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Wright Room Research Library
Within the Historical Society's main facilities is housed the Wright Room research library. The library contains more than 3,000 volumes on New England towns, counties, and family histories, along with a comprehensive and up-to-date collection of CD's related to genealogy, vital statistics, and military records. The library is staffed by trained volunteers to assist individuals with their research needs, and offers in-house guidance and training. To further assist HSCC members and patrons with their research needs, the Society offers genealogy classes, genealogical research bus trips, and conducts research in response to mail, phone, and email requests for a fee.
With more than 300,000 items of regional historical interest, the Society's archives offers a wide range of research materials. The collection includes more than 200 Record and Manuscript groups of original documents and Photograph groups of local photographers. These materials range from hundreds of diaries and Civil War letters, to church, school and town records, to business records of doctors, banks, textile mills and woodenware factories, and to thousands of photographs. Important components of the collection include:
Monographs: These include Cheshire County related books and pamphlets such as Cheshire County imprints, town histories, town reports, town and business directories, The Repertory, The Old Timer, and a diverse collection of publications and original records by and about local people, organizations, schools, businesses, towns, buildings, homes, churches, etc.
Business Records: These include ledgers, inventories, day books, and account books of blacksmiths, boot manufactures, builders, (carpenters/architects), cabinetmakers, fire engine companies, fire insurance companies, furniture manufacturers, glass factories, hotels, livery stables, lumber companies, meat markets, personal account books, physicians, post offices, railroads, retail stores, shoe stores, tailors, tanneries, taverns, telephone companies, textile mills, and weavers.
Photographs: Approximately fifty Cheshire County photographers are represented in this collection of more than 11,500 Cheshire County photos (predominantly of Keene).
Maps: More than 300 different maps of New Hampshire, Cheshire County, County's towns, and related areas are in the collection.
Beveridge Collection: This is a 20,000 page computer printout of source material on 15,000 Cheshire County people and businesses. The collection, based upon the loan records of the Cheshire Provident Institution, covers the dates 1830 to 1915. Professor Beveridge used the loan records to study credit in Cheshire County. He supplemented the bank records with vital statistics, credit ratings, population, manufacturing and agricultural census records, and other relevant materials, thus compiling an extensive 35 volume file on 15,000 businesses and individuals. The file is unique for Cheshire County and contains invaluable economic and genealogical information.
Newspapers: There are approximately 30,000 pages of newspapers published in the County. The Society's collection contains examples of some fifty Cheshire County periodicals, including a single issue of the region's first paper The New Hampshire Recorder and the Weekly Advertiser. The collection also contains hundreds of rare issues from the four successors of The New Hampshire Recorder, all of which were printed in Keene. Extensive runs of Keene's Cheshire Republican, 1828-1914, and The Cold River Journal, published in Alstead between 1884 and 1904, comprise approximately 20,000 pages of the collection.
Cheshire County Union Catalog: A computerized catalog listing bibliographic information for more than 5,000 archival sources available throughout Cheshire County, such as from town offices, public libraries, historical societies, and churches. Each catalog record contains the town subject, dates, quantity, location, and a brief description. As a result, a catalogue of Cheshire County archival resources is available at one central location.
Census: Federal population Census from 1790 to 1930, every 10 years, except for the year 1890 which was lost in a fire. Federal Agricultural and Manufacturing Census from 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880.