Monday, June 24, 2013

The Weird World of Atlases

 Ken Jennings, author of works including Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks, recently said, “I would read the atlas for pleasure. I knew it was weird…it was weird.” Mr. Jennings may be pleasantly surprised to discover just how many people share in this interest. In 2012, the State Library of Massachusetts received funding for the Massachusetts Real Estate Atlas Digitization Project – an endeavor that would entail the cleaning, basic repair, shipping, and digitization of its extensive atlas collection. Since this project began, the increase in online access and use of this information has been astounding. As the State Library’s new Preservation Librarian, I entered the role in the midst of this ongoing venture, and have greatly enjoyed being part of improving user experience. Once the final batch of atlases returns from the digitization facility, we will work hard to make the images available through our website. My hope is that you take some time to explore your home town atlas…even if you think that’s weird...

Kelly Turner
Preservation Librarian

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Congressional Directory

The Congressional Directory is the official directory of the United States Congress. It has been published by the Government Printing Office (GPO) since 1888. The Directory is published and distributed during the first session of each new Congress. The Directory is one of the oldest working handbooks in our government.

In the individual bi-annual editions, you can find short biographies of each member of the House and Senate listed by their state or district; their memberships on individual committees; terms of service; administrative assistants and/or secretaries; room numbers and telephone numbers.

The Directory also contains lists of the military establishments; officials of the courts; D.C. government officials; governors of the states and territories; foreign diplomats; members of the press, radio and television galleries.

The Directory is available on line from 1995-6 (the 104th Congress to the present.

Please visit us in room 341 of the State House to access our public computers to look at this publication. Our hours are 9 am to 5 pm Mondays through Fridays.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

In memory of Governor Argeo Paul Cellucci

Paul Cellucci's portrait,
painted by Ronald Sherr
 This Thursday, June 13th, the body of former Governor Argeo Paul Cellucci will lie in state at the Massachusetts State House. Cellucci died Saturday at the age of 65 from complications of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. A Hudson native, Cellucci lived a life dedicated to public service. He was a member of the Massachusetts General Court for 14 years, serving in the House of Representatives from 1977 to 1985 and in the Senate from 1985 to 1991. He was next elected Lieutenant Governor in 1991, serving in that capacity under Governor William Weld from 1991 to 1997. When Weld resigned in 1997, Cellucci served as acting Governor until he was elected Governor in 1999. He left the governorship to become ambassador to Canada in 2001.

The public viewing period will be from 2:30 to 7:00 in the Hall of Flags. This marks only the twelfth time an official has lain in state at the State House. Others to lie in state were:

March, 1874  Charles Sumner, served in the US Senate (1851 to 1874)

July 22 or 23, 1905  Wilmon W. Blackmar, Civil War Medal of Honor recipient and Commander in Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic (1904-05)

July 24, 1906  Brigadier General Edmund Rice, and Civil War Medal of Honor recipient

April 18, 1911  William M. Olin, Massachusetts Secretary of State (1892-1911)

April 8, 1915  Curtis Guild, former Governor (1906-1909)

Feb. 14-15, 1931  Major General Clarence R. Edwards

Nov. 13-14, 1958 James M. Curley, former Governor (1935-1937)

Jan. 8 - 9, 1994  Thomas P. O’Neill, Jr., former Speaker of the US House of Representatives  and former Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives

Oct. 27, 1998  Francis Sargent, former Governor (1969-1975)

May 31, 2001  John Joseph Moakley, served in the US House of Representatives (1973-2001)

Sept. 22-23, 2006  Edward J. King, former Governor (1979-1983)

March 11, 2009  George Keverian, former Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives

Monday, June 10, 2013

New Transportation Exhibit at the State Library

The State Library invites you to view the newest exhibit, Moving Massachusetts: The History of Transportation in the Commonwealth.

This exhibit illustrates landmark changes in transportation technology in Massachusetts. Beginning with the building of the Middlesex Canal in the 1800s to the first subway in the country (Boston 1890s), the exhibit highlights holdings from the State Library’s collections.

The exhibit runs through August 31, 2013 and can be viewed outside of the Library, Room 341 of the State House. Library hours are Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Researching the History of a Massachusetts Regulation

Although legislative histories are the predominant research questions that we receive at the State Library, once in a while we have patrons who want to know how to conduct research on a regulation found within the Code of Massachusetts Regulations (CMR). Researching the history of a regulation can often be a tedious task, but luckily it involves only two resources: the Massachusetts Register, and the cumulative tables to the Massachusetts Register.

The first step is to look at the cumulative tables (or indexes) that were published in the final Massachusetts Registers during each calendar year. The year-end cumulative tables start from 1976-1977 up to the most current, and document all of the CMR filings (or updates) and emergency regulations published in the registers during a specific year. The library maintains a binder of the tables from 1978-current, which is shelved with the CMRs in the reading room. If you do not know when a specific regulation was added, or when an amendment took effect, it is good practice to start with the earliest cumulative table and work forward through each year until you can begin tracing the history.

A page from the 2012 year-end cumulative table. Highlighted are all of the amendments to 760 CMR during the 2012 calendar year.
You will notice on the left-hand side of each page of the table the “digit title numbers” (or “agency numbers”) are listed in bold, and underneath each of these are the regulation chapter numbers. On the right-hand side there are two columns: the register issue number in which the amendment was published, and the date on which the amendment took effect. When you are able to begin tracing the history of the regulation and want to start looking at the specific filings, it’s important to take note of the register issue number so that you can later ask one of our reference librarians to retrieve the issue for you.

Like legislative histories, we recommend that all patrons wanting to conduct this type of research should visit the library in person. If you have any questions or request more information, please contact the State Library’s reference desk at 617-727-2590.

Kaitlin Connolly
Reference Department