Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: Mss:752 1883-1936 C178

Cambridge Electric Light Company records

Scope and Contents

The records of Cambridge Electric Light Company contain materials related to the company’s accounting and operation. The records, 1883-1936, include a stock ledger, bills paid, account books, letter books, outages books, correspondence, pole location records, and work orders completed. Records particularly focus account books and on the locations of the company’s utility poles and wires, including requests from the New England Telephone and Telegraph Company to attach and remove wires from Cambridge Electric Light’s utility poles. Pay Roll records of Cambridge Steam Corporation, a subsidiary of the utility holding company New England Gas and Electric Association and stockholder records of the utility holding company Associated Gas and Electric System are also included.


  • Creation: 1883-1936


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials stored onsite. Please contact for more information regarding access procedures.


14 linear feet (18 boxes)

Biographical / Historical

Cambridge Electric Light Company, a Cambridge, Mass. based company, organized in 1886 and incorporated in 1887 as one of the first electric utilities in the United States. The company was founded by Josiah Q. Bennett, President, and F.H. Raymond, General Manager and future Secretary. The company supplied electric light and power to the city of Cambridge before expanding to other areas of Massachusetts in the late 1920s.

The consistently increasing public demand for electric power fueled rapid growth of the company, expanding its number of customers from 5,021 in 1915 to 43,000 in 1930. By 1930, the company’s overhead distribution system comprised over 80 miles of poles and nearly 1200 miles of wires; the underground distribution system comprised of 110 miles of cable and 177 miles of conduit.

In 1926, the New England Gas and Electric Association was founded as an unincorporated trust to control nearly 100% of the stocks of various gas and electric companies, including Cambridge Electric Light Company, Cambridge Gas Light Company, Worcester Gas Light Company, and other utilities in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The New England Gas and Electric Association became affiliated in 1927 with Associated Gas and Electric System, a holding company of gas, electric, and water utilities in 16 states, through the ownership and control of its common shares by stockholders and officers of the Associated Gas and Electric System.

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred from the Harvard Real Estate Services, Property Information Resource Center. Records were left at the Blackstone Steam Station by Cambridge Electric Light Co. when CELCO sold the plant to Harvard.

Processing Information

Processed: By: Bailey Brunick, January 2019.

Cambridge Electric Light Company. Cambridge Electric Light Company Records, 1883-1936: A Finding Aid
Bailey Brunick
January 2019
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Baker Library Special Collections and Archives, Harvard Business School Repository

Baker Library Special Collections and Archives holds unique resources that focus on the evolution of business and industry, as well as the records of the Harvard Business School, documenting the institution's development over the last century. These rich and varied collections support research in a diverse range of fields such as business, economic, social and cultural history as well as the history of science and technology.

Baker Library | Bloomberg Center
Soldiers Field Road
Boston MA 01263 USA
(617) 495-6411