Rhode Island Historical Records Repositories Directory
Academic Libraries and Archives
Historical and Preservation Societies
Public and Private Libraries
Museums and Armories
Ashaway Free Library
Mailing address: P.O. Box 70, Ashaway, RI 02804
Street address: 15 Knight Street, Ashaway, RI 02804
TEL: (401) 377-2354
FAX: (401) 377-2354
Contact: Heather Field, Librarian
Hours: Monday & Friday 10am-5pm; Tuesday & Thursday 4pm-8pm; Wednesday 10am-8pm; Saturday 9am-1pm
Holdings (Inclusive dates: mid-1800s-present):
The library's local history collection consists mainly of books providing information and perspective on nearby towns, including Hopkinton, Westerly and North Stonington, Conn., as well as some lists of residents, regiments, etc.
Bristol- Rogers Free Library
Mailing address: P.O. Box 538, Bristol, RI 02809
Street address: 525 Hope Street, Bristol, RI 02809
TEL: (401) 253-6948
FAX: (401) 253-5270
Contact: Joan C. Prescott, Director
Hours: Monday-Thursday 9am-8pm; Friday & Saturday 9am-5pm; summer hours vary; closed major holidays.
Collection includes many standard histories of Bristol, genealogies of prominent families, some materials on the Herreshoffs/America's Cup/early yachting manufacture. In addition, there are incomplete records of Rhode Island in general as well as some bordering towns of the East Bay and Southeastern Massachusetts. Local authors are featured in the collection, as are records of notable homes and institutions. The Bristol Phoenix from it's inception is available on microfilm.
Burrillville- Jesse M. Smith Memorial Library
100 Tinkham Lane, Harrisville, Rhode Island 02830
TEL: (401) 710-7800
Contact: Linda Rivet, Reference and Local History Librarian
Hours: Monday-Wednesday 10am-8:30pm; Thursday 1pm-8:30pm; Friday & Saturday 10am-5pm. Call for summer hours.
Holdings (Inclusive dates: 1863-present):
Materials from the 1890s include a scrapbook and bound copy of the Burrillville Star; Burrillville High School yearbooks; Stilwater News; tax lists; 1910 Burrillville/North Smithfield Polk Directory; maps, photographs, clippings and ephemera.
Cranston Public Library
140 Sockanosset Cross Road, Cranston, RI 02920
TEL: (401) 943-9080
FAX: (401) 946-5079
Director: David W. Macksam
Contact: Lynda Ross, Coordinator of Adult & Information Services
Hours: Monday-Thursday 9am-8pm; Friday & Saturday 9am-5pm; call for summer & holiday hours.
Local history collection includes several volumes dedicated to the history of Rhode Island, it's cities and towns. Items focusing on the history of Cranston include Cranston City Directories, 1911-present, and several local newspapers--Cranston City Times, Cranston News, Cranston Mirror, and Cranston Herald.
Cumberland Public Library
1464 Diamond Hill Road, Cumberland, RI 02864
TEL: (401) 333-2552
Director: Janet Levesque
Contact: Betty Havrylik, Reference Services Coordinator
Hours: Monday-Thursday 9am-8pm; Friday & Saturday 9am-5pm; Sunday 1pm-4pm (October-Memorial Day)
Holdings (Inclusive dates: 1940-present):
Historical record collection includes blueprints for original library space and 2000 addition; photograph and postcard collections from 1940s of monks and monastery buildings/land; Library Board of Trustee meeting minutes from 1941-present; scrapbooks from 1960s through 1990s; newspapers--Valley Breeze and Neighbors--from 1990s; Cumberland/Lincoln Directories from 1919 to 1990s as well as other Rhode Island directories; video collection of fairly recent Cumberland town affairs; yearbooks from Cumberland High School, B.F. Norton School, Cumberland Hill School and St. Joan's Annex.
East Greenwich Free Library
82 Peirce Street, East Greenwich, RI 02818
TEL: (401) 884-9510
FAX: (401) 884-3790
Contact: Karen Taylor, Director
Hours: Monday-Thursday 10am-8pm; Friday & Saturday 10am-4pm.
Holdings (Inclusive dates: 1620-present):
The Library's local history collection includes books, maps, photographs, news clippings and microfilm, census information from 1790 through 1930, the Rhode Island Historical Cemetery Database, indexes to passenger and immigration lists, vital records series, family papers and genealogies, and assorted publications from historical and preservation societies relating to East Greenwich and Rhode Island.
East Providence Public Library
41 Grove Avenue, East Providence, RI 02914
TEL: (401) 434-2453
FAX: (401) 434-3324
Contact: Eileen Socha, Director
Hours: Monday-Thursday 9am-8pm; Friday & Saturday 9am-5pm; Sunday 1pm-5pm. Call for summer & holiday hours.
Holdings (Inclusive dates: 1873-present):
The Library's collection includes the paper copies of the East Providence Post Newspaper from 1987 to present; Annual Reports of the Town Treasurer/Town Officers from 1873-1890; many East Providence town tax books; historical clippings and pamphlets; East Providence City Directories from 1892 to present; many East Providence High School yearbooks from 1927 to present.
East Smithfield Public Library
50 Esmond Street, Esmond, RI 02917
TEL: (401) 231-5150
FAX: (401) 231-2940
Director: Elodie Blackmore
Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 10am-9pm; Wednesday, Friday 10am-7pm; Saturday 10am-3pm (except July & August)
The Library has historical maps of Smithfield and surrounding towns from the mid-1800s and early 1900s, as well as business directories, lists of homeowners, and some photographs.
Hopkinton- Langworthy Public Library
Mailing address: P.O. Box 478, Hope Valley, RI 02832
Street address: 24 Spring Street, Hope Valley, RI 02832
TEL: (401) 539-2851
Contact: Margaret Victoria, Director
Hours: Monday & Wednesday 10am-9pm; Tuesday & Thursday 6pm-9pm; Friday 10am-5pm; Saturday 10am-2pm.
Archives assistance: Wednesday 1pm-3pm; first Saturday of the month 10am-12pm; Appointment recommended.
Holdings (Inclusive dates: ca. 1829-present):
The collection consists of genealogies, land evidence records, wills, photographs, scrapbooks, some newspapers and maps. Much of the collection is indexed.
Lincoln Public Library
145 Old River Road, Lincoln, RI 02865
TEL: (401) 333-2422
FAX: (401) 333-4154
Director: Becky A. Boragine
Contact: Diane Dexter, Reference Librarian
Hours: Monday-Thursday 9am-8pm; Friday-Saturday 9am-5pm; closed Saturdays July & August.
Holdings (Inclusive dates: ca. 1850-present):
The Library's local history collection includes books, prints, maps, photgraphs, news clippings (especially from local newspapers such as Neighbors and Valley Breeze), manuscripts and videos relating to the town of Lincoln.
Middletown Public Library
700 West Main Road, Middletown, RI 02842
TEL: (401) 846-1573
FAX: (401) 846-3031
Contact: Theresa Coish, Director
Hours: Monday 9am-9pm; Tuesday-Thursday 9am-8pm; Friday 9am-5pm; Saturday 9am-4pm. Closed major holidays.
Local collections include: genealogies, vital records, cemetery records, historical society information and yearbooks; biographies, histories of local establishments, census and tax records, periodical Newport History: Bulletin of the Newport Historical Society.
Narragansett Public Library
35 Kingstown Road, Narragansett, RI 02882
TEL: (401) 789-9507
FAX: (401) 782-0677
Director: Patti Arkwright
Contact: Joyce Brothers, Reference Librarian
Hours: Monday-Thursday 10am-7:45pm; Friday & Saturday 10am-4:45pm; closed Sunday and major holidays; call for summer hours.
Holdings (Inclusive dates: 1860-1920s):
The collection includes the Narragansett Times on microfilm from 1860-present; biographies; local history books; scrapbooks; vital records of Rhode Island 1636-1850.
New Shoreham- Island Free Library
Mailing address: P.O. Box 1830, Block Island, RI 02807
Street address: Dodge Street, Block Island, RI 02807
TEL: (401) 466-3233
FAX: (401) 466-3236
Contact: Lonni Todd, Director
Hours: Tuesday & Thursday 10am-7pm; Wednesday, Friday & Saturday 10am-4pm; Sunday 11am-3pm.
Holdings (Inclusive dates: 1860-present):
The Library's Block Island Collection includes manuscripts, archives and records, scrapbooks, newspapers, photographs, postcards, maps and oral histories on audiotapes and CD's. The majority of the collection (records and photographs) pertains to the history of the Island at the turn of the century, specifically the development of the tourism industry.
Newport Public Library- Maury Loontjens Memorial Library
300 Spring Street, Newport, RI 02840
TEL: (401) 847-8720
FAX: (401) 842-0841
Director: Regina Slezak, Director
Contact: Pat LaRose, Reference Librarian
Hours: Monday 12:30pm-9pm, Tuesday-Thursday 9:30am-9pm; Friday & Saturday 9:30am-6pm; Sunday 1pm-5pm (Oct.-May only); call for summer hours; closed holiday weekends.
Holdings (Inclusive dates: 1847-present):
Newport Public Library retains the Newport Daily News on both microfilm (1847-) and bound volumes (1847-1949, 1952-1971); scattered volumes bound and on microfilm of Newport Mercury; history books on Rhode Island and Newport available for in-house use in the Sargent Special Collections Room.
North Kingstown Free Library
100 Boone Street, North Kingstown, RI 02852
TEL: (401) 294-3306
FAX: (401) 294-1690
Contact: Linda Caisse, Coordinator of the Reference Department
Hours: Monday-Thursday 9am-8:30pm; Friday & Saturday 9am-5pm; Sunday (check web page); closed major holidays.
Holdings (Inclusive dates: 1840-present):
The collection includes the Lawrence Collection (genealogical and historical manuscripts and photographs from the collection of George Lawrence and his mother, Anna Lawrence, relating to families and properties in the Quidnessett area of North Kingstown); the Schunke Collection (the manuscript collection of the Worden/Webster and Woodmansee families compiled by Marjorie Webster Schunke); the John Ward Collection (photographs, memorabilia and works by Providence Journal writer John Ward focusing on North Kingstown in the first half of the 20th century); Davisville Mill records from the mid-19th century through the early decades of the 20th century; a Scrap Book Collection mostly compiled by local historian Mary Kenyon Huling between 1936 and the early 1960s.
North Kingstown- Davisville Free Library
481 Davisville Road, North Kingstown, RI 02852
TEL: (401) 884-5524
FAX: (401) 884-9615
Contact: Sarah Ornstein, Director
Hours: Monday & Friday 10am-5pm; Wednesday 3pm-8pm; Saturday 10am-4pm; closed Tuesday, Thursday & Sunday; closed major holidays.
The Library's historical records include acquisition records, borrower's register and Library Board records (all from 1916); blueprints of the original building dated 9/6/23 by Jackson, Robertson & Adams.
North Scituate Public Library
606 West Greenville Road, North Scituate, RI 02857
TEL: (401) 647-5133
FAX: (401) 647-5680
Director: Leslie McDonough
Contact: Ivy Brunelle, Reference Librarian
Hours: Monday & Wednesday 1pm-8pm; Tuesday & Thursday 10am-8pm; Friday 1pm-5pm; Saturday 10am-4pm; Sunday 1pm-4pm; summer hours vary; closed major holidays.
Appointment required to use research materials.
Holdings (Inclusive dates: 1802-present):
The historical collection includes topographical maps, older maps of Scituate and Foster and condemnation plat maps for the Scituate Reservoir. The majority of the collection deals with Scituate area history, including miscellaneous scrapbooks, postcards, photographs, and local family histories.
Pawtucket Public Library
13 Summer Street, Pawtucket, RI 02860
TEL: (401) 725-3714
FAX: (401) 728-2170
Contact: Susan L. Reed, Director
Hours: Monday-Thursday 9am-8:45pm; Friday-Saturday 9am-4:45pm.
The library holds local history material including photographs, maps, motion picture film and audiotapes pertaining to the city of Pawtucket. Historical photographs are available on the Library's website above.
251 Benefit Street, Providence RI 02903
TEL: (401) 421-6970
FAX: (401) 421-2860
Contact: Alison Maxell, Director
Hours: Monday-Thursday 9am-7pm; Friday-Saturday 9am-5pm; Sunday 1pm-5pm; July & August closed Saturday at 1pm & closed Sunday; Appointment required.
Holdings (Inclusive dates: 1753-present):
The Athenaeum Archives is an institutional history of the Library since it began as the Providence Library Company in 1753. The Archives is divided into main categories of information including: material related to the Providence Library Company and the earliest history of the Library; material about the Athenaeum building, including the architectural drawings of the Library; records of the Athenaeum administration; records related to the collection; publications by and about the Athenaeum, including annual reports and bulletins; and photographs, memorabilia and news articles related to the Library.
Providence Public Library, Rhode Island Collection
150 Empire Street, Providence, RI 02903
TEL: (401) 455-8028
Contact: Kate Wells, Rhode Island Collection Librarian
Hours: Monday 12:30 pm-8:30 pm; Tuesday 9:30 am-5:30 pm; Thursday 12:30 pm -8:30 pm; Friday 12:30 pm-5:30 pm; Saturday 9:30 am-2:30 pm; Sunday 1:00 pm-5:00 pm.
The Rhode Island Collection holdings include material and information about the State of Rhode Island and the City of Providence. The Collection includes the Rhode Island Index, an index to the full collection, a significant part of which is the index to the Providence Journal and Evening Bulletin newspapers. Other holdings include photographs, postcards, maps, scrapbooks, atlases for the City of Providence, Providence City Directories 1827-current in microfilm, microfiche and hard copy, Sanborn maps, Historic American Buildings Survey of Rhode Island, city and town histories, and genealogy resources.
Providence Public Library, Special Collections
150 Empire Street, Providence, RI 02903
TEL: (401) 455-8021
FAX: (401) 455-8065
Contact: Jordan Goffin, Special Collections Librarian
Hours: Monday 1:00 pm-8:00 pm; Tuesday 9:00 am-12:00 pm, 1:00 pm-5:00 pm; Wednesday by appointment only; Thursday 1:00 pm-5:00 pm; Friday 1:00 pm-5:00 pm; Saturday by appointment only.
Holdings (Inclusive dates: ca. 2000 BCE - present):
Collections include the Daniel Berkeley Updike Printing Collection, the Paul C. Nicholson Whaling Collection, the C. Fiske Harris Civil War Slavery Collection, the Edith Wetmore Collections of Children's and Illustrated Books, the Alfred S. Brownell Collection of Ship Models and Books on Maritime History, the Potter/Williams Collection on Irish Culture, the General Collection of Rare Books, the Updike Pamphlet Collection, the Updike/Arnold Collection of Rare Manuscripts, the Huntoon Collection of WWI WWII Posters, the Percival Collection of Books on Magic, the Hanes Checkers Collection, and the Walter Hammond Barney Whist Collection.
Redwood Library and Athenaeum, Special Collections
50 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, RI 02840-3292
TEL: (401) 847-0292
FAX: (401) 841-5680
Contact: Whitney Pape, Ezra Stiles Special Collections Librarian
Hours: Monday-Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 9:30am-5:30pm; Thursday 9:30am-8pm; Sunday 1pm-5pm. Appointment required. Reference service available Monday-Saturday 1:00-5:00 pm.
Holdings (Inclusive dates: 1750-present):
The manuscripts section of the historical records collections include Redwood family papers; George Irish (1729-1801) and descendants family papers; institutional archives, including the manuscript catalog for the Original Collection of 1750, the building contract for the Peter Harrison block, and blueprints/drawings/specifications for the later additions; video records of public programs; Newport Casino scrapbooks; TIFOBET collections; Hoppin & Koen account books; Law and Order League of Newport Records; transcripts of notes by Whitney Warren and letters by Mary Bouton Warren. These collections also include RI Colonial Court records in Newport (1754-1756); DeWolf papers relating to privateer Yankee, David Prescott Hall papers and George E. Vernon Co. furniture sketches by Jonas Bergner.
The map collection holds maps of colonial Newport, especially Ezra Stiles' manuscript map of 1758, and 17th-19th century maps of the Narragansett Bay area, North America, and the World. The Newspaper holdings include entire runs of the Newport Mercury and Newport This Week, incomplete runs of other Newport papers, the Jamestown Press and the Providence Gazette. Photographs cover images of Redwood Library; scrapbooks of the Masque of the Blue Garden 1913 at the Arthur Curtiss James Estate, and Newport architecture; the original Breakers; works of James Nicholson. Postcards include the complete work of John Hopf, and historical views of Newport. The library also has two Revolutionary War order books, and the 1798 General List of Dwelling Houses in Newport.
Richmond- Clark Memorial Library
Mailing address: P.O. Box 190, Carolina, RI 02812
Street address: 7 Pinehurst Drive, Carolina, RI 02812
TEL (401) 364-6100
Contact: Lynn Thompson, Director
Hours: Monday, Tuesday & Thursday 1pm-8pm; Wednesday 10am-8pm; Friday 10am-5pm; Saturday (Winter) 10am-4pm.
Holdings (Inclusive dates: 1850-present):
Collections relate to the history of the town and include personal papers in addition to the archives of the Richmond Historical Society. The archives consist of photos, maps, newspaper clippings, genealogical material, school books, early town business and government documents. A textile collection and object archives is also maintained.
South Kingstown Public Library
1057 Kingstown Road, Peace Dale, RI 02879
TEL: (401) 783-4085 / 789-1555
FAX: (401) 782-6370
Contact: Shirley Long, Director
Hours: Monday-Tuesday 9am-8pm; Wednesday-Thursday 9am-6pm; Friday-Saturday 9am-5pm; Sunday 1pm-5pm from mid-October through mid-April; summer hours vary.
Holdings (Inclusive dates: 1855-present):
The historical records collection includes topographical maps, older maps of South Kingstown and Narragansett and the original blueprints for the 1891 Library. The Photograph Collection consists of hundreds of photographs and postcards dating from the 1880s to 1991 (the majority dating from 1890-1930.) Narragansett Times from the 1860s through 1916 on microfilm; South County Independent from 1997-1999 on microfilm.
Warren- George Hail Library
530 Main Street, Warren, RI 02885
TEL: (401) 245-7686
FAX: (401) 245-7470
Contact: Patricia Redfearn, Director
Library Hours: Monday-Thursday 10am-8pm; Friday-Saturday 10am-5pm.
Museum Hours: Wednesday 2pm-4pm and by appointment
Holdings (Inclusive dates: 1790-present):
Includes military lists; maritime documents (one signed by George Washington); school records; whaling log of ship Chariot; papers of L.E. Simon (son-in-law of James Maxwell); broadsides; letters; deeds and maps; diaries and journals; photographs; scrimshaw; Luther Cole's journals; manuscript accounting of losses suffered by Warren citizens after British invasion; miscellaneous documents relating to Warren.
Warwick Public Library
600 Sandy Lane, Warwick, RI 02889
TEL: (401) 739-5440
FAX: (401) 738-1938
Director: Douglas A. Pearce
Contact: Susan Dunn, Coordinator of Reference Services
Hours: Monday-Thursday 9am-9pm; Friday & Saturday 9am-5pm; closed major holidays.
The Greene Collection at Warwick Public Library includes incomplete holdings of the Warwick Tax Books from 1865 to 1978; a Beer's Atlas of Rhode Island (1870); a Sanborn Insurance Map of the Pawtuxet Valley (1903); and a Sanborn Insurance Map of Apponaug (1911). Unique items include an unpublished genealogy of William Matteson and an unpublished genealogy of Anthony Remington. The Reference Collection includes the Providence Journal on microfilm from 1964-1997; the Warwick Beacon on microfilm from 1960-present; scattered holdings of Warwick City Directories from 1914-present.
Weavers' Guild of Rhode Island
Mailing address: PO Box 517 Saunderstown, RI 02874
Street address: Saunderstown Weaving School 85 Kelley Rd Saunderstown, RI 02874
TEL: (401) 294-3676
Contact: Norma Smayda, President Emerita
Hours: Appointment required.
The Bertha Gray Hayes Archives (1920s-1947) includes original designs; sample cards- handwoven sample and threading pattern; weaving workbooks; conference journals; scrapbooks and woven samples. The Peggy Brown Notebooks (20 volumes) consists of woven samples (1950s-1980s) housed at the North Kingstown Free Library
West Greenwich- Louttit Library
274 Victory Highway, West Greenwich, RI 02817
TEL: (401) 397-3434
FAX: (401) 397-3837
Contact: Elsie Oltedale, Director
Hours: Monday, Friday, Saturday 10am-4pm; Tuesday 10am-8pm; Wednesday & Thursday 2pm-8pm. Closed on major holidays.
Holdings (Inclusive dates: 1800s-present):
The historical collection includes albums with photographs dating back to the 1800s and newspaper article copies from the early 1900s.
West Warwick Public Library
1043 Main Street, West Warwick, RI 02893
TEL: (401) 828-3750
FAX: (401) 828-8493
Director: Frances Farrell-Bergeron
Contact: Maureen Delovio, Reference Librarian
Hours: Monday-Wednesday 9am-9pm; Thursday-Saturday 9am-5pm; Sunday 12pm-4pm (Oct.-May); closed major holidays; summer hours vary.
Holdings (Inclusive dates: 1876-present):
The historical records collection includes city directories for West Warwick and Coventry; newspapers on microfilm--Pawtuxet Valley Gleaner and Pawtuxet Valley Daily Times; Rhode Island Cemetery Project Database; vital records; personal name index to the Pawtuxet Valley Daily Times available on our website.
Westerly Public Library
44 Broad Street, Westerly, RI 02891
TEL: (401) 596-2877
FAX: (401) 596-5600
Contact: Kathryn Taylor, Director
Hours: Monday-Wednesday 9am-9pm; Thursday & Friday 9am-6pm; Saturday 9am-4pm; Sunday 12pm-4pm (fall/winter/spring); closed major holidays; special collections room hours vary.
Holdings (Inclusive dates: 1790-present):
The special collections of the Westerly Public Library include local histories and genealogies, manuscripts, business records from the local granite industry, clippings, family histories, photographs, postcards and maps. Available on microfilm are local newspapers from 1858 through present, census records for Washington County, passenger lists from New Bedford and Providence, and compiled service records from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Of special interest is the Margaret Wise Brown Collection, which includes manuscripts and personal papers.
Woonsocket- Woonsocket Harris Public Library
303 Clinton Street, Woonsocket RI 02895
TEL: (401) 769-9044
FAX: (401) 767-4140
Director: Leslie Page
Contact: Barbara J. Bussart, Reference Librarian
Open: Monday-Thursday 9am-9pm; Friday-Saturday 9am-5pm. Closed Saturday during summer.
Holdings (Inclusive dates: 1830s-present):
The bulk of the Library's collection are city and state publications. Other collections focus on textile manufacture and local history and genealogy. The Library also has a computerized slide collection of approximately 4500 slides of Woonsocket, ranging from maps of mill villiages (ca. 1839) to the present architecture. Woonsocket newspapers dating back to 1833 on microfilm; small collection of videotapes about the flood of 1955 and subsequent reconstruction of Woonsocket; Abolitionist Society papers on microfilm.
Academic Libraries and Archives
Historical and Preservation Societies
Public and Private Libraries
Museums and Armories