Getting to Know Your CHC Staff: Part 4

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.


Emily showing one of her favorite items from our collections – Motor Boot Spats once made by the Cambridge Rubber Company

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.


You haven’t lived until you’ve gone to the MN State Fair

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).


I love old photographs. This one is of my grandpa Les and his siblings on a farm in South Dakota.


I also like cross-stitch, particularly the subversive kind. Image credit:

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.”

Thanks for the free corndogs, Zooper. Image courtesy of Google.

  • My fiancé and I have a tuxedo cat named June. She rules the household.


When did you start working at the CHC?

November 2015.

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.


Archivist fashion

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]

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(Cambridge Ephemera Collection, CHC002).

I also love images that capture great facial expressions, like this one from our Cambridge Recreation Department Collection (CHC011).

emg-recdeptWhat 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.



New Guest Post from our Mayor’s Youth

My Time Working as a Mayor’s Youth for the Commission

Hello, I’m Raimi. I am interning at the Cambridge Historical Commission for half of the summer of 2018, through the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program. I started to be interested in history during 6th grade, because that was the first year we had a real dedicated history class. That year we learned mostly about geography, pre-civilization humans, and the bronze age. Eventually my gaze fell upon history in the last 200 years or so, especially the Cold War, and very ancient history.

(This could be either of the two things I just mentioned)

(This could be either of the two things I just mentioned)

History is what I want to do with my life, and I’m glad I got this chance to work in an actual historical workplace. I deal with mostly filing and photocopying. One of the coolest projects was when I made a spreadsheet of almost 400 photo negatives, which took a little over 3 days to complete.

What I like best about interning here is that there is usually something new to do every day. To be specific, one day I might be photocopying entire books, and the next I could be filing away slides. My favorite artifact here at the CHC is this long petition for a new water source with over 2000 signatures, including one Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

A few facts about myself is that I have a cat named Moonlight, and a dog named Lola, but my favorite animal is the Venezuela Poodle Moth.

I enjoy reading, and my favorite book is Lirael by Garth Nix, but I would say the most well written book I’ve ever read is Lord of the Flies by William Golding.

Last thing I want to say is that if you’re in high school you can get job experience right now. It doesn’t even have to be a MYSEP job, it could just be volunteering at your school library. So don’t wait and start early.