Vintage Glass Negatives & Photos on Display at Harvard Square Kiosk

The Harvard Square Business Association is pleased to announce that a vintage photo display has been installed at the Harvard Square Kiosk to compliment the work of Sean Moore and Nick Ghilardi.  

According to Denise Jillson, executive director of the HSBA, this photo display took a circuitous route before landing at the Kiosk. Jillson said, “A long-time association member came into possession of the negatives through a friend who knew of her involvement with the HSBA. Apparently, the negatives had been saved and stored by a former MBTA employee in their home office for many years. These photos were taken in the 1930s and 1940s by MBTA employees as part of their investigation into automobile accidents. They archived each glass negative by placing it in a brown paper sleeve. Using a fountain pen, someone, in elegant script, noted the date and the location of the accident.” 

Jillson went on to say, “I am personally delighted to have these negatives in the possession of the HSBA, particularly the ones of East Cambridge. My very first job as a young teen was working at Morey Hirsch Jewelers. Of course, by then, the store had been renovated several times, but I love seeing the original storefront on the corner of Webster and Cambridge Streets. The second photo that is particularly endearing to me is the one entitled ‘Cambridge opposite of 638’ as my godfather, his wife and family lived over the University Liquor Shop. The building is still there and holding up nicely. These photos brought back fond memories for me; we hope they do the same for others.”   

Jillson concluded, “While these unique glass negatives are fun to have, if the MBTA wishes to have them back, we’ll happily return. They are very special and we’re glad to care for them.”  

Harvard Square

East Cambridge

Central Square

North Cambridge