Rhode Island Historical Records Repositories Directory

State and Local Government Agencies
Academic Libraries and Archives
Historical and Preservation Societies
Public and Private Libraries
Museums and Armories

Academic Libraries and Archives

Brown University Archives
Mailing address: Box A, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912
Street address: 20 Prospect Street, Providence, RI 02912
TEL: (401) 863-2148
FAX: (401) 863-2093
Contact: Jennifer Betts, University Archivist
Hours: Monday-Friday 9:00 am-5:00 pm.

Holdings (Inclusive dates: 1763-present):
The University archives holds non-current records of University administrative offices, academic departments, and student activities, and files of University and student periodicals. Faculty papers are collected, especially those which represent their teaching and research interests. Manuscript collections include historical papers from the beginning of the College, student diaries, letters, lecture notes, and essays, and selected papers of alumni. Non-paper records include photographs, prints, sound recording, and motion picture films.

Brown University Special Collections
Mailing address: Box A, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912
Street address: John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence, RI 02912
TEL: (401) 863-2146
FAX: (401) 863-2093
Contact: Jennifer Betts, University Archivist
Hours: Monday-Friday 9:00 am-5:00 pm.
Appointment required.

Holdings (Inclusive dates: 7th century B.C.E.-present):
Strong 19th century American history collection including the papers of Jonathan Russell, the McClellan Lincoln Collection, the papers of John Hay, Samuel Sullivan Cox, and Eli Thayer (of the Emigrant Aid Society.) Collections relating to church history include the records of several Baptist churches in Rhode Island and the papers of individual Baptist clergymen, including Roger Williams. Twentieth century collections include several relating to WWII. Collections relating to Rhode Island include the papers of reformers Thomas Wilson Dorr and Elizabeth Buffum Chase, Governors William Sprague and Charles Warren Lippitt, and the Hall-Hoag Collection of Dissenting and Extremist Literature. Other collections include the Gorham Company Archives, the Hoffman Napoleon Collection, the Lownes History of Science Collection, the Rider Collection of Rhode Island History, and Rhode Island Manuscripts.

Bryant University, Douglas and Judith Krupp Library
1150 Douglas Pike, Smithfield, RI 02917
TEL: (401) 232-6299
FAX: (401) 232-6319
Contact: Laura Kohl, Head of Reference Services
Hours: Monday-Thursday 7:30 am-12:00 am; Friday 7:30 am-9:00 pm; Saturday 10:00 am-6:00 pm; Sunday 12:00 pm-12:00 am.
Appointment required. Hours in effect only when school is in session.

Holdings (Inclusive dates: 1972-present):
Holdings relate to the internal publications of the school, student newspapers, yearbooks, and other publications of different agencies throughout the college.

Culinary Archives and Museum at Johnson and Wales University
315 Harbourside Boulevard, Providence, RI 02905
TEL: (401) 598-2805
FAX: (401) 598-2807
Contact: Deborah Pinkham, Director
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10:00 am-5:00 pm.
Research by written and confirmed appointment only.

Holdings (Inclusive dates: 1500-present):
The culinary archives contains approximately 1,000,000 volumes and supports the teaching programs of Johnson & Wales University. It is one of the principle institutions in the United States for the study of the history of food, cooking, nutrition and related subjects including travel and tourism, direct marketing, hotel management and fashion retailing, reflecting interests from ancient times to the present. Established in 1979 with a donation of rare cookbooks from the late Paul Fritzsche, the holdings were enlarged by the Szathmary Family Culinary Collection of approximately 300,000 items. The museum also holds the archives of the the Honorable Order of the Golden Toque and Les Dames d'Escoffier International. Holdings include cookbooks, tradecards, postcards, menus and manuscript collections including food related correspondence signed by emperors, kings, US Presidents, politicians, artists, writers, musicians, scientists, and renowned chefs.

John Carter Brown Library, Brown University
Mailing address: Box 1894, Providence, RI 02912
Street address: Corner of George and Brown Streets, Providence, RI 02903
TEL: (401) 863-2725
FAX: (401) 863-3477
Contact: Ted Widmer, Director
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 am-5:00 pm; Saturday 9:00 am-12:00 pm.

Holdings (Inclusive dates: 1492-1825):
Contemporary printed works (and some manuscripts) relating to the history of the Western Hemisphere, from Hudson Bay to Patagonia, during the colonial period of the Americas, ca. 1492-1825. The library is defined as both a repository for rare books and a center for advanced research. It's major manuscript collection is the commercial papers of the Brown family, from the early eighteenth century to the mid-nineteenth century. The library also has a collection of early maps and prints (ca. 1825) and pamphlets from the era of the American Revolution.

Naval War College, Naval Historical Collection
686 Cushing Road, Newport, RI 02841-1207
TEL: (401) 841-2003
FAX: (401) 841-1140
Contact: Dara A. Baker, Head Archivist
Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 9:00 am-4:00 pm, Tuesdays by appointment. The Naval Historical Collection is open to the public, however, members of the public must contact the Archivist before visiting.
Appointment required.

Holdings (Inclusive dates: 1783-1995):
The collecting themes of the Naval Historical Collection (NHC) are the history of the college, the Navy in Narragansett Bay and naval warfare. NHC includes over 6,000 linear feet of archival material plus 8000 Rare and Restricted Books. The College Archives (administrative, historical, curricular, student, conference and departmental records) for the U.S. Naval War College (1884-present). Manuscript collections (1770-present) include the papers of College presidents, faculty, and staff as well as prominent Naval figures (Admirals Spruance, King, and Nimitz) and collections of the Naval Torpedo Station, Naval Training Station and Base and the Quonset Point Naval Air Station, Women Officer School and other naval departments. The collection also houses oral histories of flag rank officers, WAVES in WWII, navy wives and faculty and staff. Special Collections include newspapers, naval pamphlets, rare books, and association books.

Providence College, Archives and Special Collections
Phillips Memorial Library, 1 Cunningham Square, Providence, RI 02918
TEL: (401) 865-2377
FAX: (401) 865-1578
Contact: Russell Franks, Librarian for Special and Archival Collections
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 am-4:30 pm.
Appointment recommended.

Holdings (Inclusive dates: 1680-present; 20th century emphasis):
Description: The Providence College Archives serves as an information center for institutional history. It exists not only as a storage warehouse but also as a reference source for information relating to the College's formation and growth. The Archives solicits retired files, with the exception of financial records, from the College officers, departments, committees, and student organizations as well as all publications, directives, reports, ephemera and non-written materials germane to the needs of researchers. Special Collections came into existence as a result of the donation of the papers of Congressman John E. Fogarty, a collection totaling about one-half million pieces rich with insight into the development of our nation and our state. In addition to the emphasis on immigrants and minority groups who have contributed to the state's development, our program is oriented to acquiring primary source material of individuals and organizations who played a leading role in the political, legal, and cultural history of our state and region during the 19th and 20th Centuries.

Rhode Island College, R.I. Archaeology Collections
Department of Anthropology, Rhode Island College, 600 Mount Pleasant Avenue, Providence, RI 02908-1991
TEL: (401) 456-8005
FAX: (401) 456-9736
Contact: Carol Barnes and E. Pierre Morenon, Curator(s)
Hours: Monday-Friday 9:00 am-4:00 pm.
Appointment required.

Holdings (Inclusive dates: c. 10,000 years ago - present):
The Rhode Island Archaeology Collections at Rhode Island College consist of artifacts, analysis records, maps, notes, reports, photographs and videos from over 100 archaeological projects. Hundreds of locations from many parts of Rhode Island have been studied through environmental reviews and compliance projects. A few private collections have also been donated to Rhode Island College over the years. Many projects include compilations of historical documents housed in other locations; some include original source material derived from private sources or interviews. Some of the site locations documented in these collections are not accessible to the public for preservation or legal reasons. Native American, historic, industrial and modern sites are documented. A portion of Rhode Island College was the former State Home and School for Dependent and Neglected Children (circa 1885-1976).

Rhode Island College, Special Collections
600 Mount Pleasant Avenue, Providence, RI 02908-1991
TEL: (401) 456-9653
FAX: (401) 456-9646
Contact: Marlene L. Lopes, Special Collections Librarian
Hours: Monday-Friday 9:00 am-4:00 pm.
Appointment recommended.

Holdings (Inclusive dates: 1852-present):
Historical records include the Rhode Island College Archives and the Records (1930-1950) of the International Institute of Rhode Island. Among the collections are the business and family papers of Nathaniel Terry Bacon, Dr. Carl Russell Gross's research on the African-American community of Rhode Island, the papers of Judge Michael DeCiantis, the Irving Jay Fain Collection on civil rights and fair housing, and materials related to Cape Verde and the Cape Verdean-American connection.

Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1492 Newport, RI 02840
TEL: (401) 683-3974
Contact: D. K. Abbass, Ph.D.
Hours: By appointment only.

Holdings (Inclusive dates: 1450-):
Manuscripts, archives, newspaper clippings, photographs, postcards, maps, audio/visual tapes, DVDs, publications, advertisements, flags, artifacts, drawings, models, training material, slides, correspondence, archaeological equipment, transcripts of archival materials from elsewhere.

Rhode Island School of Design Archives
2 College Street, Providence, RI 02903
TEL: (401) 454-6398
FAX: (401) 454-6226
Contact: Andrew Martinez, Archivist
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 am-4:30 pm.
Appointment required.

Holdings (Inclusive dates: 1877-present):
The Rhode Island School of Design Archives collects, preserves and provides access to historic materials related to the College and RISD Museum, documenting their development and programs and illuminating the contributions of individuals and organizations associated with RISD. The Archives' collections are a unique and valuable resource for understanding and appreciating the significant role RISD has played in teaching and advancing the disciplines of art, design and art education--regionally, nationally and worldwide--since its founding in 1877.

Materials in the Archives collections include administrative records for the College, office files of past Presidents, records of former Museum Directors and Museum exhibition files, Board of Trustees records dating to the founding, biographical files for current and former faculty, historic student records and select examples of student work, information on alumni, photographs, audio- and videotapes, film, plans and other documentation for RISD buildings, scrapbooks, publications including student newspapers, printed ephemera, artifacts, and several collections of personal papers of individuals associated with RISD.

Roger Williams University
One Old Ferry Road, Bristol, RI 02809
TEL: (401) 254-3049
FAX: (401) 254-0818
Contact: Heidi Benedict, University Archivist
Hours: Monday-Friday 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Appointment recommended

The Archives is the official repository for all non-current records of Roger Williams University and its predecessors, including administrative records, academic program records, student newspapers and yearbooks, and material from faculty and student organizations. The Archives also collects material related to the history of Bristol and the East Bay area. The papers of the Roger Williams Family Association and back issues of The Bristol Phoenix Newspaper are housed in the Archives, along with the University’s Special Collections.

Salve Regina University Archives
100 Ochre Point Avenue, Newport, RI 02840
TEL: (401) 341-2276
Contact: Genna Duplisea, University Archivist & Special Collections Librarian
Hours: Monday-Friday 9:00 am-4:00 pm.
Appointment recommended.

Salve Regina University Archives and Special Collections is the repository for university records. Because many of the university's buildings have historical, architectural and artistic significance, the archives also contains information pertaining to the buildings, their owners and builders. The department also holds rare books and manuscript collections related to Newport history and architecture.

University of Rhode Island, National Sea Grant Library
Narragansett Bay Campus, OSEC Bldg., Narragansett, RI 02882
TEL (401) 874-6114
Contact: Cynthia Murray, Coordinator
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00 am-4:00 pm; no appointment necessary.

The 45,000 title collection is comprised of journal reprints, conference proceedings, books, technical reports, advisory reports, maps, handbooks and miscellaneous grey literature produced by Sea Grant funded researchers. Publications cover a wide variety of marine subjects including oceanography, marine education, aquaculture, fisheries, coastal zone management, marine recreation and law. All publications are available for a one-month loan period. The NSGL website contains a searchable database of Sea Grant holdings and over 20,000 documents are available as full-text digital documents.

University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island Natural History Survey
Coastal Institute, One Greenhouse Road, Room 101, Kingston, RI 02881
TEL: (401) 874-5800
FAX: (401) 874-5868
Contact: David W. Gregg, Executive Director
Hours: Monday-Friday 9:00 am-4:00 pm.
Appointment required.

Collection includes natural history books and manuscripts, old newsletters and journals such as the Museum Park Bulletin from Roger Williams Park, bulletins from the R.I. Agricultural Experiment Station, and some old botanical field books. In addition, we have the slide collections of Millie House and Thomas Perry, both natural history photographers.

University of Rhode Island, Special Collections
15 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 02881
TEL: (401) 874-2594
FAX: (401) 874-4608
Contact: David Maslyn, Head of Special Collections and University Archivist
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 am-4:30 pm

Holdings (Inclusive dates: 1700-present):
The University of Rhode Island Special Collections has diverse collections of note. They include The University Archives (all non-current historical files and all printed material generated by or for the Institution since its establishment in 1892), The Rhode Island Collection (R.I. census documents, atlases and historical monographs about R.I. and its people), The Commercial Pattern Archive (over 13,000 dress-maker patterns produced by Butterick, Vogue and Simplicity from 1850's to 1970's as well as mid-19th-20th century fashion books and periodicals), The Cook Books Collection, The Poetry Collection, The Pym Randall Press Collection and Archive, The Rare Books Collections, The Fritz Eichenberg Collection, and The Episcopal Diocese Rare Book Collection.

The Manuscript Collections are original historical source material produced or acquired from individuals, businesses and organizations. Of note are our collections of oral histories on various aspects of Rhode Island life, the records of the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island and the papers and art work of local cartoonist Paul Loring. Also in Manuscripts are the political papers of Rhode Island politicians, including Senator Claiborne Pell and the late Senator John Chafee.

State and Local Government Agencies
Academic Libraries and Archives
Historical and Preservation Societies
Public and Private Libraries
Museums and Armories