Research Digital Resources
Just because our doors are currently closed doesn’t mean that your research and historical study has to stop! The Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives is always open to you, the Cape Ann researcher, but the for the next few weeks in a slightly different way.
As always, you can always contact us at [email protected] with a research inquiry, rights & reproduction request, or donation offer, but during our closure, we want to re-share some online resources that will help your Cape Ann research!
Here are just a few of the useful, and FREE, resources available to all researchers:
- Fitz Henry Lane Online – This is the place to go to learn anything and everything about Fitz. But what you may not realize, based on its name, is that this site is rich in historical documents pertaining to the Cape Ann region. We use these digitized historical documents to supplement the FHL story, but it is an amazing repository of digital material even outside of those contexts. Just take a look at all the great maps, manuscripts, and photographs on the Cape Ann and Gloucester locales! (just click on a subject on the left side of the page). More on FHL Online in a future post, but wanted to make sure you were using this great resource as soon as possible!
- Cape Ann Museum Archives Finding Aids – The Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives houses hundreds of thousands of archival documents, but the core of our collection comes from our 99 (and counting!) major archival collections. This recently updated website shares with you the complete finding aids for the entirety of those collections, with more being added everyday. Browse these finding aids to see many of the unique documents the Library & Archives holds. While you’re at it, start making your list of collections you’d like to view once we’re re-opened! Outside of actually browsing the collections, the ‘Biographical Notes’ are great places to brush up on your Cape Ann History.
- Internet Archive (Archive.org) – The Internet Archive's mission is to build a digital library of Internet site and other cultural artifacts in digital form. For us, this means a ton of pre-1926 (copyright expired) digitized books! A quick search for “Cape Ann, Massachusetts” and clicking on “texts” in the left column brings back all these great books.
- Hathitrust.org – Very similar to Archive.org but had its origins in a consortium of Research Libraries, so content leans a bit more scholarly than others.
- Google Books – Google doesn’t have all the answers, but in this case they have many of them. There is going to be content overlap between these past three sites, but there are unique finds on each as well.
- Sawyer Free Library – Our neighbors in real life, we consider them E-neighbors as well. SFL has done a great job, partnering with the City Archives, to bring tons of digital items you can view from home. From City Directories, to Yearbooks, to maps, their site is easy to use and a great research tool.
- Manchester-by-the-Sea Public Library – With over 60,000 digitized pages of newspapers, the library has made two historic newpapers, the Manchester Cricket and the Cape Ann Advertiser fully accessible to all on their website. Also available are the 1872 and 1884 Atlas of Essex County Massachusetts.
- Boston Public Library – Did you know that anyone in Massachusetts can get a BPL card? Now is a great time to register for a free eCard and take advantage of their endless online resources. One of their best resrouces is their Digitized Newspaper Collection, which includes: 18th & 19th Century Collections of Massachusetts area newspapers as well as more recent papers like the Boston Globe (from 1872 to present!).
- Digital Commonwealth – Managed by BPL, this organization provides access to thousands of images, documents, and recordings that have been digitized by Massachusetts’s libraries, museum, historical societies, and archives. Once completed, this is the site where our Digitized Newspaper Collection will be hosted.
- Library of Congress – Last but definitely not least, Thomas Jefferson’s meager personal library of 6,487 books has now gone digital and grown to over 16 million books (and about 120 million other items)! Not all of these millions have been digitized yet, but a great deal of them can be found here.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, as there are new pages popping up everyday. Please reach out to us with any questions you may have navigating these resources, or to request a compiled list of all digital resources pertaining to your research topic.
Our email open hours are 24/7, 365 at [email protected].