Here in Cambridge, we don’t do history for history’s sake. It isn’t enough to present history as events that happened. We need to dig deeper, and answer “so what?” and “who cares?” Our humanities-focused approach to tackling contemporary issues through conversation and perspective-taking is one we’re proud of.
Join us in making better citizens and a better city.
Catch up on the Cambridge Historical Society “In the News.”
The Cambridge Historical Society’s Brinkler Library is open for researchers by appointment. Please email or call to schedule your visit at least one week in advance. The Hooper-Lee-Nichols House is not accessible.
Office hours: Monday-Friday, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
For information regarding event space rentals, see below.
Parking on Brattle and neighboring streets is Cambridge Resident Permit only. There are three two-hour parallel parking spaces directly in front of the house for visitors to use.
Since 1957, the Cambridge Historical Society has been headquartered at the historic Hooper-Lee-Nichols House.
About our Headquarters: the Hooper-Lee-Nichols House
The Cambridge Historical Society is headquartered in the Hooper-Lee-Nichols House, the second oldest house in Cambridge and one of the oldest houses in New England.
Like any historic home, it has been changed by its residents over the years and modified repeatedly to meet the style of the day. While it primarily reflects the Georgian Style of the 18th century, parts of the original First Period construction remain and one can see Victorian and Colonial Revival alterations from later generations.
- Amy Devin, President
A commitment to learning and a desire to share information have been the common threads in Amy’s education and career. She holds a B.A. and M.A. in English Literature, as well as an M.S. in Library and Information Science with a concentration in archives management. Amy moved to Cambridge in 2003 and became an active member of her neighborhood community. She has served on the Executive Committee of the Cambridgeport Children’s Center and volunteers at the Morse School. A love of old houses, especially the two she and her husband have owned, has led to many hours of research and many months of renovations. Amy lives with her husband and two young daughters in an old Victorian in Cambridgeport.
- Ed Rodley, Vice President
Ed Rodley is a lifelong resident of Cambridge. He received a BA in Anthropology from UMass Amherst and his MA in Historical Archaeology from UMass Boston. He is currently Associate Director of Integrated Media at the Peabody Essex Museum, where he manages a wide range of digital media projects, with an emphasis on temporary exhibitions and the reinterpretation and reinstallation of PEM’s collections. He has over 20 years’ experience developing engaging and educational museum experiences and is a recognized authority on the use of digital technologies in the gallery and beyond. His current interests involve incorporating emerging digital technologies into museum practice while building digital literacy and capacity among staff members. His museum career began in seventh grade, when he took part in a Museum of Science volunteer program for Cambridge Public Schools students. He and his wife live in Inman Square in the house he grew up in.
- Doug Brown, Clerk
Doug Brown was born and raised in Mystic, Connecticut, home of Mystic Seaport Museum. An American History major at Princeton, Doug arrived in Cambridge twenty years ago following stops in Maine, New Orleans, Colorado, Gloucester, and Hong Kong. Doug is active in local affairs, serving as an officer of the Fresh Pond Residents Alliance, the recognized neighborhood association for West Cambridge. In addition, he also serves as co-chair of the City’s Climate Resiliency Zoning Task Force, as a member of the Envision Cambridge Alewife Working Group, as the organizer of the annual Standish Street Halloween Block Party, and is the founder of Friends of the Greenway, Inc., a non-profit focused on supporting the new Watertown-Cambridge Greenway path. Doug enjoys skiing, cycling, collecting old tools, and genealogical research. He lives in Huron Village with his wife Dee Elms and their three small children.
- Lauren Harder, Treasurer
Lauren lives and works in Cambridge and is the founder of The Harder Group, a development, design/build, and property management firm. She attended Phillips Academy Andover and received a BA from Cornell University in English Literature. She started exploring the city when her father moved to Harvard Square during high-school and returned after college to pursue a career in real-estate development. For over a decade, Lauren has since preserved and developed over 50 residences in Cambridge, striving to ensure each one is unique and built to last. “I strive to create a sense of place and let the house tell you what it wants to be,” she explains. She is thrilled to be able to bring her passion for Cambridge architecture to the Cambridge Historical Society as the chair of the Facilities Committee and is honored to have the opportunity to share her business experience as a new member of the Governing Council. When not overseeing The Harder Group or volunteering, you’ll also find her snowboarding and hiking in NH and attending events and games with her two daughters.
- Elizabeth Adams
Liz was born and raised in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Her love of all things historical began with exceptional teachers at the National Cathedral School for Girls. Her love of Cambridge began when she moved here in 1978 to attend Harvard College where she majored in American History and studied with Patricia Nelson Limerick, a noted historian of the American West. Liz received an MBA from the JL Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. She moved to Boston and worked as a Marketing Director for BayBanks, Boston Company and Fidelity Investments. “I love being a member of the Cambridge Historical Society which provides innovative programming on the history of Cambridge.”
- Marni Clippinger
Marni moved to Cambridge from New York City in 1972 and, since then, she has never wanted to live anywhere else. She has an innate fascination with local history, and has long admired the Cambridge Historical Society’s work. As the owner of half of a house built in 1873, she has a particular interest in historic buildings and how neighborhoods develop over time. In 2018, she retired from the Marketing Science Institute, a Cambridge-based nonprofit business research organization, where she was President and CEO. She is delighted to have the opportunity to share her nonprofit management experience as a member of the Cambridge Historical Society’s Governing Council.
- Frank KramerFrank was born in Cambridge in 1941. In 1962 he took over the leadership of the Harvard Book Store an independent bookstore founded by his father in 1932. During the next 46 years the bookstore became a Harvard Square landmark and one of the leading independent bookstores in the United States. The bookstore was sold in October 2008. Since retirement, Frank has become active in community affairs. In 2006 Frank, along with Simon Shapiro, of Tag’s Hardware and several other local business owners co-founded Cambridge Local First, an alliance of locally owned independent businesses that actively champions the benefits brought to the community by locally owned businesses.
- Bruce Irving
Bruce Irving is one half of the Bigelow/Irving realtor team at Compass in Harvard Square, representing both buyers and sellers in and around Cambridge. He also runs his own consulting business, helping homeowners through the complex process of home renovation. He produced This Old House and its sister shows for 17 years; is the author of the book New England Icons, about the region’s built environment; writes about architecture for several publications, including Yankee and Design New England; and serves as vice-chairman of the Cambridge Historical Commission. He’s been in Cambridge since 1988 and lives with his wife in the Strawberry Hill neighborhood.
- Heli Meltsner
Heli Meltsner, has been a preservation consultant in Cambridge since 1980, except for a nine-year stint as a Planner for the Town of Framingham. Her book, The Poorhouses of Massachusetts: A Cultural and Architectural History, was published in 2012. She was one of the editors of Saving Cambridge: Historic Preservation in America’s Innovation City, published by the Cambridge Historical Society in 2013. Her new book, The Arts and Crafts Houses of Massachusetts: A Style Rediscovered, will be published in May 2019. She serves on the Avon Hill Neighborhood Conservation District Commission.
- Katherine Rafferty
Katherine Rafferty is a lifelong resident of Cambridge. She currently serves as the Director of Community Affairs at Mount Auburn Hospital. Previously, she was the Chief of Staff for Cambridge Mayor Michael A. Sullivan. Katherine is also on the Board of Directors for Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, the Cambridge Office for Tourism, and the Harvard Square Business Association. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Boston College.
The Cambridge Historical Society relies on the dedication of our many volunteers and interns to help us accomplish our mission. Whether you can give a semester or a year, we are pleased to work with individuals of all ages and backgrounds.
Staff and internship opportunities are listed here.
If you are interesting in volunteering with the Society, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and answer the following questions:
- What area are you interested in working in? (Archives, administration, programming, marketing, website & social media, or fundraising?)
- How many hours a week are you available?
- When do you want your project to begin and end?
- Do you have a resume you can send, or a LinkedIn page?
- Cambridge Historical Society Press Release: Announcing 2019 Fall Conversation “How Can We Make Change Here?”(October 2019)
- Cambridge Historical Society Press Release: Cambridge Historical Society Completes Digitization and Transcription of Serjeant Family Letters from Revolutionary War Period (September 2019)
- Cambridge Historical Society Press Release: Announcing 2019 Oral History Project with Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House (April 2019)
- Cambridge Historical Society Press Release: 2018 Fall Symposium, “Where is Cambridge From?” (Sept 2018)
- Cambridge Historical Society Press Release: Publication Award for The Cambridge Historian (July 2018)
- Cambridge Historical Society Press Release: History Café Series to Focus on “Where is Cambridge From?” (May 15, 2018)
- Cambridge Historical Society Press Release: The Cambridge Historical Society Wins AASLH Leadership in History Award for Program Excellence (September 14, 2017)
- Cambridge Historical Society Press Release: Upcoming “Common Goods” art workshop and History Cafe in Harvard Square June 15 (May 30, 2017)
- Cambridge Historical Society Press Release: The Cambridge Historical Society Annual Fundraiser a Success (May 11, 2017)
- Cambridge Historical Society Press Release: New Brand Identity (May 2, 2017)
- Cambridge Historical Society Press Release: New Council Members (April 24, 2017)
Rent the Hooper-Lee-Nichols House
The Hooper-Lee-Nichols House is one of the oldest houses in Cambridge, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1685 and transformed into a Georgian mansion in the 1730s, the house is an architectural and social history treasure.
Depending on the type of event, capacity ranges from 40-100 people. Please contact us to discuss your rental needs at 617-547-4252 or email@example.com.