Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Massachusetts Legislators Information

The Massachusetts General Court (State Legislature) begins its next biennial session next week. State senators and representatives will be sworn in on Wednesday, January 7th

The General Court's website should have a directory of the new legislators by next week. In the meantime, the library has paper copies listing the members of the legislature who recently were elected.

Election results are available on the Secretary of State’s webpage for the 2008 Return of Votes for the Massachusetts State Election. Organized by district, this details the candidates and vote totals for state and federal races and for statewide ballot questions.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Massachusetts Electors meet in House Chamber

Members of the 2008 electoral college met all around the country on December 15th as required by statute:

Massachusetts electors met in the House chamber with many in attendance to view this historic event. President-elect Barack Obama and Vice-President- elect Joseph Biden received the support of all twelve electors. This number is determined by the number of members of Congress in each state.

Included in State Library's Massachusetts state documents collection are the proceedings of previous Electoral Colleges.

More information on this important component to our government can be found at:

Pamela W. Schofield
Reference Department

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Murray Explores State Library Special Exhibit of the History of Plymouth

A press release from the office of Senate President Therese Murray:

For Immediate Release

Contact: Samantha Dallaire

December 10, 2008


Murray Explores State Library Special Exhibit of the History of Plymouth

(BOSTON, MA) – Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) met with State Librarian Elvernoy Johnson to explore a special exhibit currently featured in the library that examines the history of America's Hometown. The exhibit, Plymouth: People, Politics and Primary Sources is a collection of the library’s documents that trace the history and highlight the Wampanoag, the Pilgrims, and the growth of the town.

"Our town is where the Commonwealth’s story begins," said Senate President Therese Murray. "The State Library of Massachusetts has done a wonderful job giving the public a snapshot of the history of Plymouth."

In addition to early documents such as a facsimile of William Bradford's Of Plimoth Plantation and records of the colony of New Plymouth, the exhibit includes town reports, tax valuations, newspapers, maps and legislative documents relating to Plymouth from the 18th through the 20th centuries. The library also explores contemporary politics, tourism and celebrations as well as the Wampanoag experience.

The exhibit, which runs through January 23, 2009, is located at the State Library of Massachusetts in the State House and is open to the public weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Murray was elected in March 2007 as the first female President of the Senate in Massachusetts history. From January 2003 through March 2007, she chaired the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. She is currently serving her 8th term in the Massachusetts Senate, representing the people of Bourne, Falmouth, Kingston, Pembroke, Plymouth, Plympton, Sandwich and precincts 10, 11, and 12 in the Town of Barnstable. For more information, visit ThereseMurray.com.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Massachusetts--What's in a Name?

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has had many names. It started out as the Massachusetts Bay Colony because of the Massachusetts Bay Charter. At some point it is referred to as a Province. If you look at the top of the page in the Acts and Resolves of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, it changes from a colony to a state on August 28, 1776. Later it became a commonwealth as it is called in the Constitution. The word commonwealth was used previously as evidenced by the use of this term in “The Capitall Lawes of New England” in 1642. (Harts, Commonwealth History…) All commonwealths are states. Kentucky Pennsylvania and Virginia are also Commonwealths.

Sources include:

  • Hart, Albert Bushnell. Commonwealth History of Massachusetts

  • Secretary of State’s Massachusetts Facts: a review of the government, and symbols of the Commonwealth

  • Acts and Resolves of the Province of Massachusetts Bay

  • Massachusetts Constitution

Friday, December 5, 2008

Update: From the Preservation Lab

Over the last two weeks I have devoted a bit of time to rehousing 51 tintype portraits of Massachusetts legislators from the 1860s. Details about this project can be found in a previous post. Above are three portraits that struck me, all of unidentified legislators.

I have included a picture here of the individual four-flap enclosure I made for each tintype along with a quarter to show scale. Of the fifty-one portraits, all but one are one inch by three-quarters of an inch. The one outlier was a portrait that measures approximately one-an-a-half-inches by one-and-a-half-inches. The standard size allowed me to create the four-flaps in an assembly line fashion, cutting all 50 inside flaps at once, then all the outside flaps, then
folding and gluing all at once.

The four-flaps before processing.

A labeled four-flap with the outer envelope and tintype.

The processed enclosures in the new box, including a spacer to provide support and keep the envelopes upright.

The rehoused tintypes ready to be returned to the shelf.

- Lacy Crews, Preservation Librarian