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Edited by Heli Meltsner, Michael Kenney, Gavin Kleespies, and Jasmine Laietmark
182 pages (softcover), ©2013, $25

Cambridge, Massachusetts, has been a national leader in historic preservation. In the early twentieth century, prominent families banded together to ensure the preservation of national landmarks. By the end of the century, the city had established legal precedents through the creation of tools like the Demolition Delay Ordinance. The Cambridge Historical Society gathered a distinguished panel of architects, historians, planners, and journalists to examine the evolution of the preservation movement in our city.

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Instant: The Story of Polaroidby Christopher Bonanos
192 pages (hardcover), ©2012, $25.00, (limited copies)

Instant is a book about a very unusual company. In the 1960s and 1970s, Polaroid was what Apple is today: the coolest technology company on earth, the one with irresistible products, the one whose stock kept climbing way past the point of logic. In its heyday, Polaroid was an absolute innovation machine—a scientific think tank that periodically kicked out a fantastically profitable, covetable product. In fact, the late Steve Jobs expressly said that he modeled his company to a great extent after Polaroid.

Instant is a business story about what happens when a company loses its innovative spark. It is a fine arts story, showcasing the amazing things photographers (from Ansel Adams to Andy Warhol to Chuck Close) did with Polaroid film. It is a technology story, of a company that created and maintained a niche all its own for 60 years. And it is a pop culture history, of a friendly product that millions of people absolutely adored.

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3 Walking Tours of CambridgeEnjoy three self guided walking tours of Cambridge: Utterly Harvard Square, Revolutionary Cambridge, and Historic Tory Row. The Utterly Harvard Square tour is a light hearted look at some of the Squares iconic locations and quirky treasures. The Revolutionary Cambridge tour explores the city’s role on the cutting edge of American society, both at the end of the 18th century and throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Finally, the largest tour is of the Historic Tory Row, this includes the seven Tory Row mansions but also has stops for many of the grand homes along Brattle Street and on some of the neighboring streets.

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Hands on the Freedom PlowEdited by Faith S. Holsaert, Martha Prescod Norman Noonan, Judy Richardson, Betty Garman Robinson, Jean Smith Young, and Dorothy M. Zellner
616 pages (hardcover), ©2010,  $35

An unprecedented women’s history of the Civil Rights Movement, from sit-ins to Black Power.

In Hands on the Freedom Plow, fifty-two women–northern and southern, young and old, urban and rural, black, white, and Latina–share their courageous personal stories of working for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) on the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement.

The testimonies gathered here present a sweeping personal history of SNCC: early sit-ins, voter registration campaigns, and Freedom Rides; the 1963 March on Washington, the Mississippi Freedom Summer, and the movements in Alabama and Maryland; and Black Power and antiwar activism. Since the women spent time in the Deep South, many also describe risking their lives through beatings and arrests and witnessing unspeakable violence. These intense stories depict women, many very young, dealing with extreme fear and finding the remarkable strength to survive.

The women in SNCC acquired new skills, experienced personal growth, sustained one another, and even had fun in the midst of serious struggle. Readers are privy to their analyses of the Movement, its tactics, strategies, and underlying philosophies. The contributors revisit central debates of the struggle including the role of nonviolence and self-defense, the role of white people in a black-led movement, and the role of women within the Movement and the society at large.

Each story reveals how the struggle for social change was formed, supported, and maintained by the women who kept their “hands on the freedom plow.” As the editors write in the introduction, “Though the voices are different, they all tell the same story–of women bursting out of constraints, leaving school, leaving their hometowns, meeting new people, talking into the night, laughing, going to jail, being afraid, teaching in Freedom Schools, working in the field, dancing at the Elks Hall, working the WATS line to relay horror story after horror story, telling the press, telling the story, telling the word. And making a difference in this world.”

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Dear Mr. LongfellowBy Sydelle Pearl
233 pages (soft cover) © 2012, $18

Dear Mr. Longfellow is a look at the letters sent to the poet by children across America and the responses sent by our country’s premiere poet.

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The Hub's MetropolisBy James O’Connell
326 pages (hardcover) ©2013, $35.00

This work is the first comprehensive overview of Boston’s suburban development, from the country estates to suburban sprawl to smart growth. It provides context for the region’s contemporary planning efforts, including climate change and the global information economy. O’Connell combines the perspectives of a historian and a Massachusetts urban planner.

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Society publications are available for purchase at the Hooper-Lee-Nichols House. If ordering online, by phone, or by email, postage charges will be added to the total fee. You can order any of the following books through PayPal below, complete the order form and return it with a check, call the Historical Society office at 617 547-4252, or send an email to:

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Proceedings volume #

African American Heritage Trail Guide
28 pages (softcover), ©2000, $2.00

Cambridge African American Heritage Trail

One of the oldest African American communities in America was in Cambridge. This book outlines its unique history, and describes the Heritage Trail—a series of twenty markers throughout the city commemorating the contributions of a few of the many African Americans who distinguished themselves between 1840 and 1940.

This publication has been generously supported by Cambridge Historical Commission, Cambridge Heritage Trust, Cambridge Office for Tourism, Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, Harvard University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Cambridge on the Cutting Edge: Innovators and Inventions
47 pages (softcover), ©1997, $2.00

Cambridge on the Cutting Edge

Cambridge’s modern-day distinction as a leader in technological innovation has its roots in a history of forward thinking. Cambridge on the Cutting Edge traces this story from the founding of Harvard College in 1636 to the development of Cambridge’s flourishing high-tech community. Wit, humor, and painstaking detail make Cambridge’s creative past — from soap to Necco wafers to biopharmaceuticals — come alive.

Essays on Cambridge History: Cambridge Historical Society Proceedings
223 pages (paperback), ©1998, $10.00

Essays on Cambridge History

In this diverse collection of essays there are pieces on landscape architect Charles Eliot; pioneer educators George H. Browne and Ada Louise Comstock; the architecture of the Hooper-Lee-Nichols House, Harvard University, Dana Hill, and H. H. Richardson; as well as stories on other Cambridge Institutions and people, including H. W. Longfellow.
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 98-73933
ISBN: 1-878284-46-0


For the Entertainment of Strangers: The Inns and Pubs of Cambridge
By George Hanford
23 pages (softcover), ©1997, $2.00

For the Entertainment of Strangers

From the introduction of Cambridge’s first “public houses” in 1639 through the repeal of Prohibition, the inns and pubs of Cambridge have played a defining role in the character of the community. Shedding light on an often neglected but nonetheless crucial part of Cambridge’s past, George Hanford explores the colorful history of Cambridge’s taverns, inns, and pubs.


Index to Cambridge Historical Society Publications Proceedings
by Ruth Canedy Cross
305 pages (paperback), ©1995, $20.00
Volumes 1-44 (1905-1979)

Index to Cambridge Historical Society Publications Proceedings

The Historical Society’s Proceedings, its official journal published since 1906, is a unique and fascinating source of information for any researcher. The definitive guide to the Society’s numerous publications through Volume 44 of the Proceedings, the Index is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in Cambridge History. You can also view the Index here.
ISBN: 1-878284-45-2


Proceedings of The Cambridge Historical Society

Proceedings of The Cambridge Historical Society

The Cambridge Historical Society has been publishing our Proceedings since 1906. Articles and volumes from this vast collection are available through the CHS office. You can view a PDF of each volume to The Proceedings here.


Rediscovering the Hooper-Lee-Nichols House
40 pages (paperback), ©2010, $10.00

Rediscovering the Hooper-Lee-Nichols House

A publication on our recent research and exploration of the Hooper-Lee-Nichols House.

With articles by:
Carl Nold, Historic New England
Charles Sullivan, Cambridge Historical Commission
Jim Shea, Longfellow National Historic Site
Brian Powell, Building Conservation Associates
Anne Grady, Independent scholar
Karen Davis, Mass. Historical Commission
Sally Zimmerman, Historic New England
Charlie Allen, Charlie Allen Restoration
Jonathan Detwiler, Buttonwood Renovations
Tim Orwig, PhD Candidate
Heli Meltsner, Independent scholar
Michael Kenney, CHS Editor
Mark Vassar, Former CHS Archivist
Gavin Kleespies, Former CHS Executive Director

This publication has been generously supported by Cambridge Savings Bank.
ISBN: 1-878284-02-9

The Cambridge Rindge & Latin School: Yesterday and Today
By John Langone
71 pages (paperback), ©1998, $5.00

The Cambridge Rindge & Latin School: Yesterday and Today

Traces the evolution of secondary education in Cambridge from its origins over 350 years ago to the development of the complex and dynamic high school that exists today. Former Time magazine associate editor, and Cambridge Latin School graduate, John Langone tackles the subject with enthusiasm and wry humor. The text is spiced with numerous quotes from historical sources and is heavily illustrated.
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 98-074562
ISBN: 1-878284-47-9


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