Category Archives: Society

November 28th Program – Water

Tonight’s regular meeting of the Maynard Historical Society features a program entitled “The Hidden History of Maynard’s Water” — a history of how that water that comes out of your tap.

Our meetings and the program are open to the public.  We meet in the lower level of Maynard Town Hall, 195 Main Street, at 7pm.  The program will run about 1 hour.  Light refreshments and some social time follows the program.

October 2011 Monthly Meeting Reminder

For our October 24th meeting the Maynard Historical Society will present the history of Emerson Hospital, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.  Our guest speaker is Kenton Blagbrough.  (This presentation was originally planned for our April meeting.)

The hospital was founded in 1911 when Charles Emerson (a nephew of Ralph Waldo Emerson) donated $20,000 and a site along the Sudbury River in Concord for a 14-bed cottage hospital. Formerly known as Deaconess Hospital, in 1924 the hospital was deeded to the community and renamed in honor of Charles Emerson. Today Emerson Hospital is a 179-bed acute care medical center providing advanced medical services to over 300,000 individuals in 25 towns.

Kenton Blagbrough is an employee and volunteer at Emerson Hospital. He holds masters degrees in History and Information Studies. He recently researched a property history which is included on the National Register for Historic Places, and the two hundred year status of an old New Hampshire road used in a civil proceeding.

Mr. Blagbrough, under the direction of the Medical Library and Office of Development, is researching the history of Emerson Hospital to prepare a written account for the hospital’s centennial in November 2011.

The Maynard Historical Society meets in the lower level of Maynard Town Hall, 195 Main Street.  The meeting starts at 7pm and are open to the public.  A social hour with Light refreshments follows the meeting.   There is no charge for the meeting.

Preservation requires Preparation

Like a number of small local historical collections ours has known some moments when circumstances combined to create a situation where some portion of the collection was put at risk.

While stored the lower level of Maynard Town Hall for over 30 years there were at least two events where water damaged some portion of the collection.   In a very real sense, the last event, which occurred in January 2008, set in motion the current preservation plan that we are now on (supported by both member funding and Maynard CPA funds).

For over three years now we have been slowly but steadily bringing our collection of Maynard’s history into a better state of preservation:  documents and photographs are being stored in a manner consistent with modern archival practices, the collection is being cataloged and digitized, and we have the use of a building that is providing us with reasonably safe storage.   This is all good.

It isn’t perfect, and given our limited resources it probably will never be.  But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t prepare for those confluences of circumstances that always rise up to bite you in the butt.    The recent tornado that ravaged several towns just 60 miles to our west a few months ago was a bit of a wake-up call for me.  Following the tornado I was working in the collection room and thought “what would happen”.

While the MHS doesn’t have a formal disaster preparedness plan, our conservation survey and plan does dip into that territory a bit and now we’re taking a few more steps.

Many of our storage racks are near windows.  A direct hit by a tornado could scatter our history over a large swath of the commonwealth.  Not good and unfortunately there’s not a lot we can do about that at the current time.  Our space has lots of windows and unless someone wants to throw a LOT of money at us, we’ll have to live with that risk.  Fortunately the risk is incredibly low.

Which brings us to today — and we have the threat of a Category 2 hurricane (Irene) washing over us in the next 48 hours.  Current forecasts show a larger threat of rain rather than wind damage.   We’re on the second floor so flooding is not a real concern — but the roof leaking is.  [Note: The roof leaking threat is only there because we might get a LOT of rain in a short amount of time, creating a unique situation — we’ve had no issues with the roof leaking in the three years we’ve been here.]

So, for a small investment we thought it would be a good idea to put some plastic sheeting over the collection.   About 80% of the collection (and probably 90% of the documents/photographs) now has something over them.   Most of what is exposed would survive getting wet and we’ll keep a close eye on the building anyways.  We may even try to get the rest covered in the next 48 hours but there’s a bunch of diminishing returns at play (e.g., there are things on the floor that we simply have no way of getting off the floor, so if water comes in they are going to get wet.)

Our collection represents the combined efforts of hundreds of people spanning the past 150 years.   Our overriding goal as a historical society is to make sure that the “stories of Maynard”, which are held in the words, photographs, and artifacts that we manage are preserved for the future generations and we’re doing everything we can to make sure that happens.

June Meeting – Treasures and Puzzles

The Maynard Historical Society invites you to our summer program on June 27th in the lower level of Town Hall at 7pm for a special program we’re calling “Treasures and Puzzles”.

Our crack team of collection volunteers have assembled a wide array of documents, photographs and artifacts that are sure to bring a smile of a memory of days gone by or have you wondering if you recognize a family face in a 3rd grader in an old class photograph.

Some of the “puzzles” we don’t know the answers to and, if we’re lucky, we hope to tap the wisdom and experience of our audience to identify some of them.

Our meetings are held in the lower level of Maynard Town Hall, 195 Main Street.  Parking is available in the rear of the building (as is the entrance to the lower level).  Light refreshments may be served (nobody volunteered).  Our meeting is free of charge and open to the public.

January 2010 Meeting

Happy New Year.   Our first meeting of 2011 is scheduled for Monday, January 24th at 7pm in the lower level of Maynard Town Hall (195 Main Street).

Our program this month will be about banking in Maynard.   Patty Chambers from Middlesex Savings Bank and a representative from Digital Federal Credit Union will review the history of their respective institutions: one that has roots going back over 100 years and the other born from the employees of Digital Equipment Corporation, which was based in Maynard.

As always our programs are open to the public and we welcome anyone who wants to learn more about Maynard’s history.   After the program we will have light refreshments and a chance to socialize with your neighbors.  Please join us.

October Meeting Cancelled!

Our monthly meeting, schedule for October 25th, has been cancelled.   Much to our chagrin Maynard’s Special Town Meeting was schedule for the same evening.   We considered delaying one day, but the speaker (me) has another meeting on Tuesday and I can’t be in two places at the same time.

So our next meeting will be November 22nd and we’ll feature the new Maynard Picture Puzzle program.  It’ll be a fun way to kick off the Thanksgiving week.

Please let your friends and neighbors know about our cancelled meeting.

September Meeting: Chautauqua Comes to Maynard

Teddy Roosevelt called Circuit Chautauqua “the most American thing in America.” This traveling program of live entertainment, education, art and culture came to small towns across the United States during the early 20th century. Today Circuit Chautauqua has all but disappeared. During this illustrated talk, learn why and how this movement of self- and civic-improvement came to Maynard in 1917. And discover who participated–from Maynard citizens to the entertainment and educational stars of the period.

Our September program is presented by Diann Strausberg.   We will be meeting on Monday, September 27 in the lower level of Maynard Town Hall (195 Main Street).  The meeting is open to the public. Light refreshments will be served after the program.

September is our membership renewal month.  It’s also a great month to join if you are not already a member.

Please support preserving Maynard’s history by supporting the Maynard Historical Society with your membership and/or contribution.

June Meeting: Exploring Your Family History

We meet on the 4th Monday of the month, and in June that’s the 28th.  7pm in the lower level of Town Hall.

Our program will be a bit of a hybrid.  We’ll be showing a video of a program by Jack MacKeen on researching family history.    After this 30-minute video presentation, Dave Griffin and Leonard Palmer will demonstrate current computer tools and websites that you can use to research and document your family history on both PCs and Macs.

Please stay afterwards for friendly chit-chat and (perhaps*) light refreshments.

*Nobody signed up to provide snacks in June, so I’m deciding how nice I’m going to be…

Maynard’s Boston Post Cane Awarded

Arlene Cook, 98, was awarded Maynard’s Boston Post Cane on April 28th, acknowledging her as Maynard’s oldest resident.  Arlene was honored by the Board of Selectmen and received her certificate of recognition from BoS Chair David Gavin.  (Maynard has retired the cane, so a certificate is presented instead.)

Here are some photos (courtesy of Peg Brown):

Special Society Meeting on April 26th – Russian Icons

On Monday, April 26 at 7:00pm, at the Holy Annunciation Church, 11 Prospect St, Maynard, the Maynard Historical Society will sponsor a lecture by the Russian Icon Museum of Clinton. We will learn about the history and art of Russian icons and their images, symbols, and forms. We will then tour the parish of Holy Annunciation Church, built in 1916.

Light refreshments will be served at the end of the meeting. The meeting is open to the public and is handicapped accessible. A suggested donation of $5 by non-church members is appreciated. For further information contact Peggy Brown: 978-897-1664 or email

For more information on the Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton, please visit their web site:

If you don’t know what a Russian Icon is or want to learn more about them, Wikipedia has a short introduction: