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Massachusetts History

 Massacchusetts history and genealogy

Our current Massachusetts history catalog:

Massachusetts generally:


Cities, Counties and Towns in Massachusetts (1920) 

This 73 page document, prepared by the Division of Public Records, is a useful reference document for anyone doing research in Massachusetts.  It identifies each county, and each city and town, and provides the date it first appears in historical records or the date it was incorporated.  Of great importance to the researcher, it provides information about the creation of the locale -- what it was originally part of, for example -- and all subsequent boundary adjustments, along with dates.   The document is available as a downloaded PDF file, approximately 23MB in size.  We offer it for $3.00.  Please click the "Buy Now" button to download the document to your computer.

 Massachusetts Cities, Counties, Towns

 

History of Massachusetts in the Colonial Period,

 by John Stetson Barry (1855) (Chapter 9 -- Rhode Island Founders and Religious Dissent)   

While most Rhode Islanders are familiar with the history of their state’s founders (notably Roger Williams, Anne Hutchinson, and Samuel Gorton) from their point of view, it is interesting to review it from the point of view of Massachusetts. Similarly, while Massachusetts today is something of a paragon of religious tolerance, such was not always the case. This 1855 history sheds light on the issue in a way that is rarely seen today, at any rate.  This chapter is available as a downloaded PDF file, 33+ pages, for $1.75.

 Rhode Island Founders and Religious Dissent

 

About the iron industry

We're happy to offer two articles by one of the earlier researchers of this subject in one download entitled Early Iron Industry of Connecticut.  Despite the title, there is a fair amount of material about the iron industry in Berkshire County, MA in it!   See our Iron page for more information.

 

The Atlantic Monthly and its Makers, by M. A. DeWolfe Howe (1919)

If names from American Lit like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Julia Ward Howe, William Dean Howells, and James Russell Lowell, not to mention such luminaries and Longfellow and Whittier, are of interest to you, then you will enjoy this thin volume.  This is not a “the best of” the Atlantic Monthly – although there is a list of authors and articles in the back of this book that identify these in the opinions of the editors of the Atlantic.  Instead, it is a literary, social, and intellectual history of the founding and first sixty years of that magazine.  Bits of dialog that one realizes could only have been uttered in upper crust Boston in that era appear throughout.  We would be guilty of false advertising if we said this book is lively, but it is far livelier than the literary output of some of the major figures of that period to whom we are introduced in these pages.  116+ pages, in PDF format, download now for $3.00.

 The Atlantic Monthly and its makers

Massachusetts Towns, Cities, and Locales:


Historic Hadley: Quarter-Millennial Souvenir  1659 – 1909

Edited by Clifton Johnson.  This is an even-handed summary of the first 250 years of Hadley, Massachusetts, was clearly compiled for the celebration thereof (evidence the sheet music for the celebration – something we do not find in many republications of this type).  An interesting feature of this community history is their accounting of the whereabouts of the regicides, Whalley and Goffe, following the Restoration in what was at that time the mother country, England, while they were in the Hadley area.  This is a fascinating tale, and one shared with other New England communities, such as Guilford, CT, but rarely told.  75+ pages, in PDF format.  Download now for $4.00.

 Historic Hadley: Quarter Millennial Souvenir

 

The North Shore

by Robert Grant (1896).  This volume, originally one of a set of four discussing American summer resorts (the other resort communities in the set, by other authors, covered Newport, Bar Harbor, and Lenox), had as its subject matter the one of the four that was already something of a suburb at the same time it was a summer resort.  There is no intent here to suggest that the North Shore was somehow today’s exurbia ahead of its time.  In fact, this thin volume makes clear that it was not – the Myopia Hunt, with all its social ramifications, could not exist in an exurban setting, for instance – and even anticipates a time when people would “live cheek by jowl with one another in houses built and painted after a stereotyped model, with exactly the same number of square feet of land in our front yards, and under limitations as to the number of flowers we may grow in our pitiful little gardens….”  That said, we fault the publisher for assigning the blank pages on the obverse of the illustrations in this volume with page numbers.  Even then, it seems, people were not above chiseling a little.  75+ pages (in actuality, about 65 pages, including illustrations), PDF format, download now for $4.50.

 The North Shore, by Robert Grant

 

History of Fall River, Massachusetts (1911)

Compiled for the Cotton Centennial by Henry M. Fenner, under the direction of the Historical Committee of the Merchants Association.  It's quite concise, lacking the long lists of veterans, public officials, and organizational heads found in most similar volumes.  It does contain, however, a nice two page listing of geographic names within the city that have changed, what they became, and why they were changed.  There's also a list of the cotton mills for which the city was noted, and through which many workers passed over the years.  This will be of interest not only to local historians but also to industrial archaeologists and students of the textile industry. While histories of communities prepared by organizations within them with a strong vested interest in how the community (and their industry or organization) is portrayed are always in danger of deviating from reasonably objective history into the perils of puffery on one hand and agenda-driven selection and interpretation of facts on the other, this is a remarkably even-handed historical summary.  While one sees little about the lives of the workers in the cotton mills in this volume, one really did not expect to see much about such topics included in histories at the point (1911) when this was written.   110+ pages, in PDF format.  Download now for $3.00.

 History of Fall River, MA (1911)

 

Annual Report of the Town Officers of Deerfield, MA, for 1934

Town annual reports seem to be a particularly New England phenomenon – indeed, many town still prepare them annually and have them printed for those who wish them.  We have four reports from Deerfield, of which this is the first we are publishing.  As was the custom with reports such as this, it lists the vital records for the year: births, marriages and deaths – useful for genealogical purposes.  It also provides abundant lists of names of public office holders and employees.  Financial reports, of course, are a mainstay of publications such as these, with detailed expenditures the rule rather than the exception.  The school report is extensive, with graduates names by program, and with numerous reports by department heads describing the efforts of their departments.  An interesting sidelight:  the school nurse is attentive to children who are underweight, and today’s concern about children who are overweight is nowhere mentioned.   128+ pages, in PDF format.  Download now for $3.00.

Deerfield MA Annual Report for 1934 

 

Annual Report of the Town Officers of Deerfield, MA, for 1926

Similar in content to the Annual Report for 1934, with the notable exception that the health concerns of the school this year were a whooping cough epidemic and serious problems with the dental health of the students, with most being referred to a dentist for corrective action.  Unfortunately our copy of this book is missing a leaf at the beginning containing the title page on one side and some of the names of town officers on the other.  We have reduced the price accordingly.  126+ pages, in PDF format.  Download now for $2.00.

 Deerfield MA Annual Report for 1926

 

Annual Report of the Town Officers of Deerfield, MA, for 1923

Similar in content to the later Annual Reports:   vital records for the year: births, marriages and deaths – useful for genealogical purposes; lists of names of public office holders and employees; financial reports, of course, are a mainstay of publications such as these, with detailed expenditures the rule rather than the exception.  The school report is extensive, with graduates’ names by program, and with numerous reports by department heads describing the efforts of their departments.  This is a town that valued its teachers and recognized their enduring quality.  An interesting sidelight:  the ravages – and fear – of diseases that are today preventable with vaccination, are remarkable.  Unfortunately, our copy of this document is missing most of the cover page.  We do not believe that any information was lost.  96+ pages, in PDF format.  Download now for $2.50.

 Deerfield MA Town Report for 1923

 

Blue Book of Newton, 1910

248++ pages of names and addresses of residents, clubs, businesses, etc.  Includes a map of Newton and a street directory.  Communities covered include Chestnut Hill, Auburndale, Newton, Newtonville, Lower Falls, Newton Highlands, Upper Falls, and Waban.  A feature of this volume:  diagrams of all of the major Boston theatres! 

 See our Newton page for more information about this CD-ROM.

 

New Bedford Fifty Years Ago

by Maud Mendall Nelson (1914) -- Recollections of a woman who lived most of her life in New Bedford, including detailed recollections of her neighborhood, families who lived there, etc.  Scarce and we believe essential for anyone with a New Bedford or whaling industry interest.  PDF format, 36+ pages, downloadable, for $3.00.

  New Bedford Fifty Years Ago

 

Landmarks and Memories of Paxton

by Roxa Howard Bush.  62 pages + photographs.  [1923].  This short book, by a person who clearly knew far more about the town than virtually anyone alive at that time, was privately printed.  It's not known to us how many copies were created (Paxton today has a population of only 1000), but this history of a small Worcester County locale should be of interest to many beyond that number, we think. We've added a limited amount of additional material that will prove useful to some.  

See our Paxton page for more information about this CD-ROM.

 

New England’s Monterey:  Stories of  The Town & Its Church  

by Julius Miner and Margery Mansfield (circa 1950) -- This interesting volume lacks both a publication date and a copyright date, but which appears to have been prepared and printed circa 1950.  It views Monterey and the Monterey Congregational Church through two sets of eyes. A local merchant has written the history of the community, and a local poet has written the history of the church. As is usually the case in New England communities, the two are intertwined. It contains a number of photographs by Lincoln Swett as well.  PDF format, 70+++ pages, downloadable, for $4.50.

 Monterey, MA Town and Church

 

The Worcester Directory for 1871

by Henry J. Howland.  403+ pages.  This is a more or less standard city directory, with names, addresses and occupations of individuals, a business directory, extensive display advertising, a city map, and general material about the city, its government and civic and business organizations, etc. In the years following the Civil War, Worcester was a boom town of the Industrial Revolution -- and this Directory shows it.  We've added some topographic maps to the CD for a different perspective. 

 See our Worcester page for more information about this CD-ROM.

 

The Pilgrims -- Journal of American History, Volume XV, 1921  

The National Historical Society elected to devote all of their fourth quarter 1921 issue of JAH to the background of the sect known as the Pilgrims in England, in Holland, and en route to North America.  The coverage is comprehensive, ranging from theological history to the vicissitudes of the Pilgrims during their migrations.  For someone with an ancestral interest in the Mayflower, or for someone interested in settlement of Massachusetts, or religious history, or Plymouth, MA, this is an important document.  (Note that the Journal of American History from which this is extracted does not seem to be the same academic publication one sees today with the same title.)  PDF format, 92+ pages, numerous b/w photos, download for $3.00.

The Pilgrims - Journal of American History   

 

Historical Discourse on the 250th Anniversary of the First Church of Christ, Malden, MA (1899) 

This will be of greatest interest to those with an interest in the specific church mentioned, or of Malden history.  It will be of some interest to those who are fond of the Puritan poet, Michael Wigglesworth, who was the second pastor of this church.  Sadly, there are no church records included (the first 125 years' records were already long ago lost at the time of the speech).  PDF format, 28+ pages, download for $1.75.

 Malden MA church history

 

An Historical Review: The First Church in Amherst - 1739-1889

A well-written and comprehensive history of the 1st Church in Amherst, MA.  The church is noteworthy as the founding entity of Amherst College (discussed at length).  As well, the history contains a number of historical essays that are astonishingly practical and self-critical compared with most church histories.  Also included are genealogies of the founding families. Consult our genealogies page to check whether a specific surname is included.  PDF format, 130+ pages, download for $4.50. 

 Cirst Church in Amherst MA history

 

Genealogies, from Washburn's Historical Sketches of Leicester, Massachusetts (1860)

While Washburn characterizes this chapter of his Historical Sketches as "defective" it is not so much that it may not have been done to perfection than that it has been done at all.  Furthermore, Washburn outlines his methodology, something unusual in genealogy prior to the most recent decades.  If you have ancestors from Leicester, or are interested in that town, this is essential. Consult our genealogies page to check whether a specific surname is included.  PDF format, 74+ pages, download for $4.00

 Genealogies: Leicester, MA

 

The Farmington River and its Origins

from the Connecticut Quarterly, Volume III (1897).  Today one thinks of the Farmington River, starting with its origins in Massachusetts and through its course in Connecticut, primarily in terms of scenic and recreational uses, but a century ago this was emphatically not the case.  (Mostly about the portion of the river in Connecticut, but Massachusetts locations are mentioned.)  Please see our Hartford County, CT page for more information.

 

Dartmouth, MA:  The First Settlers and Where they Settled

By Henry B. Worth.   This short article, appearing in number 39 of the Old Dartmouth Historical Sketches along with minutes of two annual meetings (1913 and 1914) of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society, deals with a locale that today is largely considered to be part of New Bedford.  The obscurity of the location is illustrated by the library encoding of this ex library copy – the librarian incorrectly assigned it to New Hampshire!  However, Dartmouth, MA was created in 1652 via a grant from the Plymouth Colony to some 39 purchasers, a few of whom eventually took up residence.  There is considerable interesting material here for people interested in Massachusetts (and Rhode Island) colonial history and genealogy.  13+ pages, PDF format.  Download now for $4.00.

 Dartmouth MA First Settlers

 

Military History From The History of Hanover, Massachusetts, by Jedediah Dwelley and John F. Simmons (1910)

The military history in this volume begins with King Philip’s War (1675), and continues, in great detail, through all of the conflicts that had been completed by 1910.  It concludes with what was called a “mimic war” – the Blue and Red War of 1909 – which presumably would be closest to what military re-enactors do today, except in terms of numbers: evidently more than 10,000 troops participated in these war games.  It seems refreshingly naïve given what befell the world beginning only four years after the volume was published.  36+ pages, PDF format.  Download now for $3.50.

 Military History of Hanover, Massachusetts

 

Genealogies – part 1 - from The History of Hanover, Massachusetts, by Jedediah Dwelley and John F. Simmons (1910)

Here are the first 145+ pages of the 474 total pages of Hanover genealogies included in this volume.  The second increment is listed below, and the third increment will be forthcoming as time permits.  This section includes surnames from Adams to Dawes, and the quantity of information for each surname  varies from a single family group to several pages.  Consult our genealogies page to check whether a specific surname is included.  We are grateful that the compiler of the genealogies, Jedediah Dwelley, makes a point of noting that distinction of ancestors has little to do with what occurs in the present, and he accordingly avoids the puffery of some genealogies of this period.  146+ pages, PDF format.  Download now for $3.75

 Hanover Genealogies 1

 

Genealogies – part 2 - from The History of Hanover, Massachusetts, by Jedediah Dwelley and John F. Simmons (1910)

Here are the second 206+ pages of the 474 total pages of Hanover genealogies included in this volume, described in more detail in the preceding listing.  This section includes surnames from Day to Spiller, and the quantity of information for each surname varies from a single family group to several pages.  Consult our genealogies page to check whether a specific surname is included.  We are grateful that the compiler of the genealogies, Jedediah Dwelley, makes a point of noting that distinction of ancestors has little to do with what occurs in the present, and he accordingly avoids the puffery of some genealogies of this period.  206+ pages, PDF format.  Download now for $4.00

 Hanover MA Genealogies part 2

 

Lenox, MA:  Centennial Anniversary of the Dedication of the Old Church on the Hill

(1906).  Remembering that in Puritan Massachusetts the Church was a civic organization, and that, for this reason, church histories in this state are apt to stand on their own as local history, this is still one of the better that we have seen.  As well as the usual memorials to past clergy and favored laymen, this book takes pains to identify the early settlers of the town, including where they came from, where they lived, and where, if they left town, they ended up.  We also particularly enjoyed a section about church construction techniques that led us to better understand how some of these old frame churches have withstood the trials of time as well as they have.  Note that this documents the centennial of the dedication of the building, not the establishment of the congregation, which occurred many years before this structure was constructed.  84+ pages, PDF format.  Download now for $4.00.

 Lenox - Old Church on the Hill

Massachusetts titles that are currently in preparation include:


 

The History of Hanover, Massachusetts, by Jedediah Dwelley and John F. Simmons (1910)

We are currently in the process of publishing this monumental town history as a series of downloads.  At present we are working on the genealogies that form half of the volume.

Massachusetts titles we currently own but which are not yet in preparation include:


 

Annual Reports of the Town Officers of Deerfield for 1923, 1926, and 1934

Three nice New England town reports.  Town officers, jury list, report of finance committee, appropriations voted, Selectmen's report, accountant's report, Collector's and Assessor's reports, Treasurer's report, Town Clerk's report (includes births, marriages, deaths), library reports, community nurse report, police and school reports.  Lots of names and specifics in the three books, which number 95, 128, and 128 pages respectively.  We'll put these three on one CD-ROM when we republish -- or we may offer them as downloads. (the 1934 report has now been published -- see above).

 

The History of Massachusetts: The Colonial Period

(1855) by John Stetson Barry.  519+ pages.  You can certainly find more modern texts on this subject, but this is a wonderful glimpse of the colonial period prepared when it was 150 closer than it is today.  Remember also that in early colonial times, settlements in what are now Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Connecticut fell into the larger Massachusetts.  Thus, the book includes significant mention of all of those areas, particularly details of their settlement. 

 

The Town of Lincoln 1754 - 1904

The full name of this book is "An Account of the Celebration by the Town of Lincoln, Massachusetts April 23, 1904, of the 150th Anniversary of its Incorporation".  230++ pages.  A nice town anniversary book, with many very good pictures of houses and other local landmarks.  Also includes rolls of veterans of conflicts through the War with Spain.

 

History of Ware, Massachusetts

by Arthur Chase.  294 pages, including index, plus many good quality photographs of this Hampshire County community.  This is an impressive town history, published as it was (in 1911) by the Cambridge University Press and authored at the request of the Town sesquicentennial committee by Chase, who was the Rector of Trinity Episcopal Church.  It includes lots of source documents, so it's not just one man's opinion. We think getting this one out and available to the history and genealogy community should be a priority -- and so do several others who have told us that we need to publish this one. 

Sorry!!  This project is on hold for the time being.  History of Ware MA for more information about this republication and some material you can use in the interim.

Additional information available on this website about Massachusetts includes:


 

It may surprise you to hear this, but Suffield, Connecticut, a Connecticut River town south of Springfield, was part of Massachusetts for the first century or so of its existence.    We recently completed a project to create a CD-ROM of archival Suffield material. 

See our Suffield page.

Please do let us know if you are interested in our efforts in re-publishing Massachusetts material.  We have received indications of interest in the Berkshire County area, and are currently watching for additional material to become available for acquisition. 

Contact Between the Lakes Group to contact us at Between the Lakes Group if this -- or some other Massachusetts topic -- is of interest to you  -- or, join our mailing list

 

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