Friday, December 31, 2010

Blizzards in the Northeast

During the first blizzard of the 2010-2011 winter season, Boston received 18.2" of snow and wind gusts up to 60 miles per hour.

This storm met the 2 criteria set by the National Weather Service that define a blizzard. The first condition is that the snow has reduced visibility to less than a 1/4 of a mile. The second criteria is sustained or frequent wind gusts of 35 miles an hour or greater. These conditions must last 3 hours or longer.

Publications on this topic in the State Library's collection include the following:

1. Annual report. Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.
MR 355M3 M37 1996-

2. The blizzard of '88. Cable, Mary. QC 929 .S7 1988

3. Comprehensive emergency response plan. Massachusetts. Civil Defense Agency and Office of Emergency Preparedness, 1988. MR 355M3 .C65

4. Blizzard of 78 : after-action report to Governor Michael S. Dukakis . Massachusetts. Military Division. MR 355.6M3 B54 1978

Naomi Allen
Reference Librarian

image: Beacon Hill after the 1/23/2005 snow storm from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather service.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Freedom Trail Tapestry

The Freedom Trail Tapestry is a unique piece of artwork that hangs in the State Library in Room 442 of the State House.

The tapestry was originally installed in the Senate Lobby. Eleven historic sites on the Freedom Trail are depicted; among these are the Old North Church, King's Chapel, the Old State House, the Boston Tea Party, the Bunker Hill Monument, Faneuil Hall, and the Old South Meeting House.

This was designed and sewn by members of the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Needlepoint Guild in honor of the American Bicentennial in 1976. It is decorated with grasshoppers, chickadees and mayflowers.

The tapestry measures 11' x 5'. Next to it is a plaque recognizing the stitchers who created this beautiful handwork. It is on permanent loan to the State House from the Massachusetts Needlepoint Guild.

The Reference Department

Friday, December 24, 2010

Hours for Special Collections

Special Collections will be closed Dec 24 - 31. For assistance, please go to the Main Reading Room in Room 341. Regular hours will resume Jan. 3. Special Collections is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 until 1:00 and by appointment. Please call 617.727.2595 to schedule an appointment.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pictorial Maps Now on Flickr

In the summer of 2009 the State Library presented the exhibit, Ernest Dudley Chase: A Worldview in Maps highlighting original, decorative maps created and published in the 1930s and 1940s by Ernest Dudley Chase, a graphic artist from Winchester, Mass. Select images from this exhibit are now available on the library’s Flickr website.

Born in Lowell, Ernest Dudley Chase (1878-1966) worked for Rust Craft Publishers, which printed greeting cards at its plant in Dedham. Chase was the acknowledged expert in the greeting card business in the United States with publication of his book The Romance of Greeting Cards (1926), the first complete history of the greeting card industry. Chase’s maps were an extension of his work as a graphic artist for Rust Craft and also reflected an international trend toward pictorial mapmaking. These decorative maps, which experienced a resurgence in public popularity after 1913, are a genre in which the cartography is animated with illustrations of buildings, people, and animals. Often including historical references, the maps also frequently depicted airplanes and other modes of transportation. Borrowing from typical Renaissance cartography, Chase and other pictorial mapmakers used embellishments like compass roses, ornate cartouches, and decorative borders.

Chase’s maps revel in a colorful, idiosyncratic, and whimsical view of the world. The exhibit of his original cartographic creations showcased maps of Boston, Massachusetts, New England, the United States, and the world.

Due to copyright restrictions, only vignettes from select maps are included in this set. Please visit the Special Collections department to view any of the twenty nine Chase maps in the library's collection.

- The Marketing Committee

Above image adapted from: Historic Massachusetts: a travel map to help you feel at home in the Bay State, 1964.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sculpted to Inspire: John Davis Long

This sculpture of John Davis Long by Pierre Millet is the featured piece of art work in the Library's Main Reading Room through Dec. 24.

Long was born October 27, 1838 in Buckfield, ME, which was then part of Massachusetts. He attended the common schools of Buckfield and Hebron Academy in Maine. In 1857 he graduated from Harvard University at the age of 19. For the next two years, he taught school and was the principal at Westford Academy.

Long studied law at Harvard Law School from 1860 to 1861 and in the private law offices of Sidney Bartlett, dividing his time between Boston and Maine. Admitted to the bar in 1861, he began practicing law in Buckfield, ME. In 1863 he moved to Boston and, in 1869, to Hingham.

He was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1875 to 1878, serving as Speaker from 1876 to 1878. In 1879 he advanced to the office of Lieutenant Governor. Long was elected Governor on the Republican ticket and served from 1880 to1882 after winning by an overwhelming majority. During his term, Long shrank state government, reduced taxes on mortgages and local shipping, and opposed the Commonwealth’s capital punishment laws. He supported women’s suffrage and, as a lifelong abstainer of alcohol, advocated temperance legislation.

His political career continued in the U.S. Congress from March 1883 until March 1889 when he resigned to devote himself to the legal profession.
Presidents McKinley and Roosevelt appointed him to serve in their Cabinets as Secretary of the Navy; he held this position from March 5, 1897 until May 1, 1902 leaving once again to resume his law practice.

Long delivered a speech to the men’s club at North Abington’s church after he retired from active life.
This speech, noted in an Aug. 29, 1915 Boston Herald article, summarizes his simple philosophy. “Wealth alone does not make a man happy. It is not a necessity. The man with a dime in his pocket can be just as happy as the man with his pockets filled with golden coins.” As a member of the Unitarian Church, he believed in peace even though he was Secretary of the Navy during the Spanish American War.

Known to be prolific writer, he published a volume of poems entitled
Bites of a Cherry, a memoir Reminiscences of my Seventy Years’ Education, and a treatise about the Navy in 1903 entitled The New American Navy. While serving as Lt. Governor, he translated Virgil’s Aeneid. He was President of the Overseers of Harvard University and the Authors’ Club of Boston. Long died in Hingham on August 28, 1915 and is buried in Hingham Cemetery.

His books:

America of Yesterday, as Reflected in the Journal of John Davis Long. B L848

Bites of a Cherry. 821 L84b

The New American Navy. 359.9 L84n

Reminiscences of my Seventy Years’ Education. 906 M41p 1908-1909

The Republican Party: its History, Principles and Policies. He was the editor of this volume of articles by leading U.S. Senators and Representatives. 329R421 L84r

Friday, December 10, 2010

Brown Bag on Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries

do for YOU?

Join us for a BROWN BAG LUNCH on
Thursday, December 16th, 2010
State Library of Massachusetts
Room 442 State House
12 noon until 1:30 PM

Bring your lunch and hear Marnie Warner, Law Library Coordinator for the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries, speak about the seventeen public law libraries, their services and web site. The committed TCLL staff provide legal reference services and research to the public and legal community.

Marnie will be speaking about what the law libraries can do for you, asking the audience what they would like to see the law libraries provide and will also talk about the initiative and the Massachusetts Library Access to Justice program. The initiative ensures public access to the law and the Mass Library Access to Justice program facilitates access to legal information at public libraries.

If you would like to visit the Trial Court Libraries web site before the Brown Bag, please go to:

To register for the Brown Bag, please
go to:

You may also do so by calling Reference directly at 617-727-2590 or by e-mailing us at .

Sponsored by the Friends of the State Library

Future Brown Bags will include:
January 13th, 2011 - Brian Harkins, the Social Law Library
February 10th, 2011 - Ken Gloss, the Brattle Bookshop
March, 2011 - Bette L. Siegel, State Library, Federal Digital System
April, 2011 - Lacy Crews Stoneburner, State Library, Preservation
May, 2011 - Neil Savage, The History of the General Court

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Favorite Book Cover of 2010

In the first year of the Mass. Room Preservation Project the preservation interns and I have preserved nearly 2,000 items. While the majority of these items have simple covers that include title and author details, every now and then an interesting title or cover art slips in. Some of my favorite titles have included:

The Cool Facts on Recycling Metalworking Coolants

Tire Piles in Massachusetts

Grow Your own Lobsters Commercially

By far my favorite cover seen this year is that of Measures of Water Pollution by the Water Resources Commission, pictured above. I love the cranky-looking octopus and all the little pictures of various types of pollution. Decorated bindings have their place, but I think there’s plenty of room to enjoy the more pedestrian of bindings too.

I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled in 2011 for a cover that tops this, but for 2010, the cranky octopus wins my award of favorite cover.

- Lacy Crews Stoneburner, Preservation Librarian

Friday, December 3, 2010

One-Stop Career Centers

Alice Sweeney, Director of Special Initiatives and Customer Accountability, will speak about the Massachusetts Workforce Development System and the One-Stop Career Centers located in 37 cities and communities throughout the Commonwealth. Overseen by the Department of Workforce Development, services for job seekers include career counseling and workshops, job fairs, coaching, networking groups, referrals to jobs, online job listings, and the use of resume software. Special employment programs exist to meet the needs of veterans, recipients of Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC), and others. To assist employers, the Centers provide access to qualified applicants, pre-screening, job postings, and the testing/assessment of applicants.

When: Tuesday, Dec. 7

Time: noon - 1:00 pm

Where: State Library, Room 442 State House

This program is designed for state employees to assist them in their work, whether with constituents or legislation. Please join us to learn more about the role of the Centers during these challenging economic times.

Feel free to bring your lunch. Refreshments served. To register please call 617.727.2590 or email

Sponsored by the Friends of the State Library.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

MANUAL FOR THE GENERAL COURT- Treasure of the State Library for December 2010

Where does one go to find a listing of all members of the legislature or the names of all State Auditors who have served the Commonwealth? What are the names of the cities and towns in a particular county? How can one locate a list of the proclamations which must, by law, be done by the Governor or the rules of the Massachusetts House of Representatives or State Senate. Or the General Court's joint rules? Is there a list somewhere of where I can determine how long the legislative session of 1910 lasted? How may I find a seating chart for the House of Representatives during the Civil War?

Answers to these questions and to many many more can be found in a much-used "treasure" in the State Library, the Manual for the General Court. The library owns these "gems" starting with the year 1858 and they are available not only in the Library, but from our Digital Depository.

When you have an inquiry about Massachusetts state government, the State Library is the place to contact. And, it may happen that your question can be answered by referencing this wonderful source.

Pamela W. Schofield
Reference Department
State Library of Massachusetts

Friday, November 26, 2010

Ware Report

The State Library is announcing the availability of the recently released WARE REPORT on the Probation Department. The full text document is online at

Attorney Paul F. Ware, Jr. of the law firm of Goodwin Procter LLP was appointed by the Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court on May 24, 2010 "to conduct a prompt and thorough administrative inquiry into alleged improprieties with respect to the hiring and promotion of employees within the Probation Department, as well as other practices and management decisions within the Probation Department that have been called into question." (1)

The Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court issued a statement relative to the Independent Counsel's report, which can be found at

(1) Commonwealth of Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court No. OE-123.

The Reference Department

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Library closed for Thanksgiving

The Library will be closed Thursday in observance of Thanksgiving. Regular hours in the Main Reading Room (Room 341) and the Periodical Balcony will resume Friday. Please come to the Main Reading Room first for access to Special Collections materials on Friday.

The Main Reading Room and the Periodicals Balcony are open Monday through Friday from 9:00AM until 5:00PM. Special Collections' usual hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00AM until 1:00PM and by appointment. Please call 617.727.2595 if an appointment is needed.

image: Thanksgiving in a camp during the U.S. Civil War on Nov. 28, 1861. Alfred Rudolph Waud, artist.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sculpted to Inspire: John Davis Long

Who was the 32nd Governor of Massachusetts
the 34th United States Secretary of the Navy
represented Massachusetts in the U.S. House of Representatives
from the 2nd District in the late 1800’s?


Please visit the State Library in Room 341 between
November 15 and December 24, 2010
to see the sculpture of this former Governor.

The “Sculpted to Inspire” series is sponsored by the
Friends of the State Library.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Bond Issues

The Massachusetts Health and Educational Facilities Authority, which issues bonds for cultural, educational and medical institutions in the Commonwealth, was recently merged into MassDevelopment by Chapter 240 of the Acts of 2010.

HEFA, as it was formerly known, has a pooled loan program and issues tax exempt revenue bonds.

The State Library has over 60 of these bond issues in both paper copies and on line . Examples of bond issues for hospitals and educational institutions that have recently been promulgated are: University of Massachusetts; Williams College; Wheaton College; Cape Cod Healthcare; Children's Hospital Catholic Health East System and Northeastern University. Bond issues help to strengthen the Massachusetts economy both privately and publically.

MassDevelopment is the Commonwealth's primary source of public financing for economic development projects.

Reference Dept.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Library Closed on Veterans' Day

The Library will be closed Thursday, Nov. 11 in observance of Veterans' Day. Regular hours will resume Friday. The Main Reading Room and the Periodicals Balcony are open Monday through Friday from 9:00AM until 5:00PM. Special Collections' hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00AM until 1:00PM and by appointment. Please call 617.727.2595 if an appointment is needed.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Health Care Reform---Is the dream within our grasp, or is it slipping through our fingers?

Join us for a BROWN BAG LUNCH on
Tuesday, November 16th, 2010
State Library of Massachusetts
Room 442 State House
12 noon until 1:30 PM

One of the most debated issues in Massachusetts and in the country today is health care. The state’s program is in the forefront of discussions about this all-important subject.

Bring your lunch and hear Dolores Mitchell, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Group Insurance Commission and an expert in the field, speak about this omnipresent concern, about current trends and programs--- and about what the future might hold.

To register for the Brown Bag, please
go to:
You may also do so by calling Reference directly at 617-727-2590 or by e-mailing us at

Sponsored by the Friends of the State Library

Future Brown Bags will include:
December 16th - Marnie Warner, Massachusetts Trial Court Libraries
January 13th 2011 - Brian Harkins, the Social Law Library
February 10th, 2011 - Ken Gloss, the Brattle Bookshop
March, 2011 - Bette L. Siegel, State Library, Federal Digital System
April, 2011 - Lacy Crews Stoneburner, State Library, Preservation
May, 2011 - Neil Savage, The History of the General Court

Pamela Schofield
Legislative Librarian

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day

Today (Tuesday, November 2, 2010) is Election Day. Please don't forget to exercise your right to vote today. Polls are open from 7:00am to 8:00pm across the state.

Please visit the Secretary of State's website for information about the candidates who are up for election, the ballot questions, and where to vote.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Health Care Delivery

Seena Carrington, Chief of Staff and Chief Operating Officer, will provide an overview of the key responsibilities of the Division of Health Care Finance and Policy, an agency within the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services. She will highlight recent efforts to analyze health care cost trends in the Commonwealth and provide a brief description of upcoming initiatives.

When: Thursday, Nov. 4
Time: noon - 1:00 PM
Where: State Library, Room 442 State House

Please join us to learn more about the Division. This program is designed to provide information to assist state agency and legislative personnel in their work, whether with constituents or legislation.

Feel free to bring your lunch. Refreshments served. To register, please call 617.727.2590 or email

Sponsored by the Friends of the State Library.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

November 2010 Treasures of the State Library: Election Materials

Whether one is researching ballot questions currently being considered or looking for those from years ago, the State Library is the place to do one's research. Copies of Massachusetts Information for Voters from the Office of the Massachusetts Secretary of State present pro and con arguments on ballot issues which have faced the electorate. Those available in the
library are biennial from 1976.

For the outcome of elections going back not just decades, but for the 20th century entirely, one can visit us in person or view "returns of voters" by using our Digital Collections online. This link to our digital repository for these Massachusetts Election Statistics includes results from 1890.

Election results, whether for the six constitutional offices in Massachusetts, (Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, Auditor, Secretary of State, Treasurer and Attorney- General) or for members of the General Court or Governors Council, are among the most sought-after holdings in the State Library. These volumes are sometimes referred to as PD (Public Document) 43.

Staff in the library's Reference Department often refer users to Election Statistics to help those wishing to trace a city, town or district to garner the names of those who held a particular office over the years.

Pamela W. Schofield
Reference Department
State Library of Massachusetts

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sculpted to Inspire: George Frisbie Hoar

Do you know who George Frisbie Hoar is?

Do you know why his birthday is significant?

George Frisbie Hoar was born in Concord in 1826,
the same year the State Library was founded.

Please visit the Library in Room 341 between October 4 and November 12, 2010 to see the sculpture of George Frisbie Hoar.

The “Sculpted to Inspire” series is sponsored by the Friends of the State Library.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Major Accomplishment Reached by Preservation Intern

As part of a National Endowment for the Humanities grant, preservation intern Angela White has been working on surveying the library's 20th & 21st centuries map collection. This project aims to catch any existing damage to materials and to highlight materials where preservation efforts can be focused to avoid damage and deterioration into the future.

Angela has experience surveying several other library collections, and in June she began her survey work with the State Library's preservation lab. After four months of meticulous observation, she has recorded repairs and preservation actions needed on over 1,775 maps. Now Angela will begin the task of addressing the issues she found in the collection, starting with surface cleaning the most stable items. Keep an eye on the blog for more from Angela on her findings as she works through this rich and valuable library collection.

Lacy Crews Stoneburner, Preservation Librarian

Image: Map of the Street Railways of Massachusetts, 1913. Part of the 20th & 21st centuries map collection.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Plymouth Materials Now on Flickr

In the fall of 2008 the State Library of Massachusetts displayed an exhibit on one of the most famous towns in the Commonwealth: Plymouth. Titled “Plymouth: People, Politics, and Primary Sources,” the exhibit highlighted the library’s wealth of resources about this town, including William Bradford’s manuscript “Of Plimoth Plantation,” which was written between 1630 and 1650. Also exhibited were items such as historic maps, tax valuations, town reports, photographs, legislative documents, historic newspapers, directories, and the personal papers of a state legislator who represented Plymouth.

The exhibit may now be viewed online as a set of images on the State Library’s Flickr page. This photo set digitally recreates the 2008 exhibit, including the original information panels as well as digital images of the primary sources displayed in the exhibit.

Please visit the library Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm, to view the library’s current exhibit, “Butterflies of North America and Britain.”

-The Marketing Committee

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Home and Community-based Services for Elders and Caregivers

Nursing home stays have decreased in frequency over the years. As a result, community services and home care become more important as older people remain in their homes longer. The Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs plays an active role in helping people to navigate this system of care and to find resources. Erin Ferguson from the Executive Office of Elder Affairs will be in the Library to speak on this topic. This program is designed to provide information to assist legislative and state agency staff in their work, whether with citizens or legislation.

When: Tuesday, Oct. 19
Time: noon – 1:00pm
Where: Room 442 State House

Please bring a lunch and join us. Refreshments will be served. To register please call 617.727.2590 or email

Sponsored by the Friends of the State Library.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

An Amazing Surprise

Recently Assistant Library Director Alix Quan and I were in the library vault searching for historic supporting documentation for a recent digitization project. As Alix explored the shelves below where she was working, she found two volumes titled "Resolves and Orders Directing the Treasurer."

Obviously old, she pulled the first volume off of the shelf, only to discover that it covered the years 1787-1789, a period in which John Hancock was Governor. As we thumbed through the pages we realized that many resolves were signed by Governor Hancock, including the one on page 135, pictured at left. These resolves granted the treasurer permission to pay out state funds and each needed to be acknowledged by the Senate President, the Speaker of the House, the Governor and the Secretary of the Commonwealth.

Working in Special Collections I sometimes take for granted the fact that I get to handle and care for so many amazing artifacts of our past, and am often unfazed by anything published after 1730. But standing in the vault holding a book that John Hancock held over 220 years ago, I'm pretty awestruck.

- Lacy Crews Stoneburner, Preservation Librarian

Friday, October 8, 2010

Library closed for Columbus Day

The Library will be closed Monday in observance of Columbus Day. Regular hours will resume Tuesday. The Main Reading Room and the Periodicals Balcony are open Monday through Friday from 9:00AM until 5:00PM. Special Collections' hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00AM until 1:00PM and by appointment. Please call 617.727.2595 if an appointment is needed.

image: First Voyage, Departure for the New World, Aug. 3, 1492. Wikimedia Commons.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Brown Bag on the State House News Service

The State House News Service From the 1950’s until 2010

Join us for a BROWN BAG LUNCH on
Thursday, October 14th, 2010
State Library of Massachusetts
Room 442 State House
12 noon until 1:30 PM
Bring your lunch and hear Craig Sandler, General Manager of the State House News Service, speak about the origins of this vital news organization to its operation in today’s Massachusetts State House.

The State Library, along with a plethora of state agencies, officeholders and concerned groups and individuals, subscribes to the “service.” The library holds current materials and archives items back until the 1970’s. The online version is available in the library.

Craig will speak not only about all that the News Service does today, but also about how the “newspaper” field has changed over these decades. To register for the Brown Bag, please go to:
You may also do so by calling Reference directly at 617-727-2590 or by e-mailing us at

Sponsored by the Friends of the State Library

Future Brown Bags will include:
November 16th - Dolores Mitchell, Group Insurance Commission
December 16th - Marnie Warner, Massachusetts Trial Court Libraries
January 13th, 2011 - Brian Harkins, the Social Law Library
February 10th, 2011 - Ken Gloss, the Brattle Bookshop
March, 2011 - Bette Siegel, State Library, Federal Digital System
April, 2011 - Lacy Crews Stoneburner, State Library, Preservation

Friday, October 1, 2010

October 2010 Treasure of the State Library

This gem, prepared by the Office of Secretary of State William Francis Galvin and published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, is of special value to historians and to genealogists, but is important for all Massachusetts residents.

This is where one can go to see the overall dates when "places" were founded by legislative action. It includes the story of how Massachusetts counties and cities and towns were developed over the years- of how areas were "annexed," their dates of annexation and which boundaries were set. This book includes section and village listings for municipalities and an index which begins with "A Praying Indian" town (Billerica, for instance) to Zylonite, a section of the town of Adams.

Massachusetts is comprised of 351 cities and towns. The guide is of great help to people researching any or all of these locations.

Located at the reference desk, there are also several copies in the library stacks. The call number is MR 353.3m3 H57 1997. There are earlier versions of the "treasure" from the years 1920, 1948, 1966 and 1975.

Pamela W. Schofield
Reference Department

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Internal Revenue Bulletin

The Internal Revenue Bulletin is a weekly publication of the Internal Revenue Service. It is divided into four parts: (1) the 1986 Internal Revenue Code; (2) Treaties and Tax Legislation; (3) Administrative, Procedural and Miscellaneous and (4) Items of General Interest.

The Bulletin is the "authoratative instrument" of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue. As one can see from the four sections delineated above that official rulings, court decisions, Executive Orders, legislation and other general interest items are announced through the Bulletin.

The Bulletin can be accessed on line at:

The State Library holds an extensive cdollection of this material starting in 1921.

The Reference Dept.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Photographs of Legislators

Did you know that the State Library has a collection of over 3,200 photographs of legislators?

The earliest photographs are from 1855 and the collection continues into the early 1900s. The photographs range in size from tiny tin type to oversize collages. All are housed in the climate-controlled library vault and are available for the public to view in the Special Collections department.

The collection is currently being digitized by a library intern and once complete, the images will be posted in the library's digital repository, DSpace. At left is one of the digitized images - Charles Dillingham (1821-1902). Mr. Dillingham was in the state Senate in 1861 and 1862, then in the state House of Representatives in 1886 and 1887, representing Sandwich during those periods. As you can see at the bottom of the image, this photograph was taken during his tenure in the Senate.

Images of legislators can also be found in several publications that the library has already digitized and are available online. Each book is listed on the Public Officers of the Commonwealth page of the library's web site. Click on any year and the digital version will open through the Internet Archive web site.

- Lacy Crews Stoneburner, Preservation Librarian

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Storm is Brewing: Storms in Massachusetts and New England History

Hurricane season is upon us. According to hurricanes are most common in the North Atlantic from August through October and that the busiest month for hurricanes is September. They also state that it must have winds of at least 74 mph to be classified as a hurricane.

The State Library has these books and resources on storms or hurricanes.

Well known storms and hurricanes:
Carol at 50 : remembering her fury : a historical and pictorial summary of Hurricane Carol
Orloff, Charles Talcott. [E. Milton, MA] : Blue Hill Observatory and Science Center, 2004.

Erosion of Nantucket Island's eastern shore by the northeast storm of December 11-13, 1992

Reston, Va. : U.S. Geological Survey ; Denver, Colo. : Books and Open-File Reports Section [distributor], 1993. Videotape 81

Hurricane Bob, August 16-August 20, 1991 : a brief history
Minsinger, William Elliott. [Milton, Mass.] : Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory, 1992.

Hurricane Bob, August, 1991, high water marks, eastern Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts.
[Waltham, Mass.] : U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England Division, 1992.

The 1938 hurricane : an historical and pictorial summary
Minsinger, William Elliott. East Milton, Mass. : Blue Hill Observatory (P.O. Box 101, East Milton, Mass. 02186), 1988.

A Winter storm:
An inventory of aerial photographs taken of the eastern New England shoreline following the storms of the 1977-1978 winter season
by Michael Goetz. Boston, Mass. : New England River Basins Commission, 1979.

Natural hazards of North America
National Geographic Maps (Firm). Washington, D.C. : The Society, c1998. (Map)

New England's disastrous weather : hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, dark days, heat waves, cold snaps... and the human stories behind them
Camden, Me. : Yankee Books, c1990.

Naomi Allen
Reference Librarian

image: courtesy of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Weather Center, Hurricane Center web site

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

September 16th Brown Bag on the Economic Census

Join us for a BROWN BAG LUNCH on
Thursday, September 16th, 2010
State Library of Massachusetts
Room 442 State House
12 noon until 1:30 PM

Bring your lunch and hear Arthur Bakis, Information Services Specialist at the Boston Regional Census Center, speak specifically about the Economic Census, conducted by the Census Bureau every five years ending in 2 and 7. This Census essentially does for business what the Decennial Census does for population and housing. Arthur will navigate attendees through the Census website to access Economic Census data for states, counties and communities.

Please RSVP to: You may also call Reference directly at 617- 727-2590 or e-mail the department at to register. Sponsored by the Friends of the State Library.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Wild Flowers on Flickr

The library is pleased to present a new set of images on Flickr: North American Wild Flowers.

The set digitally recreates an exhibition of selected plates of watercolors by the American botanist Mary Vaux Walcott. The Smithsonian Institution published these paintings in limited and library five-volume editions as North American Wild Flowers in 1925.

The exhibit was originally posted at the State Library during the summer of 2008. Several of the original exhibit pieces are on display on the Periodicals Balcony, room 442. The original prints can be viewed in the Special Collections Department, room 55.

- The Marketing Committee

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sculpted to Inspire: Theodore Roosevelt

The Library will be highlighting this bronze sculpture of Theodore Roosevelt though October 1, 2010. John Gutzon Borglum created this eight years before he began work on the monumental Presidents' heads on Mount Rushmore. It was given to the Library by the T. R. Club of Massachusetts in 1945. This is the first of a number of pieces in the Library's Reading Room that will be featured in the next few months. Please stop by Room 341 in the State House by to view it. The Library's hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00a.m through 5:00p.m.

Sponsored by the Friends of the State Library.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Historic Massachusetts Map Now Available Digitally

Recently the Special Collections department digitized a 1798 map of the Commonwealth and added it to the library's digital archive. "An accurate map of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts exclusive of the district of Maine..." is an original map depicting towns, county seats, boundary lines and natural features as they existed at the end of the 18th century. The map also includes with each town the distance to Boston, and the distance to the county seat. The title in the lower left corner is given prominence and is surrounded by items of a nautical theme. The original map is on four sheets, which were scanned individually and digitally stitched together.

This map is not only beautiful - and in remarkable shape for its age - but it also provides a wealth of knowledge for researchers of Massachusetts history. The original is available for viewing in the Special Collections department and a digital version is available in DSpace.

- Lacy Crews Stoneburner, Preservation Librarian

Friday, September 3, 2010

Library Closed Labor Day

The Library will be closed for the Labor Day holiday. Regular hours for the Main Reading Room (Room 341) and Special Collections (Room 55) will resume on Tuesday. The Main Reading Room will be open 9:00 to 5:00 Monday through Friday, and Special Collections from 9:00 to 1:00 and by appointment Monday through Friday. Please call Special Collections at 617.727.2590 if an appointment is required.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

September 2010 Treasure of the State Library - "The Charles River Esplanade: Our Boston Treasure."

In this July 4th's edition of the Boston Sunday Globe, Eric Moscowitz wrote of the 100th anniversary of the Esplanade, whose opening was highlighted with fireworks on Independence Day in 1910. The article speaks of the ups and downs with the history of this most famous of the city's landmarks.

In the 3rd floor stacks of the Library, one can find a pamphlet The Charles River Esplanade: Our Boston Treasure, published in 2000 by the Metropolitan District Commission (now known as the Department of Conservation and Recreation) and written by Linda M. Cox, Founder of the Esplanade Association. The booklet is digitized and note the link to the online version. This small booklet is indeed a treasure in itself with its rich history of the site.

Among many other items housed in the State Library about this famous landmark are items about the flamboyant and much celebrated conductor, Arthur Fiedler, who presided at fifty July 4th concerts. An online biography of this famous conductor by PBS (WGBH Boston) includes the following about his tenure:

"Among memorable events of the Fiedler era were the Fiftieth Anniversary Esplanade concert of July 4, 1978; the building of the Hatch Shell in time for the Esplanade season of 1940; the occasion of the Maestro's seventy-fifth birthday, when his son Peter presented him a surprise gift on behalf of the whole family: an honest-to-goodness, full-size fire engine(!); and the Esplanade concert of July 4, 1976, which was heard by over 400.000 people, declared by the Guinness Book of World Records the largest single audience for a classical music concert. "

The Fiedler footbridge was designated by Resolve 86 of 1953 and in 1980, not long after his death, the General Court memorialized him. This law is available in the Library and has also been digitized and can be found online with other years' Acts and Resolves.

It reads:


Be it enacted, etc., as follows:
The metropolitan district commission is hereby authorized and directed to locate and reserve a site for a statue at the Hatch memorial shell located in the Charles river reservation in the city of Boston, in memory of Arthur Fiedler, the father of the Boston Pops.
Approved July 16, 1980

On to another 100 years and more.

Pamela W. Schofield
Reference Department
State Library of Massachusetts

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Commonwealth Connector

The Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority was created by Chapter 58 of the Acts of 2006.

It is an independent state agency helping citizens find an insurance plan that is right for them. The agency promotes insurance coverage for the uninsured with affordable plans. The Authority’s program has made Massachusetts a model in the United States for health care reform.

The agendas, board minutes and reports are available at the State Library in both tangible format (paper) and on line. Our collection starts on June 7, 2006 and is current.

When visiting the Library in room 341 of the State House, there is access to the reports, agendas and minutes by asking for: MR 368.382M3 M56

The Reference Department

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Crimes and Punishments in the Massachusetts General Laws

There is a long history of laws dealing with drunk people, pilferers (or people that steal) and brawlers going back to colonial times.

Chapter 272 section 53 of the Massachusetts General Laws once read: "Rogues and vagabonds, persons who use any juggling or unlawful games or plays, common pipers and fiddlers stubborn children, runaways, common drunkards, common nightwalkers, both male and female, persons who with offensive or disorderly act or language accost or annoy in public places persona of the opposite sex, pilferers, lewd, wanton and lascivious persons in speech or behavior, common railers and brawlers, persons who neglect their calling or employment or who misspend what they earn and do not provide for themselves..." The penalty for these crimes was "imprisonment in the Massachusetts reformatory or at the state farm..."

According to Massachusetts General Laws Annotated this chapter was rescinded by c. 377 of the Acts of 1943. Part of this law originated from Colonial times in Colonial Law chapter 153, section 1.

Image: first seal of the MA Bay Colony used from 1629-1686, 1689-1692.

Naomi Allen
Reference Librarian

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Preservation Milestones

The past month has been a busy and exciting one for the preservation lab!

At the end of July preservation work was completed on the items being digitized under the Mapping Massachusetts grant. In total 368 items were preserved, with a total of 2,223 repairs performed. Work began in October of 2009 and was performed by the Preservation Librarian with help from lab interns Sarah Pickard, Jay Moschella and Chessie Monks.

This week the 1,000th item from the Massachusetts Room Preservation Project(MRPP) was repaired and preserved. Work on this NEH grant funded project began in January of 2010 and will continue through the end of the grant period in 2011 and beyond. The MRPP is designed to be a multi-year project that aims to assess and preserve when needed an estimated 40,000 items in the Massachusetts Room. Work is being completed by the Preservation Librarian and many dedicated interns. These wonderful interns include Sarah Pickard, Hilary Vaught, Bianca Hezekiah, Lori Satter and Shawna Smith.

- Lacy Crews Stoneburner, Preservation Librarian

image: Harbor at Cotuit and Osterville in the town of Barnstable

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Special Collections Hours

Special Collections will be open Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 1:00 pm through August 27. From August 30 through September 3 the hours will be 9:00am until 1:00pm and by appointment. Please call 617.727.2595 to make an appointment.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Soldiers and Sailors

The State Library has two excellent resources to find service information about infantry, soldiers and sailors who served in the Revolutionary War or the Civil War.

The first set of volumes is entitled Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War. This resource is available in our stacks under the call number and online

The second set is Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors and Marines in the Civil War. Genealogists frequently use this book to verify that their relative served, or to see which battles and in what localities a person served. The Civil War volumes contain Regimental Histories.

The books usually have information about where the person is from, where they joined the regiment, the battles in which they fought, whether they were wounded or whether they died and when they mustered out of the unit. There are no pictures in these volumes.

The Massachusetts State Archives at Columbia Point has the muster rolls in their collections.

Pictured Sergeant Andrew Jackson Smith: "Private, Res. Taunton; 21; blacksmith; enlisted Sept. 15, 1862; must. Sept. 23, 1862; must. out Aug. 28 on or about Sept. 25, 1863." Image from State Library's collection.

Naomi Allen, Reference Librarian

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sculpted to Inspire

The first sculpture in our series “Sculpted to Inspire” is a likeness of Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States, sculpted by John Gutzon Borglum in 1919. This piece was given to the State Library by the T.R. Club of Massachusetts* in 1945.

John Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum (March 25, 1867 – March 6, 1941) was an American artist and sculptor of Danish descent. He was famous for creating the monumental Presidents' heads at Mount Rushmore, South Dakota. Borglum met and was influenced by world famous sculptor Auguste Rodin.

Borglum did these sculptures:
● Abraham Lincoln’s head carved from a six-ton block of marble was done in 1908 and was exhibited in Theodore Roosevelt's White House. It can be found in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C.

● Borglum was asked to do a sculpture of Robert E. Lee at Stone Mountain in Georgia in 1915. He decided to do a group featuring Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis on horseback followed by a column of soldiers. He finished Robert E. Lee’s head but was fired from this project in 1925. Nothing of Borglum’s work remains, since the next artist they hired destroyed Robert E. Lee’s head.

● He carved four President’s heads: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt at Mt. Rushmore in the Black Hills in South Dakota from 1927-1941. Borglum came to South Dakota in 1924. On March 6, 1941 he died. His son Lincoln “put the finishing touches on his father’s vision” of Mount Rushmore. Borglum felt: "The purpose of the memorial is to communicate the founding, expansion, preservation, and unification of the United States with colossal statues of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt."

*Theodore Roosevelt Club of Massachusetts

Sponsored by the Friends of the Library

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Census, the Library and YOU

The State Library's census collection dates back to 1790, the first year the federal census was taken. When you search our online catalog, you will find over 200 entries about the census.

As a selective Federal Documents Depository, the State Library receives all Census Bureau publications for Massachusetts. The Library is also an affiliate of the State Data Center.

State Data Centers are cooperative programs between the Census Bureau and the states. This program ensures that the public has access to data produced by the U.S. Government, Bureau of the Census. The Data Center Program started in 1978.

In Massachusetts, the Data Center is part of the Economic and Public Policy Research unit at the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute. The Institute is in the Office of the President of the University.

On the Library's web site you will find the Massachusetts State Census results from 1855 to 1975. Be sure to search under the heading Digital Collections in the gray area for Online Services.

In December of 2010, the Census Bureau will be releasing the results of the 2010 Decenial Census.

Bette Siegel
Documents Librarian

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Dirty Map? Clean it up!

As mentioned previously on the blog, the library is in the process of digitizing roughly 400 maps in the collection as part of a grant awarded by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. One collection of profile maps that correspond to the railroad maps are being digitized in-house and a description of the process is detailed here.

The image above shows one piece of a profile map that corresponds to the railroad map, Proposed Connections to the Massachusetts Central Railroad. All told, this particular profile map is made up of six pieces and is 191.5 inches long. There are about 70 profile maps in total, all equally long and all equally dirty! I have been working over the past couple of months to clean the dust and grime that has accumulated on these maps during years of storage in order to prepare them to be scanned and posted in the library's digital repository, DSpace.

Although the condition of the maps may look daunting, cleaning them is actually a relatively simple process. I am using non-abrasive vinyl erasers and eraser "pencils" created to erase ink from drafting film. I use a brush to sweep away the eraser crumbs, so that I do not damage or dirty the maps further by using my hands to brush the crumbs away.

I clean the maps in small sections, usually using the graphing lines printed on the maps to isolate small areas. This way, I can check my work as I go and easily see the progress I am making. Using two different erasers allows me to clean carefully around a note written in pencil or clean larger areas quickly.

In the image below, I cleaned only the section of the map below the graphed area. The difference is obvious, especially when compared to the original image of the map before cleaning (pictured above). Although the map may still look somewhat dirty, this is due to staining from the dirt and cannot be removed even if I cleaned the area over and over again.

I then move onto cleaning small rectangular areas of the graph. This ensures that I do not miss any areas and also keeps me from re-cleaning sections that are permanently stained. Too much or too vigorous cleaning can also damage the surface of the map and make the paper fragile. Most of these maps are relatively sturdy to begin with and hold up well when cleaned. Only a few have brittle edges or tears, and these may eventually be repaired with Japanese tissue to keep them from being damaged further.

I also make sure to examine the map carefully before cleaning it. In the image on the left, what may look like a smudge above the blue line is actually a number written in pencil in extremely small handwriting (click on the image to zoom in and see for yourself). The maps also often have elaborate handwritten town names and titles in ink, but it is also possible to see the original pencil draftwork done before inking the final product. We want to keep these original pencil markings intact for study even if they were mostly erased by the original creators of the maps.

The map piece at the top of the photograph at left is the final, cleaned product. Compared to another uncleaned piece of the same map, the change is easy to see. While these maps may never be perfectly spotless, if I looked this good at 140 years old, I would be pretty pleased!

The next step in the project is to scan and stitch together the pieces of the map, so that users may view them up-close and personal online. I'll share the process of scanning sometime later.

-Chessie Monks, Preservation Intern

Friday, July 30, 2010

Safe Driving Act

Distractions while driving contribute to making the roads unsafer for all. The Safe Driving Act, signed by Govenor Deval Patrick on July 2, bans texting behind the wheel. With its enactment, Massachusetts became the 29th state to prohibit all drivers from texting and junior drivers from conversing on a cell phone.

The legislation bars e-mailing, searching on the Internet, and other activities on a phone, laptop, or other electronic device by the operator of a vehicle. This also applies to waits at traffice lights and stop signs. Drivers under 18 are restricted from talking on a mobile phone. Texting and cell phone use by younger drivers are allowed in emergencies and when a vehicle has parked after pulling over. Motorists 75 and over must have a vision test every 5 years and are required to renew their license in person. This act goes into effect on Sept. 30.

Laws passed during each session of the Massachusetts Legislature are available through the Library's web site. Click on the Massachusetts Acts and Resolves button on the far left to access these.

Reference Dept.