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Digital Newton

Special Collections at Newton Free Library

Special Collections contains records of Newton’s history from its founding in 1630 to the present, along with a wide-range of data relating to current institutions and matters of interest to the city residents. 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.

All Special Collections resources are cataloged; please look up areas of interest here

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 or Internet Archive.

Special Collections Use Policies

Resources in Newton Free Library’s Special Collections are available for use by all. A photo-ID or library card is required when using items in Special Collections. Please sign-in at the Tech Desk. We recommend contacting the library about your visit ahead of time before coming in to use items in Special Collections. 

Our Special Collections room consists of a Massachusetts Collection, Newton Collection, and Genealogical Research section. 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 use a smartphone 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 has been digitized. Please see information in the section above. When an item is available online, by microfilm or microfiche, we recommend using that format in order to preserve our unique materials.

How to Find Material in the Catalog

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

Special Collections Material Use Request Form

Special Collections Research Request