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Founded in 1893 to preserve the history of Bedford, Massachusetts

History resources

Looking for information on Bedford's history? This page can help you get started. Click one of the following links:

About our collections

We have extensive collections of documents, photographs, books, maps and museum objects. All are available for research. Some of our more important family collections:

·         Bacon Family Papers

·         Papers of Clara Pollard Blinn

·         Comley Family Papers

·         Davis Family Papers

·         Fitch Family Papers

·         Hartwell Family Papers

·         Hill-Sage Family Papers

·         Lane Family Papers

·         Papers of Blanche Proctor and Leona Proctor Cail

·         Reed-Gragg-Stiles Family Papers

Some of our other document collections:

·         Bedford Celebrations

·         Bedford Community Organizations

·         Bedford Garden Club

·         Bedford Grange

·         Bedford Historical Society Records

·         Bedford History Resources

·         Bedford Minuteman Company

·         Bedford People

·         Bedford Properties and Landmarks

·         Bedford Town Government

·         Bedford Woman's Community Club

·         Map Collection

·         Photograph Collection

·         The Scrapbooks of Charles Jenks

·         Wayside Kindergarten, Inc.

·         Newspaper articles of Ina Mansur

·         Newspaper articles of Louise K. Brown

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Books on Bedford

Note: Books marked with a single asterisk * are available for purchase from the Bedford Historical Society. Click the Store button for details. Items marked with a double asterisk ** can be purchased at the Bedford Free Public Library. Other books listed here can, in many cases, be borrowed from the Bedford library.

**History of the Town of Bedford, Abram English Brown, originally published 1891, reprinted 1992. This is THE book on Bedford history. Includes genealogical information. Available for purchase from the Bedford Free Public Library. A fully searchable electronic version of this book is available on the Google Books site. To see it, click here.

An Awesome Century, Charles Williston Farrington with Judith Lindau McConnell, 1999. Originally published as a series of articles in the Bedford Minute-Man, these essays present a changing view of Bedford history as seen through more than 90 years of keen and loving observation. 116 pages, photographs.

*Bedford Center in the 1800's (second edition), written by Ina Mansur, illustrated by Lawrence Mansur. This book profiles three builders who constructed most of the noteworthy buildings in Bedford Center and gave it the character we still enjoy today.

Bedford in the World War; an Account of the Part Played by the Citizens of the Town of Bedford, Military and Civilian, in the Great War with Germany, 1917-1919, by Charles W. Jenks, undated. Capsule biographies of Bedford's service personnel and their activities in World War I. Photographs.

**The Bedford Flag Unfurled by Sharon Lawrence McDonald, 1996, 2000. A richly detailed and thoroughly documented history of the Bedford Flag. Illustrations, photos.

**The Bedford Sampler, Bicentennial Edition, 1974. Paperback book, 256 pages, illustrated. Compiled and edited by The Friends of the Bedford Free Public Library. A variety of articles on Bedford’s history; descriptions of historic houses and their inhabitants; brief biographies of Asher Benjamin and Rufus Porter; and an assortment of favorite recipes.

Beneath Old Rooftrees, by Abram English Brown, 1896. Written to show "in a story-like manner the part taken by many towns [including Bedford] in the opening events of the Revolution." With photographs

Beside Old Hearth-Stones, by Abram English Brown, 1897. Profiles of some of the early patriots and their communities. With photographs. A fully searchable electronic version of this book is available on the Google Books site. Click here.

*A Brief History of Bedford, Kathleen Kelly-Broomer, 2004. (Excerpted from Communitywide Historic Properties Survey, 1998.) Paperback book, 36 pages. A concise overview of the town’s founding, development, industries, institutions, and architecture, from the 1700s to the present.

Communities in Transition: Social Change in Bedford and Lincoln, Massachusetts, 1729-1850, by Richard John Holmes, 1979. A sociological "enquiry into the nature of rural society in New England from the early eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth century."

The Deacon Job Lane House of Bedford, Massachusetts, compiled by Ina Mansur, illustrated by Ellen Hatch Michaud, 1984. A monograph on the history and architectural development of the c. 1713 Job Lane House on North Road, Bedford. Illustrations.

Deacon Job Lane of Bedford; Major John Lane of Billerica; Job Laine of Malden and Billerica, by Ina Mansur, 1982. This  monograph is a valuable reference work on three members of one of Bedford's founding families.

The Flag of the Minutemen by Williston Farrington, 1996. A pamphlet on the history of the Bedford Flag. Photographs.

*Freeholders & other Votable Inhabitants: Bedford’s Town Meetings During the American Revolution. Carla Fackler, Signe Hanson, and Judith R. Brown, editors. 1976. Paperback book, 43 pages. Extracts from Town Meeting minutes, with modern commentaries, providing a vivid illustration of the reaction of Bedford’s people to the events of the Revolution.

General Marshall's Victory Report on the Winning of World War II, 1945. With an added section on Bedford's servicemen and women by the American Legion Auxiliary of Bedford.

Gilman of Redford by William Stearns Davis, 1927. A novel centering on a young man from "Redford" (a fictional version of Bedford) and his experiences in Boston and Harvard College at the beginning of the Revolution.

Glimpses of Old New England Life, Legends of Old Bedford by Abram English brown, 1892. A retelling of Bedford tales told to the author by his grandmother. Includes "The Mysterious Room," "The Silver Crown," "The Witch of Shawsheen," and "A Pod of Nine Peas."

*Historic Properties and Neighborhoods of Bedford by Kathleen Kelly-Broomer, produced for the Bedford Historic Preservation Commission. Complete, detailed, and authoritative descriptions of the history and architecture of more than 300 houses and other noteworthy buildings, plus the origins of Bedford’s most historically significant neighborhoods. More than 300 photographs, 380+ pages, fully indexed.

History of Bedford by Marie T. Johnson, illustrated by Lucia S. Kespert, published by the Bedford Woman's Community Club, 1960. Essays on Bedford's history and customs from early days to modern times.

History of the Bedford Fire Department, 1974. Boston: Boston Publishing Co. The most detailed publication on Bedford's firefighters, from the early days of the Shawsheen Engine Company to modern times. With photographs.

**A New England Church: 1730-1834, Ina Mansur, 1974. Paperback book, 238 pages, illustrated. A thoughtful study of the town’s early religious life and of the dissention, beginning with the Great Awakening of the 1740s, that split Bedford’s single congregation in two in the 1830s.

*The Old Burying Ground: Gravestone Survey, Map, and Databases. Third edition, 2004. Paperback book, 65 pages. A complete reference on the Old Burying Ground on Springs Road – its history; catalog listings of the stones, alphabetically and by number; a detailed fold-out map; and a complete list of inscriptions and epitaphs, with notes on items of special interest.

Old Paths and Legends of New England, by Katharine M. Abbott, 1903. "Saunterings over historic roads with glimpses of picturesque fields and old homesteads in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire." Includes a brief chapter on Bedford. Photographs. A fully searchable electronic version of this book is available on the Google Books site. Click here.

**A Pictorial History of Bedford, Massachusetts, 1729 to Modern Times, by Ina and Lawrence Mansur, 1992. A lavishly illustrated overview of Bedford's history. Photographs, drawings, maps.

*Remembered in Bedford, Mass., written and illustrated by Bedford's Town Historian, John Brown. a thoughtful and entertaining distillation of fourscore years of life in Bedford. Illustrations.

*A Revolutionary Town, Louise K. Brown, 1975. Hardbound book, 318 pages, illustrated. Bedford’s role in the Revolution, with a detailed look at the customs and institutions that shaped the town. Includes capsule biographies of Bedford’s militia and Minute Men.

*Scenes from Bedford, Massachusetts, 1909. Second edition, 2004. Paperback book, 12 pages, illustrated. Reprinting of a 1909 pamphlet published by the Edison Electric Illuminating Co. Fifteen photographs plus a description of the town’s attractions and amenities.

Vital Records of Bedford, Massachusetts, to the Year 1850, published by the New-England Historic Genealogical Society, 1903. The most complete compendium of Bedford births, marriages, and deaths from early days to 1850. A fully searchable electronic version of this book is available on the Google Books site. Click here.

*Wilderness Town: The Story of Bedford, Massachusetts, Louise K. Brown, 1968. Paperback book, 219 pages, illustrated. An affectionate portrait of life in Bedford from early days to modern times. Includes genealogical information on notable Bedford families.

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