Call To Artists: Tory Row’s Hidden Black History Project

Open front gate leading up to front door of historic house flanked by trees

About the Project History Cambridge intends to install temporary public art on the front lawn of Hooper-Lee-Nichols House (HLN) in the Spring of 2022 to raise awareness of Black history in West Cambridge. All Massachusetts artists are encouraged to apply. Massachusetts was a center of slave trading in New England as early as 1688 when…

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Feb 17 – I’m a Good Person! Isn’t That Enough?

Join us for a virtual presentation of “I’m a Good Person! Isn’t That Enough?” with Cantabrigian author and speaker Debby Irving. Using historical and media images, Debby Irving examined how she used her white-skewed belief system to interpret the world around her. Socialized on a narrow worldview, Debby explored how she spent decades silently reaffirming…

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Cambridge and the Smallpox Epidemic, 1893-1903

By Beth Folsom, 2021 In our current era of COVID-19, heated discussions of vaccine mandates and the class and racial tensions inherent in these conversations may seem like a contemporary dilema, but an examination of Cambridge at the turn of the 20th century reveals that the city engaged in similar debates around the issue of…

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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…

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YWCA of Cambridge: Labor Activism in the 1890s-1930s

By Sarah Huggins, Intern, Lesley UniversityMarch 2020  The YWCA of Cambridge established itself as self-governing in 1891 with a simple mission, “To improve the temporal, moral and religious welfare of those who come under its care, by personal influence and by industrial and educational classes.” The organization operated with liberal policies for their era in…

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Lawn Parties: Fun…for Some

By Sue Matheson, 2015 One of the public’s favorite forms of entertainment in 1905 was the “lawn party.” Huge tents, colorful flags, a merry-go-round, and athletic games attracted hundreds of people to summertime galas held on the grounds of churches and hospitals in Cambridge. These parties lasted into the evening and often included full orchestras…

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William Henry Lewis (1868-1949), Lawyer, Athlete, Public Servant

By Daphne Abeel, 2002 William Henry Lewis, a graduate of Amherst College and Harvard Law School, was an outstanding athlete and an orator for his college class (1892). He carried on a successful law practice in Boston, served on the Cambridge City Council, was elected to the Massachusetts legislature, and was appointed assistant attorney general…

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