Welcome back to our ongoing series featuring the staff members who do wonderful work here at the CHC! This post introduces our Archivist, Emily Gonzalez.
Where did you grow up?
My family moved quite a bit, but I mainly grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota. The East Coast feels like my home now, but I’ll always be a Midwestern gal.
Where did you go to school? What was your degree?
For undergrad I attended Lawrence University, a small school in Appleton, Wisconsin, and earned my BA in English Lit and Spanish. I did my graduate studies in Library Science and History at Simmons College here in Boston.
What are your interests or hobbies?
I love movies and documentaries, both old and new. I love visiting museums and historic sites, traveling, and trying out new restaurants. I just signed up to volunteer with Broken Tail Rescue, a local animal rescue organization, and I am super excited. About once a season I’ll force myself to run a road race (usually a 5k).
Name some fun facts about you.
- I’m first-generation Cuban American, but I didn’t become fluent in Spanish until I was in college.
- The summer after college I worked at a fast food kiosk inside of a zoo in St. Paul. It was called “Zooper Food.”
- My fiancé and I have a tuxedo cat named June. She rules the household.
When did you start working at the CHC?
What do you like best about working at the CHC?
No one day is like the other. There are always new research requests, collections to process, reorganize or digitize, and cool archival discoveries. I also love learning about the ins and outs of historic preservation through my colleagues.
Do you have other professional pursuits?
I’m an active member of the Society of American Archivists and New England Archivists, and I’m on the Collections Committee at the Cambridge Historical Society.
Give us a glimpse into your daily work or a current project.
A “typical” day could involve answering a research request, checking in with volunteers on their latest projects, discussing ongoing projects with my colleagues Meta and Emily, writing up text for promotional materials, emailing with other city departments or organizations about outreach activities, chatting about next year’s Cambridge Open Archives event, or meeting about the next steps in our big digitization project (“C-DASH”).
Because I manage our archives operation here, I don’t really do a lot of collections processing, so it’s nice when I do get to scan some historic photographs or reorganize a collection. I’m lucky in that I have such amazing archives assistants and colleagues, and that the CHC had library science interns and archives volunteers working on our collections for so long before I came here.
What is your favorite photograph, artifact, or collection at CHC?
I love the old restaurant menus in the Cambridge Ephemera Collection. The Wursthaus menu from August 6, 1962, is probably my favorite. Look at the “Businessmen’s Luncheon” – what a deal! [Note: The Wursthaus was a restaurant located at 4 Boylston Street, now JFK, in Harvard Square]
(Cambridge Ephemera Collection, CHC002).
I also love images that capture great facial expressions, like this one from our Cambridge Recreation Department Collection (CHC011).
What do you like best about living or working in Cambridge?
The quirky, intelligent community and how much love they have for the City’s history.