The Collections of the BRHS

The Society maintains an extensive archive of primary and secondary materials to help visitors and researchers explore their fields of interest. In addition, the Society is a museum with a large collection of artifacts of local historical importance. The towns of Boothbay, Boothbay Harbor, and, to a lesser extent, Southport and Edgecomb, are the principal areas represented in the BRHS collections.

These collections are meticulously indexed, and their electronic indexes are available on this website [insert hyperlink to Online Finding Aids] and on a publicly accessible computer in the Museum. Whether you wish to browse our files and conduct your own, independent research or would like to request our assistance with your research, we are here to help.

Minesweeper launchArtifacts: The Society’s museum consists of five exhibition rooms on the second floor and two on the first floor containing its permanent collection of artifacts and memorabilia. The two first floor rooms are also used for special exhibits. For an index of the BRHS’ Artifacts collection, including both items on exhibit and in storage, click here.

Photographs: More than 15,000 images, including negatives, prints, scans, glass plates, and photographic postcards. Many of these images are available for sale as reprints or as high-resolution digital TIFF files.  For an index of the BRHS’ Photographs collection, click here.  For more on the collection, click here.

History Files: More than 4,500 items arranged by more than 200 topics, indexed to the individual document level, and digitized.  more

Family Files: Obituaries, genealogies, correspondence, news clippings pertaining to numerous local families. For a master list of the family names covered by the Family Files, click here.  For more on the BRHS’ Family FIles collection, click here.

Account Book boxes: This extensive collection includes not only the account books of local merchants but day books, logs, ledgers, diaries, and family albums dating from the 1750s to the 1970s. more

Document Boxes:  Discrete, sizeable collections of information on families, businesses, schools, cultural organizations, and similar.  For an index of the contents of the BRHS’ Document boxes, click here.

Shipyard Collections contain the records of six local shipyards: Hodgdon; Goudy & Stevens; Sample’s; Norman Hodgdon; Rice Brothers; and Frank Rice. The shipyard document collection includes drawings of many vessels, occasional account books, writings, and a few albums. One of many highlights is the work of Jim Stevens, part of the Goudy & Stevens era in East Boothbay. Click on the name of each shipyard for an index to the contents of its collection.  For a comprehensive index to the Shipyard Collections, click here.

Oral History Audio and Videos Recordings:  Interviews with area residents and other videos of local historical interest. Click here for an index to this collection.

Maps, navigational charts, surveys, and plans:  Click here and here for the two partial indexes to this collection. See also the Artifacts index (in the Common Name field, search for “map,” “chart,” or “plan”)

Records of Boothbay, Boothbay Harbor, Southport & Edgecomb:  Town reports, vital records, and valuation records with more extensive records for the Town of Boothbay. Click here and here for the two indexes to this collection.

Textile Boxes:  The Museum has a small collection of textile items, mostly items of clothing, including military uniforms, as well as a few flags and blankets.  Click here for an exhibit of uniforms from this collection.  Click here for an index to this collection.

Reference books and periodicals: The BRHS’ extensive library of secondary sources of historical information related to the region. Click here for an index to this collection.

Newspapers: Thirteen feet of the Boothbay Register and other local newspapers dating from 1876 to the present.

Yearbooks: Boothbay region high schools, 1934-1992.

Research at the BRHS

 Online Finding Aids to the Collections of the BRHS

Below are seventeen lists and indexes, each of which details the contents of one of the collections (e.g., Photographs, Reference Books, Family Genealogy Files) of the Boothbay Region Historical Society. Within these lists and indexes is a one-line (or more extensive) description of every item – document, photograph, or object – in the BRHS’ archives and museum. By doing a keyword search in one of these lists or indexes you can find every item in that collection that is described by the search term you have chosen (e.g., Pinkham, Bowdoin, Fort Island).

In addition, these lists and indexes have been compiled into a single Master Index. By doing a word search in the Master Index, you can find every item belonging to the Society that is described by the search term you have chosen.

To consult one of these indexes, click below.

Account Book Boxes (list and index to contents) (24 pgs.)
Artifacts (index) (152 pgs.)
Cemeteries Lists (Boothbay Peninsula & neighboring towns) (2 pgs.)
Document Boxes (list and index to contents) (223 pgs.)
Family History Files (list of surnames) (19 pgs.)
History Files (list) (5 pgs.)
History Files (document-level index) (82 pgs.)
Map Boxes in Reference Room (list of contents) (12 pgs.)
Map Drawers in Office (list of contents) (12 pgs.)
Oral History Audio and Videos Recordings (list) (5 pgs.)
Out of Our Past articles (list) (23 pgs.)
Photographs (index) (486 pgs.)
Reference Books (list) (34 pgs.)
Shipyard Collections (index) (115 pgs.)
Textile Boxes (index) (7 pgs.)
Town Records of Boothbay (4 pgs.)
Town Reports of Boothbay, Boothbay Harbor, Southport & Edgecomb (list) (6 pgs.)

Conducting Family Research in the Boothbay Region

For Barbara Rumsey’s guide on this subject, click here.

The BRHS’ Research Services

The BRHS has gone to considerable lengths to facilitate independent research at the Society.  This includes making the finding aids to the collections available online (see above) and on a public computer at the Society.  It also includes the Society’s ambitious, long-term effort to digitize the entire contents of the BRHS’ archives and museum, beginning with the History Files collection, and to make these electronic files accessible online.

In addition, the BRHS offers assisted research to those who are not experienced researchers or who would simply prefer to avail themselves of the services of the Society’s highly experienced researchers.

For general research inquiries, we suggest that you come to the BRHS to speak with one of our researchers or send us a short email at [E.g., Do you have any information on WWII Navy minesweepers built in the Boothbay region?]  We will meet with you to discuss your inquiry or, if you have contacted us by mail, we will reply with a brief overview of our holdings. The research inquiry form may be filled out and returned by mail, along with a self-addressed envelope and a donation of $5.00 to cover postage and staff time. We will contact you by email or phone to review initial findings.

More extensive research may be performed by a local historian for a fee of $25 per hour. Please contact us for more information on this service.

Copies: Photocopies or electronic copies of documents or photographs are available for a modest fee, based on number of copies and staff time. Please contact us for information on photo reprints and high-resolution digital TIFF files.



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Contact Us:

P.O.Box 272
72 Oak Street
Boothbay Harbor,
Maine 04538
Phone: (207)633-0820