Monday, September 24, 2018

October Author Talk: Barbara Berenson

Massachusetts Leaders in the Woman Suffrage Movement
By Barbara Berenson 
Wednesday, October 17, 2018—Noon to 1:00pm
State Library of Massachusetts—Room 341, Massachusetts State House

Photo by Liz McEachern
Hall/Three Twelve
The State Library invites you to our next author talk on Wednesday, October 17, with Barbara Berenson, Senior Attorney at the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and author of the new book Massachusetts in the Woman Suffrage Movement: Revolutionary Reformers.

In anticipation of the 2020 centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, Massachusetts in the Woman Suffrage Movement explores the Bay State's pivotal role in the amendment’s passage. According to Berenson, “the women’s rights movement began in Massachusetts, the nation’s most important abolitionist center.” Her well-researched book focuses on the dedication and sacrifices of Massachusetts activists such as Lucy Stone and Abby Kelley Foster, who helped launch the national movement that eventually led to the constitutional amendment securing women’s right to vote.

Barbara Berenson is the author of two other recent books focusing on local history: Boston and the Civil War and Walking Tours of Civil War Boston, and she is the coeditor of the book Breaking Barriers: The Unfinished Story of Women Lawyers and Judges in Massachusetts. A graduate of Harvard College, Harvard Law School, and Harvard Kennedy School, Berenson served as Assistant District Attorney for Middlesex County and Assistant Attorney General of the Commonwealth before becoming a Senior Attorney for the Supreme Judicial Court. She also serves on the Boards of Boston by Foot and the Royall House and Slave Quarters.

To register for this author talk, please visit:

Laura Schaub
Cataloging Librarian

Upcoming Author Talks at the State Library:

Monday, September 17, 2018

Joy Books and the War Camp Community Service

November 11, 2018 will mark one hundred years since the ceasefire came into effect ending the First World War (1914-1918). Some of our blog’s readers may be familiar with many of the World War I-related materials we have here at the State Library of Massachusetts, including our collection of World War I soldier photographs given to us by the Boston Globe or histories of different military divisions, such as this Pictorial History of the Twenty-sixth Division of the U.S. Army from 1920. But in addition to these fantastic resources, our stacks contain evidence of bright moments amid this dark time. One such item is a thin volume published by the Boston War Camp Community Service Committee on Hospitality in 1918. It’s title? Simply: Joy Book for Soldiers and Sailors.

Cover of Joy Book for Soldiers
 and Sailors

The Joy Book serves as a guidebook for soldiers and sailors stationed in and around Boston, with “suggestions of places which the Committee hopes may interest and entertain.” And truly the book includes something for everyone: club rooms, vaudeville and movies, gymnasiums, music, and libraries are listed in their own categories, with the State Library listed under “Books” on page 6. The book also includes a helpful foldout map of Boston for those visiting, and features travel and hospitality information “if your women folks are coming to Boston” (page 4).

Foldout map from Joy Book for Soldiers and Sailors (1918)

Guide books like these were published by the War Camp Community Service, one of the two secular groups involved in the United War Work Campaign dedicated to providing entertainment to American troops at home and abroad (the only other secular group involved with the UWWC? The American Library Association). War Camp Community Service (WCCS) groups were devoted to acting as a facilitator between the community and the soldiers stationed nearby: “One of the manifestations of this spirit is the widespread and wholehearted effort to make the man in uniform feel that, wherever he may be in this country – whether in his home town or a thousand miles from his native state – he has both the friendship and respect of the community, and that his uniform entitles him to feel at home wherever he is stationed” wrote Paul Robert Jacques in an article about the efforts of the WCCS. He also proclaimed that “New England has been a leader in this excellent work. At Portsmouth, N.H. for instance, a committee, representing the summer colony at Rye Beach and Little Boars Head, was formed early last summer to meet the social needs of the men at the Navy Yard… In the vicinity of Boston, a number of delightful homes have also been thrown open for purposes of hospitality to men in uniform. They include the homes of Mr. and Mrs. Stanwood G. Willington at Brookline; Mr. John E. Oldham and Miss Smith at Wellesley Hills; and Mr. George D. Hall at Dedham.”

Photograph of Edward J. Dunlea,
101st Infan. Co. E.
from our World War I
Soldier Photographs collection
By providing entertainment and hospitality, those involved in the WCCS believed they were providing a vital service, one which President Woodrow Wilson called ‘a military and social necessity.’ Paul Robert Jacques went on to explain that the WCCS’s “special care is the comfort, welfare, and recreation of the enlisted men of the Army and Navy, and to this end its ramifications spread through countless activities which touch upon the soldier when he is off duty. To quote the President [Wilson] once more: ‘The spirit with which our soldiers leave American and their efficiency on the battlefronts of Europe will be vitally affected by the character of the environment surrounding our military training camps’” (What We Are Doing for the Boys in Camp).

What would you have recommended to soldiers stationed in Massachusetts? Are they listed in the Joy Book, now available online? Learn more about the State Library’s World War I-related materials and Massachusetts’ involvement via our blog or by searching our catalog.


Alexandra Bernson
Reference Staff

Monday, September 10, 2018

New Fall Exhibition: Bird's-Eye View Maps in the State Library of Massachusetts

Opening today at the State Library: Bird's-Eye View Maps in the State Library of Massachusetts. This exhibition draws from the library’s extensive collection of historic bird’s-eye view maps. Dating from the mid-1800s to the early 1900s, the maps provide a fascinating view into a town’s past. Every Massachusetts county is represented in the exhibition, and the full collection will be available through our digital repository.  

The exhibition runs from September 10 through December 31, 2018 and can be viewed outside of the Library, Room 341 of the State House. Library hours are Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm. This exhibition will be available to view online as a set of images on the State Library's Flickr site.