This collection contains and original collection donated by Olive Pierce and an addendum donated posthumously by her family.
The original collection, curated by Olive Pierce, contains photographs, books, moving images, audio cassettes, and ephemera from several projects that Olive Pierce worked on during her 40-year career as a documentary photographer. The photographs include the following:
1. Portraits taken during the 1960s, featuring the environs in and around Vinalhaven in midcoast Maine.
2. Cambridge City Council Meetings (1970-1972), featuring images of politicians, police, witnesses, experts, and citizen spectators taking part in the city’s democratic process during a turbulent time.
3. Portraits of the Jefferson Park Housing Project in Cambridge, Massachusetts (1973-1975), portraying children and their lives in the project.
4. No Easy Roses (1982-1985) has two components. Pierce took candid photographs of students at Cambridge Rindge and Latin where she worked. She also took headshots to accompany oral histories she recorded of students. These photographs were published in No Easy Roses: A Look at the Lives of City Teenagers in 1986.
5. Photographs of a fishing community in Waldoboro, Maine (1987-1993) that were later published in UpRiver: The Story of a Maine Fishing Community in 1996.
6. Portraits taken of Iraqi children in Baghdad and Basrah in 1999.
All titles and descriptions are written by Pierce on the back of her photographs. Each photograph is a taken on black and white film and is either a fiber print or a resin coated print.
The collection also contains books that Pierce wrote:
1. Pierce, Olive, No Easy Roses: A Look At the Lives of City Teenagers, Cambridge, Mass, 1986, signed, paperback, Thomas Todd, printer.
2. Pierce, Olive, No Easy Roses: A Look At the Lives of City Teenagers, Cambridge, Mass, 1986, signed, red cloth hard cover with embossed rose, Thomas Todd, printer.
3. Pierce, Olive, Out of the Midwest: A Memoir in Four Parts, 1925 – 1948; Part I: Childhood, 1925 – 1939, signed, self published , 2014.
4. Pierce, Olive, Up River: The Story of A Maine Fishing Community, University Press of New England, 1996, signed.
Also included is an audio cassette of the oral history interviews Pierce conducted for No Easy Roses; a DVD, Maine Master: Olive Pierce and Olive Pierce: Children of Iraq, Maine Masters Project, 2002; and postcards of the photographs Pierce took in Iraq.
The addendum was curated by Alyssa Pacy, Archivist at the Cambridge Public Library after Olive Pierce died. Pierce's family asked Pacy to review Pierce's personal photo archive for relevant Cambridge material that the family then donated to the Library. The addendum includes photographs, a story board for a book about the Cambridge City Council, and a paper by Pierce titled, "On Teaching Photography."
The majority of the photographs in the addendum are 8.5 x 11, although some are oversized and matted. Some descriptive information exists on the back of the photographs and a few are signed. The subjects covered include:
1. Professional portraits that Pierce took on commission for Cambridge residents and personalities, circa 1960-1980.
2. Photographs of the Harvard University strike at Harvard Stadium, 14 April 1969.
3. Portraits of African American men at a halfway house in Cambridge who had recently been released from the Massachusetts Correctional Facility in Concord, circa 1970s.
4. Cambridge City Council Meetings (1970-1972), featuring images of politicians, police, witnesses, experts, and citizen spectators taking part in the city’s democratic process during a turbulent time. Included in this series is a dummy book, or rough mockup of a picture book, with text that Pierce assembled but never published.
5. Portraits of the Jefferson Park Housing Project in Cambridge, Massachusetts (1973-1975), portraying the residents - both children and adults.
6. Candid photographs from the No Easy Roses series (1982-1985), showing student life at the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School.