What is the main focus of your collection?
Our collection revolves around the themes of Westport’s history. The earliest document in our collection dates from 1700. Much of the material covers the period 1830 – 1950. Westport Historical Society is always seeking objects, archives, photographs or books that help illustrate the history of Westport. If you have an object with a great Westport story or connection, and are interested in possibly donating that object, please contact us!
The Society has also put online a searchable database of its entire collection of photographs, postcards and archives. What follows is a description of that database. Again, the material is fun simply to browse, but also a local gold mine for the serious researcher. Our collection spotlight features many highlights from the collection.
How can I access the online database?
Our archives and photograph collection can be searched using our online database. (Here’s a link to it – but we suggest you read on to get the most out of it.) This database includes photographs of Westport people, places and events, and postcards. It also includes scrapbooks and newspaper clippings. You will find documents of all kinds: maps, manuscripts, logbooks, diaries, letters, deeds, account books, wills and ephemera. Our collection of objects, paintings, books and clothing is not yet accessible online but researchers are always welcome. To search our collection of objects, paintings and books, please contact us directly. You can visit us at the Bell School, 25 Drift Road at the Head of Westport. We are open year round but please call ahead (508 636 6011) to ensure that staff is available to help you.
The Westport Historical Society’s Collections Policy outlines acquisition criteria, and accessioning and de-accessioning procedures.
The broad the themes of Westport’s history include the following:
- Any and all individuals who lived in Westport.
- Biographical,genealogical information and documentation of daily life of Westporters thoughout the centuries.
- Individuals such as Paul Cuffe, Westport artists, doctors, Portuguese,French Canadians.
2. HISTORIC NATIVE AMERICAN CONTEXT
- Native American artifacts found in Westport
- Information /documentation of Native Americans residents in Westport
3. AFRICAN AMERICAN CONTEXT
- Paul Cuffe
- Their role in agricultural, maritime and religious activities.
4. AGRICULTURAL ACTIVITIES
- Land use
- Cranberry cultivation
- Historic farms such as Oscar Palmer property, Boan Farm, Smith Farm and others
- Macomber turnip
5. MARITIME ACTIVITIES
- Coastal trading
- Use of the river
- Water and wind powered mills
- Small mills that developed along the river
- Westport Factory
7. LAND BASED ACTIVITIES
- Ice making
- Salt making
- Saw mills
8. RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS
- Individual churches
- Cadmans Neck revival meetings
9. CIVIC INSTITUTIONS
- Town government
- Poor Farm
10. MILITARY ACTIVITIES
- Revolutionary way
- King Philip’s War
- War of 1812
- Civil War
- World War I and II
- Veterans’ experiences
11. RESORT and TOURISM
- Summer tourism and the development of Horseneck and Westport Harbor
- Summer estates
- Lincoln Park
12. TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATION
For example the Westport Fair or the hurricanes of 1938 and 1954.
14. DEVELOPMENT OF DISTINCT COMMUNITIES OF WESTPORT
- Westport Point, Head of Westport, Westport Harbor, North Westport,
- Central Village, Westport Factory, Horseneck Beach.
16. BUILDINGS AND ARCHITECTURE
- Historical houses and properties
What kinds of material will I find in your collection?
- Account books
- Newspapers and newspaper clippings
- Oral histories
- Photographs and postcards
- Books and journals
- Personal documents such as correspondence or diaries
- All kinds of ephemera
- Subject and people files