Our Rhode Island history titles:
History of the Town of Smithfield, R.I.
From its organization in 1730-1 to its division in 1871
By Thomas Steere
The volume was compiled at the
direction of the voters of the town of Smithfield, North Smithfield,
Lincoln, and Woonsocket at the time the larger town of Smithfield
was divided into the four mentioned. Smithfield had previously been
part of Providence until it had been separated from that city. With
around 160 pages of text, and an additional 70 pages of appendices,
there’s considerable material here regardless of where your
historical interests in this area lie. Quite compelling is the
narrative of the transformation of greater Smithfield from an
agricultural area of small villages into an industrial powerhouse,
an important textile making locale in the second half of the 19th
century. 244+ pages, in PDF format, download now for $4.00.
PROVIDENCE, RI: List of Persons Assessed in the City Tax
This list includes full names of persons (and businesses) assessed that year.
Included are valuations of real and personal property, as well as the amount of
the tax assessed. Both resident and non-resident are included.
"People of Color" are listed separately, making this a particularly useful
source for information about the economic situation of African Americans in
Rhode Island in the pre-Civil War period. 60+ paged, in PDF format.
Download now for $3.75.
The History of Warren, Rhode Island in the War of the
by Virginia Baker. Includes a narrative history as well as appendices providing
muster rolls and militia lists, the 1778 valuation list of Warren, shipping
lost, and a fascinating list, by household, of losses as a result of a
British incursion in May 1778. Included as well is the crew of the General
Stark, a 14 gun privateer, a letter home from one William T. Miller, and an
accounting of "ancient landmarks." 68+ pages, download in
PDF format. $5.00.
Manual of the Richmond Street Congregational Church,
While this thin
paper-bound volume also includes the Articles of Faith, Covenant, and
Articles of Discipline of this Congregational Church, most will find the
list of members of greatest interest. Members are grouped by the year
in which they joined the church, and the list indicates whether the member
joined by letter (transfer from another Congregational Church) or by
profession (by making a public statement of their beliefs). In all,
useful not only for the obvious genealogical value but also for an example
of how Congregationalism worked in the capital city of a state founded in
the interests of promoting religious freedom.
23+ pages, download in PDF format. $3.25
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
The 469 Ultra-Fashionables of America -- A Social
Guide Book and Register to Date,
by C. W. de Lyon Nicholls (1912). Probably the last time in
American history when a hereditary American upper class existed.
See our Americana page for more
Sketch and Manual of the Providence High School (1878)
As well as a
narrative of the decision process leading to a new high school
building for Providence, this includes floor plans, a view of the
ornate structure, speeches from the dedication ceremony, a history
of the faculty, and 62 pages of names of teachers and students, from
1843 to 1878. We think that this compilation of
students and teachers is probably unique, and virtually a necessity
if you are doing biographical or genealogical research about people
who lived in Providence in that time frame. The lists of
students are by year of entry, further subdivided by academic -- or
gender -- specialty (e.g. classical, English and scientific, and
girls department). Obviously it is also potentially useful for
anyone studying the history of education.
132+ pages, PDF format. Download now for $5.00.
Coddington, by Mrs. Sarah K. Birckhead (1913)
This Bulletin of the
Newport Historical Society (paper read to the Society on November
18, 1912) is a comprehensive biographical sketch of the early
Newport governor. A note by the author indicates that the
material is a combination of two papers written by her father. Coddington was certainly a figure worthy of study in a colony of
outspoken religious dissenters: Roger William and Samuel
Gorton the best known today. Coddington battled them both --
and others as well. A fascinating paper! 26+ pages, in
PDF format, download now for $3.25.
Reunion of the Class of June 1934 of Central High School, Providence, RI
May 19, 1954 If
any of the members of the Class of 1934 of Central High School are
still alive, they are turning or have recently turned 100 years old,
and our very best wishes to them! More likely, this will be seen by
children or grandchildren of this class – some of whom may find
themselves alluded to in the booklet as in terms they would not
today associate with themselves. We hope that those who fall into
any of these categories find the short observations on the subjects’
lives to date illuminating and perhaps touching.
The members of the class of 1934, of
course, finished high school at a time that virtually guaranteed
that members would have what might be considered eventful lives.
They graduated into the Great Depression and doubtless a limited job
market combined with economic conditions that limited, for most,
further schooling. By the time they seemed to have established
themselves to some extent, along came World War II – and for most of
the men in this class there is a mention of military service – and
following that, the process of converting from a wartime society to
the most sustained boom the nation has ever known. This 20th
reunion covered it all, and occurred immediately after the Korean
War had ended. Interesting times, indeed!
High school reunion booklets such as
this also provide an interesting perspective into attitudes at the
time of the reunion that may differ considerably from those that
prevailed when the class graduated from high school and certainly
differ from attitudes when the document is viewed more than a half
century later. As such, documents such as this are probably
under-utilized as source material for research purposes. While many
societal changes can be observed, notable in this document are
attitudinal changes about appropriate roles for women. “Crackerjack
housewife” is a term of great approbation in this booklet. Work or
careers for women seem, in the mores of 1954, to be appropriate only
until the first baby appears. Once that event occurs, whatever the
woman accomplished previously is effectively wiped out as the
cleanliness of the house and the health of the offspring become the
sole focus of the mother’s existence. Obviously attitudes today
have changed considerably in that regard. 78
pages, in PDF format. Download now for $4.25.
Junior League of Providence, Inc.’s Follies of 1950
Presented February 3 & 4, 1950.
This was the printed program for a
benefit performance by amateurs. The beneficiary was to be a day
camp for girls who were helped by a girls club in Providence. It
has the usual advertisements, cast lists, and so forth. It also has
two pages of information about Junior League nationally, Junior
League in Providence, and the project currently underway.
While it is useful for tracking
local names and businesses as documents like this typically are, it
probably is more important as a document of the changing role of
women – particularly women of the upper class – in America in the 20th
century. Viewed in very general terms, when Junior League was
established in 1921 the place of any upper class female, once
married, was in the home. World War II, with the widespread of
women into the workplace, was still a generation away. Yet at the
same time, a movement of women interested in improving the condition
of the poor, and particularly poor women, via settlement houses and
their organizational offshoots, had been in existence for nearly
half a century and was appealing more and more to those homebound
upper class young women. The Junior League provided a socially
sanctioned way for upper class young women (and not-so-young women)
to retain or even enhance their social positions and still do good
for the poor.
Young women of this generation were
the mothers and older sisters of the generation of women who changed
work in America completely beginning in the 1960s and 1970s. They
brought enormous energy (as well as good educations, financial
resources, and influence over well-connected men in their lives) and
genuinely did make significant changes in the world. But despite
the good that they did, they were still flying under the radar. The
text of an ad in this program from a brokerage house reads “Our hats
off to the fair sex! They own more shares in leading corporations
than the Weaker Sex.” Tongue in cheek, and condescending are two
terms one might apply to this ad – yet it points unerringly to the
huge social change on the horizon. Tonight, debutantes posing as
showgirls. Tomorrow, upheaval of the traditionally accepted roles
of upper class women – and eventually all women – in American.
54 pages in PDF format.
Download now for $3.00.
Rhode Island -- Warwick and south
This, our first Rhode Island CD-ROM covers
the area south and west.
This CD-ROM is ready now. Learn more
about it on our page about the Warwick and the