the Beverly Historical Society
Finding Aids

The Finding Aids are divided into five sections, with relevent subjects within each section.

Organizations - Businesses - Personal Papers - Topics - Transportation

Within each section below there are finding aids or inventories, accessed by clicking on the appropriate link.


Balch Family Association This finding aid includes the records of the Association from 1905-1990, correspondence, member rosters, reunion publications, research on the Balch family and the Balch House, and genealogical inquiries.

Beverly Archives Project consists of records created and gathered during the daily activities of the Beverly Archives Project (BAP), an offshoot of the Beverly Historical Society. Its mission was “to preserve the archival history of Beverly through its member institutions,” which included the Church of the Nazarene, Dane Street Congregational Church, First Baptist Church, First Parish Church, St. John’s Episcopal Church, St. Mary’s Star of the Sea Catholic Church, Second Congregational Church, Beverly City Clerk’s Office, Beverly Historical Society, Beverly High School, and Beverly Public Library.

The Colonel Ebenezer Francis Chapter of the D.A.R. Collection dates from 1923-1972. A large part of the collection is made up of membership applications, ranging from 1923 to 1955. Other organizational materials are also included in the collection, such as correspondence, member lists and addresses, biographical information and reports. The collection also includes a number of materials relating to the National D.A.R. G.A.R. Memorial Book

Grand Army of the Republic Post #89 Memorial Record and G.A.R. Portrait Collection - The Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) was the largest Union veteran organization that emerged from the Civil War. It was a fraternal organization divided into departments at the state level and posts at the local level.  The G.A.R. encouraged the continued camaraderie of the veterans and provided assistance to comrades in need through its charitable relief ventures.  This memorial record contains over 400 names of the post’s members; where they saw action during the war; and family and vital information.

G.A.R and S.U.V Institutional Records - This collection consists of records and items created and collected during the daily activities of the John H. Chipman, Jr. Post 89 of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) and the John Low Camp 6 of the Sons of Union Veterans (SUV).  The GAR was the largest veterans’ fraternal organization following the Civil War and the SUV was created as an auxiliary group for male descendants. 

Second Congregational Church of Christ- The collection consists of records created and collected during the daily activities of the Second Congregational Church of Christ, located at 35 Conant Street in Beverly, Massachusetts.  Formed in 1713 at a time when the precincts of Beverly and Salem were still being defined, the church was officially established in 1715 as a cornerstone of Beverly’s growing community. 

Back to top of page


Business Ledgers The collection ledgers, account books, day books and other miscellaneous bound business material from local individuals and companies dating between 1723 and 1909.  Some of the prominent names and businesses included are Robert Rantoul Endicott, John I. Baker, Dr. Ingalls Kittredge, Solon Lovett and the Beverly Marine Insurance Company.

United Shoe Machinery Company The collection contains patent records, Quarter Century Club Membership records and other ephemera demonstrating the connection to the City of Beverly

Pickett Coal Company The collection contains the business ledgers from the founding of the Pickett Coal Company by Richard Pickett and Abraham Edwards in the first part of the 19th century until the company was sold in 1910. The ledgers cover all goods and operations run by the company which in addition to coal includes fishing operations, sail manufacturing, sales of small house hold goods, and wood.

Back to top of page

Personal Papers

Bartlett Papers - The collection consists of approximately 10,000 papers and is considered one of the most significant collections of Revolutionary War era documents in the state. William Bartlett was an important figure in Essex County, serving as the first naval agent under General George Washington. He was responsible for the outfitting of vessels used in naval operations and oversaw the auctioning of the prizes. This collection contains thousands of receipts that detail the expenses that transformed private vessels into armed privateers, and correspondence with Bartlett’s superiors and notable figures including Washington, John Glover, Elias Hasket Derby and George Crowninshield.

The Bartlett Papers also document the life of a prominent 18th century merchant. These primary documents are proof of the goods that were being imported and exported from Essex County during these turbulent years surrounding the American Revolution.

Josiah Batchelder - This collection consists of correspondence, legal documents, bills, ship’s accounts, and Amos Batchelder’s schoolbook. Dates range from 1730-1826.

Josiah Batchelder 2 - The papers consist of bills and receipts paid by and to Josiah Batchelder, and a collection of paper concerning Josiah’s time as a justice of the peace, including writs for arrest and his judgments. This collection contains the last will and testament of Josiah Batchelder as well as papers concerning the division of his estate after his death, correspondence concerning Josiah’s business interests, and a ledger book concerning Josiah’s business interests from 1787-1790.

Loring Papers - The collection consists of approximately 1500 papers, primarily the papers of Katharine Peabody Loring (1849-1943). She was an early advocate for women's education and a founding member and teacher for more than twenty years for the Society to Encourage Studies at Home. Loring served as a trustee for the Beverly Public Library for forty years, and along with her sister Louisa, donated the land for the Beverly Farms branch of the Beverly public library. Loring was also an officer in the Women's Education Association, and President of the Massachusetts Library Club. She was the President of the Beverly Historical Society for twenty-three years, from 1918-1941; it was during this period that the Society acquired the Balch House and Hale Farm, as well as many important collections related to the history of Beverly and environs. A seemingly tireless volunteer, Katharine Loring was a Red Cross worker, and also assisted her sister with the Anti-Tuberculosis Society in Beverly. She was involved with the Beverly Improvement Society, the Beverly Farms Improvement Society, and served as an honorary chairman of the women's division of the Beverly Chamber of Commerce.


Rantoul Papers - The collection consists of approximately 15,000 objects, primarily papers of Robert Rantoul, Sr. (1778-1858) including correspondence, lectures, and diaries. From 1804 to 1854, he served as the overseer of the poor of Beverly, keeping the almshouses under constant supervision. He was appointed Justice of the Peace and acting trial justice for the town from 1808 to 1858. Rantoul was chosen as Senator for Essex County for the years 1820, ’21 and ’22, serving a total legislative term of 25 years. He married Joanna Lovett in 1801. They had seven children including Massachusetts State Representative and U.S. Senator Robert, Jr. (1805-1852), and social activist Hannah (1821-1898). Sen. Rantoul’s papers include material from his law career and years at Phillips Andover Academy and Harvard University. Hannah Rantoul’s papers include letters from Beverly soldiers and material detailing her role in the U.S. Sanitary Commission during the Civil War. The collection illuminates the significance of the Rantoul family in the history of Beverly, the region, and the country.

Back to top of page


Armed Vessels - The collection consists of documents pertaining to the outfitting of private vessels to be used as armed privateers and the capture and subsequent auctioning of their prizes.  During this time, William Bartlett served as the naval agent under General George Washington and oversaw the seizure and auctioning of captured British vessels; correspondence between Bartlett and notable individuals such as Stephen Moylan, Artemas Ward, Thomas Pickering, Colonel John Glover and Captain John Manly are included. 

Legal Deeds The Legal Deeds collection consists of 3 linear feet of 17th to early 20th century legal deeds, primarily dealing with real estate transactions throughout the entire city of Beverly.  These were compiled by several important local individuals who handled estates and other transactions, including Robert Rantoul and John I. Baker, the first mayor of Beverly.   Most of the deeds are between important local families or those from out of state who still had real estate and property ownership within Beverly.

Textiles (partial) -This inventory provides a sampling of the Society’s significant textile collection, with a concentration on 19th century women’s clothing.  Most of the textiles are in remarkably good condition and include both hand woven and machine manufactured items.  For a glossary of terms, click here.  It is organized by type of object, and searchable.  For more information about a specific item, email the curator.

Back to top of page


Transportation Timetables - The majority of items date from the 1940’s to the 1960’s, but earlier and later periods are also well-represented. The collection includes both employee and public timetables from railroads of New England, with other items coming from New York and Canadian railroads, a wide variety of smaller New England railroads, bus and steamship companies, and railway companies that preceded the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

The Walker Collection contains items on railroading, aviation, and other transportation books, photos, data, memorabilia.

Back to top of page

Beverly Historical Society
117 Cabot St.
Beverly, MA 01915

Copyright © 2011 Beverly Historical Society,Inc.
All rights reserved.
Phone: 978-922-1186