Tag Archives: Photographs

New Workshops on Photo Detecting Added to Lunchtime Lectures

Join us for two workshops presented by Maureen Taylor, an internationally recognized expert on historic photograph identification, photo preservation and family history research. 

Who’s Little Joe:  Photo Detecting 101 
Do you have unidentified people in your family photo albums?  Do you have a shoebox full of photographs of people you don’t know?  Join Maureen Taylor, the Photo Detective, to discover who’s who in your family pictures.  Learn 10 easy steps for naming the unidentified in your photo albums.  This interactive lecture will help you discover new identity and connections in your family history.

Date & Time:
April 1, 2021
12:00pm – 1:00pm

Buns, Beards, Bodices and Bustles: Understanding Ancestors Through Clothing
Ancestral fashions and the industry that produced them left behind a fascinating legacy of images and information.  Join Maureen Taylor, the Photo Detective, to discover genealogical clues by looking closely at the clothing and accessories your ancestors wore.  Come with your questions and learn the basics of photo detecting through the lens of fashion. 

Date & Time:
April 15, 2021
12:00pm – 1:00pm


Happy Birthday James Baldwin!

Celebrated American author James Baldwin would have turned 96 yesterday. In honor of his birthday, we’re posting these amazing photographs of the Cambridge Rindge and Latin (CRLS) Black Student Union meeting Baldwin at Northeaster University’s African American Center in 1986. Baldwin, pictured in the center, died the following year.

These photographs are from the Caroline Hunter Papers. Hunter, a life long activist and retired CRLS math teacher and assistant principal, donated her papers to the Cambridge Public Library in 2019. We are working diligently to make them available to the public.

The Elizabeth Jamison Hodges Papers Are Now Available

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.

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.


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The John J. Moss Diaries Are Now Available

A page from the John J. Moss Diary, which can be found in the John J. Moss Diaries, 1950-1951 at the Cambridge Room.

We are pleased to announce that the John J. Moss Diaries, 1950-1951 are now available for research.

John J. Moss was born on March 20, 1935, in New York. He received an A.B. from Columbia in 1956 and a law degree from Harvard University in 1958. He practiced as a lawyer and lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for a number of years on streets including Chauncy, Everett, and Ware. As a youth he was actively involved in the Boy Scouts of America.

Collection Overview
The John J. Moss diary offers a detailed handwritten account of Moss’ trip to the World Scout Jamboree in Bad Ischl, Austria, in 1951. As they travelled by boat across the Atlantic and across Europe to arrive in Austria, it is also a personalized and detailed account of post-war Europe, visiting places such as Italy, France, and Algeria. Sketches by Moss are present throughout as well. Several newspaper clippings, now copies in the collection, and a photograph were inserted into the diary, as was a smaller Scout-issued diary containing narration of Moss’ trip to the National Jamboree in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, in 1950. The collection also includes a small number of envelopes featuring stamps or cancellations that Moss appears to have collected (and evidently feature some of his past addresses). One letter appears to be sent to him from a friend in Brazil and contains cut out for the American Corporate Liberties Union.

The Economy Club of Cambridge Records Now Available

75th Anniversary Banquet Dinner of the Economy Club of Cambridge, 24 November 1947.

We are pleased to announce that the Economy Club of Cambridge Records, 1872-1988 are now available for research.

The Economy Club of Cambridge was a social, debating, and diner club founded in 1872. Its membership was long restricted to men who lived in Cambridge and its original purpose as a “non-sectarian and non-political” group was the study and discussion of economic, social, political, and historical questions.

On November 6, 1872, Clarence H. Blake, William Pearson, Clair Whittemore, and George Whittemore formed a secret society called the Four Socials for the purpose of “social intercourse and also to improve in Literature.” Four Socials was limited to the four originating members who met in each other’s homes. The following year, two additional members were invited to join and the name of the secret society was changed to the Mutual League of Friendship. The fortnight dinner meetings were dedicated to reciting literature, singing, and listening to music. In the fall of 1876, the club held its first “Ladies’ Night”, and in 1878, the club adopted the motto, “Commune Bonum,” meaning the common good.

The club remained a secret society until 1879, when the Mutual League of Friendship became a debating society and meetings took place in halls like the Prospect House or the G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic) Hall rather than in member’s homes.

In 1885, the society adopted a new name, the Economy Club of Cambridge. The 75th Anniversary Program of the Economy Club of Cambridge (1947) defines the meaning of the club’s new name as: “the word ’economy’ being understood as it is used today in schools which teach Economics.”

Debating became the foundation for the meetings and topics ranged from the local (such as the abolition of Cambridge’s Common Council) to the international (such as the Panama Canal). The club held joint debates with similar, local societies such as the Cambridge Prohibition Club, the Young Men’s Republican Club of Somerville, and the Harvard Democratic Club. Guest speakers delivered lectures and scientists gave demonstrations. In 1911, the Economy Club of Cambridge openly supported the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) move from Boston to Cambridge.

Membership has included state and city officials, judges, academics, business people, and professionals. By 2009, the once large membership (over 100) membership had dwindled dramatically to 15 active members. The club continued to meet six times each year at the MIT Faculty Club for drinks, dinner, and the presentation of a guest speaker.

Collection Overview
The collection contains records of the Economy Club of Cambridge including the organization’s founding documents and subsequent amendments; business records and ledgers; bank checks, bank statements, and check registers; membership applications; meeting programs (that include dinner menus), including anniversary events; book of resolutions (labeled “roll book”); correspondence; minute books; two scrapbooks; and three photographs. It also includes two record books kept when the club went by the name “Mutual League of Friendship.”

Eight Photograph Collections Now Open to Researchers

Anti War Riots in Harvard Square, April 15, 1970, from the Boston Herald Photograph Collection, copyright United Press International Photo.

The following photograph collections are now available for researchers to use:

Adams, Bertram (Bertram Adams Photographs, ca. 1960-1969)
Barnes, James (James Barnes Photographs, 1980-1989)
Boston Herald Photographs, 1924-1997
Cambridge Chronicle Photographs, 1973
Glass Plate Negatives, ca. 1904-1909
Half-tone Blocks, ca. 1909
Photographs, 1872-1998

Search all collections here.

2015 Massachusetts Avenue Circa 1900


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:

And here’s what 2015 Massachusetts Avenue looks like today:


Cambridge City Hospital School of Nursing: Elizabeth Conway’48 Memorabilia

Graduation photograph of Elizabeth A’Hearn Dorety Conway, class of 1948, from the Elizabeth A’Hearn Dorety Conway Papers (067).

Cambridge City Hospital School of Nursing:
Elizabeth Conway’48 Memorabilia

Exhibition Location: 2nd Floor of the Main Library

Six months after the Cambridge City Hospital opened to the public on June 1, 1917, it began a three-year program to train and graduate nurses.  The school was open to women “desirous of learning nursing” who had “a good education” and a doctor’s certificate of health.  Seven students enrolled in the first year and three graduated in the first class in June, 1920.

The school curriculum included practical work in the medical, surgical, obstetrical and children’s wards, operating room, X-ray and Out Patient Departments, and the “accident room.”  Students also took classes in various subjects ranging from Anatomy to Theoretical Nursing.  Students received a small monthly allowance that increased to $10 in their final year.  The nurses-in-training were expected to live at the hospital, a tradition that continued until the last of its students graduated in 1965. Featured in the exhibit is memorabilia from the Elizabeth A’Hearn Dorety Conway Papers.

Elizabeth A’Hearn Dorety Conway was born on March 11th, 1927 to William and Elizabeth A’Hearn.  Along with her seven siblings, Elizabeth grew up in an apartment on Raymond Street in North Cambridge.  She enrolled in the Cambridge City Hospital nursing program in 1945 and lived for the next three years on Camelia Avenue where the students were housed. One of Conway’s fondest memories in school was receiving her first nursing cape as a gift from her older brother Billy.  She also enjoyed the camaraderie of her classmates, teachers, and doctors.  She cherished her nurse’s bib signed by her friends and instructors.   Elizabeth graduated as a Registered Nurse in February of 1948.

After graduation, Elizabeth moved to Philadelphia where she held various nursing positions before marrying and having eight children.  She returned to nursing in the late 1970s.  Before she retired in 1990, Elizabeth was recognized by the City of Philadelphia for her dedication to nursing.  Conway died at the age of 87 on June 21, 2014.

001 005
Elizabeth A’Hearn Dorety Conway’s Nursing bib, signed by classmates, teachers, and doctors.

Collection Highlight: Timothy Dungan-Levant

Photograph of the Cambridge Public Library from the Timothy Dungan-Levant Photographs (046). 

The Cambridge Room has a new collection of photographs by local photographer, Timothy Dungan-Levant.  The collection includes photographs of the Library as well as street scenes of Cambridge.  See the full gallery here.

Throwback Thursday: Fish and Oyster Market Found!

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.


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.