New Finding Aids Available!

The Commission has recently finished conducting inventories on a few of our smaller collections, and the corresponding finding aids for each are now available. Scroll down to read descriptions and view a selection of images from the following collections: Hovey Family Records, Signet Hosiery Company Collection, Squirrel Brand Company Collection, Cambridge Historical Commission Objects Collection, and The Riverside Press Collection.

Hovey Family Records

The Hovey Family Records are a collection of documents, booklets, and photographs which once belonged to the Hovey Family of Cambridge. In 1997, the bulk of the collection was found in a house in Worcester, MA by Shirley Piermarini and these items were donated to the CHC that same year. In 2001, Ms. Piermarini donated five Hovey family photographs. View the finding aid here.


Photograph portrait of a young girl in the Hovey family, taken in 1871.



Caption: Susan A. Hovey’s autograph book, 1876

Signet Hosiery Company collection

In 1926, the Signet Hosiery Company began moving into the newly-expanded Kendall Square Building located at 238 Main Street in Cambridge. Signet and its president William H. Doty encouraged customers to form their own Signet Clubs with their friends and relatives. Weekly membership dues of $1 entitled you to a subscription for hosiery and lingerie at discount prices.


Membership book for the Signet Hosiery Company, 1926

This collection contains materials from the 1920s-1930s, and includes documents relating to Signet Hosiery Company club membership along with a Signet Hosiery Company hosiery box. View the finding aid here.


Signet Hosiery Company hosiery box measuring 3 x 6.75 x 9.5”, c. 1920s-1930s

Squirrel Brand Company collection

The Squirrel Brand candy company started in 1890 in Roxbury, but had a presence in Cambridge beginning in 1915. Their focus was on manufacturing nut-based candies, such as roasted nuts and nougats. Their most popular product was made of caramel, vanilla, and nut taffy called the “Squirrel Nut Zipper.” Squirrel Brand moved to Texas after being purchased by Southern Style Nuts in 1999. The New England Confectionery Company (NECCO) purchased the license for Squirrel Brand from Southern Style in 2004, officially bringing the long-loved company back to Massachusetts.

Squirrel Brand adv card IMG_20151222_113527

Cardboard advertisement to “Eat Squirrel Brand Butter Chews,” c. 1940s.

This collection includes advertising materials manufactured for the Squirrel Brand Company, c. 1910-1940, and one copy of a document relating the history of the company from “The History of Candy Making in Cambridge” by the Cambridge Historical Society. View the finding aid here.


Tin container for Squirrel Brand Salted Mixed Nuts, c. 1930s.

Cambridge Historical Commission Objects collection

This collection is composed of objects relating to various aspects of Cambridge history, c. 1890s-1980s. Within the collection are vases, pins, buttons, and badges. View the finding aid here.


Longfellow Home Vase, glazed ceramic, made in Germany, 5.25” in height, no date


Cambridge 50th Anniversary Souvenir Pin, 1896

The Riverside Press collection

The Riverside Press started in Boston as a book-printing factory that began in 1852. Later, Henry Houghton began The Riverside Press along the Charles River in Cambridge.


Photograph of the Riverside Press building, c. 1910

The Riverside Press collection contains photographic materials related to The Riverside Press. Subjects include architectural views of The Riverside Press buildings, interior views, machinery, and construction views, c. 1890s-1950s. View the finding aid here.


Photograph of the first automatic fed cylinder press at Riverside, c. 1910

Currently, these findings aids are only available in paper format at the Commission. To view the finding aids for these collections, or to schedule an appointment for in-person research, please contact the Cambridge Historical Commission today at 617.349.4683 or e-mail our Archivist, Emily at


Frederick Hastings Rindge Collection

In the late 1990s, Ronald R. Rindge donated a collection of materials that had belonged to his grandfather, the philanthropist Frederick Hastings Rindge (1857-1905). Earlier this month, Frederick Hastings Rindge’s great-great-granddaughter, Melissa Rindge, came to visit the commission. CHC Executive Director Charles Sullivan showed Melissa a selection of Rindge items. This collection is comprised of materials relating to the Rindge family’s business interests in New England and Frederick Hastings Rindge’s donations to the city of Cambridge, including the Cambridge Public Library (1887), Cambridge Manual Training School (1888), and City Hall (1889).


Charlie showing Melissa the Cambridge Manual Training School Yearbook from the class of 1897.

Born to a wealthy textile merchant family in Cambridge, Massachusetts on December 21, 1857, Frederick Hastings Ridge grew up to become a successful businessman. Rindge was privately tutored before continuing his education at Harvard. The passing of his parents in the late 1880s left him with an inherited estate of approximately 2 million dollars.


Portrait of Frederick Hastings Rindge from his book Happy Days in Southern California.

The Cambridge Historical Commission is proud to house the Frederick Hastings Rindge Collection, which contains materials from 1852-2001. Included are correspondence, photographs, financial records, family papers, and architectural drawings, among other items.


Ledger page detailing real estate and property inventory, 1 July 1893.

Rindge’s business interests in New England comprised a number of textile mills and manufacturing companies and he owned a large number of real estate properties, mostly inherited from his father. Many of our records represent the family business as well as Rindge’s philanthropic efforts.


Photograph of Monadnock Mills, located in Claremont, New Hampshire c. 1890s.


Monadnock Mills comparison financial statement, 31 May and 30 November 1897. Francis J. Parker was one of Frederick Hastings Rindge’s business managers.


Happy Days in Southern California was published in 1898. The book begins with a history of this region and follows with descriptions of animals, flora, and scenery.

In 1888 Rindge relocated to California, where he purchased large tracts in Los Angeles and a 17,000-acre Spanish land grant north of Santa Monica that is now occupied by the town of Malibu. Between 1888 and 1890, Rindge’s old schoolmate, William E. Russell, then Mayor of Cambridge, urged him to fund the construction of a number of projects in Cambridge, including the Cambridge Manual Training School (later renamed the Rindge Manual Training School and now the Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School). Rindge hired the architects, superintended the construction, hired the faculty, reviewed applications from students, and supported the school for five years before turning it over to the city. Because Rindge was living in California, all these matters were the subject of extensive correspondence with his agents in Boston.


Rindge Manual Training School Register, March 1903.


Photograph of the Rindge Manual Training School baseball team, 1925.

Many records held in the collection relate to the Cambridge Manual Training School and Camp Rindge, a summer camp program for the CMTS students at Lake Winnipesaukee, NH.


A tent erected at Camp Rindge, c. 1893.

This collection is open for viewing and research at the Cambridge Historical Commission. Stop by during our research hours: Monday: 4:00-7:00PM, and Tuesday/Thursday: 9:30-11:30AM and 2:00-4:00PM, or feel free to call and make an appointment with our archivist!

New! Boston Globe Donation

Last week, we received a special visit from Richard Pennington, a former librarian for the Boston Globe. Mr. Pennington and Lisa Tuite, the Globe’s Head of Library, donated seven boxes of newspaper clippings from the Globe’s newspaper clipping morgue. The clippings date from 1900 to around 1977 (with some from the 1980s) and include interesting news stories and information pertaining to Cambridge. The stories come not only from the Boston Globe, but from other newspapers and publications, including the Boston Herald and the Transcript.


The newspaper clippings are arranged by subject, and they run the gamut of topics related to Cambridge history: from specific Cambridge buildings (of particular interest to the Commission), to local politics, to schools, historic riots, and Cambridge businesses.


According to Pennington, “The Globe was clipped from around 1900 until it went electronic in 1977 – it was  the first newspaper to store its content in a computer for retrieval.” The content of the clipped, indexed and filed newspaper clippings often depended on the preference of the librarian at the time.  Pennington also added that, “The city desk also had a decades-long policy of sending ephemera to the library to be added to the clipping files, and this included small photographs. Occasionally odd book chapters and magazine articles were added to the files.”


Pennington helped with the recent and ongoing transition of the Boston Globe Library’s collections to new institutions, as the Globe relocates from their Morrissey Boulevard location back to downtown Boston. Pennington was assistant librarian at the Globe when he left in 2007. The large majority of the Boston Globe clippings collection was transferred to Northeastern University — however, the Cambridge Historical Commission was fortunate enough to receive a great portion of this collection for our research files.

The newspaper clippings will be processed, cross-indexed with our architectural inventory files, and a finding aid will be created for researchers. The collection is currently not open for research.