Historical Collections OverviewPlymouth County Map

The town of Hingham, Massachusetts 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:

To learn more about the materials available to you at the library, please view our collection guides, browse through the other pages in the Local History section of our website or contact a reference staff member.

The Historical Collection is located in the Loring and Wilder Rooms on the upper floor of the library. It is recommended that patrons make an appointment in advance by calling the reference department (781-741-1405 x1404) or sending an email to

Digital Collections

Free Soil Party Reunion Papers, 1877-1921
This collection details the events leading up to and following the reunion of the Free Soil Party in Hingham, MA. The Free Soil Party existed between 1848 and 1852 with the purpose of ensuring that new lands acquired by the United States did not allow slavery.

Legendary Locals
Throughout Hingham's history there have been many men and women who have contributed to the town, state, country, and/or world in a significant way. Their contributions vary greatly. The men and women described in this exhibit are a credit to Hingham and demonstrate how local individuals can have an impact on the world at large. As Hinghamites we are proud to say that they lived and worked here.

Postcard Collection: Take a Virtual Walk Down Hingham's Memory Lane
You can now view sights from Hingham’s past with the Library’s postcard collection online. From the iconic to the rarely seen, a treasure trove of images awaits you with just the click of a mouse.  Many thanks to Boston Public Library’s digitization services and the Digital Commonwealth site for making this collection possible.

Collection Guides for the HPL's Historical Materials

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.

We are currently working on creating guides for all of our historical documents.   Please contact us if you do not see materials related to your research.  For more information about understanding collection guides, please refer to our How to Read a Collection Guide document.

Jefferson Debating Society Records
The materials in this collection were created by members of the Jefferson Debating Society in Hingham between 1823 and 1829.

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

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

The Whiton Family Papers
Papers in this collection were originally created by various members of the Whiton family in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries while they were living in Hingham.

The Leavitt Family Papers
These papers 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.

Hingham Agricultural and Horticultural Society Collection
This collection 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.

The Cushing Family Papers
This collection contains records, created between approximately 1659 and 1950, relating to the Cushing family of Hingham, Massachusetts. 

William L. Phinney Genealogical Papers
This collection consists of genealogical research completed by William Lester Phinney between approximately 1971 and 1996.

Colonel John C. Whiton Scrapbook
This collection 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 Photograph Album
This collection 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 Bicentennial Collection
This collection contains meeting minutes, administrative records, and performance ephemera created by the Hingham Players Club between approximately 1915 and 1951.

Men's Community Club of South Hingham Collection
This collection contains meeting minutes and administrative records created by the Men's Community Club of South Hingham between 1924 and 1935.



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Hingham Public Library | 66 Leavitt Street, Hingham MA 02043-2757 | 781-741-1405 FAX: 781-749-0956 | E-mail the Library