Monday, February 28, 2011

Future Brown Bags in the State Library

Brown Bag lunches held each month in the State Library have become popular programs. Topics have ranged from "Legislative History," to "Art in the State House," "Health Care Reform," and "The State House News Service."

Mark your calendars for a future visit to the Library to which you can bring your lunch (the hours are from 12 noon until 1:30 PM) and hear speakers, experts in their fields, share their knowledge. Details about each program will follow on this blog. The dates are:

March 10th, Bette L. Siegel, Documents Librarian, FDsys, Federal Digital System
April 28th, Lacy Crews Stoneburner, Preservation Librarian, Preservation of Family Materials
May 19th,
Neil Savage, historian and author, The History of the General Court.
June 14, Michael Widmer, President, The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation
July 14, Sean Murphy, reporter, The Boston Globe
August 11th, Dr. John Warner, Archivist of the Commonwealth, Massachusetts State Archives

Pamela W. Schofield
Reference Department
State Library of Massachusetts

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Treaties in Force


This publication is part of the State Library's Federal collection as the Library serves as a selective Federal depository. We hold the report in tangible (paper) format, call number S 9.14: year. It is also available online at:

The report has 2 sections. The first includes bilateral treaties and international agreements. The second section lists multilateral treaties and international agreements to which the United States is a party.

The most recent edition of TREATIES IN FORCE is kept at the Reference Desk in room 341 of the State House. The State Library is open 9 to 5, Mondays through Fridays.

The Government Documents Staff

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The First Beacon on Beacon Hill

Earlier in the year the State Library received the program for the swearing in of the Senate members from the Office of the Senate President.

Besides the names of the Senators for the 2011-2012 session, it has pictures and descriptions of the Senate President's suite and the Coolidge Room, which had previously been the Senate President's office with a desk Calvin Coolidge used from 1914-1915. All Massachusetts Senate Presidents were located there from 1897-1970. Photographs reveal the grandeur of the room.

This Librarian's favorite section in the small publication is the History of Beacon Hill and its beacon. There were three hills that made up the area. This is how Tremont Street or trimountain, a hill with 3 peaks, got its name. Boston was also once called Trimountain. One hill was called West Hill, Copley Hill or Mt. Vernon Hill depending on the time period. Another hill was Cotton or Pemberton Hill. The third was Beacon Hill because it had a beacon to warn of attacks.

The first beacon on Beacon Hill was a mast with an iron frame erected in 1634-1635. It was 65 feet high holding a barrel of tar and was used to alert the country of invasion. The structure was located near the State House on the south-east corner of the reservoir on Temple Street. Winds blew down the beacon in 1789. A Revolutionary War monument with an eagle on top was put in its place. This is the beacon that is currently in back of the State House in Ashburton Park.

Naomi Allen

Reference Librarian

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cape Cod Commission Reporter

The Cape Cod Commission is one of 13 Regional Planning Agencies in Massachusetts. Others are: Berkshire Regional Planning Commission; Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission; Franklin Regional Council of Government; Martha's Vineyard Commission; Merrimack Valley Planning Commission; Metropolitan Area Planning Council; Montachusetts Regional Planning Commission; Nantucket Planning and Economic Development Commission; Northern Middlesex Council of Governments; Old Colony Planning Council; Pioneer Valley Planning Commission; and the Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District.

The Commissions/Councils guide growth and develop programs about housing, elderly services, economic development, coastal zone management, clean air, wetlands and all other areas of concern for each region.

The Cape Cod Commission serves 15 towns of Barnstable County. It was created in 1990. Between 1990 and 1999, Barnsable County was the fastest growing county in mainland Massachusetts.

The Cape Cod Commission Reporter is a publication that started in 1997. The State Library holds this publication in paper (call number MR 352.93 M3 C372) and recent editions are available on line at:

The Government Documents Staff

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Noted Author to Speak about the Federal Stimulus Act and Jobs

UMass Boston Offers First Demographic Analysis of Recovery Act Jobs

Carol Hardy-Fanta, Executive Director of the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy, will speak on March 1 at noon in the State Library about the recently completed study examining which racial, ethnic, and gender groups have benefited from Recovery Act-supported jobs during the first two quarters of 2010.

The study found that 90 percent of communities in Massachusetts have at least someone whose job was created or retained by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds. According to the report, people of color constituted more than 10 percent of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act job holders in the state in both quarters, while women held just over 55 percent of ARRA positions in the first quarter, and 49 percent in the second.

The report is based on Recovery and Reinvestment Act demographic data collected quarterly by the Massachusetts Recovery & Reinvestment Office (MRRO). It was conducted at the request of the MRRO by the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy and the Collins Center for Public Management at the University of Massachusetts Boston and appears to be the first attempt in the nation to analyze the impact of ARRA jobs on racial, ethnic, and gender groups. The study was written by Carol Hardy-Fanta, Paige Ransford and Christian Weller.

The event will take place in Room 442 of the State House from noon until 1:00 and is open to the public. To register, please call 617.727.2590 or email

This program is sponsored by the Friends of the State Library.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Library Closed for President's Day

The Library will be closed Monday, Feb. 21 in observance of President's Day. Regular hours will resume Tuesday. The main reading room (Room 341) is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 - 5:00. The hours for Special Collections in Room 55 are Monday through Friday from 9:00 - 1:00 and by appointment. Please call 617.727.2595 to schedule an appointment.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Treasure of the State Library for February 2011- April 22, 1965 Address by the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. to the General Court

On April 22nd, 1965, just six months after he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. visited Boston, the city where he had attended university. He spoke to a JOINT CONVENTION of the Massachusetts General Court. During the address, which is available in the State Library as House legislative document no.4155 of 1965, Dr. King referred to Massachusetts' favorite son, the late President John F. Kennedy. He noted how President Kennedy had, in June of 1963, called the Civil Rights movement not just a political and sociological problem, but also a moral one. King spoke of the need for legislation to address discrimination in housing. He invoked the need to end segregation in the public schools. And, he reiterated that he would continue to "preach a doctrine of nonviolence." Known for his beautiful oratory including "I have A Dream" and "Beyond Vietnam," the address to the legislature is also a strong presence among the civil rights leader's inspiring words.

Here is the address from the State Library's digital collections.

Pamela W. Schofield
Reference Department
State Library of Massachusetts

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

When Paper Clips Go Bad

As part of the Massachusetts Room Preservation Project I have been re-housing and boxing collections to protect from light, dust and other calamities. Recently I came across several items from the 1920s that had paper clips inside that had rusted.

The images at left show the extent to which rust can damage and discolor paper. All of the paper clips were carefully removed, along with the remaining specks of rust.

Aside from rust, paper clips can cause paper to warp and tear, so before you add one to your personal or professional archives, take a second and think of these photos.

- Lacy Crews Stoneburner, Preservation Librarian

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Gulf Oil Disaster

Deep Water: The Gulf Oil Disaster and the Future of Offshore Drilling.

The report and the recommendations to the President from the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling are now available in the State Library.

The Library's holds the 2 volume paper documents which are on our new book shelf in room 341.

Both documents are available on line at:

The State Library has been a selective federal depository since the 1800's. Our collection has, among other documents, the reports of the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

The Government Documents Department

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sculpted to Inspire: Arthur Buckminster Fuller

Arthur Buckminster Fuller (August 10, 1822 - December 11, 1862) was a Unitarian Clergyman who believed in liberal reforms. He was born in Boston, the child of Congressman Timothy Fuller, Jr. and Margaret Crane.

At the age of twelve, he spent one year at Leicester Academy and then studied with Mrs. Ripley, the wife of Rev. Samuel Ripley, of Waltham. His older sister Margaret helped raise him after his father died of cholera in 1835. She made certain Arthur received a proper education in Greek, Latin, literature, science and mathematics. In August, 1839 he entered Harvard College at the age of seventeen and graduated in 1843.

Fuller traveled to Illinois to run an academy but closed it 18 months later due to ill health. Between 1845 and 1847 he attended Harvard College of Divinity where he received his degree. Fuller preached in various churches including the Unitarian Church of Watertown, the New North Church of Boston, and the Unitarian Society of Manchester, New Hampshire.

He was selected by the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1854 to serve as their chaplain and in 1858 by the Massachusetts Senate to act as theirs. In 1857 he was nominated by the Republicans of Suffolk District No. 2 for the Massachusetts Senate but did not win the election since there were other candidates from his party in that district.

Fuller worked to advance a number of issues. He was active in the temperance and abolitionist movements and endorsed women pursuing a professional career. His belief in a free public education was shown by his serving on the Boston school board.

At the onset of the Civil War, Fuller resigned as a pastor in Watertown, MA to join the Sixteenth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. When the Sixteenth Regiment went into battle in June, 1862, he participated on the battlefield as a chaplain with prayers and encouragement. After this he became so weak and ill that he returned to Massachusetts. He came back in October, 1862 but was soon declared unfit for service.

Fuller returned once again to give his farewell address on December 7, 1862 and was honorably discharged on December 10, 1862. The next morning as his own regiment was preparing to attack Fredericksburg, VA, he volunteered to go with the Nineteenth Regiment. Wearing the uniform of a staff officer, he was a special mark for the sharpshooters. Fuller crossed the river in a boat to join the Nineteenth Massachusetts Regiment on the other side. A few minutes later, he was shot dead after having only fired a few shots. It was speculated that Fuller risked his life to accompany the Nineteenth Massachusetts, because he believed the men deserved to have a chaplain by their side as they fought. The Nineteenth's chaplain had fled some time ago.

The Governor of Massachusetts attended his funeral where ministers of several faiths eulogized him. Among them was James Freemen Clarke who declared that "Arthur Fuller was, like most of us, a lover of peace, but he saw, as we have had to see, that sometimes true peace can only come through war…. Fuller served ordinary folk and related far better to farmers, artisans, shopkeepers, laborers and soldiers than he did to the intellectuals who preserved his sister's memory.”* He is buried in Mt Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge.

His grandson is R. Buckminster Fuller, a philosopher, mathematician and the inventor who invented the geodesic dome composed of triangular shaped spheres and coined the phrase “Spaceship Earth.”

His statue was given to the state in 1863 and is on view in the State Library's main reading room (Room 341) through February 18.

* Unitarian Universalist Association. “Arthur Buckminster Fuller” (accessed December 30, 2010)