New Book Available Now Building Old Cambridge


11/30/2016

Building Old Cambridge cover image

Cambridge Historical Commission Releases New Publication, Building Old Cambridge: Architecture and Development

The Cambridge Historical Commission is pleased to announce the release of its latest book, Building Old Cambridge: Architecture and Development, which has just been published by The MIT Press and is now available in bookstores and online.

Building Old Cambridge explores the oldest section of Cambridge, which was founded as the capital of Massachusetts Bay in 1630 and chosen as the site of Harvard College in 1636. When the new villages of Cambridgeport and East Cambridge appeared in the early 19th century the original settlement around Harvard Square became known as Old Cambridge. While the university and its often-wealthy students influenced the development of Harvard Square, Old Cambridge became a national center of the printing industry and supported vital communities of African Americans and Irish immigrants. Successive waves of newcomers – including the West Indian planters who built summer estates in the 1750s, the suburbanites who appeared in the 1850s, and the annually renewed flood of professors and students that have always enriched community life – have contributed to the layering of architectural styles that is evident in all corners of the neighborhood.

The Cambridge Historical Commission was established in 1963 as the city’s historic preservation agency. Its initial publishing program, the Survey of Architectural History in Cambridge, included five neighborhood studies published between 1965 and 1977. A completely new neighborhood history, East Cambridge, followed in 1988, and five volumes of oral histories appeared in 1997-2015. Building Old Cambridge: Architecture and Development is a comprehensive exploration of the neighborhood’s history and architecture. Extensively illustrated with many historic images never before published, it will be a standard reference for years to come.

Susan E. Maycock is an architectural historian and Survey Director of the Cambridge Historical Commission. Charles M. Sullivan, a city planner, has been Executive Director of the Cambridge Historical Commission since 1974.

Copies may be purchased at the Historical Commission office, at local bookstores, or directly from MIT Press. The cover price is $49.95 Books may be ordered online by completing the order form here. Add $8.00 for shipping by library mail or $14 for priority mail. Check or money order should be made payable to the Cambridge Historical Commission.

Update December 2017:
More information on this publication from the Press is available here.