Special Collections contains records of Newton’s history from its founding in 1630 to the present and a wide-range of data relating to the current institutions of the City in matters of interest to today’s population. Items preserved include print and non-print materials produced by City departments, private Newton organizations and individuals, as well as Newton businesses and the library. Examples of materials include City Directories, Assessed Polls, school yearbooks, School Committee Minutes, street maps and atlases, Newton histories, City Annual Reports, biographies of Newton residents, photographs, and local newspapers. Also included are newsletters, pamphlets, and annual reports of organizations and clubs of general interest to the City.
Special Collections resources are cataloged, please look up areas of interest in our catalog. The Newton newspapers are indexed, and the majority of our past local paper, The Newton Graphic (1886-1997), is available online. Thousands of our items have been digitized and are available on Digital Commonwealth as well as Internet Archive.
The resources in Newton Free Library’s Special Collections are available for use by all. A photo-ID or library card is required when using any item in Special Collections. Please sign-in at the Tech Desk. To provide the best service, we recommend contacting the library about your visit and interests before coming in to use items in Special Collections.
Our Special Collections room consists of a Massachusetts Collection, Newton Collection, and Genealogical Research section. Anyone may use the materials located on the shelves in that room. Special Collections also stores many items in a locked Compact Shelving area. A librarian will retrieve items stored in Compact Shelving for your use one at a time.
Copies of material: While we prefer that you bring a camera, or camera phone, to take photographs of materials for your personal use, materials in Special Collections can be scanned or photocopied by a librarian. Please inquire at the Tech Desk.
For your convenience, much of our collection is digitized, please see information in the section above. When an item can be viewed online, by microfilm or microfiche, we recommend using that format in order to preserve our unique materials.
Below is an example of a catalog record, please note the following:
1. Call number prefix N = Newton Collection item
2. Call number prefix MASS = Mass Collection item
3. Newton/Special = Compact Shelving (you will need a librarian to retrieve these items)
4. Newton/Reference = Special Collections (you can browse the Mass or N item in our Special Collection Room)
5. eConnect = a link to the digital version of the item
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