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For the Year 1925


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By a recent vote of the Council, the
Proceedings for each year, beginning with
1925, are to be pubUshed during the fol-
lowing year, and the volumes now in ar-
rears (1920 to 1924 inclusive) are to be
published as opportunity permits. Since
many of the programs for those years con-
sisted of informal addresses not preserved,
the reading of extracts from books, the
exhibition of various collections, and other
matters not available for printing, the
Proceedings for 1920 and 1921 will even-
tually be published together as Volume
XV, those for 1922 as Volume XVI, and
those for 1923 and 1924 as Volume XVII.
The present volume for 1925 therefore
becomes Volume XVIII.


. Page


Sixty-ninth Meeting 5

Seventieth Meeting 7

Sev'entt-first I^Ieeting 8

Se\tentt-second Meeting 9


Historical Sketch of Charitable Societies in Cambridge 11
By Edwin Herbert Hall

QuiNCY Street in the Fifties 27

By Lillian Horsford Farlow

The Washington Elm Tradition 46

By SAMi:rEL Franqs Batchelder


Secretary and Council 76

Treasurer 81




1.' ::'Ay.k





Twentieth Annual Meeting

rpHE Sixty-ninth jNIeeting of the Cambridge Historical
-■- Society, being the twentieth annual meeting, was held 27
January, 1925, at the residence of the Reverend John Simpson
Penman, 146 Brattle Street, Cambridge. A bitter snowstorm
was responsible for a small attendance.

President Emerton called the meeting to order. The minutes
of the last meeting were read and allowed.

The Secretary read his annual report, with which by custom
was incorporated the annual report of the Council.

Voted to accept the report and refer to the Editor for publica-
tion. (Printed, pp. 76-80, post.)

The Curator made his annual report, reading a hst of the
unusually large number of objects presented to the Society dur-
ing the year, some of which he exhibited.

Voted to accept the report and refer as above.
In the absence of the Treasurer, his annual report was read by
Mr. Stoughtou Bell, together with the report of the Auditors.

Voted to accept the same and refer as above. (Printed, p.
81, post.)

The President stated that he had appointed in advance a
nominating committee consisting of Messrs. Beale and Poor.


For this committee Mr. Poor reported the following nomina-

Presidenl Ephbaim Emerton

Mary Isabeix-'^. Gozzaij)i

Viee-Presidenis ■ William Cooudge Lane

Robert Walcott

Secretary Samuel Frakcts Batcheldeh

Treasurer George Grier Wright

Curator Walter Benjamin Briggs


Samttel Francis Batcueldeb Edward Waldo Forbes

Joseph Henry Beale Mary Isabella Gozzaldi

Stotjghton Bell William Cooltdge Lane

Walter Benjamin Briggs Clarence Henry Poor, Jr.

Frank Gaylord Cook Robert Walcott

Ephraim Emerton John William Wood, Jr.
George Grier Wright

Ballots were distributed and the above were duly elected as
the officers of the Society for 1925.

For the committee on the Old Burj'ing Ground, the Secretary
announced that the City Engineer had at length completed,
without cost to the Society, the detailed plot of the ground show-
ing every stone and tomb to the number of over 1200, and pre-
pared a finding hst for the same. A blue print of this plan was

Voted that Lewis M. Hastings, Esquire, City Engineer, be
extended the grateful thanks of this Society for his valuable
contribution to the history of Cambridge.

After a few preliminary remarks, the President introduced as
the speaker of the evening. Professor EDW^N Herbert Hall,
President of the Cambridge Welfare Union, who read a paper on
"The History of Charitable Societies in Cambridge," including
a sketch of James Huntington, f oimder of the Avon Place Home.
(Prmted, pp. 11-26, post.)

The meeting then adjourned and the hght refreshments were

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nnHE Seventieth jMeeting of the Society was held 28
A April 1925, at the residence of Horatio Stevens White,
29 Reservoir Street, Cambridge. About twenty-five persons
were present.

The President called the meeting to order. The minutes of
the last meeting were read and allowed.

For the committee on the Old Burjing Ground, the Secretary-
reported that a cross set of finding Usts — numerical, alpha-
betical and chronological — had been prepared in conformity
with the engineer's plot.

Mrs. Farlow announced that the Society had been offered,
through her, some of the wood of the historic "Village Smithy"
formerly standing at the corner of Brattle and Story Streets,
together with a chair made from the same. The President
stated that objects of this kind would be greatly appreciated for
the Society's collections.

The speaker of the evening, the Hon. Robert Walcott, then
gave an extempore address on ''Charles Pollen," and exhibited
various books, pictures, manuscripts, etc., relating to him.^

The meeting then adjourned for refreshments.

»See E. L. Pollen's Life of Charles Follen (Boston, 1841); T. Parker's "Life
f*^ i5'^^^^^*^'' "^ ^^- ^'<^^^P"'" in tiis Amencan Scholar (1907); K. Prancke's
Follen and the German Liberal Movement, 1815-19," in American Historical
Association Papers, vol. 5 (1S91), etc.

i^t:.' ;'W.'-r/T.

' b


THE Se\'enty-first Meeting of the Society took the form
of a lawn party, for members and friends, on the afternoon
of 12 Jmie 1925, at the residence of Stoughton Bell, Esq., 121
Brattle Street, Cambridge. The weather was ideal and the
flowers and foliage at their best. Over sixty persons were
present. Tea was served under the trees at 4.30 p.m.

At 5.15 P.M. the guests assembled indoors, and the President
gave a few words of greetmg. Miss Hopkinson, a member of the
pageant committee of the 150th anniversary celebration by the
city on July 3, urged the members of the Society to cooperate
on that occasion. A list prepared by ]Mrs. Gozzaldi was read of
the historical buildings and sites in Cambridge to be marked
with large placards during that celebration.

The speaker of the afternoon, Mrs. William Gilson Farlow,
then read a paper on her early recollections, entitled "Quincy
Street in the Fifties." (Prmted, pp. 27-45, post.) In connection
with this paper Mr. Lane exhibited a number of appropriate
photographs from the collection in the University Library.

■ At 6.15 P.M. the meeting adjourned.



■■t : .^0 i^


THE Se\'enty-second Meeting of the Society was held
on the evening of 27 October, 1925, at the residence of Mr.
James Leonard Paine, 9 Waterhouse Street, Cambridge. About
fifty members were present.

President Emerton called the meeting to order. The minutes
of the last meeting were read and allowed.

The Curator exliibited a number of new gifts to the Society,
especially several large scrapbooks, containing local historical
material collected bj' the late William Augustus Saunders and
presented by the widow of our former member, Herbert Alden

On the recommendation of the Council (due notice having
been given in the call for the meeting) it was

Voted that the first sentence of Article III of the By-Laws be
amended to read as follows:

"Any resident of, or person having a usual place of business
in, the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts, shall be ehgible for
regular mcmbersliip in this Society."

And in conformity with this change, that the first sentence of
Article VI be amended to read as follows:

"Any person who is neither a resident of, nor has a usual
place of business in, the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts,
but is either a native, or formerly had a residence or a usual
place of business there for at least five years, shall be eligible to
associate membership in the Society."

Voted that the present Article XVIII of the By-Laws (as to
amendments) be numbered Article XX, and be preceded by
two new articles, as follows:

" Article XVIII. Dissolution

"If at any time the active membership falls below ten, this
Society may be dissolved at the written request of three mem-
bers, according to the laws and statutes of this Commonwealth.

.1. ■ i ' :l


"Article XIX. Disposition of Property upon Dissolution

"Upon dissolution of the Society, all its collections and other
property shall pass to the President and Fellows of Harvard
College, in trust for the following purposes, to wit:

"1. To place all the books and manuscripts of the Society in
the University Library so that they shall at all times be acces-
sible for consultation and study.

"2. To place the other collections of the Society m some
buildmg where they will be safe and accessible, so far as possible;
or if they cannot do so, to transfer such other collections to the
Cambridge Pubhc Library, the jNIassachusetts Historical So-
ciety, or such other fit educational institution as w^ill hold them
in trust for the citizens of Cambridge.

"If the President and Fellows of Harvard College shall de-
cline this trust, then the property of the Society upon its dis-
solution shall pass on the same terms to the City of Cambridge,
to be administered by the trustees of the Cambridge Public

The President stated that a fresh supply of "ancestors'
papers" was ready, and requested members having Cambridge
ancestry to fill them out for permanent record.

The Secretary then spoke on "The Washington Elm Tradi-
tion" in connection with the recent celebration held by the city.
(Printed, pp. 46-75, post.)

The meeting then adjourned.


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. i By Edwin H. Hall

Read 27 January 1925

We cannot duly appreciate the charitable institutions of our
c^vTi time and place, without a considerable historical back-
ground ; and, in view of the great influence which the Bible had
on the lives of our New England forefathers, it is not unfitting
to begin an account of Cambridge charities by reference to the
Old Testament.

In the ten commandments, which first appear in the twen-
tieth chapter of Exodus, there is nothing said about caring for
the poor. These laws command justice but not generosity. In
fact, according to the bible story, the commandments were de-
livered to the Israelites only a few months after their departure
from Egj^pt, at the beginning of their long sojourn in the wilder-
ness, while they were subject to attack from dangerous enemies
and dependent for their daily bread on the manna miraculously
provided for them. Injunctions regarding the care of the poor
would apparently have been premature at this time.

In the twenty-third chapter of Exodus, however, which evi-
dently refers to a considerably later time and a condition of
estabUshed habitation, we find this passage: ''And six years
thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits thereof;
but the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still ; that the
poor of thy people may eat. ... In like manner thou shalt deal
with thy vineyard and with thy ohve yard." In the fifteenth
chapter of Deuteronomy we read, "At the end of every seven
years thou shalt make a release," that is, of debts, "save when
there shall be no poor among you." Indeed, it seems not too
much to say that among the early Jews, almsgiving, care for
the poor, was a kind of religious ritual, performed in part, of
course, from the instinct of humanity but with a very definite
view of profit to the giver. In the same chapter from which I

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have just quoted we find this verse: "Thou shalt surely give
him [the poor man] and thine heart shall not be grieved when
thou givest unto him; because that for this thing the Lord thy
God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest
thine hand to do."

In the nineteenth chapter of Proberbs we read, ''He that hath
pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he
hath given will He pay him again."

But this conception of almsgiving as a good personal invest-
ment was and is by no means confined to the Jews. Apparently
it prevails widely in the Orient to the present day. I have heard
my colleague, Professor Fenn, say that the early Christians be-
lieved the prayers of the poor to be especially efTectual in saving
their benefactors from dire experiences in the future life. It
seems probable that the indiscriminate giving of food to
"ragged, bestial beggars" at the gates of monasteries during
the Middle Ages was prompted largely by a hke consideration.
It is a commonplace that giving of this sort, primarily for the
benefit or satisfaction of the giver, promotes beggary, and in
countries where it prevails mendicancy is an established pro-
fession, often hereditary.

In early New England this habit of ritualistic giving, as a
prescribed rehgious duty, probably never existed, and the
reasons are fairly obvious. The early New England type of
reUgion was severel}' subjective, and external acts had com-
paratively little to do with it. Every man's relations with his
God were of a strictly personal character, and altogether too
serious to be affected materially by anj' benevolent deahngs
with a third party, especially any unthrifty and probably sinful
member of the conmaunity. Furthermore, in old England, the
traditions of which were doubtless strong in the new country,
the civil authorities had been trying for some centuries to con-
trol the recognized evils of vagrancy and mendicancy which
ecclesiastical bounty had fostered. Finally, the early settlers of
New England were in a condition strongly resembling in im-
portant respects that of the Israelites when recently come out
from Egj^t — in a strange, barren and hostile country — and
we have seen that no conamandment of charity was laid upon
the followers of Moses at that time.

A "••■•;•


Indeed, from many records quoted or cited in Mr. Robert
Kelso's History of Public Poor Relief in Massach usetts, one might
easily get the impression, erroneous I believe, that New
Englanders of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were
lacking in that instinct of compassion for the needy and sufTer-
ing which is an attribute of ordinarj* human nature. These
records illustrate over and over again the fact that each New
England community took zealous care to prevent the settlement
within its borders of anyone likely to become an object of public
expense. Thus, from the Boston Records of ]\Iarch 29, 1G47:
"It is ordered that no inliabitant shall entertaine man or woman
from any other towne or count rye as a sojourner or inmate with
an intent to reside here, but shall give notice thereof to the
selectmen of the towne for their approbation within 8 days after
their cominge to the towne upon penaltj^ of twenty shillings." '
The householder introducing a stranger into a conmaunity was
required ''to give a bond to save the town harmless in case the
newcomer should fall into distress and need support." If
parents did not support their children, the children could be
indentured ''for some term of years, according to their ages and
capacities," and the parents could be "putt forth to service." ^

In fact, Mr. Kelso appears to have ample warrant for the
statement which he makes in the following paragraph (page
100): "From the stern measures taken by the watchful select-
men, first to avoid the burden, and second, when finally charged
to carry as little of it as possible, it resulted that the lot of the
town's poor was hard. To be relieved at all, the needy must
have been in direct want for the necessaries of life; and rehef
when given was such merely as to sustain fife."

And it must not be supposed that such a condition of things
existed in early colonial times only. Our author says: "In the
two hundred years [from 1683] that followed these primitive
times, the people of Massachusetts passed through five wars,
»two of them great conflicts upon the issue of hberty, yet, deeply
as men's hearts must have been stirred, and strengthened as the
impulse of sympathy must have been for the unfortunate,
'out-relief at the end of the nineteenth century differed Httle

» Kelso, p. 47.
» Ibid., p. %.

) - il" 'Of'-' ' '' ■ I . ''l/i : -l'.' .■I


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if at all from the meagre shelter, the coarse food, and the pine
box of the seventeenth. Such differences as did come about
arose more through economic change than from any variance in
the attitude of the overseers of the poor. Poverty was not
differentiated from chronic pauperism and pauperL>?m was akin
to crime. The sturdy beggar, the idiot, the drunkard, and the
widow who was only poor, were herded together under the same
roof, the chief soiu-ce of anxiety being the net cost of the estab-
lishment." (Page 101.)

But there is another aspect of these unhappy matters that
may easily be overlooked, though it is significant and important.
Behind the obvdous penuriousness and apparent hard-hearted-
ness of the pubhc authorities in dealing with the poor there was
a stern sense of public responsibility and of personal duty.
Towns warned away the stranger because each community
recognized the obligation it assumed toward him if he once
acquired a legal "settlement" within its borders. It was not
simpl}^ a question of relief or no relief for the poor; it was a
question of equity or of responsibility as between towns. Even
to this day of great public expenditure for all sorts of purposes,
even great expenditure for the care of the poor, no community,
large or small, is willing to pay a bill which it thinks some other
community ought to pay, or can be induced to pay. Even now
any citizen of Massachusetts who encourages an indigent family
to settle in his town is hable to a considerable fine — one hun-
dred dollars, I beUeve.

Moreover, like conscientious men of all times. New England
selectmen and overseers of the poor have doubtless in many
cases been more strict and frugal in the use of pubUc money
than in the use of their own. They were responsible officials,
subject to the criticism of their fellow-townsmen, dealing with
a dependent class of people whose misfortimes were, in many
cases at least, the results of their misbehavior; and it doubtless
would have seemed to them injurious to the morals of the
community to make the dependent poor really comfortable,
even according to the very moderate standards of physical
comfort which prevailed in their time. The sad, often cruelly
sad, fate of those who "came on the town," involving not only
hard conditions of living but a desolating loss of self-respect,



was enough to maintain in the community generally a most
vivid and wholesome dread of such dependency. To abohsh
this dread by taking tender care of the lazy and improvident
would be to take something potentially heroic out of common

Finally, I cannot doubt that, in a time when belief in a
future life of infinite happiness or of infinite misery was far
more general and more confident than it is now, the earthly
sufTermg of men and women seemed of far less importance than
it does in our own day. There is, I suspect, some relation be-
yond mere coincidence in time, between the increase of chari-
table activity and the decrease in zeal for foreign missionary
work which the last fifty years have witnessed in America.

Striking evidence of the rate at which pubUc expenditure for
charity has increased during the last two or three generations is
found in the following data which I have obtained from official
reports kept at the office of the Cambridge *' Department of
Public Welfare" (formerly ''Overseers of the Poor"):

For the year ending December 1, 1857, the "total net ex-
penditure for supporting the poor [of Cambridge] in and out of
the Almshouse, exclusive of fuel," was $789.25. The tax rate
for this year was S8 on $1,000. The population of Cambridge
according to a census of 1855 was 20,473.

For the year ending November 30, 1894, the net cost of caring
for the poor was 853,233.15, the population, according to the
census of 1890, being 70,028.

For the year ending March 31, 1922, the expenditures of the
Overseers of the Poor were §262,360.40, of which amount
$62,962.18 was repaid, mainly by the Commonwealth, making
the net cost, to Cambridge, §199,398.22, the population at that
time being about 110,000.

Mr. Kelso, from whose book I have taken evidence of the
stern,^ sometimes harsh, methods of early New England officials
in dealing with the poor, celebrates the achievements of the
successors of these officials as represented by the work of the
unpaid Massachusetts State Board of Charity, established in

* In one respect our ancestors were more liberal than we are. Kelso gives from
the towTi records of Easton, for May, 1799, the following: " Voted to Abiel Kinsley,
nine pounds, four shillings, for shoger and rum for David Randall's family."


1863, and usually made up in the main of men with a long New
England ancestry. He speaks of "the preeminence of ]\Iassa-
chusetts in the field of social service," which preeminence, "be-
ginning with the thorough analyses of Samuel Gridley Howe,
has been built up by the unremitting efforts of his successors."
j\Iy limited reading has found comparatively little about
private or church charity in early ^Massachusetts times, but it
would be quite unfair to assume that it was unknown or even
unconmion. Thus, Kelso, on page 105, speaking of the seven-
teenth centiu-y, says, " Many towns owned milch cows, acquired
usually by gift from citizens to the use of the poor; and it was
not unusual to help a struggling family by assigning to them a
town cow for a certain period."

Sharpies, on page n of the preface to his edition of the Cam-
bridge Church Records, speaks of a book containing the
deacons' accounts, beginning with the year 163S and ending
in 1716, and says, "This book gives the amount of money col-
lected each Sabbath It also contains a record of how the

money was spent, and gives the special collections made on
Thanksgiving days for the rehef of the poor."

The first reference to charity that I have foimd in the body
of this book occm's on page 267: "Voted [May 31, 1784] that
the Committee last chosen be directed to enquire into the state
of monies given to the poor of the Chh."; but after this, refer-
ences of this character are frequent. It appears from a record
of July 29, 1785, that such "monies" amounted on this date to
£62 and 2d, £40 of which had been given by the late Rev. Dr.
Appleton, pastor of the church, recently deceased. On Sep-
tember 23, 1785, various rules governing the use of these funds
were adopted, among them the following:

"3. That one third of the sums contributed at the annual
Thanksgi\'ings for the use of the poor shall with leave of the
contributors be added yearly to the principal of this fund."

In the record for the year ending June 30, 1792, is the first
definite mention I have found of expenditure from this fund:
"Money contributed to certain widows £3, 3.s, Oc?." In the
next year the amount "distributed to simdry widow^s" was £4,
19s. In the next year the "money distributed" was 12s only.
In the year ending June 30, 1795, the "sundry widows" re-

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appear and receive £6, 3s, lOd. For the next year the ''cash
distributed to sundry persons" was $12.25. Change to the
decimal system of money was now in progress, £1 being taken
as the equivalent of .$3.33i.

From the date last mentioned to 1830, when the pubhshed

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Online LibraryCambridge Historical SocietyPublications (Volume yr. 1925, v.18) → online text (page 1 of 8)