The Beehive: the official blog of the Massachusetts Historical Society

Spotlight on Collections: The Lodge Papers

We librarians often notice when a trend takes shape in materials researchers request in the library. Two summers ago a large number of researchers requested material from the Edward Atkinson Papers. Last summer the Old North Church Records where in unusually high demand. And this winter researchers are clamoring for the Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. Papers, 1920-1982 and the Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. papers II, 1920-1985.

There are a few reasons I find this trend interesting. For one, 20th century collections are sometimes thought of as outside our scope. Many think of the MHS as holding early American and Civil War era materials, but do not think of us as a repository for modern collections. While the strength of our collections is material from the 18th and 19th centuries, we are still actively collecting material and hold a (growing) number of collections containing 20th century material. Seeing the demand for the Lodge, Jr. collections demonstrates to me that the modern collections in our holdings are not being entirely overlooked.

Also interesting, and possibly the reason I noticed this recent trend, is that these particular collections often cause researchers much confusion, requiring them to contact the library staff in advance of their visit. The fact that there are two Lodge, Jr. collections -- one held onsite on microfilm, the other in offsite storage -- coupled with the fact that we also hold a collection of papers belonging to his grandfather, Henry Cabot Lodge , leads to many questions about how to access the collections, why the collections are separated they way they are, and which Lodge (both served as U.S. senators in their own lifetime) the researcher is actually interested in researching.

All this got me thinking about the importance of our Lodge collections. They all contain an extraordinary amount of interesting material from turbulent times in American and world history. For example the Lodge, Jr. collections hold material related to his service in the U.S. Senate, his tours of duty in Africa and Europe in World War II, and his tenure as both the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations (1953 to 1960) and ambassador to Vietnam (1963-1967).

So I decided to do a blog series to highlight the collections of Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. and his grandfather Henry Cabot Lodge. Look for the series on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month through February, March, and April. The series will start Wednesday, February 9, with a post on the background of the Cabot and Lodge families, and will continue with posts about the lives and careers of both Henry Cabot Lodge and Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., how these collections came to be at the MHS, what types of materials can be found in the collections, how to access the collections, and what other materials related to the Cabot and Lodge families can be found at the MHS.


permalink | Published: Friday, 4 February, 2011, 10:00 AM