By CBSBoston.com Staff

CAMBRIDGE (CBS) – The Cambridge Public Library has added a new piece to its collection – a letter by Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

The letter, written in 1890, declines an invitation from the Cambridge Public Library to sit on the library’s Board of Advisors.

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Holmes Jr. was the son of Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., a Cambridge poet and physician who wrote “Old Ironsides.” Holmes Jr. went on to become a United States Supreme Court justice.

“We didn’t realize that Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. was asked to sit on the library’s Board of Advisors,” says Alyssa Pacy, archivist at the Cambridge Public Library. “The date of the letter is significant because that’s when the library first opened in its current location at 449 Broadway. There was an effort by the Library’s Board of Advisors to recruit prominent individuals with ties to Cambridge to help guide the library’s mission and build a world-class collection for its citizens.”

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The letter is now part of the Cambridge Public Library’s Archives and Special Collections, where it has been preserved to archival standards.

“This is an amazing piece of the city, the library and the country’s history,” said Dr. Maria McCauley, director of libraries for the City of Cambridge.

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Holmes’ letter, along with letters by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Paul Revere, and Margaret Fuller, will be featured in the upcoming lecture, American Treasures from the Cambridge Public Library’s Archives and Special Collections, presented by Drew Griffin, Cambridge Public Library’s Senior Librarian in Adult Services. The lecture will take place virtually on Thursday, May 13, at noon. Registration is required.

CBSBoston.com Staff