Self-Guided Tour: The Work of Revolution in Cambridge

Laundresses at a Revolutionary Army camp, circa 1780.

Introduction For many, the first image that comes to mind when thinking of Cambridge during the Revolutionary Era is that of General George Washington taking command of the Continental Army on Cambridge Common in July of 1775, under what would come to be known as the Washington Elm. Although we now know that this tale…

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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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Recap: A History of Healing: Cambridge Women in Medicine

On Tuesday, July 21, CHS held our first digital History Café, “A History of Healing: Cambridge Women in Medicine.” Dr. Ellen S. More, Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine, joined us for a discussion of the role of women in the medical profession in the 19th and early 20th centuries. This program…

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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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Smallpox, cholera, influenza around Cambridge: How the region endured pandemics of the past

By Martha HenryApril 2020 Reproduced from cambridgeday.com with permission We’re weeks into the Covid-19 pandemic, most of us stuck at home, trying to work, educate children or, when that all seems futile, just clicking “next episode” on whatever escapist show we’re binging on Netflix. Our coronavirus, social-distancing spring seems unprecedented. But it isn’t. New England has…

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100 Years Ago: Cambridge leading up to the 1918-19 Influenza Pandemic

Red Cross workers make anti-influenza masks for soldiers in camp. Boston. Courtesy National Archives, photo no. 165-WW-269B-026 By Elizabeth Adams Lasser, April 2020 During the COVID-19 outbreak of 2020 as we quarantine at home, we have seen many references and comparisons in the national media to the influenza epidemic of 1918 and 1919. What was happening…

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CANCELED — History Café 1: Wednesday, April 22

The Cambridge Historical Society regrets that this event has been canceled due to the recent outbreak of COVID-19. History Café 1: How Have Women Cured Cambridge? Wednesday, April 22 In conjunction with the Cambridge Science Festival, our first History Café of the year will be a discussion of women in the city’s medical field. From tending…

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