Cambridge Historical Society

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Founded in 1905 by a group of historians, the Historical Society initially met in private homes and presented lectures on Cambridge history. Beginning in 1906, these lectures were published as The Proceedings.  A short time later the Society began collecting books, documents, significant papers and photographs.

Since 1957 the Cambridge Historical Society has been headquartered at the Hooper-Lee-Nichols House at 159 Brattle Street. The building was donated to the Cambridge Historical Society in 1957 by Francis Emerson and it has been our headquarters ever since. 

The original section of the Hooper-Lee-Nichols House was built in the late 17th century, making it the second oldest house in Cambridge and one of the oldest houses in New England. From its location on Brattle Street, it has witnessed the beginning of the American Revolution, the birth of the abolitionist movement, the formation of America as an industrial powerhouse, and the counter culture revolution of the 1960s.

Like any building that has been lived in for over 300 years, has been changed by its residents over the years and modified repeatedly to meet the style of the day. The house is primarily reflects the Georgian Style of the 18th century, although parts of the original First Period construction remain and one can see Victorian and Colonial Revival alterations from later generations.

Today the Hooper-Lee-Nichols House serves as offices, an archive, and as a museum on Cambridge history. We invite you to become a member of the Society and join us in preserving Cambridge's history and heritage.