Thank you to Scout Cambridge for their recent article, From Rent Control to Riot Squads: The Photographs of Olive Pierce, profiling the amazing work of documentary photographer Olive Pierce as well as the work we do in the Cambridge Room.
Posts Tagged ‘Olive Pierce’
A City in Protest: Olive Pierce’s Cambridge City Hall Portraits, 1970-1972
Exhibition Location: L2 during Special Events and 2nd Floor of the Main Library
This exhibition includes black and white silver prints of Cambridge City Council meetings Pierce took 45 years ago, capturing clashes between politicians and the people. Pierce recently donated this series along with several other important works, spanning her 40-year career as a documentary photographer to the Cambridge Room, the Library’s Archives and Special Collections.
Pierce graduated from Vassar College in 1945. In 1948, she traveled as a secretary to a U.N. Medical Mission to Poland where she began taking pictures. The experience of photographing war-torn Warsaw and Auschwitz inspired Pierce’s interest in photography.
With Berenice Abbott and Paul Caponigro as her teachers, Pierce embarked on a professional career as a photographer. In 1965, she received a Bunting Fellowship from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and began to focus on documentary work with the city of Cambridge as her subject.
She spent the next decade as a freelance photographer, working for the Cambridge Chronicle, while embarking on two major documentary projects: photographing the turbulent Cambridge City Council meetings (1970-1972) and the children of the Jefferson Park Public Housing Project in North Cambridge (1973-1975).
In 1986, Pierce published No Easy Roses: A Look at the Lives of City Teenagers, featuring pictures she took during her tenure as a photography teacher at the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. In 1991, Pierce received another Bunting Fellowship to work on Up River: The Story of a Maine Fishing Community (1996). Nine years later, 73 year-old Pierce traveled illegally to Iraq under the auspices of Voices in the Wilderness to photograph children. In 2001, she received the City of Cambridge’s Peace and Justice Award.
Pierce’s photographs are in the permanent collections of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Portland Museum of Art, the Addison Gallery of American Art, and the Farnsworth Art Museum.
Explore behind-the-scenes at eight unique Cambridge archives.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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