Local History and Genealogy Resources
From this September through December, the Robert M. Bartlett Room and Plymouth Collection for Local History will be closed to the public Tuesdays through Fridays between 10:00 and 12:30 and Monday nights between 6:00 and 7:00. This temporary change is due to renovations which will be taking place as we expand classroom space for the Literacy Program of Greater Plymouth on our first floor. We apologize for any inconvenience.
The History Room is available to the public at all other times during our regular hours. The room is customarily locked; the Reference Staff will be happy to assist you if you wish to access it.
The Bartlett Room at the Main Library houses items relating to the history of Plymouth. The Collection is accessible to the public during normal library hours. Resources in the Plymouth Collection are supported through the Rev. Robert M. Bartlett Fund and the Arthur Lord Fund of the Plymouth Public Library Corporation. Although the books in the Plymouth Collection cannot be checked out, there are duplicate copies of many titles available in the circulating history collection. (These books are shelved on the first floor at the end of the regular non-fiction section).
The Plymouth Collection includes:
- Genealogies and Vital Records
- Town Histories and Town Reports
- Maps, Art Work, and Historical Photographs
- High School Yearbooks
- A "Vertical File" indexed by subject on topics of local interest with clippings and pamphlets
Plymouth Digital Collections
Many of the items in the collection are also now available as e-books. Annual Reports of the Town of Plymouth (through 2015), Plymouth High School Yearbooks (through 2016), Cordage News (the in-house newsletter of the Cordage Company between 1945 and 1954), plus several library publications chronicling local history have all been digitized; for more information click here. Visitors will also find many of the older volumes on the shelves wrapped in protective archival boxes with labels indicating when the title can be accessed at https://archive.org/ or https://books.google.com/
Plymouth Tercentenary Photograph Collection: To commemorate the 300th anniversary of the arrival of the Pilgrims, Plymouth erected new monuments and its citizenry enacted a public outdoor pageant dramatizing "the history of the life and struggles of the Pilgrim Fathers." The height of the celebration occurred on August 1, 1921, when numerous dignitaries, including President Warren G. Harding, and a crowd estimated at 100,000 gathered to view the "Pilgrim Spirit" Pageant and Parade. The Library owns a collection of 159 photographs which chronicle these events and we are pleased to be able now to share these items online.
Digitization of these texts and photographs was federally funded with grants from the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) through the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and administered by the Boston Public Library in partnership with the Digital Commonwealth. The books are hosted by Internet Archive, a non-profit organization offering permanent access for researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public to historical collections that exist in digital format.
The Plymouth Historic Houses Collection contains the research compiled by the 1992-1995 Massachusetts Historical Commission survey. There are ten binders with information about historic homes, structures, neighborhoods, and sites. The binders are arranged by location (i.e., Plymouth Village Center, Plymouth Village Historic District, etc.). There is also an index containing an alphabetical list of street names which is available to use as a cross reference in locating information on specific homes. The house histories often include the historical name of the house, the builder, the house's architectural information and information on the house's residents. This information can now also be accessed on-line at the website of the Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System (MACRIS). (Search by town for Plymouth).
Plymouth Cemetery Records: There are over 30 cemeteries in Plymouth. To search the database of records maintained by the Town of Plymouth, click here.
Copies of the local newspaper, The Old Colony Memorial, are available in microfilm format. We have 3 microfilm readers with printing available for $.10 a page.
In addition to our print and digital resources, we also provide on-line access to Accessible Archives, American Ancestors, NE Historic Genealogical Society; Ancestry.com; The Historical Boston Globe (1872-1983); Fold3 and Heritage Quest. (American Ancestors and Ancestry must be accessed by visiting the library, either using our public computers or logging onto our public wi-fi network. The other databases are available remotely using your Plymouth library card number). For more information about these databases, click here.