Thursday, October 28, 2010

November 2010 Treasures of the State Library: Election Materials

Whether one is researching ballot questions currently being considered or looking for those from years ago, the State Library is the place to do one's research. Copies of Massachusetts Information for Voters from the Office of the Massachusetts Secretary of State present pro and con arguments on ballot issues which have faced the electorate. Those available in the
library are biennial from 1976.

For the outcome of elections going back not just decades, but for the 20th century entirely, one can visit us in person or view "returns of voters" by using our Digital Collections online. This link to our digital repository for these Massachusetts Election Statistics includes results from 1890.

Election results, whether for the six constitutional offices in Massachusetts, (Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, Auditor, Secretary of State, Treasurer and Attorney- General) or for members of the General Court or Governors Council, are among the most sought-after holdings in the State Library. These volumes are sometimes referred to as PD (Public Document) 43.

Staff in the library's Reference Department often refer users to Election Statistics to help those wishing to trace a city, town or district to garner the names of those who held a particular office over the years.

Pamela W. Schofield
Reference Department
State Library of Massachusetts

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sculpted to Inspire: George Frisbie Hoar

Do you know who George Frisbie Hoar is?

Do you know why his birthday is significant?

George Frisbie Hoar was born in Concord in 1826,
the same year the State Library was founded.

Please visit the Library in Room 341 between October 4 and November 12, 2010 to see the sculpture of George Frisbie Hoar.

The “Sculpted to Inspire” series is sponsored by the Friends of the State Library.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Major Accomplishment Reached by Preservation Intern

As part of a National Endowment for the Humanities grant, preservation intern Angela White has been working on surveying the library's 20th & 21st centuries map collection. This project aims to catch any existing damage to materials and to highlight materials where preservation efforts can be focused to avoid damage and deterioration into the future.

Angela has experience surveying several other library collections, and in June she began her survey work with the State Library's preservation lab. After four months of meticulous observation, she has recorded repairs and preservation actions needed on over 1,775 maps. Now Angela will begin the task of addressing the issues she found in the collection, starting with surface cleaning the most stable items. Keep an eye on the blog for more from Angela on her findings as she works through this rich and valuable library collection.

Lacy Crews Stoneburner, Preservation Librarian

Image: Map of the Street Railways of Massachusetts, 1913. Part of the 20th & 21st centuries map collection.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Plymouth Materials Now on Flickr

In the fall of 2008 the State Library of Massachusetts displayed an exhibit on one of the most famous towns in the Commonwealth: Plymouth. Titled “Plymouth: People, Politics, and Primary Sources,” the exhibit highlighted the library’s wealth of resources about this town, including William Bradford’s manuscript “Of Plimoth Plantation,” which was written between 1630 and 1650. Also exhibited were items such as historic maps, tax valuations, town reports, photographs, legislative documents, historic newspapers, directories, and the personal papers of a state legislator who represented Plymouth.

The exhibit may now be viewed online as a set of images on the State Library’s Flickr page. This photo set digitally recreates the 2008 exhibit, including the original information panels as well as digital images of the primary sources displayed in the exhibit.

Please visit the library Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm, to view the library’s current exhibit, “Butterflies of North America and Britain.”

-The Marketing Committee

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Home and Community-based Services for Elders and Caregivers

Nursing home stays have decreased in frequency over the years. As a result, community services and home care become more important as older people remain in their homes longer. The Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs plays an active role in helping people to navigate this system of care and to find resources. Erin Ferguson from the Executive Office of Elder Affairs will be in the Library to speak on this topic. This program is designed to provide information to assist legislative and state agency staff in their work, whether with citizens or legislation.

When: Tuesday, Oct. 19
Time: noon – 1:00pm
Where: Room 442 State House

Please bring a lunch and join us. Refreshments will be served. To register please call 617.727.2590 or email

Sponsored by the Friends of the State Library.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

An Amazing Surprise

Recently Assistant Library Director Alix Quan and I were in the library vault searching for historic supporting documentation for a recent digitization project. As Alix explored the shelves below where she was working, she found two volumes titled "Resolves and Orders Directing the Treasurer."

Obviously old, she pulled the first volume off of the shelf, only to discover that it covered the years 1787-1789, a period in which John Hancock was Governor. As we thumbed through the pages we realized that many resolves were signed by Governor Hancock, including the one on page 135, pictured at left. These resolves granted the treasurer permission to pay out state funds and each needed to be acknowledged by the Senate President, the Speaker of the House, the Governor and the Secretary of the Commonwealth.

Working in Special Collections I sometimes take for granted the fact that I get to handle and care for so many amazing artifacts of our past, and am often unfazed by anything published after 1730. But standing in the vault holding a book that John Hancock held over 220 years ago, I'm pretty awestruck.

- Lacy Crews Stoneburner, Preservation Librarian

Friday, October 8, 2010

Library closed for Columbus Day

The Library will be closed Monday in observance of Columbus Day. Regular hours will resume Tuesday. The Main Reading Room and the Periodicals Balcony are open Monday through Friday from 9:00AM until 5:00PM. Special Collections' hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00AM until 1:00PM and by appointment. Please call 617.727.2595 if an appointment is needed.

image: First Voyage, Departure for the New World, Aug. 3, 1492. Wikimedia Commons.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Brown Bag on the State House News Service

The State House News Service From the 1950’s until 2010

Join us for a BROWN BAG LUNCH on
Thursday, October 14th, 2010
State Library of Massachusetts
Room 442 State House
12 noon until 1:30 PM
Bring your lunch and hear Craig Sandler, General Manager of the State House News Service, speak about the origins of this vital news organization to its operation in today’s Massachusetts State House.

The State Library, along with a plethora of state agencies, officeholders and concerned groups and individuals, subscribes to the “service.” The library holds current materials and archives items back until the 1970’s. The online version is available in the library.

Craig will speak not only about all that the News Service does today, but also about how the “newspaper” field has changed over these decades. To register for the Brown Bag, please go to:
You may also do so by calling Reference directly at 617-727-2590 or by e-mailing us at

Sponsored by the Friends of the State Library

Future Brown Bags will include:
November 16th - Dolores Mitchell, Group Insurance Commission
December 16th - Marnie Warner, Massachusetts Trial Court Libraries
January 13th, 2011 - Brian Harkins, the Social Law Library
February 10th, 2011 - Ken Gloss, the Brattle Bookshop
March, 2011 - Bette Siegel, State Library, Federal Digital System
April, 2011 - Lacy Crews Stoneburner, State Library, Preservation

Friday, October 1, 2010

October 2010 Treasure of the State Library

This gem, prepared by the Office of Secretary of State William Francis Galvin and published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, is of special value to historians and to genealogists, but is important for all Massachusetts residents.

This is where one can go to see the overall dates when "places" were founded by legislative action. It includes the story of how Massachusetts counties and cities and towns were developed over the years- of how areas were "annexed," their dates of annexation and which boundaries were set. This book includes section and village listings for municipalities and an index which begins with "A Praying Indian" town (Billerica, for instance) to Zylonite, a section of the town of Adams.

Massachusetts is comprised of 351 cities and towns. The guide is of great help to people researching any or all of these locations.

Located at the reference desk, there are also several copies in the library stacks. The call number is MR 353.3m3 H57 1997. There are earlier versions of the "treasure" from the years 1920, 1948, 1966 and 1975.

Pamela W. Schofield
Reference Department