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Cambridge Recreation Department Collection

 Collection
Identifier: CHC011
This collection contains approximately 3 cubic feet (1 banker’s box, 2 cartons, 2 flat boxes) of materials created by or related to the Cambridge Recreation Department. The Cambridge Recreation Department Collection was donated to the Cambridge Historical Commission in August 1995 by Curtis Gaines, an employee of Human Services. The material included 23 photographs, and these were added to previous Recreation Department photos owned by the Historical Commission. Other items include three scrapbooks, three books, and city papers. Much of the collection consists of City Council orders concerning park maintenance and upkeep and department financial and other matters. The collection also includes budget appropriations materials (1923-1944), a ledger (1924-1935), an excavation contract and map of Alberico Play Area, planning materials for other parks and playgrounds, department reports, and many photographs (c. 1920-1966).

Collection Arrangement The collection has been divided into two series: Series 1. Documents (1892-1981), and Series 2. Photographs (c. 1920s-1960s).

Dates

  • ca. 1892-1981

Language of Materials

Material in English.

Access Restrictions

Collection is available for research under the CHC rules of use. Materials included in the volumes of Cambridge Park Department appropriation requests located in Box 3 are fragile and will need to be examined by the archivist before use.

Copyright Notice

Copyright for materials resides with the creators of the items in question, unless otherwise designated.

Extent

1 banker’s box, 2 cartons, 2 flat boxes (Approximately 3 cubic feet)

Overview

Historical Note: The Cambridge (Mass.) Park Commission was established in 1892, with a Board of Park Commissioners. Before that, Cambridge only had a few poorly planned and maintained public parks with no public programs. The commissioners hired landscape architect Charles Eliot and his firm, Olmsted, Olmsted, & Eliot to improve the existing parks and plan new ones in poorer, more congested neighborhoods. At the same time the city acquired Donnelly Field in East Cambridge, Rindge Field in North Cambridge, and the entire Cambridge frontage of the Charles River, in 1894 taking 800 acres of mud flat and degraded salt marsh by eminent domain and by 1914 creating a park along the length of the city’s shoreline. In 1910, the city began to construct playgrounds and to operate recreation programs there, and these functions expanded after the riverfront park was transferred to the Metropolitan District Commission in 1921. After World War II, the responsibilities of the Park Commission were divided between the Department of Public Works and the Human Services Dept., which operates recreational programs.

Collection Description: The Cambridge Recreation Department Collection was donated to the Cambridge Historical Commission in August 1995 by Curtis Gaines, an employee of Human Services. The material included 23 photographs, and these were added to previous Recreation Department photos owned by the Historical Commission. Other items include three scrapbooks, three books, and city papers. Much of the collection consists of City Council orders concerning park maintenance and upkeep and department financial and other matters. Preservation copies of scrapbooks (brittle originals have been discarded) contain newspaper clippings of Recreation Dept. activities, c. 1956-1981. The collection also includes budget appropriations materials (1923-1944), a ledger (1924-1935), an excavation contract and map of Alberico Play Area, planning materials for other parks and playgrounds, department reports, and many photographs (c. 1920-1966).

Collection Arrangement

The collection has been divided into two series: Series 1. Documents (1892-1981), and Series 2. Photographs (c. 1920s-1960s).

Physical Location

831 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge MA 02139 USA 617-349-4683 egonzalez@cambridgema.gov

Acquisition Information

Curtis Gaines, 1995.

Related Material

A selection of images from this collection have been digitized on CHC’s Flickr: https://bit.ly/2MPSMfv

Processing Information

Processed by Matthew Hall, 1995

Encoded by Meta Partenheimer, 2018
Title
Inventory of the Cambridge Recreation Department Collection, ca. 1892-1981
Author
Processing and finding aid by: Matthew Hall, 1995; machine-readable finding aid by: Meta Partenheimer
Date
© 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge Historical Commission Repository

Contact:
831 Massachusetts Avenue
2nd Floor
Cambridge Massachusetts 02139 US