In identifying ways to improve neighborhoods, one lesson is: Students must get out and explore

A student in the Cambridge Harvard Summer Academy works with student teachers on a proposal for neighborhood improvements.

Rising seniors in the Cambridge Harvard Summer Academy were hard at work assuming the role of activists this summer in their English class. Students were tasked to identify, investigate, analyze and evaluate a single problem or issue they identify in their neighborhood. From there, they developed a small, feasible solution that they submitted through the Cambridge participatory budget submission portal, which was open through Sunday.

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Indigenous scholars put up with missionaries, Harvard’s Indian College and ‘praying towns’

Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck was the first Native American to graduate from Harvard University. This portrait is by Stephen Coit, commissioned as part of the Harvard Foundation Portraiture Project, a diversity initiative.

The history of Indigenous people in the place we call Cambridge is vastly untold and underrepresented, yet important to understand to comprehend the roots and depth of the cultural genocide that Native Americans faced over centuries within Massachusetts and the United States as a whole. Indigenous scholars, who were instructed under Colonial education systems, have similarly received very little recognition despite their impact. They disrupted the colonists’ “conviction of Colonial dominance” over the Native people. They used their learned and observed skills and the Colonialist teachings thrust upon them to their advantage to benefit themselves and their communities. James Printer and John Sassamon are among the many examples of Indigenous people – often apprenticed to Christian missionaries – who used assimilation to their advantage to reclaim their humanity and rights.

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R. Buckminster Fuller in Cambridge

By Richard Lingner, 2011 If you’ve read anything about Richard Buckminster Fuller (1895–1983), you probably know that Fuller was kicked out of Harvard College. And not just once, but twice. He never graduated. You may not know, however, about some of his more positive experiences in Cambridge, including a stint as a visiting Harvard professor…

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Cambridge Love Letters

Red envelope with words "Cambridge Love Letters" written on white paper coming out of envelope

In June 2021, History Cambridge held and event called “Cambridge Love Letters” at Starlight Square. We asked members of the larger Cambridge community to send us their love letters to the city. These are some of the submissions. Dear Cambridge, When I first arrived in your port twenty-one years ago, I had no idea how…

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

Black and white photo of a three story house with tree in front

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…

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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’…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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“The Absolute Majority of the Population”: Women in Twentieth-Century Cambridge

This article was originally published as a chapter in Cambridge in the Twentieth Century, edited by Daphne Abeel, Cambridge Historical Society, 2007.  Inspired by Cambridge Historical Society’s 2020 theme—Who are Cambridge Women?—the author, Eva Moseley, has reviewed the manuscript and made a few updates which are noted in the text that follows. “The Absolute Majority…

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