Archives Management

The archival collections of DCR and its predecessor agencies are open to the public at the Massachusetts Archives
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Wachusett Mountain State Reservation Commissioners Harold Parker and John Burnett resting from a hike at Wachusett Mountain SR, 1904

Between 1866 and 2003, more than 30 major government agencies and divisions were created that evolved to form today’s Department of Conservation and Recreation. The mission of the DCR’s Archives Management function is to identify and acquire across DCR’s offices statewide, and to organize, preserve, and provide access to the cumulative body of permanent archival records of all these agencies, and do so at the Massachusetts Archives. DCR’s archival collections is also a repository for the full historical range of the agency’s studies and reports. Contact DCR's Archivist at the Massachusetts Archives.

Digital Collections

In partnership with the Massachusetts Archives, and with the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA), some collections have been digitized and placed online through the Digital Commonwealth portal and through The Internet Archive.

To access more than 8,800 images of the Massachusetts Metropolitan Water Works (MWW) System dating between 1876 and 1926 (pre-Quabbin Reservoir), go to the  Digital Commonwealth web portal. A comprehensive history of the MWW Photograph Collection is available below as a PDF; along with a PowerPoint summarizing the archival preservation of this collection.

MWW Photograph Collection History   |  MWW Photograph Collection Preservation

To access more than 2,900 photographs documenting the 1927-1940s real estate takings in the Swift River valley to make way for the Quabbin Reservoir, and of general engineering of the Quabbin Reservoir, go to the Digital Commonwealth web portal.

To access about 2,000 photographs documenting the 1928-1948 real estate, sanitary conditions, flooding and general engineering in the Ware River Watershed during the construction of the Quabbin Reservoir, go to the Digital Commonwealth web portal.

To access 2,083 photographs and 26 plans documenting the cemeteries removed during the 1930s to make way for the Quabbin Reservoir, go to the Digital Commonwealth web portal.

A narrated PowerPoint presentation about the Quabbin Photos Digital Access Project is available at the following link.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_uH-GnHc9Q

To access 15 photographic portraits of the founders and commissioners of the 1893 Metropolitan Park Commission, go to the Digital Commonwealth web portal.

To access the 1892-1893 newspaper scrapbooks compiled by the Preliminary Board of the Metropolitan Park Commission, go to the Massachusetts Archives Digital Repository.

To access the Minutes of the following DCR legacy agencies, go to The Internet Archive.

  • The Metropolitan Park Commission Preliminary Board (1892-1893);
  • Metropolitan Park Commission (1893-1919);
  • Charles River Basin Commission (1903-1910);
  • Metropolitan District Commission (1919-2003);
  • State Forest Commission (1914-1919);
  • Board of the Department of Natural Resources (1953-1975);
  • Board of the Department of Environmental Management (1975-2003); and,
  • The Wachusett Mountain State Reservation Commission (1899-1967).

Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Archives

DCR’s archival collections at the Massachusetts Archives maintains a specialized collection of Massachusetts-related CCC materials

DCR’s archival collections at the Massachusetts Archives maintains a specialized collection of Massachusetts-related CCC materials including photographs, documents, and ephemera. The collection was begun in the 1970s by state parks staff, from parks and donors all across the Commonwealth with the purpose of preserving the CCC legacy.

The CCC archival collection is available to the public and DCR staff for research, exhibit development, interpretive programming, or information on CCC work projects, selected alumni, camps or companies.

The DCR Archives Management office accepts donations of original photographs, documents, printed matter, and ephemera pertaining to the CCC experience at any CCC Camp in Massachusetts. Digital scans of donated original photos will be provided to the donor in exchange for donating scannable original materials. The final repository for donated materials will be the Massachusetts State Archives, provided the materials document a CCC Camp in Massachusetts, and the materials are paper/photo based. No objects will be accepted.

The Massachusetts CCC Archives at the Massachusetts Archives does not hold records documenting the enrollment of CCC alumni. These records are located at the National Archives National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) facility in St. Louis, as CCC enrollees were classified as federal, not state, employees. The public may request a CCC enrollee personnel file through the National Archives.

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