Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Selections from the State Library's Collection of Legislative Papers

This display showcases the careers of four Massachusetts legislators: Senator Jack Backman of Brookline, Representative Barbara Gray of Framingham, Representative Barbara Gardner of Holliston, and Senator Edward Kirby of Whitman. A state legislator's work is divided between issues that concern their constituencies and issues that face the entire state. The papers you see here represent both aspects of the legislator's careers. In some cases, a legislator adopts an issue that concerns everyone in the state, like Edward Kirby's efforts to increase mandatory testing for the AIDS virus. In others, a legislator does work to help one single constituent solve a problem, like Jack Backman's work on behalf of a family besieged by grackles. Finally, sometimes a legislator's work can begin in his or her district, but then go on to influence policies on a larger stage, like Barbara Gray's advocacy for prison inmates at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution in Framingham. Each of the stories told by these documents explores a different aspect of a legislator's career.

Senator Jack Backman
Massachusetts House of Representatives, 1965-1970, 13th Norfolk District
Massachusetts Senate, 1971-1987, Norfolk and Suffolk District (1971-1974), 3rd Middlesex and Norfolk District (1975-1978), 2nd Middlesex and Norfolk District

Brookline High School
These selections from Backman's constituent correspondence file show the work he did on behalf of Brookline High School to improve bus service.

A Bird Problem
In 1970, Senator Backman helped a Brookline family with an avian infestation.

Tenants' Rights
Senator Backman worked throughout his career to improve tenants' rights. The bill below passed in 1970.

Representative Barbara Gray
Massachusetts House of Representatives, 1973-1996, 56th Middlesex District (1973-1978), 6th Middlesex District (1979-1996).

Prisoners' Rights
Representative Gray focused on the rights of prisoners in state correctional institutions, particularly the Massachusetts Correctional Institution in Framingham. These materials document her work. Correspondence highlights the issues faced by inmates and the relationship that Gray formed with this population. Notes from Gray's 1995 visit to MCI Framingham show how carefully she studied the lives of inmates. And finally, with H2293, Gray fought to provide better facilities for prisoners.

Representative Barbara Gardner
Massachusetts House of Representatives, 1988-2000, 8th Middlesex District

Sexual Misconduct
Sexual abuse by care providers was a central issue for Gardner. These materials document her work on legislation designed to prevent and punish abuse by mental health and health care providers.

Domestic Violence
Representative Gardner was involved throughout her term in office with efforts to protect citizens from domestic violence.

  • Notes on domestic violence, probably taken by Gardner for debate on a bill: page one, page two, page three.

  • Document from the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators describing the trajectory of domestic violence legislation in the late 20th century: page one, page two.

Senator Edward Kirby
Massachusetts House of Representatives, 1960-1966,5th Plymouth District
Massachusetts Senate, 1981-1992, 2nd Plymouth District

Mandatory AIDS Testing
Senator Kirby was active in the effort to increase mandatory AIDS testing, especially for couples applying for a marriage license. The bill never passed, although Kirby sponsored it in multiple sessions.

Kingston Police Officers
"Ned" Kirby was a beloved figure in his district for decades, fighting to improve infrastructure and education in the South Shore. In this letter, a Kingston town employee thanks Kirby for his help with H6408 of 1989, which improved police service in the town.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Acts and Resolves Site is down

Our dSpace server, which runs the Acts and Resolves site, is currently down. The library staff is working to fix the problem and hope to have it up again in the next couple of days.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Library Closed for Patriot's Day, April 21

The library will be closed on Monday, April 21st in observance of Patriots Day.

The National Parks Service has a listing of some of the events commemorating the opening battle of the American Revolution at: http://www.nps.gov/mima/patriots-day.htm

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

From the Preservation Lab

In honor of National Library Week, here's a glimpse at education for library workers in the early 1900's.

This pamphlet from the Massachusetts Agricultural College outlines courses and lectures taking place during the one-week summer session.

With courses such as Agricultural Literature and Public Documents for Small Libraries, Rural Libraries, The Village Library and Foreign Population, and Local History Collections in Town Libraries, this program was designed as outreach and education for rural library workers.

Recently repaired in the preservation lab, this pamphlet received a custom-fitted folder and acid-free envelope to support and protect this item for the future.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Event: Come visit the Legislative Papers Collection at the State Library

When: Monday-Wednesday, April 14-16
Where: State Library Special Collections, State House Room 55
Reception: Tuesday, April 15, 10:30AM.
Refreshments will be served.

In honor of National Library Week, the State Library of Massachusetts is presenting an exhibit of materials from the Legislative Papers Collection. Come and learn about the careers of former state legislators, and find out more about the legislative papers collection: how it preserves the history of the Commonwealth, and how it is used by researchers.

The exhibit will highlight the careers of Barbara Gardner, Jack Backman, Barbara Grey, and others. These papers show senators’ and representatives’ commitment to the issues facing Massachusetts as a whole as well as their own constituencies.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Census Atlas of the United States

The first general population and housing statistical atlas published by the U.S. Census Bureau since the 1920's is now available for patrons to peruse at the State Library in Room 341 of the State House.

Information from 1790 to 2000 is included in the Atlas which emphasized spatial distribution and patterns of our country.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

From the Preservation Lab

This week a series of informational pamphlets published by the Massachusetts Agricultural College, now the University of Massachusetts Amherst, are being repaired and rehoused.

These pamphlets, dating from 1910 to 1927, provide information on correspondence courses offered by the college. Beekeeping, farm management and orcharding were just a few of the classes available to persons unable to attend the college campus. While the courses have changed over time, the college continues to provide extensive learning opportunities to persons outside of the Amherst area.

Each pamphlet will receive any necessary repairs and will be placed into a preservationally sound enclosure to ensure the safe-keeping of these documents dating from the university's early history.