Ring in the New Year with Genealogy Workshops (CPL/CCTV)

Happy New Year! We here at the CHC hope everyone had a lovely and restful holiday season. To kick off the new year, we’d like to share a fun event series hosted by our friends over at the Cambridge Public Library (original post at the Cambridge Room’s blog):

Are you looking for something fun to do in the new year?  Join the Cambridge Public Library for our popular 4-week beginner’s genealogy workshop series.   Classes will be held at CCTV, located at 438 Massachusetts Avenue.

Wednesdays, 6-8 PM
January 10, 17, 24, & 31
Instructors:  Alyssa Pacy, Archivist, and Drew Griffin, Senior Librarian
Location:  CCTV computer classroom, 438 Massachusetts Avenue

Join us for a 4-week, beginner’s genealogy workshop. For two hours each week, we will demystify the overwhelming process of sorting through online records as well as give tips for how best to make use of research visits to local repositories. We will help you find ancestors, organize your research, and start a family tree. Come with a new question every week and leave with an answer and something tangible to bring home, such as a copy of a birth certificate. By taking this class, you will be automatically eligible to enroll in a FREE, two-part course on digital storytelling taught by CCTV. Learn how to make a digital film about your family’s history based on your genealogical research. Create a treasured digital keepsake to pass on to family members. Registration is mandatory for the series.  To register, please contact Keaton Fox at keaton@cctvcambridge.org.

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Notes On Discovery: Brief Archival Thoughts From A Recent Intern

As a Simmons student, one of the requirements for the Library & Information Sciences program, regardless of where you fall on the dual-major spectrum, is a minimum 60-hour internship at an archival institution located either in or around Boston, Mass.  I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I was assigned a post at the Cambridge Historical Commission: although I’ve been living in the Cambridge area for a little over a year, I have to admit that I don’t necessarily know much about the actual history of it beyond some superficial knowledge. I’m from Western New York! Cambridge, to me, was where Harvard and MIT had their campuses, the backdrop of The Handmaid’s Tale, and literally nothing beyond that. What could Cambridge possibly have in their local history archives that could interest me at all?

The answer? A whole lot.

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Recap: American Archives Month

Yesterday marked the last official day of American Archives Month (October), and we wanted to thank everyone who participated in some of our own celebratory archives events here at the CHC.

In case you missed it (ICYMI):

  • On October 4, the CHC archivist – with the help of the City of Cambridge’s Director of Communications – took over the City of Cambridge Twitter account for Ask An Archivist Day. Anyone with questions about any and all aspects of archives – not just in Cambridge – could tweet to @CambMA and use the hashtag #AskAnArchivist to get a response. Check out some of the great questions and other interesting Cambridge history tidbits here!
  • We featured a couple of “behind the scenes” looks at some interesting collections in our archives via our Instagram.
  • Our new research series, “Researching the History of Your House in Cambridge”, took place from October 16 to today, November 1. This was a collaborative three-week event highlighting house history resources at the Cambridge Room (Cambridge Public Library), the Historical Commission, and the Department of Public Works.

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    Research series attendees browsing and learning at the CHC

If you missed this year’s research series, stay tuned, as we’ll be offering it again in a couple of months. And don’t forget, you can always make an appointment with us to research your building or house: histcomm@cambridgema.gov or 617-349-4683.

Free Workshop Series: Researching the History of Your House with the City of Cambridge

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Close-up of architectural inventory form for an address on Hampshire Street, CHC

Join staff members from the Cambridge Historical Commission, the City of Cambridge Department of Public Works and the Cambridge Room at the Cambridge Public Library for a three-week series on researching the history of your house or building.

Registration is mandatory, though you do not have to attend all three sessions (though we highly recommend it!). For your convenience, each department will offer two days of the same session – one in the evening and one in the afternoon.

To register, please check out the schedule below and contact the person listed. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Session 1: The Cambridge Room at the Cambridge Public Library
This hour-long, hands-on workshop will guide you through a variety of online resources that will help you research your home from the comfort of your home. Discover when your building was built and by who.  Find out who lived in your house and how your neighborhood has changed.  We will provide laptops. Registration is mandatory.

Monday, October 16
6:00 – 7:00 PM
Location: Community Room, Cambridge Public Library

Max. 16 participants

or

Wednesday, October 18
3:00 – 4:00 PM
Location: Beech Room, Cambridge Public Library

Max. 13 participants

Led by Alyssa Pacy, Archivist at the Cambridge Public Library.  To register, email: apacy@cambridgema.gov or call 617-349-7757

Session 2: Cambridge Historical Commission
The Commission’s research collection is founded on an architectural inventory that contains survey forms, photographs, and documentation on all 13,000+ buildings in the City. Participants will learn how individual homes can be researched using these inventory files, as well as the Commission’s collection of city directories, atlases, maps, photographs, books on the City’s different neighborhoods, and some deed, tax, and building permit records.

Monday, October 23

6:00 – 7:00 PM

Location: Cambridge Historical Commission, 831 Massachusetts Avenue, 2nd floor

Max. 12 participants

or

Wednesday, October 25

2:00 – 3:00 PM

Location: Cambridge Historical Commission, 831 Massachusetts Avenue, 2nd floor

Max. 12 participants

Led by Cambridge Historical Commission staff.  To register, email: egonzalez@cambridgema.gov or call: 617-349-4070

Session 3: Cambridge Department of Public Works
The public works collection is primarily focused on sewer & drain utility drawings and plans showing the boundaries of the public rights of way. But many of these and other records, which go as far back as 1840, also include interesting historical facts such as previous building, street, and water body configurations as well as ancient industries, property owner names and assessment values. Participants will learn how individual locations can be researched with geographic, database, and online indexes and they’ll see how those indexes have evolved.

Monday, October 30
6:00 – 7:00  PM

Location: Department of Public Works, 147 Hampshire Street

Max. 12 participants

Or

Wednesday, November 1
2:00 – 3:00 PM

Location: Department of Public Works, 147 Hampshire Street

Max. 12 participants

Led by George Stylianopoulos, City of Cambridge Department of Public Works.  To register, email: sgeorge@cambridgema.gov

General questions about the series? Call 617-349-4683.

This weekend! Cambridge Discovery Day

Don’t miss this year’s Cambridge Discovery Day — tomorrow, Saturday, September 16!

Discover Cambridge during a day of free tours and events celebrating the city’s history. Enjoy special tours by the Rangers at Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site and the Fresh Pond Reservation, experience the Revolution from a child’s perspective, and discover the secret history of Cambridge saloons and speakeasies. Explore James Russell Lowell’s Brattle Street, be inspired by stained glass windows at Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church, and delight in the architectural gems of Avon Hill.

View the complete schedule here.

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The new Cambridge Archives site is live!

Cambridge is a city rich with so much history, so many museums, libraries, and schools, that it can be hard to know where exactly to go for specific historical materials. The new Cambridge Archives website aims to help researchers, history lovers and curious citizens figure out which Cambridge archive holds what kinds of materials.

The new Cambridge Archives site was created with the generosity of the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati (Anderson House), and through a collaboration with the Cambridge Historical Society, the Cambridge Historical Commission and the Cambridge Room of the Cambridge Public Library.   Check it out, and watch for more updates over the next couple of months as we add more archives and collecting institutions to the site (add yours, too!).

Cambridge Open Archives 2017

This post is well overdue, but before the summer officially winds down (!), we wanted to share some photographs from this year’s Cambridge Open Archives event, which took place June 19-22.

This year, seven archives, special collections, and collecting institutions in Cambridge opened their doors to the public to showcase some of their most interesting materials.  The theme this year was “Living and Dying in Cambridge.”

Check out a brief slideshow below of some highlights from this year’s archives tours. Photos courtesy of attendees and archivists.

 

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A huge thanks to this year’s participants and their fabulous archivists, curators, librarians and staff:

Mount Auburn Cemetery, The Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology at Harvard University, the Harvard Semitic Museum, Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters, The Cambridge Historical Society, the Cambridge Room at the Cambridge Public Library, and the Harvard Art Museums Archives.

Next year marks the 10th anniversary of Cambridge Open Archives, so stay tuned for updates on what we’ll be planning!

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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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The Archivists’ Corner: Get to know your CHC archives staff

This month, we are highlighting our fabulous archives staff here at the CHC.  Our part-time archives assistants, interns and volunteers do it all — from processing collections and writing finding aids, to cataloging the research library, taking care of fragile objects and collections materials, and promoting it all on social media.

Our first staff post features Emily Magagnosc, Archives Assistant.

Emily grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs. Her mom is a librarian and her grandma volunteered in her local public library, so clearly Emily was destined to go into libraries. She went to undergrad at Smith College in Northampton, MA, and while there she worked in the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Museum and Library, which was the best job she’d ever had and led her to apply to the Graduate School of Library Science at Simmons College. She just finished her first year there and is very excited about all of her classes.

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Emily in her library cataloging corner.

Emily lives with three roommates and three cats in Brighton. The most interesting thing she has found on the job is a collection of recorded (written) confessions from the early days of the church in Northampton. When she is not archiving, she is watching Parks and Recreation on repeat, listening to loud punk music, knitting, doing inappropriate embroidery, reading,  and petting her cat, Russell.

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Sushi Russell.

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Russell Pt. 2.

Emily is working on cataloging the research library at the CHC. She also recently designed posters for the 2017 Cambridge Open Archives, writes blog and Instagram posts, and gets overly excited about the cool stuff in the archive. Her dream job is working in a women’s history collection like the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith or the Schlesinger Library at Harvard.

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A print from the William Galvin Collection, one of many architectural drawings and designs that Emily cataloged and photographed over the past several months.