History Hive: Mrs. McCartney

#HCHistoryHive, you did it! We asked you to help us find the identity of a well known female mechanic who may have run a Gulf gas station in Brattle Square. This mechanical whiz was able to fix a car by hammering and/or kicking the motor. When asked if her fee was too much for simply roughing up the motor, she … Read More

Growing Up on Worcester Street

By Suzanne Revaleon Green Originally published in A City’s Life and Times: Cambridge in the Twentieth Century, 2007 Introduction written by Paula Paris, a member of the Cambridge Historical Commission and a co-founding member of the Cambridge Black History Project, an all-volunteer organization of individuals with deep roots in Cambridge, committed to researching, accurately documenting, preserving, and illuminating the journeys, … Read More

‘Quiet Courage’: Maria Baldwin and the Racial Politics of Education in Cambridge

By Beth Folsom, Program Manager, History Cambridge In her 1905 report to the parents of ten-year-old Edward Cummings, his principal Maria Baldwin described him as “a most loveable little boy, and we are glad that he is part of our little community.”[1] Nearly six decades later, when that little boy had become the celebrated American poet e.e. cummings, he reflected … Read More

Mercy Scollay and the Lifelong Work of Mending

By Katie Turner Getty, Independent Researcher and Writer When Mercy Scollay’s presumptive fiancé, Dr. Joseph Warren, was killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill in June of 1775, she was thrust into emotional and financial turmoil that would both parallel and outlast the political upheaval of the American Revolution. As the caretaker and surrogate mother to Warren’s four children – … Read More

Phyllis Ann Wallace, A Leader for Equal Opportunity

Phyllis Wallace et all

By Annette LaMond* | S.M., MIT Sloan School of Management | Ph.D., Yale University  In 1975, Phyllis Wallace,1 then age 54, became the first Black  woman – and first woman – to receive tenure at MIT’s Sloan  School of Management. When Phyllis arrived at MIT in 1972, she rented an apartment in a tall-for-Cambridge building between Central and Harvard Squares. … Read More

Eva Neer : My Neighbor, Groundbreaking Biochemist

By Annette LaMond* | S.M., MIT Sloan School of Management | Ph.D., Yale University In 1978, my husband and I moved to Brewster Village – an 1880s “development” of Queen Anne Victorians off Brattle Street. We soon began to meet our new neighbors. In our first six months, we were invited to not one, but two, celebrations to mark a … Read More

Who Is Essential Cambridge? Part 4: COVID-19

In our last installment, we examined the role of nurses as essential workers in Cambridge and beyond, exploring the ways in which gendered notions of caregiving and self-sacrifice both elevated nurses in the public opinion and limited their ability to advocate for better pay and working conditions. In this, our final installment, we look at the current COVID-19 pandemic and … Read More

Who Is Essential Cambridge? Part 3: Nurses

In our last installment, we examined the role of Cambridge teachers as essential workers during the twentieth century. As it involved nurturing young children, teaching was viewed by many as a natural outgrowth of women’s caregiving responsibilities within the family, and education, especially at the elementary level, was considered a profession to which women devoted themselves for noble and selfless … Read More

Who Is Essential Cambridge? Part 2: Teachers

In the first part of our series, “Who Is Essential Cambridge?,” we examined the role of Cambridge women in the industrial sector during and between the World Wars. Women played an important role in industrial production in the years before the outbreak of World War I—a role that continued and intensified over the coming decades. As such, these industrial workers … Read More