Self-Guided Tour: Stories from the Early African American Community of Old Cambridge

By Jules Long, Longfellow House – Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site, 2018 | Edited by Eshe Sherley, History Cambridge, 2021 Slavery in Pre-Revolutionary Cambridge The oldest existing mention of slavery in Massachusetts was recorded in 1638, when African prisoners arrived in the colony on the slave ship Desire, built in Marblehead the previous year. In 1639, the mention of a … Read More

The Remeasure of Agassiz

By Jasmine Laietmark, 2014 Cambridge was on the cutting edge of science in the 19th century. Unfortunately, several star academics used the banner of science to support bigoted ideologies. Luckily, the scientific method also brought redemption by the second half of the 20th century. The paleontologist and Agassiz resident Stephen Jay Gould took his forebears’ science head-on in his book … Read More

From a Bleachery to a Playground

By Michael Kenney, 2014 It does look something like a swimming pool in this undated photograph from the Historical Commission. The location is just off Sacramento Street, and the girl, resting her arm against a tree, looks as if she is contemplating a swim, while the three adults lend a note of artistic composition to the scene. A current image, … Read More

Love Story

By Elizabeth Adams Lasser, 2014 On December 25, 1970, Hollywood’s maudlin film, Love Story made its New England debut at the Circle Theater in Brookline. The much anticipated film, starring heartthrob, Ryan O’Neal (Peyton Place), and the stunning Ali MacGraw (Goodbye, Columbus) became an overnight success. The movie was based on Harvard graduate Erich Segal’s similarly-named novel which spent over … Read More

The Cyclotron

By Bruce Irving, Spring 2014 For nearly 65 years, the corner of Oxford and Hammond streets was home to a nuclear family quite unlike the others in the neighborhood. This one was large, mostly male, heavy on the PhD’s (with a few Nobel winners thrown in), and was housed in a pair of buildings called the Harvard Cyclotron Laboratory (HCL). … Read More

Swimming in a Countercultural Sea by Dick Cluster

For much of its brief existence between 1968 and 1970, the 16-page tabloid underground newspaper Old Mole featured a column of short items called Zaps on page 4. Here are two: “PEACE CORPS EXPELS 13 FOR ANTI-WAR ACTIVITY –– a real, live headline from the Washington Star.” “If it isn’t in the New York Times Index, maybe it didn’t happen.” … Read More