MSS 77:  Local History Collection, ca. 1783-1970 - New Bedford Whaling Museum
Inventory of the Local History Collection In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research LibraryProcessed by: Patricia J. Albright; machine-readable finding aid created by: Kermit DeweyFunds for processing this collection were provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.Inventory of the Local History Collection In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library

Table of Contents

Scope and Content Note

Information for Researchers

Administrative Information


Subject Headings

Inventory of the Local History Collection

In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library

Local History Collection
Date Span:
circa 1783-1970
New Bedford Whaling Museum
Mss Number:
Mss 77
11 linear feet
Administrative, financial and public records, legal documents, muster rolls, and other records of civic, military, political, and social organizations in New Bedford and several other Massachusetts towns, circa 1783-1970.
New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library
Phone: (508) 997-0046

Scope and Content Note

Most of the records in this collection reflect the civic, military, political, and social activities of New Bedford, Massachusetts, residents between 1787 and 1970. In addition, some records concern citizens, institutions, and organizations active in Acushnet, Andover, Boston, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Newburyport, Quincy, Rochester, Shirley, Taunton, and Westport, Massachusetts, during the years 1789 to 1936.

One portion of this collection consists of public records generated by municipal officials and employees. These documents include accounts representing payments to families of Revolutionary War soldiers by committees in the towns of Dartmouth, New Bedford, and Westport, Mass., 1777-1790; an 1811 tax list and voting register for New Bedford; records concerning the care of indigent persons by the officials of Fairhaven, New Bedford, Newburyport, Rochester, and Westport, 1813-1854; financial accounts, reports, and a marriage register compiled by city or town clerks and treasurers of Fairhaven, New Bedford, and Taunton between 1787-1938; and records relating to the New Bedford Fire Department during the years 1807 to 1897.

Another sizable quantity of material in the collection concerns benevolent and charitable societies, churches, clubs, and schools, particularly those active in Dartmouth, Fairhaven, and New Bedford between the years 1800 and 1970. These records chiefly consist of articles of incorporation or agreement, by-laws, and constitutions; minutes of meetings; financial accounts; membership records; legal documents; correspondence; and historical sketches and clippings. Organizations and institutions represented by these types of records include Fairhaven Academy, a private school; the Franklin Union Debating Society and Young Men's Natural History Society of New Bedford; the New Bedford Lyceum and New Bedford Yacht Club; and Salem Baptist Church, an African-American church in New Bedford. A related group of documents concern the Arnold Garden at New Bedford; a committee which collected funds to construct a monument honoring Bartholomew Gosnold on Cuttyhunk Island; the Belleville Association, a New Bedford land company; and Mechanics' Hall, a public hall in that city which rented work space to several individuals, including William Allen Wall, a noted artist.

This collection also consists of muster rolls, correspondence, certificates, minutes, regulations, and membership and financial records concerning Massachusetts military organizations and units and local veterans of American wars. Most of this material reflects the activities of Fairhaven and New Bedford home guards, Massachusetts infantry regiments, and the New Bedford Recruiting Committee during the Civil War, 1861-1865. Another group of records in this collection was generated by a division of the Massachusetts Militia from 1793 to 1834 and includes documents reflecting the involvement of Dartmouth, Fairhaven, New Bedford, and Westport men in the War of 1812. A final group of manuscripts, dating from 1862-1961, relate to New Bedford chapters of several military and patriotic societies, notably the Grand Army of the Republic, the Sons of Veterans of the United States of America, and the United Spanish War Veterans.

Materials in this collection have been divided into two sub-groups. Sub-group 1 contains records concerning Massachusetts towns, which are listed in alphabetical series according to the name of each locality. Documents created by or relating to residents of each town are then described at the sub-series level. Sub-group 2 consists of records of Massachusetts Militia units. Regimental records are described in Series A of this sub-group, while Series B concerns records of the 5th Division, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Regiment. All other military records in this collection are described as part of the documents relating to specific Massachusetts towns.

Arrangement of Collection

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Access to Collections

Unrestricted. Consult librarian for an appointment.

Preferred Citation

New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Mss 77, [sub-group, series, sub-series, folder/volume as appropriate], [item]

Copyright Notice

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted materials. The Privacy Act of 1974 (5 United States Code 552a) governs the use of materials that document private individuals, groups, and corporations.

Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a reproduction if the document does not infringe the privacy rights of an individual, group, or corporation. These specified conditions of authorized use include:

- non-commercial and non-profit study, scholarship, research, or teaching
- criticism or commentary
- as a NBWM archives preservation or security copy for research use
- as a research copy for deposit in another institution

If the researcher later uses a copy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," the researcher is personally liable for copyright, privacy, or publicity infringement and agrees to indemnify the New Bedford Whaling Museum from any legal action as a result of the error. Permission to obtain a photographic, xerographic, digital, or other copy of a document does not indicate permission to publish, exhibit, perform, reproduce, sell, distribute, or prepare derivative works from the document without permission from the copyright holder and from any private individual, group, or corporation shown or otherwise recorded.

Permission to publish, exhibit, perform, reproduce, prepare derivative works from, sell, or otherwise distribute the item must be obtained separately in writing from the holder of the original copyright (or if the creator is dead, from his/her heirs) as well as from any individual(s), groups, or corporations whose name, image, recorded words, or private information (e.g. employment information) may be reproduced in the source material. The holder of the original copyright is not necessarily the New Bedford Whaling Museum. The New Bedford Whaling Museum is not legally liable for copyright, privacy, or publicity infringement when materials are wrongfully used after being provided to researchers for "fair use."

This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if fulfillment of the order is judged in violation of copyright or federal or state privacy law. This institution also places restrictions on the use of cameras, photocopiers, and scanners in the research room.

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The majority of documents in this collection were given to the Old Dartmouth Historical Society by many different individuals between the years 1903 and 1980. Accession records also indicate that several of these items were purchased from manuscript dealers during the same period.

Processing Information

Processed by: Patricia J. Albright, ca. 1982

Encoded by: Kermit Dewey, 14 August 2012

Funds for processing this collection were provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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Please Consult Research Library for Detailed Description of Collection

Sub-group 1: Records Concerning Massachusetts Towns, circa 1783-1970 [9.5 linear feet]
Acushnet, Mass., Records, 1811
Andover, Mass., Records, 1827
Boston, Mass., Records, 1817, 1826
Dartmouth, Mass., Records, 1789-1936
Fairhaven, Mass., Records, 1800-1861
New Bedford, Mass., Records, circa 1783-1970
Quincy, Mass., Records, 1865, 1870
Rochester, Mass., Records, 1853-1854
Shirley, Mass., Records, 1858
Taunton, Mass., Records, 1826
Westport, Mass., Records, 1803-1823
Sub-group 2: Records Concerning Massachusetts Militia Units, 1793-1917 [1.5 linear feet]
Massachusetts Infantry Records, 1859-1917
Massachusetts Militia Records, 1793-1834

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Subject Headings

Akin, Eben, fl. 1892
Allen, Ansel, 1784-1836
Amusements--Mass.--New Bedford
Brownell, Abner, b.1756
Brownell, Frederick, 1789-1872
Bullard, John Morgan, 1890-1965
Business records--Mass.--South Dartmouth
Businessmen--Mass.--South Dartmouth
Church finance--Massachusetts
Church records and registers--Massachusetts
Churches--Mass.--New Bedford
City treasurers--Mass.--New Bedford
Civil defense
Civil guards--Mass.--New Bedford
Congdon, James Bunker, 1802-1880
Crandon, Thomas, 1728-1821
Crapo, Henry Howland, 1804-1869
Dartmouth, Mass.--History--Revolution, 1775-1783
Dartmouth, Mass.--Officials and employees
Dartmouth, Massachusetts
Davis, William, 1736-1797
Education of children
Elections-- Mass.--New Bedford
Fairhaven, Mass.--Officials and employees
Fairhaven, Massachusetts
Finance, Public--Mass.--New Bedford
Fire departments--Mass.--New Bedford
Fire fighters--Mass.--New Bedford
Green, Edward Howland Robinson, 1869-1936
Hathaway, James H., 1835-1924
Hathaway, Jethro, 1720-1803
Hathaway, Stephen, 1743-1826
Hicks, Barney, 1754-1832
Home guards--Mass.--New Bedford
Howland, Gideon Jr., 1770-1847
Institutional care--Mass.--Westport
Kirby, Wesson, 1731-1798
Local History Collection
Local elections--Mass.--New Bedford
Massachusetts--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
Massachusetts--History--Revolution, 1775-1783
Military service, Compulsory--Mass.--New Bedford
Military service, Voluntary--Mass.--New Bedford
Military societies--Mass.--New Bedford
Municipal government--Mass.--New Bedford
Municipal government--Mass.--Westport
Municipal government--Massachusetts
Municipal officials and employees--Mass.--Dartmouth
Municipal officials and employees--Mass.--Fairhaven
Municipal officials and employees--Mass.--New Bedford
Municipal officials and employees--Mass.--Westport
Municipal officials and employees--Massachusetts
New Bedford, Mass.--Amusements
New Bedford, Mass.--Churches
New Bedford, Mass.--Clubs
New Bedford, Mass.--Fire-departments
New Bedford, Mass.--Fires and fire prevention
New Bedford, Mass.--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
New Bedford, Mass.--History--Revolution, 1775-1783
New Bedford, Mass.--Officials and employees
New Bedford, Mass.--Politics and government
New Bedford, Mass.--Poor
New Bedford, Mass.--Recreational activities
New Bedford, Mass.--Social life and customs
New Bedford, Mass.--Societies
New Bedford, Mass.--Voting registers
New Bedford, Mass.--[Revolutionary War Committee]
New Bedford, Massachusetts
Patriotic societies--Mass.--New Bedford
Poll-tax--Mass.--New Bedford
Poor--Mass.--New Bedford
Private schools--Massachusetts
Public Records--Mass.--Westport
Public records--Mass.--Dartmouth
Public records--Mass.--Fairhaven
Public records--Mass.--New Bedford
Public records--Massachusetts
Radio broadcasting--Mass.--South Dartmouth
Radio research--Mass.--South Dartmouth
Radio stations--Mass.--South Dartmouth
Registers of births, etc.--Massachusetts
Roads--Mass.--Fairhaven--Maintenance and repair
Roads--Mass.--New Bedford--Maintenance and repair
Selectmen--Mass.--New Bedford
Sisson, Peleg, 1773-1824
Slocum, Giles, fl. ca.1770
Smith, Abraham, 1749-1826
Smith, Henry, 1738-1801
Smith, John, 1743-1801
Soldiers--Mass.--New Bedford
South Dartmouth, Mass.--Industries
Spooner, Alden, 1750-1844
Stations, Radio SEE Radio stations
Suffrage--Mass.--New Bedford
Surveyors--Mass.--New Bedford
Taber, Bartholomew, 1779-1860
Taber, John 2nd, fl.1811
Tallman, William, 1730-1802
Tax collection--Mass.--New Bedford
Taxation of personal property--Mass.--Fairhaven
Taxation of personal property--Mass.--New Bedford
Taxation--Mass.--New Bedford
Taxation--Mass.--New Bedford--Lists
Town clerks--Mass.--Westport
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Registers, lists, etc.
United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783--Finance, commerce, confiscations, etc.
United States. Army. Continental Army--Pay, allowances, etc.
Veterans--Mass.--New Bedford
Voters, Registration of--Mass.--New Bedford
Voting--Mass.--New Bedford
Westport, Mass.--Almshouses
Westport, Mass.--Charities
Westport, Mass.--History--Revolution, 1775-1783
Westport, Mass.--Officials and employees
Westport, Mass.--Poor
Westport, Mass.--[Revolutionary War Committee]
Westport, Massachusetts
White, Alden, 1792-1858
White, Phineas, 1785-1877
Williams, Lemuel, 1747-1828
Wing, Daniel, fl.1818

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