The Cambridge Historical Society The Cambridge Historical Society
The history of innovation in Cambridge
Feedback on our site About this project Map of innovations Back to the innovation home

We have a relatively broad definition of innovation. We are looking for ideas, inventions, new practices, and discoveries that are fundamentally different than what preceded them and changed what followed them. With this definition, there are some obvious things that are left out. Harvard was the first college in America, but it was modeled on the British schools that our Puritan forefathers had attended, so it wasn't radically different than what had proceeded it. Facebook came out of a dorm room in Cambridge, but we don't yet know if it will change what follows, so it is also not included.

We don't think that this is an exhaustive list of all of the ways Cambridge has changed the world. So we would like your help. If you know of something, or someone, who should be included, please let us know. Send your suggestions, comments, and corrections to and we'll look into them.

This project was partially inspired by a program produced by MIT as a part of their 150th anniversary celebration that the Cambridge Historical Society was asked to participate in. As such, we would like to thank MIT, The Cambridge Innovation Center, Microsoft NERD Center, Google, Alexandria Properties, and the Kendall Square Assocaition for the inspiration to design this project.

Map of Cambridge innovations