridge residents and city officials. It was co-chaired by Nancy Woods and Richard Rossi. Its goals were to 1) identify the roles and services for a new library system and 2) translate those into physical requirements for a main library building. Library 21 presented its recommendations in a report to the City Manager that focused on public education and outreach. They concentrated during this process on surveying and gathering input from the residents of Cambridge for what services and programs they envisioned for the new library. Their interim report positioned the Committee as advisors to the City Manager during the creation of the new library in order to impart the knowledge they gained during their two-year studying of the community and its connection to the library.

Collection Overview
The collection contains organizational records from the Library 21 committee. It includes information on committee members; meeting agenda, minutes, and planning materials; background research and reference materials; media coverage; information on community involvement; and information on various aspects of study, including site selection

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A scrapbook page chronicling some of the events in 2000, available in the Cambridge 2000 Records.

We are pleased to announce that the Cambridge 2000 Records, 1999-2001 are now available for research in the Cambridge Room.

History
The Cambridge Arts Council coordinated a series of activities and events to celebrate the millennium in 2000. It held a series of four light celebrations created by Spectaire, a collaborative of light artists. The celebrations were The Beaconing (January 22, 2000), Light Parade (May 13, 2000), Skyward Light (September 23, 2000), and Illuminated Word (December 7, 2000). An additional event was “Curious Doings in Cambridge Crosswalks,” which featured performers from Behind the Mask Theatre and volunteers from city departments and sought to raise awareness about public safety. It produced a series of quarterly calendars under the title “2 thousand things to do in Cambridge in 2 thousand.”

Collection Overview
The collection consists of calendars, images, magnets, media coverage, slides of words and poetry used as outdoor library wall projections in the “Illuminated Word” event, T-shirts and other promotional materials, the City’s 2000 Annual Report featuring the celebration, and a cassette tape of two interviews of light artists that appeared on WBUR and WRK

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A draft of a title page of Hodges’ book, The Three Princes of Serendip, which can be found in the Elizabeth Jamison Hodges Papers in the Cambridge Room.

We are pleased to announce that the Elizabeth Jamison Hodges Papers, 1908-1999 are now available for research.

History
Elizabeth Jamison Hodges was born in Atlanta, Ga. in 1908 to William Lemmon Hodges and Elizabeth Jamison Hodges (1884-1980), the oldest of three children. Schooled in the Boston and New York areas, she graduated from Radcliffe College (A.B. 1931) and Simmons College (B.S. 1937). She was a librarian at the Boston Public Library (1937-1941), the Detroit Public Library (1941-1943), and at public libraries in Arlington, Watertown, Leominster, and Belmont, Mass. After World War II, following in her father’s footsteps (who was a major in the army), she was the Command Librarian for the Third Army in Germany, establishing libraries for American occupation troops. In the 1960s she travelled to Ceylon (now known as Sri Lanka) to collect material for two of her children’s books: The Three Princes of Serendip (New York 1964, illustrated by Joan Berg) and Serendipity Tales (New York, 1966, illustrated by June Atkin Corwin). She published two other children’s books: A Song for Gilgamesh (New York, 1971, illustrated by David Omar White), and Free as a Frog (New York, 1971, illustrated by Paul Giovanopoulos). She was also a New York Times Children’s book reviewer. She taught creative writing at the Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement for 20 years. She died on October 21, 1999 in New London, NH.

Sources:

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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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As Veterans Day approaches, I wanted to call attention to a particularly appropriate collection here in the Cambridge Room – a small collection of papers and personal effects related to Salvatore Valente, a Cambridge resident who served in the United States Army and died in World War II. He is also the namesake of the Valente Branch of the Cambridge Public Library.

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Photograph of Salvatore Valente in uniform

Photograph of Private Salvatore Valente in uniform and a postcard he sent to his mother in June 1944 from basic training in Fort McClellan, Alabama

Salvatore Valente was born on March 11, 1926, in Cambridge, to Alessandro and Ines Valente, who had emigrated from Italy. He had 10 brothers and sisters and his family lived at 14 Marion Street in East Cambridge. He graduated from Wellington Grammar School in 1942 and attended Rindge Technical School for his secondary education. He left Rindge Tech in 1944 to join the United States Army and was sent to Germany in early 1945. He was killed in action in Germany on March 12, 1945, less than two months before V-E Day. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

In January 1961 the City of Cambridge adopted a motion put forward by Italian-American Councillor Alfred Vellucci to name the new branch of the Cambridge Public Library at the Charles Harrington School in honor of Valente and his family’s sacrifice. Named the “Salvatore Francis Valente Memorial Library,” the Branch is located only a few blocks from Valente’s childhood home. The Valente Branch celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011.

The Cambridge Room collection on Salvatore Valente includes a small number of items related to Valente and his connection to the branch of the Cambridge Public Library named in his honor. The collection includes his birth certificate, his Wellington Grammar School diploma, a postcard he sent to his mother from basic training in Fort McClellan, Alabama, a telegram from the Army’s Adjutant General informing his mother of his death, condolence letters and memorials sent to Valente’s family from various public officials, and two photographs. Items related to the Valente Branch Library include a copy of the City Council resolution naming the public library branch for Valente, invitations to anniversary events, and two newspaper clippings.

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The Library’s First Book Mobile, circa 1970.  From the Cambridge Public Library Collection (011).

The CPL designed its first book mobile on the frame of a golf cart.

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CPL Book Mobile 2.0., circa 1970s.  From the Cambridge Public Library Collection (011).

The second iteration of the CPL book mobile was more traditional.

Does anyone remember seeing either version of the book mobile?  Better yet – has anyone ever been to the Mug n Muffin Restaurant pictured in the first photo?

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