Tag Archives: The Cambridge Room

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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Sabot: A Cambridge Room Exhibition

Sabot, from the Cambridge Historical Objects, Cambridge Room, Archives and Special Collections.

Exhibition Location: The Sakey Room on the first floor of the original Library building.

n.  heavy work shoe worn by European peasants, especially in France and the Low Countries.  There are two kinds of sabots: one is shaped and hollowed from a single piece of wood (called klompen by the Dutch); the other is a heavy leather shoe with a wooden sole.

v.  deliberate destruction of property or slowing down of work with the intention of damaging a business or economic system or weakening a government or nation in a time of national emergency.

The word is said to date from a French railway strike of 1910 when workers destroyed the wooden shoes (sabots) that held the rails in place.  A few years later sabotage was employed in the United States in the form of slowdowns, particularly in situations that made a strike untenable—such as by migratory workers whose employment was temporary.

origin.  The sabot on display has a slight heel with detailed carvings across the front and side, reminiscent of leather creasing and patterning.  Nail stubs line the bottom of the shoe.

There is no known provenance or chronology of custody other than an old card catalog claiming that it came from the John Snelling Popkin Estate, which was located on Massachusetts Avenue near the Cambridge Common.  Popkin (1792- 1852) was a professor of Greek at Harvard University.

Abolitionist Map of America App now available!


The app for Abolitionist Map of America has just been released!

Facebook: Find our material on the new @American Experience iPhone app! We have added several pins about Cambridge on the Abolitionist Map of America. Search for “American Experience” in the iTunes store to download the Mapping History app to your iPhone today! Browse and explore historical materials and videos significant to the abolitionist movement all across America! http://ow.ly/g4Eg5

Twitter: We have partnered with @AmExperiencePBS on the Abolitionist Map of America iPhone app. Download today!   http://ow.ly/g4Eg5

Abolitionist Map of America


We have partnered with PBS’s American Experience on the Abolitionist Map of America, an interactive website that explores events, characters and locations connected to the anti-slavery movement, one of the most important civil rights crusades in American history. An extension of the three-part series The Abolitionists, premiering Tuesdays, January 8-22, 2013 on PBS, the map engages communities around their local history, expanding upon the stories told in The Abolitionists and connecting them to real geographic locations. The map brings events from the past to life and integrates them into present-day America.

We have joined dozens of museums, libraries, archives and PBS member stations in populating the map with geo-tagged historical photos and documents, as well as more than 30 video clips from The Abolitionists. Unique individuals are also invited to upload their own content with the goal of creating a map that reflects the shared history of the movement and its indelible mark on local communities and the nation.

The Cambridge Room’s contribution to the map involves our connection to Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Cantabrigian and radical abolitionist. To view the Abolitionist Map of America, click here.

A Cambridge Room Exhibition: Postcards of Cambridge

Postcards of Cambridge, an exhibition featuring historic postcards from the Cambridge Public Library Archives, is currently on view at the Cambridge Public Library’s Main building.  The postcards on display reflect diverse aspects of Cambridge life and history dating back to the 19th century, and represent subjects including Harvard University, the Longfellow House, the Washington Elm, Harvard Square, Central Square, Cambridge Common, and many more.

The exhibition is located on the second floor of Cambridge’s Main Library and is available for viewing during the library’s regular hours.

Remembering Cambridge Veterans

We have recently been working to clean and preserve a large set of plaques dedicated to soldiers from Cambridge who died during World War I.  What makes the plaques so unique is that they each have an image of the soldier, made through a photo transfer process, in addition to their name and the year that they perished.  These plaques make up what is likely the only collection of images of the soldiers held by any institution in the city.  We’ve found a few women, as well!  The gentleman pictured here was named Stephen Nichipovrick, and he died in 1918.  We plan to post more photos of these important pieces in the future, so check back soon.

How Far We’ve Come

Looking at this reference guide from 1995 about how to use the Internet at the Cambridge Public Library, it really seems remarkable how far we’ve come in 12 years.  There was no Google, everything patrons downloaded had to be saved on floppy disks, and library computers did not support e-mail. We think this quote sums it up pretty well: “We on the Cambridge Public Library staff are all looking forward to this new service with a spirit of adventure into the unknown, and we hope you will as well.”  These days, library patrons enjoy free wireless internet throughout the building for all of their devices — unfathomable in 1995. 

The Cambridge Room is Open!

The long-awaited Cambridge Room is finally open to researchers.  After nearly a year of organizing collections, cataloging books, and preparing the room, we are open to the public.  Our hours are:

Monday 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Tuesday 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Wednesday 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Thursday 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Friday Closed

Stop by and discover our collection.  Read more information about the Cambridge Room here.