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Frederick E. Berry Library and Learning Commons

Local Histories of Essex County, MA in the 19th Century

Nancy Dennis & Anna Hocker


  • Digitized repositories will serve two purposes for your local history research:
    • They will help you identify local histories written about your town.
    • They will make the full text of the local histories available for reading, downloading and printing. 
  • The most comprehensive digital archives are the Internet Archive and the HathiTrust.
  • Please contact Nancy Dennis if you would like assistance in finding your town's local history or reading materials. 

Internet Archive

  • The Internet Archive began by archiving web sites in the Wayback Machine.
  • Beginning in 2005, it began digitizing books and texts, audio recordings, videos, images and software programs. 
  • Internet Archive's partners include 18 prestigious academic libraries.



  • HathiTrust makes over 18 million digitized library items available. Its mission is to "expand the collective record of human knowledge."
  • Salem State is not a member of HathiTrust.
    • Log in as a "Guest" with your Google, Facebook, LinkedIn or Microsoft Account.
  • Example:

Google Books

Digital Commonwealth

  • "Digital Commonwealth is a non-profit collaborative organization, founded in 2006, that provides resources and services to support the creation, management, and dissemination of cultural heritage materials held by Massachusetts libraries, museums, historical societies, and archives. Digital Commonwealth currently has over 200 member institutions from across the state."
  • It is managed by the Boston Public Library.
  • Example:

Phillips Library Online Collections

  • The Phillips Library is continuously growing its collection of digitized manuscripts, pamphlets, broadsides, maps, photographs, and more. The scope is global and encyclopedic, reflecting more than 220 years of collecting activity.
  • The Library contributes content to the Digital Commonwealth and the Internet Public Library.
  • Search Tip:
    • It is easier to find materials through the Digital Commonwealth and Internet Public Library interfaces:

Digital Public Library of America

  • The Digital Public Library of American partners with libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions across the country to make digital items available. 
  • Example: