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

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

“Shaped By Cambridge” –Virtual Conversations

What do a Mississippi-born blues/jazz musician, a three-term US Poet Laureate, a legendary basketball coach, and an award-winning NPR host have in common? Cambridge, Massachusetts! Here at the Cambridge Historical Society, we believe that through their experiences, every person in our city knows something about Cambridge’s history, and their knowledge matters. We support people in sharing history with each other–and … 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

Event Recap: Politics Beyond the Parlor

Missed the event? Watch the video here! Funding for this project was made possible through the generosity of the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati On Monday, June 29, CHS held a Facebook Live event entitled “Politics Beyond the Parlor: The Loyalist Women of Cambridge.” During this event our spring semester intern, MaryKate Smolenski, spoke about the self-guided tour she created, … 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

Smallpox, cholera, influenza around Cambridge: How the region endured pandemics of the past

By Martha HenryApril 2020 Reproduced from cambridgeday.com with permission We’re weeks into the Covid-19 pandemic, most of us stuck at home, trying to work, educate children or, when that all seems futile, just clicking “next episode” on whatever escapist show we’re binging on Netflix. Our coronavirus, social-distancing spring seems unprecedented. But it isn’t. New England has been coping with epidemics since … 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