Envelope, letter written by Thomas Townes to his father, Moses Townes, August 1919
In honor of Black History Month, I looked into our holdings to highlight a manuscript collection created primarily by African Americans. While we have many collections centered on the history of African Americans, many of these materials were written and maintained by white abolitionists with the hopes of raising the status of blacks in nineteenth-century America. I made it my goal to find a collection written by African Americans. This led me to MSS 349, the Townes Family Papers, 1911-1931, which includes materials created by three generations of an African American family from Newburyport, Massachusetts. Read more
With the 2014 Winter Olympics right around the corner, and the foot of snow on the ground here in southern New England, I decided to delve into our collections to create a display highlighting all things winter. I was pleased to discover materials ranging from the early nineteenth century through to the mid-twentieth, chronicling everything from the art in a snowflake to the finer points of curling. Read more
Irene Axelrod, Head Research Librarian, and Catherine Robertson, Library Reading Room Assistant, wrote the following post about research guides available in the Reading Room.
According to our website, “The Phillips Library collections include approximately 400,000 books, pamphlets, and broadsides; over 2,000 collections of Essex County, Massachusetts, manuscripts, including family papers, institutional and business records, account books, and diaries; and extensive holdings of maps and ephemera.” The sheer quantity of material in our holdings can be overwhelming for researchers of all levels of experience. The Reference and Research staff at the Phillips Library have years of experience working with the astounding materials in our collections and facilitate use of the collections for all patrons.