Friday, December 31, 2010

Blizzards in the Northeast

During the first blizzard of the 2010-2011 winter season, Boston received 18.2" of snow and wind gusts up to 60 miles per hour.

This storm met the 2 criteria set by the National Weather Service that define a blizzard. The first condition is that the snow has reduced visibility to less than a 1/4 of a mile. The second criteria is sustained or frequent wind gusts of 35 miles an hour or greater. These conditions must last 3 hours or longer.

Publications on this topic in the State Library's collection include the following:

1. Annual report. Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.
MR 355M3 M37 1996-

2. The blizzard of '88. Cable, Mary. QC 929 .S7 1988

3. Comprehensive emergency response plan. Massachusetts. Civil Defense Agency and Office of Emergency Preparedness, 1988. MR 355M3 .C65

4. Blizzard of 78 : after-action report to Governor Michael S. Dukakis . Massachusetts. Military Division. MR 355.6M3 B54 1978

Naomi Allen
Reference Librarian

image: Beacon Hill after the 1/23/2005 snow storm from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather service.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Freedom Trail Tapestry

The Freedom Trail Tapestry is a unique piece of artwork that hangs in the State Library in Room 442 of the State House.

The tapestry was originally installed in the Senate Lobby. Eleven historic sites on the Freedom Trail are depicted; among these are the Old North Church, King's Chapel, the Old State House, the Boston Tea Party, the Bunker Hill Monument, Faneuil Hall, and the Old South Meeting House.

This was designed and sewn by members of the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Needlepoint Guild in honor of the American Bicentennial in 1976. It is decorated with grasshoppers, chickadees and mayflowers.

The tapestry measures 11' x 5'. Next to it is a plaque recognizing the stitchers who created this beautiful handwork. It is on permanent loan to the State House from the Massachusetts Needlepoint Guild.

The Reference Department

Friday, December 24, 2010

Hours for Special Collections

Special Collections will be closed Dec 24 - 31. For assistance, please go to the Main Reading Room in Room 341. Regular hours will resume Jan. 3. Special Collections is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 until 1:00 and by appointment. Please call 617.727.2595 to schedule an appointment.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pictorial Maps Now on Flickr

In the summer of 2009 the State Library presented the exhibit, Ernest Dudley Chase: A Worldview in Maps highlighting original, decorative maps created and published in the 1930s and 1940s by Ernest Dudley Chase, a graphic artist from Winchester, Mass. Select images from this exhibit are now available on the library’s Flickr website.

Born in Lowell, Ernest Dudley Chase (1878-1966) worked for Rust Craft Publishers, which printed greeting cards at its plant in Dedham. Chase was the acknowledged expert in the greeting card business in the United States with publication of his book The Romance of Greeting Cards (1926), the first complete history of the greeting card industry. Chase’s maps were an extension of his work as a graphic artist for Rust Craft and also reflected an international trend toward pictorial mapmaking. These decorative maps, which experienced a resurgence in public popularity after 1913, are a genre in which the cartography is animated with illustrations of buildings, people, and animals. Often including historical references, the maps also frequently depicted airplanes and other modes of transportation. Borrowing from typical Renaissance cartography, Chase and other pictorial mapmakers used embellishments like compass roses, ornate cartouches, and decorative borders.

Chase’s maps revel in a colorful, idiosyncratic, and whimsical view of the world. The exhibit of his original cartographic creations showcased maps of Boston, Massachusetts, New England, the United States, and the world.

Due to copyright restrictions, only vignettes from select maps are included in this set. Please visit the Special Collections department to view any of the twenty nine Chase maps in the library's collection.

- The Marketing Committee

Above image adapted from: Historic Massachusetts: a travel map to help you feel at home in the Bay State, 1964.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sculpted to Inspire: John Davis Long

This sculpture of John Davis Long by Pierre Millet is the featured piece of art work in the Library's Main Reading Room through Dec. 24.

Long was born October 27, 1838 in Buckfield, ME, which was then part of Massachusetts. He attended the common schools of Buckfield and Hebron Academy in Maine. In 1857 he graduated from Harvard University at the age of 19. For the next two years, he taught school and was the principal at Westford Academy.

Long studied law at Harvard Law School from 1860 to 1861 and in the private law offices of Sidney Bartlett, dividing his time between Boston and Maine. Admitted to the bar in 1861, he began practicing law in Buckfield, ME. In 1863 he moved to Boston and, in 1869, to Hingham.

He was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1875 to 1878, serving as Speaker from 1876 to 1878. In 1879 he advanced to the office of Lieutenant Governor. Long was elected Governor on the Republican ticket and served from 1880 to1882 after winning by an overwhelming majority. During his term, Long shrank state government, reduced taxes on mortgages and local shipping, and opposed the Commonwealth’s capital punishment laws. He supported women’s suffrage and, as a lifelong abstainer of alcohol, advocated temperance legislation.

His political career continued in the U.S. Congress from March 1883 until March 1889 when he resigned to devote himself to the legal profession.
Presidents McKinley and Roosevelt appointed him to serve in their Cabinets as Secretary of the Navy; he held this position from March 5, 1897 until May 1, 1902 leaving once again to resume his law practice.

Long delivered a speech to the men’s club at North Abington’s church after he retired from active life.
This speech, noted in an Aug. 29, 1915 Boston Herald article, summarizes his simple philosophy. “Wealth alone does not make a man happy. It is not a necessity. The man with a dime in his pocket can be just as happy as the man with his pockets filled with golden coins.” As a member of the Unitarian Church, he believed in peace even though he was Secretary of the Navy during the Spanish American War.

Known to be prolific writer, he published a volume of poems entitled
Bites of a Cherry, a memoir Reminiscences of my Seventy Years’ Education, and a treatise about the Navy in 1903 entitled The New American Navy. While serving as Lt. Governor, he translated Virgil’s Aeneid. He was President of the Overseers of Harvard University and the Authors’ Club of Boston. Long died in Hingham on August 28, 1915 and is buried in Hingham Cemetery.

His books:

America of Yesterday, as Reflected in the Journal of John Davis Long. B L848

Bites of a Cherry. 821 L84b

The New American Navy. 359.9 L84n

Reminiscences of my Seventy Years’ Education. 906 M41p 1908-1909

The Republican Party: its History, Principles and Policies. He was the editor of this volume of articles by leading U.S. Senators and Representatives. 329R421 L84r

Friday, December 10, 2010

Brown Bag on Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries

do for YOU?

Join us for a BROWN BAG LUNCH on
Thursday, December 16th, 2010
State Library of Massachusetts
Room 442 State House
12 noon until 1:30 PM

Bring your lunch and hear Marnie Warner, Law Library Coordinator for the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries, speak about the seventeen public law libraries, their services and web site. The committed TCLL staff provide legal reference services and research to the public and legal community.

Marnie will be speaking about what the law libraries can do for you, asking the audience what they would like to see the law libraries provide and will also talk about the initiative and the Massachusetts Library Access to Justice program. The initiative ensures public access to the law and the Mass Library Access to Justice program facilitates access to legal information at public libraries.

If you would like to visit the Trial Court Libraries web site before the Brown Bag, please go to:

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:
January 13th, 2011 - Brian Harkins, the Social Law Library
February 10th, 2011 - Ken Gloss, the Brattle Bookshop
March, 2011 - Bette L. Siegel, State Library, Federal Digital System
April, 2011 - Lacy Crews Stoneburner, State Library, Preservation
May, 2011 - Neil Savage, The History of the General Court

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Favorite Book Cover of 2010

In the first year of the Mass. Room Preservation Project the preservation interns and I have preserved nearly 2,000 items. While the majority of these items have simple covers that include title and author details, every now and then an interesting title or cover art slips in. Some of my favorite titles have included:

The Cool Facts on Recycling Metalworking Coolants

Tire Piles in Massachusetts

Grow Your own Lobsters Commercially

By far my favorite cover seen this year is that of Measures of Water Pollution by the Water Resources Commission, pictured above. I love the cranky-looking octopus and all the little pictures of various types of pollution. Decorated bindings have their place, but I think there’s plenty of room to enjoy the more pedestrian of bindings too.

I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled in 2011 for a cover that tops this, but for 2010, the cranky octopus wins my award of favorite cover.

- Lacy Crews Stoneburner, Preservation Librarian

Friday, December 3, 2010

One-Stop Career Centers

Alice Sweeney, Director of Special Initiatives and Customer Accountability, will speak about the Massachusetts Workforce Development System and the One-Stop Career Centers located in 37 cities and communities throughout the Commonwealth. Overseen by the Department of Workforce Development, services for job seekers include career counseling and workshops, job fairs, coaching, networking groups, referrals to jobs, online job listings, and the use of resume software. Special employment programs exist to meet the needs of veterans, recipients of Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC), and others. To assist employers, the Centers provide access to qualified applicants, pre-screening, job postings, and the testing/assessment of applicants.

When: Tuesday, Dec. 7

Time: noon - 1:00 pm

Where: State Library, Room 442 State House

This program is designed for state employees to assist them in their work, whether with constituents or legislation. Please join us to learn more about the role of the Centers during these challenging economic times.

Feel free to bring your lunch. Refreshments served. To register please call 617.727.2590 or email

Sponsored by the Friends of the State Library.