Museum & Archives Collections
The Procter Museum & Archives of Stockbridge History is open to the citizens of Stockbridge, as well as to tourists, students, and visiting scholars, under the supervision of the Curator. The historical collection is mentioned as early as 1865 in the Stockbridge Library Association records. However, serious attempts at creating a historical collection didn’t begin until R. R. Bowker’s term as President of the Board (1904-1928). When the addition was built to the Library in 1937/38, the historical collection became a separate department, housed in the lower level of the addition. Today, the Museum & Archives offers a non-circulating archival collection as well as a museum of Stockbridge history. Finding aids are available for many of the archival collections.
The historical collection consists of over 500 artifacts and almost 100 pieces of fine and graphic art. It includes such important objects as Jonathan Edwards’ writing desk; a contemporary portrait of Agrippa Hull; and two portraits by noted painter Ammi Phillips (a mid-nineteenth century Stockbridge resident). Many of these objects are on display in the museum.
The archival collection includes over 600 books by Stockbridge authors, including Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, R. R. Bowker, Reinhold Niebuhr, Richard Watson Gilder, and members of the Sedgwick and Field families, as well as original documents by eighteenth century Mahican Indians. The collection includes preliminary writings (drafts and corrected proofs) by Rachel Field, Stefan Lorant, Lyman Beecher Stowe, Robert Underwood Johnson, and William Gibson. Also invaluable are account books, legal papers, sermons, journals, correspondence, and other documents dating back to 1738. The collection contains records for institutions such as the American Legion, Indian Hill Music Workshop, Laurel Hill Association, and the Williams High School Alumni Association, among others.
An assortment of non-circulating reference material is also available. Books include local histories, family histories, biographies, and reference books on topics relating to Stockbridge history, such as Native American studies, religion, photography, and legal history. The vertical file, or information file, contains newspaper clippings, biographical information, and other printed materials.
Materials most often requested by researchers include those on the Stockbridge Indians; Agrippa Hull; Mumbet; Jonathan Edwards; noted author Catharine Sedgwick; the Field family; and Hitty, the doll portrayed in Rachel Field’s 1929 children’s book.
The following is a sampling of the archival collections available in the Museum & Archives, rather than an exhaustive list. Finding aids are available (in PDF) by clicking collection titles in bold. Please contact the Curator with questions or for additional information.
1. Institutional and Business Records
- American Legion Records
- Berkshire Republican Library Records
- Brown Book of Deeds
- First Congregational Church Records
- Hill Water Company Records
- Indian Hill Music Workshop Records
- Interlaken Congregational Church Records
- Laurel Hill Association Records
- Stockbridge Bowl Association Records
- Stockbridge Casino Records
- Stockbridge Library Association Records
- Tuesday Club Records
- Williams High School Alumni Association Records
2. Personal and Family Papers
- Clark (Anson) Collection
- Eaton (Walter Pritchard) Papers
- Edwards (Jonathan) Family Collection
- Field Family Collection
- Franz (Joseph) Papers
- French (Daniel Chester) Collection
- Lynch / Whitney Family Collection
- Sedgwick Family Collection
3. Miscellaneous Collections
- Alice’s Restaurant Photography Collection
- Cookbook Collection
- Map Collection
- Oral History Collection
- Stockbridge Authors Manuscript Collection
- Stockbridge Imprints Collection
- Stockbridge Indian Collection
- Stockbridge School Collection
- Wilcox (Richard) Deed Research Collection