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Archives & Special Collections

Special Collections

The Maxwell Library Special Collections focus on rare books and manuscript collections from numerous genres, including politics, education, literature, and organizations of many different types. The rare and unique book collection includes books from the 1600s with an emphasis on education, Abraham Lincoln, Charles Dickens, local history and items on many other topics and areas.

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John Quincy Adams Collection

Over 30 published pamphlets from the early to mid-1800s involving speeches, social issues, celebrations, correspondence, and eulogies by and about John Quincy Adams.

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John Quincy Adams

Conrad Aiken Collection

Correspondence, photographs, reviews, interviews, inscribed books, books and articles by and about author/poet Conrad Aiken.

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Conrad Aiken

Boston Theatre Broadside Collection

Broadsides from 21 performances at the Boston Theatre from the spring of 1857.

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Boston Theatre Broadside from 1857

Bridgewater Improvement Association Records

Minutes and treasurer’s reports dating back to the group’s founding in the early 1900s.

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Bridgewater Improvement Association

Mary L. Cobb Collection

Diaries of a Bridgewater Normal School student from the early 1890s.

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Mary L. Cobb

Jack Coughlin Collection

Correspondence and art of artist Jack Coughlin.

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Jack Coughlin etching of James Joyce

Charles Dickens Collection

Books (including first editions) written by Charles Dickens, original reviews of his works, and articles about Dickens published during his lifetime from periodicals found in Britain, France, and the United States.

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Charles Dickens

Eastern Athletic Trainers’ Association (EATA) Records

Organizational records including documents on meetings, events, services, and more.

Eastern Athletic Trainers' Association

Encyclopédie Méthodique Collection

Eighty-four original volumes of this famous French encyclopedia, with nearly all volumes published between 1782 and 1792. Encyclopédie méthodique par ordre des matières (“Methodical Encyclopedia by Order of Subject Matter”) was originally published by Charles-Joseph Panckoucke.

Encyclopedie Methodique title page

First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church of Bridgewater Records

Entire Church archive dating back to its founding in 1717. Includes administrative history, building and grounds history, minister and membership information.

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First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church of Bridgewater

Thomas Fleming Collection

Correspondence, reviews, and inscribed books by the Pulitzer Prize winning author.

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Thomas Fleming

Robert Frost Collection

Audio recording and other material pertaining to Frost’s visit to Bridgewater State College in 1959, as well as inscribed books by both Frost and his daughter Leslie.

Robert Frost

Faye George Collection

Publications, manuscript drafts, and recordings of the local poet Faye George. Also correspondence between George and other poets such as U.S. Poet Laureate Daniel Hoffman, Richard Dey, and Robert Bly.

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Faye George

Seamus Heaney Collection

Correspondence and photographs from Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney and his wife Marie, as well as inscribed rare pamphlets and books.

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Seamus Heaney

Hyannis State Normal School Records

Published histories, administrative records, catalogs and circulars, and student records make up the collection of this early Massachusetts State Normal School going back to its founding in 1897.

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Hyannis Normal School

Congressman Hastings Keith Collection

Correspondence, congressional reports and legislation, photographs, scrapbooks, research material, and more by and about Hastings Keith, a Massachusetts Congressman representing the Plymouth County and Cape Cod area from 1958-1972.

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President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Congressman Hastings Keith

Irish Literature Collection

Signed books, correspondence, reviews, and photographs of over 40 Irish authors, poets, artists and playwrights from the twentieth century. Highlights include correspondence and signed items from the Nobel Prize winning Irish poet Seamus Heaney, the author Mary Lavin, and the author Edna O’Brien.

Edna O'Brien

Shuji Isawa Collection

Correspondence, photographs, student records, Japanese textbooks, and more from this 1877 Bridgewater Normal School graduate who brought the Normal School movement to Japan.

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Shuji Isawa

Edward Kirby Collection

Collection from the Whitman, Massachusetts politician, containing material representing Kirby’s lengthy career dedicated to public service in the state House of Representatives and Senate.

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Edward Kirby

Mary Lavin Collection

Correspondence, photographs, and books by the Irish short story writer and novelist (born in East Walpole, MA) known for her writing on feminist issues.

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Mary Lavin

Lincoln Group of Boston Collection

Material consists of meeting programs going back to 1938, presented papers of members and guests, correspondence, research, and publications on Abraham Lincoln.

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Sub-collections include:

Abraham Lincoln

Little Blue Book Collection

Nearly 2,000 individual issues of Emanuel Haldeman-Julius’ controversial, but highly successful, Little Blue Book publication series that tackled a range of subjects and controversial issues of its day.

Little Blue Books

Massachusetts Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance Records

Minutes, correspondence, periodicals, publications, promotional ads, and other material dating from 1935.

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Massachusetts Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance

Massachusetts Hall of Black Achievement Collection (HOBA)

Organization archive that includes programs, information on inductees, photographs, recordings, and more.

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Massachusetts Hall of Black Achievement

Massachusetts Reading Association Records

Annual conference material, administrative records, membership information, awards, and brochures and publications from the association.

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Massachusetts Reading Association

Annabelle Melville Collection

Acclaimed Catholic historian and Bridgewater State history professor; includes information on her life and published works, and manuscript rough drafts.

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Annabelle Melville

Miniature Book Collection

Collection of miniature books, including numerous books published by Achille St. Onge in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Miniature Book cover

Mary Jo Moriarty Collection

Scrapbooks, photographs, and numerous types of documents pertaining to Moriarty’s long career as a physical education professor at both the Hyannis State Teacher’s College and Bridgewater State.

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Mary Jo Moriarty

New Agenda Northeast Records

Organization archive that includes programs, hall of fame inductee information, and photographs; purpose of organization is to increase recognition and awareness of women in sport.

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New Agenda Northeast logo

New England Theatre Conference Records

Archive of the NETC – includes administrative records, publications, membership and award information, photographs, and other materials going back to the organization's founding.

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New England Theatre Conference

Robert E. Pellissier Collection

Correspondence, student records, and publications related to Robert Pellissier, the first Bridgewater Normal School graduate killed in World War I.

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Robert Pellissier memorial ambulance

Plymouth County Teachers' Association Records

Pamphlets, ephemera, and other documents, mostly from the early years of this educational organization.

Plymouth County Teachers' Association

Louise Dickinson Rich Collection

Photographs, correspondence, student records, and publications from this Bridgewater-born and Bridgewater State Normal School graduate author.

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Louise Dickinson Rich

Rev. Paul John Rich Collection

Photographs and documents pertaining to the East Bridgewater Unitarian Church and the many legal cases in which Rich was involved.

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Paul John Rich

May Sarton Collection

Correspondence, photographs, reviews, and inscribed books by this poet, novelist, and nonfiction writer associated with the feminist movement of the 1960s and 1970s.

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May Sarton

Sgt. William E. Smith Collection

World War II German memorabilia, military documents and awards, correspondence and photographs.

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Sargent William E. Smith

E. Millicent Sowerby Collection

Correspondence, photographs, speeches, and publications from this rare book cataloger who ghost-wrote the important book, Early American Children’s Books, and was the bibliographer for the Thomas Jefferson Collection at the Library of Congress.

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E. Millicent Sowerby

Nicholas Tillinghast Collection

Correspondence, biographical information, research, and documents concerning the operation of the Bridgewater Normal School by its first principal.

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Nicholas Tillinghast

Tillinghast Family Collection

Numerous types of documents from the Tillinghast family dating back to the mid-1700s from Rhode Island; includes genealogy research and resources.

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Tillinghast Family Collection

Veterans Oral History Project

The Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center is an ongoing effort by the Library of Congress to preserve veterans’ personal accounts detailing their military wartime service and to increase public awareness of these historical events. Through the efforts of Dr. Louise Graham, these veterans’ military stories have been digitally recorded and submitted to the Library of Congress for present and future generations to view.

Veterans History Project Personal Narratives

United States Navy logo

Lincoln Collection

Monographs, pamphlets, periodicals and ephemera pertaining to Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War. Also materials that represent the history of Abraham Lincoln in popular culture of the United States.


Dickens Collection

Includes works by Charles Dickens, works about Dickens, works that represent London during Dickens’ lifetime, and works that interpret the writing of Dickens. Many first editions of Dickens’ works in both serial and novel form.


Local and Regional History Collection

Emphasizes Southeastern Massachusetts history – includes monographs, imprints, maps, city directories, and works by local authors.


Education Collection

Focuses on works representing the history of educational theory and practice, textbooks, and biographies about noted educators. Integral parts of the collection concern women’s physical education and the Normal School movement.


Adeline Oakley Children’s Collection

Children’s literature from the early nineteenth to the twentieth century: includes shape books, young adult books, picture books, periodicals, inscribed books, and literature on the study of children’s books.


General Collection

Wide range of books, pamphlets, and periodicals. Includes pre-1800 items printed throughout the world; pre-1876 American imprints; some post-1900 materials, especially those relating to Massachusetts.