Each collection below has a Finding Aid, which may be accessed by clicking on the appropriate link.
Rantoul Papers - The collection consists of approximately 15,000 objects, primarily papers of Robert Rantoul, Sr. (1778-1858) including correspondence, lectures, and diaries. From 1804 to 1854, he served as the overseer of the poor of Beverly, keeping the almshouses under constant supervision. He was appointed Justice of the Peace and acting trial justice for the town from 1808 to 1858. Rantoul was chosen as Senator for Essex County for the years 1820, ’21 and ’22, serving a total legislative term of 25 years. He married Joanna Lovett in 1801. They had seven children including Massachusetts State Representative and U.S. Senator Robert, Jr. (1805-1852), and social activist Hannah (1821-1898). Sen. Rantoul’s papers include material from his law career and years at Phillips Andover Academy and Harvard University. Hannah Rantoul’s papers include letters from Beverly soldiers and material detailing her role in the U.S. Sanitary Commission during the Civil War. The collection illuminates the significance of the Rantoul family in the history of Beverly, the region, and the country.
Bartlett Papers - The collection consists of approximately 10,000 papers and is considered one of the most significant collections of Revolutionary War era documents in the state. William Bartlett was an important figure in Essex County, serving as the first naval agent under General George Washington. He was responsible for the outfitting of vessels used in naval operations and oversaw the auctioning of the prizes. This collection contains thousands of receipts that detail the expenses that transformed private vessels into armed privateers, and correspondence with Bartlett’s superiors and notable figures including Washington, John Glover, Elias Hasket Derby and George Crowninshield.
The Bartlett Papers also document the life of a prominent 18th century merchant. These primary documents are proof of the goods that were being imported and exported from Essex County during these turbulent years surrounding the American Revolution.
Loring Papers - The collection consists of approximately 1500 papers, primarily the papers of Katharine Peabody Loring (1849-1943). She was an early advocate for women's education and a founding member and teacher for more than twenty years for the Society to Encourage Studies at Home. Loring served as a trustee for the Beverly Public Library for forty years, and along with her sister Louisa, donated the land for the Beverly Farms branch of the Beverly public library. Loring was also an officer in the Women's Education Association, and President of the Massachusetts Library Club. She was the President of the Beverly Historical Society for twenty-three years, from 1918-1941; it was during this period that the Society acquired the Balch House and Hale Farm, as well as many important collections related to the history of Beverly and environs. A seemingly tireless volunteer, Katharine Loring was a Red Cross worker, and also assisted her sister with the Anti-Tuberculosis Society in Beverly. She was involved with the Beverly Improvement Society, the Beverly Farms Improvement Society, and served as an honorary chairman of the women's division of the Beverly Chamber of Commerce.
Balch Family Association This finding aid includes the records of the Association from 1905-1990, correspondence, member rosters, reunion publications, research on the Balch family and the Balch House, and genealogical inquiries.
United Shoe Machinery Company The collection contains patent records, Quarter Century Club Membership records and other ephemera demonstrating the connection to the City of Beverly
Legal Deeds The Legal Deeds collection consists of 3 linear feet of 17th to early 20th century legal deeds, primarily dealing with real estate transactions throughout the entire city of Beverly. These were compiled by several important local individuals who handled estates and other transactions, including Robert Rantoul and John I. Baker, the first mayor of Beverly. Most of the deeds are between important local families or those from out of state who still had real estate and property ownership within Beverly.
Grand Army of the Republic Post #89 Memorial Record and G.A.R. Portrait Collection - The Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) was the largest Union veteran organization that emerged from the Civil War. It was a fraternal organization divided into departments at the state level and posts at the local level. The G.A.R. encouraged the continued camaraderie of the veterans and provided assistance to comrades in need through its charitable relief ventures. This memorial record contains over 400 names of the post’s members; where they saw action during the war; and family and vital information.