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Sawicz Family Collection

Identifier: CHC005

Collection Description

This collection contains photographs; immigration and naturalization papers; bills and invoices; bankbooks; passports; letters and cards from Lithuania; and other related items. For the most part, the contents relate to Jennie, Andrew, Genevieve and Adele Sawicz. There are also nearly twenty photographs of unidentified individuals included in the collection. This collection is useful for research on immigrant families in Cambridge as well as documentation regarding rent control and landlord-tenant issues.


  • 1929-1981

Language of Materials

Material in English and Lithuanian.


Collection is available for research under the CHC rules of use.

Copyright Notice

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

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 Historical Commission Archives.

Historical Note

Lithuanian immigration to Cambridge began around 1901 with the majority of immigrants coming from South Boston or directly from Lithuania. They came to the United States to escape an oppressive Russian government and terrible economic conditions in Lithuania. Lithuanians settled in the Cambridgeport area of Cambridge. In 1910 there were approximately 1,200 Lithuanians living in Cambridge, and by 1920 there were 15,000 in the Boston area. They had industrial jobs at local packing, boiler, machine, and rubber shops. The children went to local and parochial schools, but often left school early to work in factories. Once Lithuanian couples married, it was common for the wife to run a boarding house if the household had extra room. The Lithuanian community formed social organizations, churches, stores, mutual aid societies, political organizations, trade unions, and cultural institutions in the area. An example of this is the American-Lithuanian Citizens Club, which was active in Cambridge from 1916 until 1971. It was into this established immigrant community that the Sawicz family moved when they came to Cambridge between the late 1920s, and early 1930s.

Andry (Andrew) and Joana (Jennie) Sawicz were a Lithuanian immigrant couple. Jennie was born Joana Staponkiute on May 9, 1895 and immigrated to the United States in 1929. Andrew Sawicz was born ca. 1889, and it is not known when he immigrated to the United States. They were married on February 16, 1930 and had two daughters, Adele and Genevieve. Adele was born May 25, 1934 and it is not known when Genevieve was born. Andrew died ca. 1943, and it is not known when Jennie died. The daughters lived at 94-96 Pine St. until their deaths, Adele on May 2, 1981 and Genevieve until on May 8, 2001. According to Ms. Abatt, who salvaged and donated the collection, Genevieve suffered from schizophrenia. After her sister Adele’s death, Genevieve insisted on being called by her late sister’s name. Neither sister married nor had children.


1 box (including 78 photographs)


This collection relates to the Sawicz family who lived at 94-96 Pine St. from ca. 1930 to 2001. It consists of one box which contains photographs, immigration and naturalization papers, bills and invoices, bankbooks, passports, letters and cards from Lithuania, and other related items. For the most part, the content relates to a father, mother, and two daughters, but there are also nearly 20 photographs of unidentified individuals present in the collection.

Collection Arrangement

Organized into this folder listing:
  1. Folder I: Andrew and Jennie Sawicz, Documents and Correspondence
  2. Folder II: Andrew and Jennie Sawicz, Photographs
  3. Folder III: Rent Control Documents
  4. Folder IIV: Genevieve Sawicz, Documents
  5. Folder V: Genevieve Sawics, Photographs
  6. Folder VI: Adele Sawicz, Documents
  7. Folder VII: Adele Sawicz, Photographs
  8. Folder VIII: Unidentified Photographs
  9. Folder IX: Correspondence

Physical Location

Collection is stored on-site


The Cambridge Historical Commission acquired this collection on September 10, 2002. Genevieve Sawicz, who was the last of her family to occupy 94-96 Pine St., died on May 8, 2001. When a salvage company was hired to empty the house, many items, including personal and family photos and papers, were discarded. Cynthia Abatt and Karan Marsh, neighbors of 94-96 Pine St., found the items in this collection in a dumpster outside 94-96 Pine St. and donated them to the CHC.

Related Resources:

Cambridge Historical Commission. “Lithuanians in Cambridge” folder, filed under “Groups”.

Woods, Robert A. and Albert J. Kennedy. The zone of emergence: observations of the lower middle and upper working class communities of Boston, 1905-1914. Abridged and edited by Sam Bass Warner, Jr. Cambridge, Mass., M.I.T. Press [1969, c. 1962]

Processing Information

Processed Molly Alexander and Maeve Strucker.

Initial finding aid by Emily Magagnosc, February 2017.

Updated by Brittany Fox, March 2020.

Encoded by: Brittany Fox, April 2020.
Inventory of the Sawicz Family Collection, 1929-1981
Processing by Molly Alexander and Maeve Strucker. Finding aid updated by Emily Magagnosc, February 2017. Subsequent update by Brittany Fox, March 2020.
Description rules
Finding Aid Was Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Description is in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge Historical Commission Archives Repository

831 Massachusetts Avenue
2nd Floor
Cambridge Massachusetts 02139 US