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Alice Wolf Papers, 1963-2011

Identifier: 047

Collection Overview

The collection contains correspondence, reports, meeting minutes, news clippings, and printed materials related to Alice Wolf and the various public offices she held throughout her political career as well as materials related to local, state, and national Democratic politics more generally. The collection also contains photographs, audiovisual materials, and realia related to Wolf’s career. All phases of Wolf’s political career are represented, with the City Council tenure documented most thoroughly. Most of the material from her tenure as Massachusetts State Representative relates to elections. There is relatively little material related to Wolf’s activities outside of politics and public life, though some biographical materials are included.


  • 1963-2011


Access to Collection

This collection is open to research.

Conditions Governing Use

According to the deed of gift signed on May 1, 2015, the donor's copyright to these materials have been assigned to the Cambridge Public Library. It is the responsibility of the researcher to understand and observe copyright law and to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyright. Questions concerning copyright and permission to publish should be directed to the Cambridge Room, Cambridge Public Library Archives and Special Collections


Alice Koerner Wolf was born December 24, 1933, in Austria. Her Jewish family left Austria in 1938 because of Nazi persecution and immigrated to Brighton, Massachusetts. She attended high school at Boston Girls' Latin School. Wolf received her B.A. in Experimental Psychology from Simmons College in 1955. Her first professional job was with MIT's Lincoln Laboratory, where she conducted research using the Memory Test Computer. She later worked for several technology companies before shifting her focus to politics. Wolf earned a Master's degree in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 1978.

Wolf has been an active figure in Cambridge, state, and national Democratic politics for more than five decades. Wolf's interest in public service and politics began with her involvement in the Parent Teacher Association at Peabody School. She then was elected to the Cambridge School Committee, serving from 1974 to 1982. She lost her first election to Cambridge City Council in 1981, but won in 1983 and four more times after that, serving from 1984 to 1994. She was elected the Vice Mayor of Cambridge from 1988 to 1989 and the Mayor of Cambridge from January 1990 to January 1992. Wolf decided not to seek reelection in 1993 and instead set her sights on a higher office. She won her first election to the Massachusetts State House of Representatives in 1996, and served in that body until her retirement at the conclusion of her term in January 2013.

Wolf's major areas of interest include services to the poor and homeless, education, affordable housing and rent control, elder services, child and family services, and gay and lesbian issues. She has received many awards and honors for her public service activities, including an honorary doctorate from Wheelock College in 2001.

Wolf married Robert Wolf and they are longtime residents of Cambridge and have two sons.


17.7 Linear feet

19.8 Cubic Feet

43 boxes (39 Hollinger boxes, 3 oversize boxes)

7,350 Items

28 Photographic Prints

Language of Materials


Organization of Collection

This collection is organized into 10 series. They are alphabetical or chronological within series.

Series 1: Biographical and Personal

Series 2: Cambridge School Committee

Series 3: Cambridge City Council

Series 4: Cambridge Mayor

Series 5: Massachusetts State Representative

Series 6: Democratic Politics

Series 7: Audiovisual

Series 8: Photographs

Series 9: Realia

Series 10: Newspapers, Clippings and Oversize

Custodial History

The collection was donated by Alice Wolf in August 2013.

Processing Information

Processed by Chrsitine Di Bella in December 2014 and encoded by Moira Mackay under the supervision of Alyssa Pacy in February 2017.



Alice Wolf Papers, 1963-2011
Christine Di Bella (finding aid author 2014) and Moira Mackay (EAD author 2017) under the supervision of Alyssa Pacy.
December 23, 2014 and February 22, 2017
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

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

Cambridge Public Library
449 Broadway
Cambridge MA 02138 USA