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Posts Tagged ‘city planning’

Maps and drawings of the Inner Belt Expressway that was planned for Cambridgeport in 1964 in the Cambridge City Documents Collection.

We are pleased to announce that the Cambridge City Documents, 1910-2012 are now available for research.

Collection Overview

This collection contains reports and other documents pertaining to various aspects of Cambridge government and life, mostly prepared by or for various City of Cambridge departments and agencies. Some documents pertain to Cambridge but were not prepared by or for by a city department or agency. Some documents pertain to Boston or Massachusetts more broadly.

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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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A color photograph of the Weeks Bridge. There are two men sitting on the edge of the bridge letting their legs dangle over the water.

We are pleased to announce that the John and Ellen Moot Papers, 1903 – 1982 are now available for research. Select digital items are also available.

Biography
John and Ellen Moot were political activists in Cambridge. John (1922 – 2008), the son of Welles V. and Caroline E., was born in Buffalo, New York and moved to Cambridge to attend Harvard University, where he graduated in 1943 with a degree in engineering. During World War II, John served in the U.S. Navy, loading ships in England for the Normandy invasion. John returned to Harvard and earned an MBA in 1948 and launched the Cornwell Corporation, a kitchen supply company, in the 1950s. He later became a management consultant for failing companies. For over fifty years, Moot was active in Cambridge politics. In 1963, he launched a campaign to “Save Memorial Drive” from the proposed Inner Belt, the eight lane highway planned to go through Cambridge. He was also a founding member of People for the Riverbend Park Trust, PRPT, located at 99 Memorial Drive in Cambridge. In addition to serving as President of the Cambridge Civic Association, Moot held leadership positions in several other Cambridge civic organizations, including the Cambridge Economic Opportunity Committee, the Charles River Watershed Association, the Harvard Square Defense Fund, and the Republican City Committee. In the 1980s, he was a mayoral appointee on the Water and Sewer Advisory Committee and the Technical Working Committee for the Computerization of the Cambridge Elections (TWCC). He served on city-wide study committees for Proposition 2/12, the water system, and municipal finance. In 1998, he co-founded the Association of Cambridge Neighborhoods with Stash Horowitz. John was the lead plaintiff in a suit brought against the State Department of Environmental Protection and the Guilford Transportation Company to block Cambridge’s NorthPoint development. In 2007, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled in Moot’s favor.[1]

Ellen (Guild) (1930-2016) grew up in Boston, Mass. and graduated from the Shady Hill School (Cambridge, Mass., 1945), St. Timothy’s School (Stevenson, MD., 1948), and Radcliffe College with a degree in Government (1952). After receiving a Master’s degree in International Affairs at Yale University, Ellen worked at the Washington Center of Foreign Policy Research at John Hopkins University. She became engaged to John Moot while living in Washington, D.C., and the couple moved to Cambridge after they were married. In Cambridge, Ellen was as a research assistant at the Harvard Center for International Affairs (CFIA), where she worked with Henry Kissinger, Robert Bowie, and Joseph Nye. She served on the Boston World Affairs Council and the United Nations Association.

After her daughter was born in 1962, Ellen returned to the CFIA part-time and began working on political campaigns in Cambridge. She ran the successful City Council and State Senate campaigns of Alice Wolf as well as the successful City Council campaigns of Cornelia Wheeler. (Wheeler lost her bid for State Senate in which Ellen was the campaign manager.) She also worked on the School Committee and City Council campaigns of Frank Duehay. During this time, she partnered with Artistic Director and Conductor Benjamin Zander to found (and later become the Executive Director of) the Shady Hill Summer Arts Program.

In the 1970s, Ellen’s career turned toward the field of mental health and she served on the board of the Cambridge Guidance Center, the Metropolitan State Hospital’s Advisory Board, the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health’s Area Board, and as the President of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health’s Mental Health Center for Cambridge-Somerville.[2]

From 1983-2001, Ellen served on the board of the Cambridge Foundation. She was active in the Cambridge Historical Society, co-writing a chapter on the Coolidge Hill neighborhood, where she lived, for the book, A City’s Life and Times: Cambridge in the Twentieth Century (2007). Also, she played on Cambridge’s first women’s ice hockey team, founded in the 1970s and nicknamed the Mother Puckers. Outside Cambridge, Ellen was active in the Chocorua Lake Association in Tamworth, New Hampshire. Ellen was an avid sailor.

Ellen and John married in New Years of 1960 at the Unitarian Church in Boston. They were members of the First Parish Unitarian Church and patrons of local theater and opera. They have two children Amey (b. 1962) and Alex Moot (b. 1964).

[1] Anderson, Travis, “Moot Dies at 86, Successfully Fought Highway Through Cambridge,” Cambridge Chronicle, December 19, 2008. http://www.wickedlocal.com/cambridge/news/x1435867302/Moot-dies-at-86-successfully-fought-highway-through-Cambridge?zc_p=0. Retrieved 30 December 2013.

[2] Ellen Guild Moot, 1930-2016, Boston Globe, September 25, 2016. http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/bostonglobe/obituary.aspx?pid=181469944. Retrieved 20 March 2017.

Collection Overview
This collection contains materials related to Ellen and John Moot’s work on preserving recreation areas around Memorial Drive in Cambridge, including People for the Riverbend Park Trust. There are several oversize materials, some of which like the Cambridge Civic Association Billboards are fragile. Jacek von Henneberg, author of the Memorial Drive Drawings, is a Polish artist and architect, who lived in Cambridge. The proposed underpass on Memorial Drive by Harvard Square was never created. The Save Memorial Drive poster has a reproduction of Georges Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of Grande Jatte.

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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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