The Fall River Historical Society maintains the Charlton Library of Fall River History, which houses an important research collection of books, pamphlets, periodicals, and reference materials pertaining to all aspects of the city’s history. The library is open to patrons by appointment and is non-circulating.
The library is located on various levels in the former laundry and service area of the museum building, and is accessed by descending a staircase. For the benefit of handicapped patrons, most library materials can be brought to the first floor of the building, which is wheelchair accessible.
The collection of published material includes biography, city directories, local authors, genealogy, family histories, memoirs, municipal documents, periodicals, and regional histories pertinent to the city of Fall River, as well as city, county, economic, ethnic, industrial, maritime, military, Native American, political, and social histories. Select baptismal, business, church, and probate records are available, as are a large number of unpublished papers and manuscripts. Materials are added to the library on a regular basis.
Our microfilm collection contains in excess of 76,000 issues of 19th and 20th century Fall River newspapers, with the earliest issues dating to 1858. A state-of-the art ScanPro 2000 microfilm reader is available for use by patrons.
The Society’s manuscript collection contains thousands of original documents dating from the late 17th to the mid-20th century, and includes family and personal papers, corporate and legal documents, business records, church records, diaries, and journals. Also available is the most extensive collection of Fall River textile mill records and manuscripts in existence. Our holdings of ephemera include maps, and an extensive collection of Fall River postcards.
Our photograph collection contains thousands of examples, and is widely recognized as the most comprehensive assemblage of its type as pertains to Fall River. With images dating from the dawn of photography to the mid-20th century, the collection documents the changing landscape of the city’s public and private spaces, its cultural development, and the faces of its inhabitants.
A listing of our catalogued holdings is available via SAILS Library Network, and can be accessed by clicking HERE. Records of materials are added to the library on a regular basis. We are proud to have the distinction of being the first library of its type to become a member of SAILS, Inc., which runs and supports the Enterprise Online Catalogue and Circulation systems throughout Southeastern Massachusetts.