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Did You Know?

  • 2018 Oral History Project: Caribbean Heritage in Cambridge
    Each year, a group of Cantabrigians will tell their stories, and how their lives relate to the annual theme the Society is exploring. These stories will fill help to fill holes in our local historical record, and As Lina Raciukaitis, our oral […]
  • “Three Distinct and Separate Communities”
    The Old Cambridge Secession Attempts of 1842–44 By Edward Rodley   Introduction The Cambridge, Massachusetts, of 2017 is a heavily developed, densely populated urban center with a population that has hovered around 100,000 for the past twenty years. […]
The Cambridge Historical Society is the holder of many eclectic collections from Cambridge’s past and present. Specializing in social history, our collections tell the story of how people lived during the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution, and the cultural revolution of the mid-20th century.

We help researchers of all ages and backgrounds connect with Cambridge’s past. What are you looking to find?

Andrew Pennison, CHS Intern

There are many ways find information about our collections:

  • Search the website for what makes you curious.
  • Browse the finding aids below for detailed descriptions of the collections we hold. Many have images online, either on our website or on Flickr.
  • Discover Cambridge history and culture through the Cambridge Historical Society Proceedings.
  • Browse our volunteer-created project websites (Research Extras below) for subject-guided tours of Cambridge’s past.

Interested? Please read our Rules for the Use of Materials and call 617-547-4252 or email us at to schedule your appointment at least a week in advance.

Have questions? Email us at

Other Cambridge Resources:

Questions about buildings and businesses?
Contact the Cambridge Historical Commission at 617-349-4683.

Questions about Cambridge politics and organizations?
Contact the Cambridge Room of the Cambridge Public Library at 617-349-7757.

Questions about your family history?
Please see our FAQ page for a list of resources.

Our research materials are housed in the Brinkler Research Library in the Hooper-Lee-Nichols House. The Library is named in honor of Bartol Brinkler (1915-1993), who was the head of cataloging and classification at Harvard University’s Widener Library, as well as a Cambridge Historical Society member and friend. His generous bequest to the Society has helped establish and maintain the Library for the benefit of researchers.

CHS Interns

Finding Aids
Click on any name below to find out more:

The Avon Home, 1889-1965
Samuel Francis Batchelder Papers, 1765-1930
Jacob Hill Bates, Papers, 1783-1906
Basket Club Records, 1873-1963
The Bee Records, 1861- 1934 [ image gallery on flickr ]
Cornelius Gerrit Hendrik Bennink Papers Papers, 1861-1917 [ image gallery on flickr ]
Maria Bowen Papers, 1855-1936
Bull Curtis Papers, 1830-1910
Cambridge Branch of the Massachusetts Indian Association Records, 1886-1923
Cambridge Civil Service Reform Association Records, 1800-1909
Cambridge Club and Harvard Lyceum Papers, 1894-1939
Cambridge Drill Club, 1861-1871
Cambridge Fire Companies, 1803-1827, 1847-1850
Cambridge Historical Society Image Collection
Cambridge Historical Society Postcard Collection, 1898-2010
Cambridge Humane Society Records, 1814-1911
Cambridge Schools, 1834-1996
Cambridge Walking Club Records, 1894-1930
Bill Cavellini Papers, 1945-2002
Child Family Papers, 1833-1916
Clergymen’s No-License Committee Records, 1896-1918
Craigie Estate Papers, 1792-1855
East Cambridge Anti-Slavery Society, 1837-1840
East Cambridge Temperance Organizations, 1830-1875
Charles W. Eliot II Papers, 1971-1976
Female Humane Society of Cambridge Records,1814-1914
Garden Street Garden Club Records, 1879-1897
Hollis G. Gerrish Papers, 1865-2002 [ image gallery on flickr ]
Mary Isabella Gozzaldi, Papers, 1844-1952 [ image gallery on flickr ]
Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) P. Stearns Davis, Post 57, East Cambridge Records, 1867-1920
Gray & Davis Inc. Photo Album, 1920
Greenhill Family/Folklore Productions, 1960-2000
Harris Family Papers 1711-1909
Harvard Square Defense Fund Records, 1979−2007
Henderson-Vandermark Family Papers, 1813-1974
Thomas Wentworth Higginson (1823-1911) Carte de Visite Album (1862-1866) [ image gallery on flickr ]
Hodges-Swan Family Papers, (1698-1909)
Lois Lilley Howe Photographic Collection, (1884-1912) [ image gallery on flickr ]
George Inman Diaries, (1786-1789)
Irving Literary Association Records, (1855-1859)
The Longfellow Neighborhood Council Oral History Project, 1930–2010
Maps and Plans Collection, 1635-2012
McCafferty Family Papers, 1861- ca. 1900
Sylvia Mitarachi Papers, c.1978-1980
Nichols Family Papers, 1831-1958 [ image gallery on flickr ]
Officers of Middlesex County Carte de Visite Album, 1894
The Old Cambridge Photographic Club, 1892-1946
Old Cambridge Shakespeare Association Records, 1882-2006
Parmenter-Hunt Family Diaries, 1849-1931
The Proceedings of the Cambridge Historical Society Finding Aid
Quincy-Hill-Phillips-Treadwell Papers, 1699-1969
Rindge Alumni Association Collection, 1890-1991
Rindge Technical School Yearbooks, 1931-1977
Sanitary Society of Cambridge, 1860-1864
Skip and Lenore Schloming Papers, 1974-2004
Mercy Scollay Papers, 1775-1824
Winwood Serjeant Letters, 1769-1840
Betsy Siggins Papers, 1714-2008
Whittemore Family Papers, 1903-1941
Joseph Willard – Sermons, 1775-1777
George G Wright Collection Records, 1814 – 1930

Oral Histories
Online Research
Research Extras
Other Publications