Cambridge Historical Society
From the Executive Director
I want to thank those of you who have taken the time to share your experiences of this period in Cambridge history by participating in our Covid-19 Survey project. Many of you have responded more than once, as our day-to-day experience of the pandemic continues to evolve. Please know that your words—and the rich, nuanced portrait they paint—will be included in the historical record for future generations to learn from.
In addition capturing this moment in history, we have been using your words to bring the community together. We have created a series of colorful “pandemic posters” that you may have seen popping up in storefronts and on lawns all over Cambridge. It is our hope that reading about each other’s experience of this time will help heal and bring us closer together.  

If you missed it, be sure to check out this piece over at Cambridge Day "Why Cambridge history matters during Covid-19, and how to play a role", written by our archivist Maggie Hoffman. It outlines perfectly the reasons for our work at this critical time.

Our staff and interns have been busy digging in to records and archives and exploring our annual theme, Who Are Cambridge Women? You can read about the fruits of the labors below. In honor of this year’s theme, we have also posted a book chapter on Women in Twentieth Century Cambridge that originally appeared in our book Cambridge in the Twentieth Century.

I also want to tell you how much we appreciate your support during this very difficult time. We have applied for—and received—a relief grant which, along with your contributions, is making it possible for us to continue to pay our staff to do the important work of history. Please know how grateful we are for whatever you are able to do to help us remain a vital resource for our amazing city.

All the best,

Marieke Van Damme
Executive Director
Cambridge & COVID-19 Archive
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. Consider this a chance to add your voice to the historical record.

NEW! Did You Know? Articles
Who were the Loyalist Women of Cambridge?
By MaryKate Smolenski
What do you imagine when you think of Cambridge during the American Revolution? Public and academic history surrounding the American Revolution has often focused on Patriots–especially men–but this has been changing.

The Cambridge Historical Society’s 2020 Theme, “Who are Cambridge Women?” is exploring, among other things, the idea of “women’s work”: how it has been defined (and by whom), and how that definition has changed over time. 

To better understand the lives of Loyalist women in Cambridge, I will be conducting a research project on them, generously funded by the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati. Their stories contribute to a fuller story of the American Revolution and of Cambridge.

Dr. Ann Bookman: Advocate of Gender Equality and Social Change in the Workplace
By Sarah Huggins
Non-traditional women’s work, the workplace, and community engagement have been at the forefront of Cambridge anthropologist Dr. Ann Bookman’s work for decades.

Published in 2004, her book, Standing in Our Own Backyards, contains interviews with more than 100 middle-class working parents in greater Boston’s emergent biotech industry and offers a new paradigm for the relationship between paid and unpaid work.

The Blake & Knowles Steam Pump Works in East Cambridge: The Female Foundry
By Sarah Huggins
Designed in 1890 and in operation until 1927, the Blake & Knowles foundry building still stands in East Cambridge at 101 Rogers Street in Kendall Square, harkening back to an area of Cambridge that was historically one of heavy industry.

A visitor to the building may note its architectural significance as a symbol of industrial development, while never realizing the associations the structure has with women’s labor history and the substantial role of Cambridge women in the workforce.

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159 Brattle Street | Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138