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Frederick E. Berry Library and Learning Commons

Archives and Special Collections


Finding Aids

This guide includes highlights from our historical collections of personal papers, organizational records, and manuscripts. Our collections cover such topics as the history of the university (including the Salem Normal School and Salem Teachers College), North Shore politics and politicians, and the history of Salem. It does not include information about our book or map collections, which can be found in the library catalog

You may search our Collection Guide by keyword or browse our collections under Resources.

Please contact us to learn more or to schedule a research visit.

University Archives

Selected collections related to the history of Salem State University

Office of the President

Student Records

  • Salem Normal School Alumni Records, 1854-1932
    The Salem Normal School alumni records were created by class secretaries, alumni groups, etc. They contain a variety of information on alumni, class reunions, alumni reunions, etc. This collection does not contain the records of the Salem Normal Association as those records were kept with the general alumni association records.

  • The Log, 1927-2016
    Salem State’s student newspaper began in November 1927 after two years of publishing occasional issues. The school paper was overseen by the Cooperative Council which dedicated it to “the advancement of professional interests of both students and graduates…” In the first issue, Salem Normal School President J. Asbury Pitman commended the Cooperative Council for their endeavor. The Log chronicled student life, administrative happenings, times of campus unrest, and historical events. The newspaper disbanded in 2016 and was later relaunched in a digital format. Issues of The Log are available for viewing by appointment in our Reading Room.

Special Collections

Selected collections related to the history of Salem, Massachusetts and Essex County

North Shore Political Collections

Manuscript and Special Collections

  • Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies (CHGS): Holocaust and Genocide Oral Histories, 1985-2010
    The Holocaust Center, Boston North began recording Holocaust and Genocide oral histories in 1985. The majority of the collection consists of testimonies by Holocaust survivors, witnesses, prisoners of war, and liberators. This includes multiple interviews and presentations by co-founder and Holocaust survivor, Sonia Schreiber Weitz. The Center interviewed Cambodian Genocide survivors, Savot Sot in 1990 and Sayon Soeun in 2003. Other interviews include Armenian Genocide survivors: Marie Lousarrarian, Zabel Asadoorian, and Apos Torosyan. The collection was donated to Salem State’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies (CHGS) in 2013.

  • Dr. Edna Glynn World War II Letters, 1942-1946
    The collection includes over fourteen hundred letters - including V-mail, postcards, and greeting cards - and a variety of ephemera and news clippings from the one hundred and four correspondents. The collection also contains copies of the mimeographed newsletters and mailing lists.

  • Franco-American Salem Oral History Collection, 2011-2013
    The Franco-American Salem Oral History project was started in 2011 by Salem State University Professors Dr. Elizabeth Blood and Dr. Elizabeth Duclos-Orsello. Drs. Blood and Duclos-Orsello interviewed 15 current and former Salem residents of French-Canadian descent. The interviews, which were videotaped and transcribed, explore issues of family history; processes of immigration; economic, business and social life; acculturation and linguistic and cultural resistance; political, family and community life; religion; foodways; and relationships with non-immigrant and non-French-speaking residents of Salem. Some of the interviews were conducted in French. These were both translated and transcribed. The collection also contains biographical information sheets and some ancillary materials donated by interviewees.
    Learn more about this project

  • John P. Reynolds Papers, 1864-1866
    The collection consists of unpublished writings, the most significant of which is his memoir of time spent in the Veteran Reserve Corps in Michigan and Indiana from 1864-1866. The memoir is a detailed account of his service from joining the "Invalid Corps" to the end of the Civil War. Most notably he discusses problems with Confederate sympathizers and the treatment of African-Americans after the end of the war. The collection also contains a long narrative poem about life in the Salem Light Infantry Camp in 1868 and a notebook with what appears to be a manuscript on weaponry.

  • Lennie's on the Turnpike Collection, 1962-2010 
    The Lennie's on the Turnpike Collection documents the operation of the jazz club from 1962-1972 and later jazz concert bookings by club owner Leonard Sogoloff. It also contains a small amount of personal material about Leonard Sogoloff. The highlights of the collection are the photographs of the club and its performers, the documentation about the performers and finances, and the correspondence sent to Lennie by jazz artists. The collection is of interest to researchers interested in the operations of jazz clubs as well as any fan of jazz.
    View digitized items from this collection

  • Mary O'Rourke Procopio Papers, 1915-1985
    This collection covers Mary O'Rourke Procopio's year as a Fulbright scholar in Pakistan. It contains correspondence with her family, information about the educational workshops she helped set up in Pakistan and education in Pakistan in general. It also contains material about her travels to and from Pakistan and photographs from her time there.
    View digitized items from this collection

  • Matthias O’Keefe Scrapbook, 1914-1915
    The Matthias O’Keefe scrapbook contains newspaper clippings from O’Keefe’s election and time as mayor of Salem. The clippings begin with the recall election of previous mayor, John Hurley, in which Matthias O’Keefe came to power. Many of the scrapbook articles discuss rebuilding following the Great Salem Fire of 1914 and include information on the reconfiguration of the Salem Fire Department, and work of the Fire Relief Committee. The scrapbook also includes multiple newspaper articles discussing police activity related to temperance. The reported police activity focuses primarily around Polish immigrants in the Historic Derby Street Neighborhood, that were raided for the manufacturing and selling of alcohol. 

  • Nelson Dionne Salem History Collection
    The collection explores Salem from the 19th century to the 21st century, spotlighting ethnic groups, business and labor, travel and tourism, transportation, religious and social organizations, and the evolution of the city's built and natural environment. Included in the collection are books, photographs and postcards, stereographs, records or organizations, trade publications, and a wide variety of memorabilia. 
    View digitized items from this collection

  • North Shore Gay and Lesbian Alliance Records
    The North Shore Gay and Lesbian Alliance Records contains the administrative records of the group, including meeting minutes, organizational history, and notes on event planning. The folders are comprise primarily of documents, newspaper clippings, and event fliers with only a limited amount of photographs. Topics in this collection include: gay and lesbian rights, health education, political movements, and social clubs. Especially between the years 1978 and 1994.
    View digitized items from this collection

  • Plummer Farm School Records, 1855-1999
    The records of the Plummer Farm School date from 1855 to 1999, though the bulk of the material dates from 1855 to 1954. The most important records are those of the Board of Trustees, which date from 1855 to 1954. The Board records contain the Act of Incorporation for the school, the trustee bylaws, and meeting minutes. The collection also includes pamphlets, annual reports, audits, consultant reports, and administrative and legal documents. The collection highlights what transpired during a hundred years of Trustees minutes as well as how the school was run from both an educational and a functional standpoint.

  • Salem Savings Bank Records
    The collection includes bank ledgers, documents, and correspondence dating from bank’s founding in 1818. 
    View digitized items from this collection

  • Salem Witchcraft Tercentenary Committee Records, 1986-1994
    The Salem Witchcraft Tercentenary collection would be of interest to those researching the 300th anniversary of the Salem Witch Trials and the erection of the Salem Witch Trials Memorial in 1992. The collection contains meeting minutes, memorial design submissions, correspondence with descendants of victims and additional items relating to tourism in Salem at the time of its installation. It also contains the plans for restoration of Salem Common and the script of a television special about the Salem Witch Trials, which was never produced.
    View digitized items from this collection

  • Sonia Schreiber Weitz Papers, 1899-2010
    The collection spans much of Sonia Weitz’s life, beginning with family photos taken prior to World War II and ending with news coverage of her death in 2010. The collection contains folders of correspondence, personal documents, news coverage, and poems and edited manuscripts. Also included in the collection are a group of Sonia’s personal photo albums, photos taken during her time at Displaced Persons camps, and speaking engagements she attended later in life. Also included are framed photos belonging to Sonia. Items of interest in the collection include handwritten poems, some in the original Polish; Sonia’s last poem, written shortly before her death in 2010; postcards commemorating the first anniversary of the liberation of Mauthausen; and dozens of Yad Vashem testimony documents submitted by Sonia.
    View digitized items from this collection

  • Sumner Webster Cushing Papers, 1910-1913
    The collection consists of three notebooks documenting Cushing's fieldwork in India; one documenting his fieldwork in Japan; and one related to his teaching at the Salem Normal School. There is also a folder of miscellaneous notes.

  • A Tribute to Jack Kerouac, 1973
    "A Tribute to Jack Kerouac" was held as part of the 4th annual Arts Festival at Salem State College in 1973. It is generally considered the first academic symposium on the life and work of Jack Kerouac. April 4th featured readings by Beat poets Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso and a showing of the film "Pull My Daisy." On April 5th, a panel discussion featuring Ginsberg, Corso, John Clellon Holmes, Aaron Latham, and Peter Orlovsky was held. The Symposium was free-wheeling, as befit the times, and became legendary over the years as the Beat Writers gained in popularity.

  • Walter George Whitman Papers, 1894-1959
    The collection spans much of Walter George Whitman’s (1874-1952)  life, beginning with correspondence from 1894. The correspondence section houses multiple letters, some from his mother regarding visits with his children, numerous letters from his wife during trips, and business correspondence from his time as editor at the American Book Company. The collection includes unpublished manuscripts, an unpublished memoir of his observations while living in China, and selected manuscripts in science education. Whitman also took a series of photographs and lantern slides during his year in China. These images chronicle everyday life of the Chinese, as well as significant places and landmarks. While living in China, Whitman traveled to many Asian and European countries. The collection houses many postcards and travel records from these trips. Also included are American and Hawaiian (pre-statehood) postcards. 
    View digitized items from this collection

  • Woman's Friend Society Records
    The Woman’s Friend Society collection contains extensive records dating from the earliest inception of the organization. Records include: incorporation documents, meeting minutes, payroll, membership cards and expense journals. The collection also houses numerous newspaper clippings chronicling the Society’s expansion over more than a century. These newspaper clippings contain information such as Society events, early histories of the Society, and the accomplishments of its members. An item of interest is an article on member, Ina Lathrop, who discusses her time as a Nazi Youth member in Berlin prior to World War II. Other items of interest are articles referencing Jennie Bertam Emmerton’s will following her death. The Emmerton and Bertram family are also mentioned in the Committee on Needlework Log, which lists them as ordering clothing and linen items. In addition to the Society’s financial documents are personal ephemera used in the Emmerton House, including a collection of sheet music and piano books from the 1880s through 1960. Also included is a hymn book from 1872. The collection also includes material about the house itself such as blueprints, notable architecture records, notes on furniture that was gifted and guides from mid-20th century house tours. This collection would be beneficial to a variety of scholars. The extensive records delve deep into the protestant philanthropic movement of the 19th-century and the fight against a lapse in puritanical values, especially amongst women. Coupled with this are notes on education available to woman during the late 19th and early 20th-centuries such as sewing, cooking, and laundry classes, making the collection a rich source for research in women’s studies. Also included are copious notes on many of The Bureau’s renters, most of whom were immigrants from Ireland or Nova Scotia or local woman fleeing domestic abuse. This information would be ideal for those researching Salem’s immigrant and servant population. It also includes information on many of Salem’s affluent women, for whom many of The Bureau’s boarders worked as housekeepers. Another field of study relating to women is the inception of the Visiting Nurse Association in Salem, which began as a segment of the Woman’s Friend Society