Materials & Guides

Types of Materials

The Town of Hingham has a rich and varied history. Thanks to the efforts of many former and current residents, Hingham’s past has been preserved at the Library. The Historical Collection contains materials detailing the history of Hingham from the 1630s to the present. These important records include the following:

  • Genealogies and Vital Records
  • Town Histories, Church Records and Town Reports
  • Maps, Art Work and Scrapbooks
  • Rare Books and Historical Photographs
Historic photo of Fire Chiefs Cushing and Brown

Collection Guides

The Hingham Public Library is home to thousands of the town’s archival materials documenting the rich history of Hingham. On this page you will find guides describing a limited number of collections held by the library. To learn more about the materials available to you at the library, please contact the Reference Desk.

Current Guides

Jefferson Debating Society

The Jefferson Debating Society Records Collection (PDF) were created by members of the Jefferson Debating Society in Hingham between 1823 and 1829.

Gardner Family Papers

The Gardner Family Papers (PDF) were created by various members of the Gardner, Leach, and Amadon families while living in Hingham and the surrounding area.

Sprague Family Papers

The Sprague Family Papers (PDF) were created by various members of the Sprague Family while living in Hingham, Boston, and other parts of New England.

Whiton Family Papers

The Whiton Family Papers (PDF) in this collection were originally created by various members of the Whiton family in the 18th and 19th centuries while they were living in Hingham.

Leavitt Family Papers

The Leavitt Family Papers (PDF) include such items as genealogies, letters, poems, business records, and military records that were created the Leavitt family, including Howard Leavitt Horton, between the 17th and 20th centuries.

Ag Hor Collection

The Hingham Agricultural and Horticultural Society Collection (PDF) contains a variety of materials dating between 1818 and 1964, including administrative information and financial records, committee reports on annual exhibitions, and such ephemera as programs for the annual fair and ribbons for committee members and prize winners.

Cushing Family Papers

The Cushing Family Papers Collection (PDF) contains records, created between approximately 1659 and 1950, relating to the Cushing family of Hingham, Massachusetts.

Phinney Genealogical Papers

The William L. Phinney Genealogical Papers Collection (PDF) consists of genealogical research completed by William Lester Phinney between approximately 1971 and 1996.

John C. Whiton Scrapbook

The Colonel John C. Whiton Scrapbook Collection (PDF) is composed of one scrapbook created by Colonel John Chadwick Whiton and his daughter Marion Chadwick Whiton between approximately 1882 and 1909. It contains newspaper clippings, poems, newsletters, and book pages that focus on such subjects as the civil war, veteran affairs after the war, the prison system in Massachusetts, religion, poetry, and the lives of John's family and friends.

Old Hingham Photo Album

The Old Hingham Photograph Album Collection (PDF) consists of one album containing photographs and postcards of Hingham between approximately 1885 and 1926. The images depict scenic views of important structures and locations, boats and ships near/on the harbor, as well as individuals/groups working and enjoying recreational activities.

Hingham Players Club

The Hingham Players Club Bicentennial Collection (PDF) contains meeting minutes, administrative records, and performance ephemera created by the Hingham Players Club between approximately 1915 and 1951.

Mens Community Club of South Hingham

The Men's Community Club of South Hingham Collection (PDF) contains meeting minutes and administrative records created by the Men's Community Club of South Hingham between 1924 and 1935.

Alfred L. Lincoln Scrapbook (1897-1908)

Contains letters, photographs, newspaper and magazine clippings, advertisements, and more concerning yachting activities in Hingham at the turn of the 20th century.

William A. Baker Papers (1890-1987)

A collection of documents and photos (both secondary and primary) relating to the maritime history of Hingham. Includes a manuscript of Hingham vessels built between 1706 and 1846.

Barnes Family Collection (1833-1875)

Collection of primary and secondary materials relating to the Barnes Family of Hingham. Includes LJ Barnes & Co. business letters, Henry Barnes daybook, genealogical info and personal recollections of Benjamin Barnes and various assorted archival ephemera.

Fannie R. Brewer Scrapbook

Variety of primary and secondary materials relating to the military, family, political, and art history of Hingham. Includes theatre program, information on artist Walter Gay, letters, poems, photos, and various articles.

Fearing Family Scrapbook

Mostly copies and secondary materials including wills, assorted archival ephemera, images of Fearing family houses and ships, and more.

First Parish Collection (1690-1963)

Collection of primary and secondary materials relating to First Parish in Hingham (Old Ship Church) between 1680 and 1963. Includes correspondence, administrative records, sermons, programs, and assorted archival ephemera. Also includes ministers' papers for Joseph Richardson, Calvin Lincoln, and H. Price Collier.

Hingham High Class of 1937

Assorted archival ephemera relating to the Hingham High School class of 1937 including photos and various programs.

Hingham Post Office Scrapbook (1936-1996)

Notes, photographs, and assorted ephemera dealing with the history of the Hingham Post Office and postal service. Includes detailed notes by John McKee about the various post offices and postmasters.

Historic Hingham Scrapbook (1909-1976)

Various primary and secondary materials relating to the broad history of Hingham. Items in the collection include correspondence, newspaper articles and advertisements, reminiscences about Hingham's past written by town historians, miscellaneous obituaries, pamphlets and programs, and certificates.

John F. Kennedy Scrapbooks

Articles, notes and photos relating to John F. Kennedy.

John Whorf Scrapbook (1850-1930)

A history of Boston, Massachusetts.

Rev. Joseph Richardson Papers (1847-1907)

Various primary and secondary materials relating to First Parish and New North Church in Hingham. Includes biographical materials, personal letters and correspondence, sermons, notes, orations, and various pieces of archival ephemera.

Joshua Wilder Family Library (1775-1839)

Twelve books on various subjects from the home of Joshua Wilder (1775-1839)

Lincoln Family Papers (1701-1966)

Various primary and secondary materials relating to the Lincoln Family of Hingham. The collection includes a variety of materials including correspondence, financial documents, legal documents, speeches, land surveys, vital records, photographs, newspaper clippings, diaries, scrapbooks, and research.

Long Family Papers (1835-1946)

The collection consists mainly of John D. Long’s correspondence with his father Zadoc Long between 1850 and 1869. Also included are letters received by John D. Long between 1853 and 1872. Also includes speeches and other assorted ephemera.

New North Church (1807-1959)

Variety of primary and secondary material relating to the history of New North Church in Hingham. Includes sermons, articles, pew receipts, programs and broadsides, notes from Solomon Lincoln and the Rev. Charles Brooks, as well as Charles Brooks’ diary.

T.M. Prudden Papers (1924-1968)

Collection of manuscripts of his books, short stories, and other writings.

Bouve Family Papers (1847-1907)

Collection of primary and secondary materials relating to the Bouve Family. Includes correspondence from Thomas Tracy Bouve and Walter Lincoln Bouve, mortgage records, family records, photographs, assorted publications, and Civil War material relating to Edward Tracy Bouve.

Gay Family Papers (1730-1924)

Collection of primary and secondary materials relating to the Gay Family in Hingham. Includes letters, manuscripts, genealogical information, account books, sermons, Revolutionary War correspondence from Martin Gay, and info on the W.A. Gay house.

Henry Edson Hersey Papers (1847-1854)

Essays written by Hersey at Harvard as well as speech and lecture manuscripts.

Hobart Family Papers (1721-1951)

Collection of primary and secondary materials relating to the Hobart Family in Hingham. Primarily land and property deeds. Also includes land plans, wills, estate inventories and receipts mainly involving the elder Peter Hobart as well as extensive genealogical research on the family and its history in Hingham.

John Albion Andrews Papers

Includes published speeches, books and writings on Andrew, assorted published materials, and info on the Hingham Cemetery statue of Andrew.

Lane Family Papers (1770-1938)

Various primary and secondary materials relating to the Lane Family of Hingham. The bulk of the collection is composed of land title deeds for properties purchased by members of the Lane family, in particular Josiah Lane, Josiah Lane, Jr., and Charles Lane. There are also deeds, mortgages and bills of sale revolving around the businesses owned by Charles Lane and his brother Rufus Lane along South Street in the 1830s. Also includes correspondence, wills, manuscripts, and more archival ephemera.

Richardson Family Papers (1787-1871)

The collection contains correspondence, sermons, biographical materials, and other records created by or relating to Joseph Richardson in the late 18th and 19th centuries.

Sprague Family Papers (1709-1973)

Collection of primary and secondary materials relating to the Sprague Family in Hingham. Includes correspondence, a will and other deeds, a receipt, and daybook pages. Also includes illustrations by Isaac Sprague and assorted materials relating to Hosea Sprague.

Tower Family Papers (1788-1916)

Collection of primary and secondary materials relating to the Tower Family in Hingham. Includes journals, land deeds, genealogical records, personal records, business records for Joshua Tower, and Joshua Tower’s journal (1857-1864).

Whiton Family Papers (1737-1883)

Various primary and secondary materials relating to the Whiton Family in Hingham. Includes correspondence, poems, deeds, property information, receipts, ship licenses, sermons, and other various pieces of archival ephemera.

Cushing Family Papers (1659-1902)

The collection contains correspondence, genealogical notes, and various records created by or relating to members of the Cushing family in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. The records include plans of land owned by the Cushings; miscellaneous property records; personal records, including wills, business receipts, and a marriage certificate; and street and road petitions. Also includes a 1659 manuscript by Daniel Cushing of land owned in Hingham.

Bradley Estate Photo Album

Photos of the Bradley Family estate including buildings thereon, geographic features of the property, and shots of the family’s agricultural endeavors.

Co. K. Civil War Photo Album

Photos of Hingham’s Company K. Some during the Civil War, some from the beginning of the 20th century.

Donald Robinson Research Papers

Includes primary and secondary materials such as notes, photos, manuscripts, and assorted archival ephemera relating to ecclesiastical history in Hingham - specifically Second Parish. Also includes information and records of the Hingham Historical Commission.

George Melcher Co. K. Photo Album

Photos of Hingham’s Company K stationed at the Mexico border during the Mexican Revolution.

Shot and Shell Newsletters (1943-1961)

Near complete run of the Hingham Ammunition Depot newsletter “Shot and Shell” between 1943 and 1961. Includes photos of the Ammo depot and personnel who worked there (present site of Bare Cove Park).