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American Legion Post No. 27 Records, 1918-1970

Identifier: 018

Collection Overview

This collection documents the work of the American Legion Post #27 (ca. 1918-1970). Records consist mostly of administrative records, meeting minutes, and correspondence. It also includes memberships, grave registration cards and wooden plaques.

The wooden plaques are 14.5 inches wide, 17.5 inches long, and .5 inches high. The images are a photographic process of emulsion on copper alloy, mounted to original wood supports, with small copper alloy name plates below. The wood plaques were originally finished with a toned natural resin (probably shellac), followed by wax. Thirty-five of the plaques have lost their name plates, and thus have been identified as "Unknown" and assigned a number according to their location in the boxes. The plaques are generally in good condition, with some instances of missing name plates, scratches, abrasions, and disintegrated images. Also included with the collection is a temporary charter granted by the American Legion under Enos Sawyer on June 10, 1919. The plaques were made by Imperishable Arts as indicated by a sticker on the back of the Andrew F. Lynch plaque that reads: "Imperishable Arts, Inc., 525 Fifth Ave New York, Phone Murray Hill, 10431."

The collection contains 3 large wooden hanging panels: one center panel measuring 54 inches long and 36 inches wide, and two side panels each measuring 47 inches long and 19 inches wide. Panels are wood, possibly shellacked. The center panel contains a carved American eagle surrounded by two carved wooden stars. Below the eagle is a carved American Legion insignia. Each panel contains individual nameplates for American Legion members and members’ children serving in the military. Name plates are also wooden, and seem to be screwed in to each panel. Nine name plates contain gold stars for members killed in action. Some lettering has fallen off but the impressions left reads “Cambridge Post No. 27 American Legion, Department of Massachusetts. Proudly we pay tribute to members of our post and members of their families who answered the call to the colors.”


  • 1918-1970

Language of Materials


Access to Collection

A major portion of this collection is open to research, but the plaques and panels are closed due to their fragility. Digital copies are available.

If originals are needed, please consult with archive staff.

Conditions Governing Use

The materials in this collection are in the public domain.


Cambridge Post #27 was established just after World War I, in 1918 or 1919. The post’s members succeeded in attracting many World War II and Korean War veterans, but they had little appeal for veterans of Vietnam and later wars. As a result, the American Legion’s membership has diminished. While it a “ghost-post” (with no address) today, it occupied rooms at the police headquarters from the early 1920s until the 1970s. Before closing, Post #27 had also been at 53 Prospect Street (now a parking lot) and at Saint-John’s church on Massachusetts Avenue.

The set of wood plaques honors soldiers from Cambridge, Mass. who died in World War I. The plaques were dedicated in 1928 by Edward W. Quinn, Mayor (1918-1929) and put on display in the War Memorial Recreation Center in Cambridge, Mass. Each plaque bears an image of the solider on a copper alloy plate, a name plate (also copper alloy), the date of the year s/he died, and the following text: "In grateful remembrance of her War Dead, Presented by the Cambridge City Government, 1928, Edward W. Quinn, Mayor." A memorial plaque to the soldiers was dedicated on May 30, 1936, by Edward W. Quinn and John D. Lynch, Mayor (1936-1937). The plaques were made by Imperishable Arts, Inc. in New York City.


23.3 Linear Feet

32.7 Cubic Feet

26 boxes (13 Oversize 13 Hollinger)

2700 Items

Organization of Collection

Series 1: Correspondence

Series 2: Events and Programs

Series 3: Minutes

Series 4: Other Organizational Records

Series 5: Grave Registration Cards

Series 6: Membership Cards

Series 7: Artifacts

Collection contains around 2700 items, arranged alphabetically within series.

Custodial History

Most of the collection history is unknown.

The plaques were originally located in the War Memorial Recreation Center at 1640 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, Mass. and were donated to the Library during the Facility’s renovation in 2009.

Processing Information

Processed by Emily Clark, January – April, 2012.

EAD conversion by Allyson Doyle under the supervision of Alyssa Pacy in September 2016
Finding Aid to the American Legion Post No. 27 Records, 1918-1970 018
Emily Clark EAD created by Allyson Doyle in September 2016 under the supervision of Alyssa Pacy.
1 April 2012/ 17 September 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge Room, Cambridge Public Library Archives and Special Collections Repository

Cambridge Public Library
449 Broadway
Cambridge MA 02138 USA