Brief History of the Hooper-Lee-Nichols House and Enslaved People

In July 2019, the Cambridge Historical Society formed a task force to examine the Society’s institutional history and make recommendations about how to confront the organization’s white privilege going forward. One of the first steps was to research the history of the Hooper-Lee-Nichols House (HLN) (currently the Society’s headquarters) and its owners. Did the owners of the HLN own slaves? … Read More

Good Riddance 2020

Good Riddance 2020 GFX

On December 12, drop by Cambridge Historical Society to write down the things you wish to leave behind from 2020. Your thoughts will be run through a shredder and recycled. Then write down your hopes, dreams, and wishes on a piece of seeded paper – all that you have learned and gained from 2020 that you want to take with you into 2021. Take home your fresh perspective and plant it.

Lois Lilley Howe Hub

Lois Lilley Howe Photo

As part of our year asking “Who Are Cambridge Women?” meet Lois Lilley Howe. Learn about her life and work.

Self-Guided Tour: Women Activists of Riverside 50 Years After Suffrage

Stop 1: Begin the tour in Central Square With the passage of the 19th Amendment one hundred years ago this past August (2020), American women won the right to vote. Rather than a culmination, this event marked the beginning of a long fight for equal treatment and equity that is still far from over. Fifty years after suffrage, classified ads … Read More

Revisiting the Cambridge Women’s Suffrage Movement

As we approach the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment next month, many of us have been mesmerized recently watching the American Experience production of “The Vote” on PBS. The movie tells the dramatic story the decades-long campaign waged by American women to win the right to vote. Historian and Cantabrigian Susan Ware, who served as an advisor to the movie, has been … Read More

A people’s mayor — remembering Barbara Ackermann

By Veer Mudambi July 10, 2020 Reproduced from Cambridge Chronicle & TAB with permission Barbara Ackermann, the first woman to serve as mayor of Cambridge, embodied the term “social justice warrior” in its truest form. Her decades-long fight for social equality defined her life in public service and her reputation for never backing down truly qualified her for the title. “She … Read More

Cambridge & COVID-19 Collection

The ongoing public health crisis is affecting the lives of people all over the world, including Cantabrigians. We want to know how you have been affected, so we’ve created the Cambridge & COVID-19 Collection. If you’re a resident of Cambridge, consider this a chance to add your voice to the historical record. Please take a few minutes to tell us … Read More

Helen Lee Franklin

We recently learned about a fascinating story-map series, Stories of the Great Migration, on the National Parks of Boston’s website. Boston served as one of the many destinations for African American southern migrants searching for new economic opportunities and fleeing discrimination during the Great Migration. One of the articles in the National Parks of Boston’s series tells the story of Helen Lee … Read More

Self-Guided Tour: Loyalist Women of Cambridge

By MaryKate Smolenski, Tufts University Intern, June 2020 Download the tour here as a PDF with photos or without photos Funding for this project was made possible through the generosity of the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati For further reading, see: Who were the Loyalist Women of Cambridge? Introductory post and Part 1: Mary Browne Serjeant Overview and History Loyalists … Read More

100 Years Ago: Cambridge leading up to the 1918-19 Influenza Pandemic

Red Cross workers make anti-influenza masks for soldiers in camp. Boston. Courtesy National Archives, photo no. 165-WW-269B-026 By Elizabeth Adams Lasser, April 2020 During the COVID-19 outbreak of 2020 as we quarantine at home, we have seen many references and comparisons in the national media to the influenza epidemic of 1918 and 1919. What was happening in Cambridge at the time? … Read More