Still Making History

In the archives field, we are often charged with describing, cataloging, and preserving memories in their physical form. A key first step is actually acquiring historic items and collections that can speak volumes about the past.


Our flyer requesting historic photographs


In 1980 the CHC initiated a project to document photograph collections in private hands. The Polaroid Foundation donated a copy stand, a camera, and cases of 4×5 instant film that also made high-quality negatives. The flyer, pictured above, was sent out with utility bills and generated hundreds or responses.

The staff had copied about 2,000 images when the CHC published A Photographic History of Cambridge in 1984. Donations, which included including the corporate collections of the Cambridge Electric and Gas companies and the Cambridgeport Savings Bank and many, many scrapbooks, slowly tapered off, but the recent donation of this photo shows that the simple flyer of 1980 continues to bear fruit.


Our appeal – “Don’t let our history fade away.”

A family residing in Buzzards Bay discovered our flyer while going through the papers of their mother, Julie Ferguson.


Sally Howes as a nursing student weighing “Baby Hope” in 1926.

Along with the flyer, the family included this photograph featuring nursing student, Sally Howes.



Program for graduation exercises at the Cambridge Training School for Nurses, 1927. Sally Howes is the second graduate listed.

Ms. Howes is listed as a graduate of the Cambridge Training School for Nurses class of 1927. It is possible that she was a family friend or acquaintance of the donor’s mother.


Verso of the program featuring the Florence Nightingale Pledge.

These materials will soon be available for research. We are open for research Mon: 4:00-7:00PM and Tue-Thur: 9:30-11:30AM & 2:00-4:00PM. Contact us today for an appointment!


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