Monday, February 1, 2016
Monday, January 25, 2016
At the State Library’s reference desk we get a fair number of questions about the Massachusetts government. Many people are interested in finding information on relatives who served in the legislature. Questions range from how many members of the legislature were there in a specific year to who was the governor in a given year. The reference staff uses a variety of resources to answer these questions.
Manual of the General Court– This resource dates back to 1858 and includes facts and figures about the Massachusetts Legislature otherwise known as the General Court. It is available in print and online and includes information such as:
- Lists of Governors starting from colonial times
- List of the current House of Representatives including districts, addresses and seat numbers
- When the session for the general court starts and ends
- The rules used by the legislature
- List of Massachusetts legal holidays
|Image from Legislative Souvenir 1907|
Public Officers of the Commonwealth – This resource has been published under several different names including: Legislative Souvenir and “bird book” and contains:
- General Court members, Constitutional Officers and the executive council members
- Photographs of the Massachusetts State House and Offices
- one-page biographies with photographs of Massachusetts officials elected at the Federal and State level
The Massachusetts Political Almanac – (1981-current year) provides one-page summaries of legislators, photographs, biographical information, and key role call votes. It also includes one-page profiles of executive branch officials and the duties of their office. Other information includes:
- Terms in office
- Profiles of agency heads
- Organizational charts for executive agencies
- Committee members
Leading the Way: a History of the Massachusetts General Court 1629 -1980 – This book describes the history of the legislature from colonial time through 1980. Other information includes:
- List of Massachusetts Senate Presidents
- List of Massachusetts Speakers of the House
- Statistics about the legislature
Posted by State Library Staff at 8:56 AM
Labels: "Manual of the General Court" "Public Officers of the Commonwealth" "Massachusetts Political Almanac" "General Court" "Leading the Way, Massachusetts Governor"
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
|Martin Luther King|
image from Wikimedia Commons
|Senator Edward Brooke|
image from Wikimedia Commons
Dr. King was warmly welcomed to the Massachusetts State House on April 22, 1965 to address the Massachusetts General Court—this was nearly 2 years after giving his most famous “I Have a Dream Speech” at the Lincoln Memorial in the summer of 1963. The inspirational words in his speech to the Massachusetts General Court can be found in the text of House Bill no. 4155 of 1965 and can be accessed HERE in the State Library’s DSpace digital repository. Reading his speech again, one finds that his words are just as powerful and relevant today in 2016 as they were in 1965.
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Monday, January 11, 2016
Opening this week at the State Library of Massachusetts is a new exhibition entitled A Historical View of the Massachusetts State House. Using materials from the State Library’s holdings, this exhibition describes the history of the Commonwealth’s legislative buildings, the current State House’s original design and construction, and several significant renovations and additions.
The exhibition runs from January 14 through May 30, 2016. It can be viewed outside of the Library, Room 341 of the State House, Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm. Parts of the exhibit are also available online through our Flickr page.
Posted by State Library Staff at 9:04 AM
Thursday, January 7, 2016
The Map Thief by Michael Blanding
Thursday, January 21, 2016—Noon to 1:00 pm
State Library of Massachusetts—Room 341, Massachusetts State House
Please join us at the State Library at noon on Thursday, January 21, for an Author Talk with award-winning investigative journalist and best-selling author Michael Blanding, who will be speaking about his recent book The Map Thief.
In this engrossing book, Blanding delves into the world of the antique map trade and tells the story of E. Forbes Smiley III, a map dealer who stole countless rare maps from libraries and universities around the world. In addition to detailing the downfall of this once esteemed map dealer, The Map Thief also reveals the history of the explorers and mapmakers who created the priceless maps that Smiley stole, giving the reader an even better understanding of the great loss to society when such cultural heritage items go missing.
Mr. Blanding’s talk is free and open to the public, and copies of the book The Map Thief will be available for purchase and signing at the event. Please register online and join us on January 21st at the State Library.
Posted by State Library Staff at 11:13 AM
Tuesday, January 5, 2016
1939 was the first year the General Court began meeting every other year instead of annually (they met in 1939, 1941, and 1943). In 1942 (for six days) and 1944 (for 15 days) they held two special sessions that resulted in a handful of acts and resolves on particular subjects that required urgent attention. However, no session was held in 1940 and no legislation or other materials relating thereof was published during that year. The biennial session system was short-lived and in 1945, after a referendum vote, the General Court abandoned biennial sessions and once again began convening annually.
Much of this information, as well an overall history of the Massachusetts General Court, can be found in the title Leading the Way: a History of the Massachusetts General Court, 1629-1980 by Cornelius Dalton, et al., which is available in the State Library.