Washington's Headquarters; Longfellow House
Washington's Headquarters

Researched and written by Lucy Caplan | August 2013 | Made possible by the Cambridge Heritage Trust

Did you know that Cambridge has been home to a mad scientist who can revive the dead, a teenager who met with George Washington, and a man who can see into his own future? Across the centuries, Cambridge has inspired writers of fiction and poetry as an ideal setting for their literary creations. This tour steps into the fictional worlds that these writers have imagined. From haunted houses to Harvard Square cafes, you will visit a variety of sites featured in works of literature that take place in Cambridge. Come experience the places that have sparked the imaginations of novelists and poets from around the world.The “Cambridge Through the Pages” walking tour was developed during summer 2013, and presented as part of the 2013 Cambridge Discovery Days.

One could say there are as many books about Cambridge as there are ways to write a book about Cambridge. This tour explores the richness and variety of that work.It begins with a poem written 238 years ago and concludes with a novel published within the last four months. In between, it offers the voices of men and women, of native New Englanders and international immigrants, of teenage poets and elderly novelists. Some of the featured authors offer vivid, unsentimental accounts: windows into the city’s history. Others cross into more fantastical territory, imagining Cambridge as a setting for magic and time travel. And still others choose to delve into the lives of Cambridge individuals — their lowest points as well as their highlights and successes.By including a broad selection of literary works, all linked by their common setting in Cambridge, “Cambridge Through the Pages” illuminates the many ways in which the city has served as a source of literary inspiration.

Take a self-guided tour: download a program here.

Or explore the stops one at a time using the following (consult the map below the list):

Cambridge Historical Society: Cambridge Through the Pages tour map