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Our outlook, optimistic or otherwise.

THE Medford Historical Society is now completing its twentieth year of existence and work in one of the oldest towns (now a city) of the old Bay State. With the closing of the year another season has begun, and that under different circumstances and surroundings from any before. It is a natural sequence that the membership should have changed and that some, even many, of its earliest ones should have passed on, or have lapsed in membership. That their places have not been filled gives opportunity for pessimistic outlook—the otherwise of our caption. Other societies have suffered, and some have become inoperative, because of the same or similar causes. It has been even hinted that Medford's would thus become, and its present administration has been, [p. 85] and still is, confronted by peculiar circumstances and new conditions.

Except at the earliest and the annual meetings there has been no gathering of this society not addressed by some speaker, or some instructive and interesting paper read. These were (till two years since) announced by a folder, covering the entire season, and for several years a supplementary Saturday evening course was also provided and also thus announced in October. Our society has been enabled thus to do by the kindness and courtesy of friends and by members of other societies, as well as of our own, who take interest and pleasure in the work, and with but one exception (and that merely nominal) the service has been rendered gratuitously. We are pleased to say that some of our members have reciprocated such favors on occasion elsewhere. Recently, however, the practice of annual announcement has lapsed, and the work of the former committees has devolved largely upon the chairmen, and a detailed account of the same may be found elsewhere in this issue.

Circumstances have led the present chairman to procure no one to speak at two recent meetings, thus giving the assembled members opportunity to consider present conditions, and plan for future work and welfare. These circumstances were the sale of our former home, the consequent removal to the present quarters, and the discouragingly small attendance at the closing meeting of the former season.

This season, instead of the former folder or postal notice to each member, was sent a call for a ‘family gathering of the society to plan for future success.’ Under somewhat adverse circumstances the society met for the first time in our temporary quarters, and after the usual greetings and reading of records, listened to the ‘president's message,’ which he read, and which is embodied in the record of the meeting. This was a brief review of the past, and careful statement of the present condition of the society's interests on all lines was plainly made. It opened the way for the members' debate in the hour that followed. Several propositions were made, all for [p. 86] the purpose of reducing expense—all involving another removal, and one to build a new and permanent home. These were referred to a committee for careful consideration. This committee's record of meetings was submitted as a report to the November meeting of this society. Removal to proposed existing quarters seeming not entirely practical, and the lateness of the season and financial problems precluding the building plan, the record report was accepted and committee discharged. The entire evening was spent in spirited discussions of ways and means, resulting in a proposed amendment to the bylaws making increase in amount of annual dues, which will come up for consideration at the December meeting. The subscription price of the register was by vote raised to $1.50, but no suggestion of its suspension or discontinuance was made.

The president was by vote directed to appoint a committee of three to consider further the question of desirable quarters. Not only to such committee should be our outlook, but to every member it is, or should be, a matter of vital interest. In a city like Medford an Historical Society should number more than one hundred and fifty members. It should have permanent quarters worthy the name, should have sufficient revenue to support the same creditably, and under suitable supervision its library and collection should be at intervals available to the public, and especially to the school children and the people that are among us to stay and make Medford cosmopolitan. The ‘Ward Book,’ or list of poll-tax payers of our city is a revelation to those that read with an interest in the city's welfare. The founders of Medford, of New England, did well in their day, and the great West, in its expansion, feels their influence. It is no time now to relax any effort for the remembrance and preservation of New England ideals of religion, morals, virtues or patriotism, but rather to grasp every opportunity for civic betterment that lies at our doors. Make the outlook optimistic by increased interest in the society's objective and work, in attendance, in increased membership. Inquire into some of Medford's modern as [p. 87] well as ancient history, present-day doings, and forecast the future a little. Boost Medford, it's a good old town, you live here, help it to be a good new city. Old Medford was good, make the new Medford better by various efforts, and just now by this society, just coming of age (twenty-first year), with one hundred new members—live ones —that will find it ‘cheaper to move than pay rent.’ With no disrespect to our present temporary quarters—the best available for the time—resolve that the next removal be to quarters of our own, safe, convenient and attractive.

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