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Holyoke Public Library Corporation Incorporated (Holyoke, MA 01040-4858)
Eileen M. Crosby (Project Director: June 2015 to October 2021)
Nuestros Senderos: Las Historias de Nuestras Vidas en Holyoke [Our Paths: Stories of Life in Holyoke]

Two day-long digitization events in predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods of Holyoke, Massachusetts, to digitize cultural heritage materials held by members of the Latino community. The applicant would target community organizations and elders, and would hire both a short-term outreach consultant and a bilingual outreach assistant. Digitized materials from the digitization days would be made available to the public with donor permission through Massachusetts’ Digital Commonwealth portal. At a public program event following the digitization days, speakers from Hunter College’s Center for Puerto Rican Studies and the University of Puerto Rico would present on Puerto Rican and Latino history in the United States and Holyoke. Displays created by community members illustrating their experiences and incorporating digitized materials from the digitization days would also be included in the public programming. In addition, oral histories would be gathered at the public program event, and attendees would have the opportunity to make written contributions to a collection that would be preserved in the History Room of Holyoke Public Library.

The history and culture of Holyoke, Massachusetts, are marked by its role as the destination of people seeking new opportunities. While many Irish, Polish, and Canadian immigrant family stories are preserved at our library, those of Holyoke's numerous families of Hispanic heritage (nearly 50% of the current population) have never been systematically gathered or preserved. This project, “Nuestros senderos: Las historias de nuestras vidas en Holyoke [Our Paths: Stories of life in Holyoke],” aims to begin to rectify that omission by reaching out to community members of Hispanic origin and inviting them to share their family histories through photographs and documents at digitization events, by partnering with local cultural organizations to promote these events and to identify cultural heritage materials in their possession, and by sponsoring a set of talks by scholars that will place the experience of migration to Holyoke in historical context.

Project fields:
Latino History; Public History; Urban History

Common Heritage

Preservation and Access

$12,000 (approved)
$12,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2016 – 6/30/2018