Monday, March 30, 2020

Are you a Massachusetts State Employee working from home and need access to a journal article? The State Library can help you!

If you're a Massachusetts state employee working from home, you can still access many of the State Library's resources remotely, including interlibrary loans for online journal articles! Thanks to our network of local academic library partners, we are pleased that we can continue to offer access to online scholarly journal articles for your research needs.

All you have to do is fill out your online form, and we'll take it from there! While we can't guarantee that every request will be fulfilled, most online journal articles arrive via interlibrary loan within 24 hours.

If you have any questions, just send us an email at, and a librarian will respond as soon as possible.

Laura Schaub
Cataloging Librarian

Monday, March 16, 2020

Socialist Labor Party

We are pleased to announce that “Collection of Socialist Labor Party pamphlets, flyers, and other material, 1884-1903” is now open to researchers!

The Socialist Labor Party (SLP), established in 1876, is the oldest socialist political party in the United States. The SLP was very active in Massachusetts in the 1890’s, the height of the party’s popularity in this country. In 1893, the SLP published a “Manifesto of the Socialist Labor Party of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts”.  In it, they address “workmen” and lay out their ideas for establishing the “Co-Operative Commonwealth”.

Letter from the Boston American Section,
Socialist Labor Party, 1893.
Manifesto of the Socialist Labor Party of
the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1893.


Over the next ten years, the local Massachusetts party established a Constitution and a State Executive Committee. Numerous meetings and rallies were held, many of them featuring candidates for local office or well-known advocates of the SLP’s ideals. One such speaker was newspaper editor Daniel De Leon, who is credited with the expansion of the SLP in the United States through his newspaper’s wide reach and influence.

Announcement Flyer for a SLP
Patriot’s Day Celebration, 1894.
Meeting Flyer, highlighting speaker
Daniel De Leon, 1900.

The collection contains examples of SLP campaign literature, meeting and rally announcements, platform pamphlets, programs, ballots, and reports.  Some items in the collection have the notation, written in pencil, “From T.C. Brophy, Purchased”, suggesting an acquisition of at least part of the collection from Thomas C. Brophy, a member of the Socialist Labor Party of Massachusetts and frequent SLP candidate for local office. 

Undated and unlabeled newspaper clipping, Thomas C. Brophy
and Moritz E. Ruther, Socialist Labor Ticket in Massachusetts.

As we processed the collection, we discovered that many of the items needed attention from our preservation librarian. Paper from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s tends to be highly acidic because it was mass-produced using a high concentration of wood pulp. Wood pulp contains lignin, which causes paper to become brittle and discolored as it ages. What that means for us today (over one hundred years later!) is that these items are fragile and difficult to handle without tearing or crumbling. In some instances, our preservation librarian stabilized fragile materials by using a thin archival paper to mend, repair, and reinforce torn pages. The items that were in the worst condition also needed to be encapsulated in thin Mylar sleeves, which makes them easier to handle and store. 

This meeting poster, circa 1898, was originally folded.
It had to be repaired and reassembled by our Preservation Librarian.

To ensure the ongoing preservation of these records, the Special Collections Department staff is glad to assist researchers in accessing the collection. We invite you to come explore this brief, but interesting, period in Massachusetts history!

Access the guide to the collection here: Collection of Socialist Labor Party pamphlets, flyers, and other material,1884-1903: Guide (Ms.Coll. 176)

Deanna Parsi and Elizabeth Roscio
Special Collections

Monday, March 9, 2020

On Display in the State Library

The State of Maine turns 200 this March, but prior to 1820 the District of Maine had been part of Massachusetts. On display from March 5 through April 1 is a broadside that was issued in 1818 by the Commissioners of the Land Office in Boston. In the broadside, which functioned as an advertisement, residents of Massachusetts were encouraged to move north and apply to settle on land in Hancock, Cumberland, and Somerset counties. To spread the word of the available land, copies of this broadside were distributed to town selectmen who were tasked with reading it at public meetings, posting it in public places, and depositing it with Town Clerks so it could be shared with many residents.

You may be familiar with the phrase “Go west, young man, and grow up with the country” which was used throughout the 1800s as a rallying cry to urge the settlement of the western United States. This broadside shares a similar call to draw Massachusetts residents north.  It is peppered with lines like “Ye men of the country, who are independent on your farms, and have many sons to provide for, why not take up a lot for one, and try the experiment of an improvement.” The broadside stressed the affordability of buying land in the District of Maine, as well as listing the many benefits of its natural environment, from navigable waters and plentiful fish to excellent land for grazing. For those concerned with the isolation of settling in a new area, the broadside assured readers that new roads were completed (or would be completed) that would connect Maine to the Commonwealth and to Canada. It described townships along these routes that were in development, and encouraged several families from one neighborhood to go in together and start up a new enterprise in Maine.

Control of land in Maine had been contested by various groups over many years, but the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Revolutionary War, formally established Maine as part of Massachusetts. Maine tried to separate in 1807 and during the War of 1812, but did not achieve a successful vote to secede until 1819. Two years after this broadside was issued, Maine entered the United States and became the 23rd state on March 15, 1820. It joined as part of the Missouri Compromise, which established Missouri as a slave state and Maine as a free state, while also prohibiting slavery north of the 36°30′ parallel.

Mark Maine’s 200th birthday by visiting the library during March and taking a closer look at a piece of its settling history.

By Elizabeth Roscio
Preservation Librarian

Monday, March 2, 2020

March Author Talk: Josh S. Cutler

Mobtown Massacre: Alexander Hanson and the Baltimore Newspaper War of 1812
By Josh S. Cutler
Wednesday, March 11, 2020—Noon to 1:00pm
State Library of Massachusetts—Room 341, Massachusetts State House

The State Library of Massachusetts is delighted to announce the next speaker in our Author Talk series: the State House’s very own Representative Josh Cutler! On Wednesday, March 11, Rep. Cutler will speak about his recent book, Mobtown Massacre: Alexander Hanson and the Baltimore Newspaper War of 1812.

Mobtown Massacre tells the story of one of the earliest and most violent attacks on the free press in the United States. This little-known episode in American history centers around Alexander Hanson, a fiery young Federalist newspaper editor from Baltimore and the namesake of the town of Hanson, Massachusetts. Just days after the beginning of the War of 1812, Hanson published a sharply-worded anti-war editorial that led to a violent standoff in Baltimore that left Hanson beaten within an inch of his life. These brutal events helped shape both the course of the war and the notion of a free press in a bitterly divided nation.

Author Josh S. Cutler is an attorney and has served for the past seven years as the Massachusetts State Representative for the 6th Plymouth District, representing the towns of Hanson, Pembroke, and Duxbury. Prior to his role in the House of Representatives, Rep. Cutler served for more than a decade as a local newspaper editor. Rep. Cutler is a graduate of Skidmore College, Suffolk Law, and the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth.

Following his talk, Rep. Cutler will sell and sign copies of Mobtown Massacre, with 100% of proceeds being donated to the Friends of the State Library of Massachusetts.

To register for Rep. Cutler’s talk, please visit: 

Laura Schaub
Cataloging Librarian

Upcoming Author Talks at the State Library: