The State Library has an extensive collection of local histories in its research collection. These include county, town, and city histories, county reports, and commemorative programs from town celebrations, sermons, and other events. Although the library does hold more contemporary histories, the majority of the material in its research collection is from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
In addition to the items in its research collection, the library has several other local history related resources:
City and Town Directories
This large collection dates from the first Boston directory of 1789 and covers most Massachusetts communities, with the last Boston directory in our collection published in 1981. Directories contain a list of persons, organized by last name, residing in a town or city. Some directories also have house guides, which contain listings by address instead of by individual. City Directories and Voting Lists are found in the State Library's Special Collections Department.
Tax Valuation Records
Some of these records include individuals' names and property holdings, while others provide only aggregate totals. Many valuations include information on towns that are now part of Maine. The collection covers the period from the late 1600s through 1811. All of the valuations and corresponding microfilm can be consulted in the State Library’s Special Collections Department.
The library has an extensive collection of Massachusetts Town Reports, with some dating to the early 1800s. These volumes are located in the main library.
Vital Records to 1850
The Vital Records to 1850 series was compiled and published in the early 20th century for many municipalities in Massachusetts. These volumes include birth, marriage, and death information and are transcribed from town and church records, cemeteries, and private sources. These volumes are located in the main library.
Historical Map Collection
This collection, located in the Special Collections Department, includes Sanborn fire insurance maps and real estate atlases, panoramic maps (or bird's-eye views), railroad maps and profiles, county atlases, current and historic topographic maps, and printed maps issued by Massachusetts state agencies.
This information is provided by The State Library of Massachusetts.