Local History Room
The Robbins Library Local History Room contains books, scrapbooks, annual reports, directories, atlases, photographs, postcards, slides, vertical files and other materials documenting the history of Arlington. Although the focus of the collection is the historical, social and cultural development of Arlington, relevant materials concerning Middlesex County, Massachusetts and its towns, and New England are also included. Special collections include the Cyrus E. Dallin Papers, Robbins Library History and the Arlington Woman's Club Archive.
All obituary requests and local history research questions by phone or email, must be followed by a written request sent via regular mail. A donation of $5 per obituary search is optional with checks made out to Robbins Library. Please send all obituary and local history requests to the attention of “Local History.”
Monday through Wednesday: 9AM to 9PM
Thursday: 1 to 9 PM
Friday & Saturday: 9AM to 5PM
*Closed Saturday July & August
Access To Materials
Some of our local history materials are extremely fragile and may be damaged through frequent use. Fortunately, many of these materials are accessible on microfilm in the Reference Room, including the Cyrus E. Dallin Papers, the Arlington Historical Photograph Collection, Arlington High Yearbooks and Literary Magazine, town directories, newspapers, and several historical atlases. The historical, photograph, slide, and postcard collections are available by appointment only.
Materials can be brought from the Local History Room to the Reference Room for in-library use by leaving some form of identification with the Reference Staff.
Patrons whose more in-depth research requires use of the Local History room must make an application for an Independent Research Card. Applications are available at the Reference Desk. A pdf copy is available below which can be printed and returned to the Reference Desk, or sent via regular mail to the attention of Local History.
Patrons with Independent Research Cards are asked to sign the register each time they use the Local History Room.
Care Of Materials
Care must be taken when handling fragile books, atlases and pamphlets. Patrons should use pencils when taking notes. Patrons are asked NOT to reshelve books they have used.
Patrons should consult a reference librarian before photocopying any material in the Local History Room. Materials may be too fragile to photocopy. Photocopy machines are available in the Reference Room. Patrons must make arrangements with the librarian in charge of the Local History Room for copies of photographs, slides and postcards.
Selected list of Resources
- Arlington Celebrates the Growing Years, 1875-1975* (Hist. Coll. 974.44 ARL)
History of the Town of Arlington, Mass. 1637-1879 by Benjamin Cutter* (Hist. Coll. 974.44 ARL)
- Images of America: Arlington by Richard A. Duffy* (Hist. Coll. 974.44 ARL)
One Hundred And Fiftieth Anniversary of the Town of Arlington's Part in that Memorable Struggle of April 19, 1775 (Hist. Coll. 974.44 ARL)
- One Hundredth Anniversary of the Incorporation of the Town of Arlington, Massachusetts 1807-1907 (Hist. Coll. 974.44 ARL)
Our Local Interests: Arlington Advocate Souvenir 1872-1897 (Hist. Coll. 974.44 ARL)
- Stories of Early Twentieth Century Life, edited by Oakes Plimpton* (Hist. Coll. 974.44 ARL)
Town of Arlington, Past and Present 1637 to 1907 by Charles S. Parker* (Hist. Coll. 974.44 ARL)
*Also found in the Circulating Collection
Town Records, Directories & Yearbooks
- Annual Report 1842- (Hist. Coll. 974.44 ARL)
Arlington High School Yearbooks 1923, 1927-2001 (On microfilm in the Reference Room)
- Arlington High School Literary magazine, "The Clarion", 1897-1931 [Reference Room microfilm]
Arlington Vital Records to 1850 (Hist. Coll. 917.444 ARL)
- Town Directories 1869-1940 (Some years missing: On microfilm in Reference Room) (Hist. Coll. 917.444 ARL)
True List of Persons 1921- (After 1930, by street only; Town Clerk's Office has alphabetical True List) (Hist. Coll. 974.444 ARL)
- Arlington Historical Commission Publications:
Inventory of Historically and/or Architecturally Significant Properties in Arlington (Also available at the Reference Desk) (Hist. Coll. 974.44 ARL)
- Ice, Crops and Commuters: South and East Arlington's Historical & Architectural Heritage* (Hist Coll. 974.44 ARL)
Northwest Arlington, Massachusetts: An Architectural and Historical Study* (Hist. Coll. 974.44 ARL)
- Mill Brook Valley: An Historical and Architectural Survey* (Hist. Coll. 974.44 ARL)
- Arlington's War Records - Revolutionary, Civil, Spanish American, Philippine Insurrection, Mexican Border, World (Hist. Coll. 974.44 ARL)
Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War (Hist. Coll. 973.3M)
- Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors and Marines in the Civil War (Hist. Coll. 973.3M)
West Cambridge on the Nineteenth of April, 1775 by Samuel A. Smith* (Hist. Coll. 974.44 ARL)
- Complete Book of Emigrants 1607-1660 (Hist. Coll. 929.3 COL)
Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts (Hist. Coll. 929.1 CUT)
- Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England (Hist. Coll. 929.1 SAV)
- Massachusetts town histories (Hist. Coll. 974.423-974.49)
History of Middlesex County, Massachusetts by Samuel Drake (1880) (Hist. Coll. 974.44D)
- History of Middlesex County, Massachusetts by D. H. Hurd (1890) (Hist. Coll. 974.44H)
Middlesex County and Its People by Edwin P. Conklin (1927) (Hist. Coll. 974.44C)
- Vital Records to 1850 (Massachusetts Towns) (Hist. Coll. 929.3)
- Atlas of the Boundaries of the Town of Arlington (Commomwealth of Massachusetts Harbor and Land Commission, 1901)
Atlas of the Towns of Watertown, Belmont, Arlington & Lexington, Middlesex Co., Mass. (Stadly, 1898) (Also on microfilm)
- County Atlas of Middlesex, Massachusetts (Beers, 1875)(Also on microfilm)
Official Topographical Atlas of Massachusetts (Walling & Gray, 1871)
- Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps; Arlington, Mass., 1885-1927 (microfilm)
Newspapers (On microfilm in Reference Room)
- Arlington Advocate 1871- (Indexed 1871-1946)
Arlington Enterprise 1898-1903. Indexed
- Arlington News 1932-63, 66, 69. Indexed 1932-38
Arlington Press 1948-1952.
|Town Of Arlington Clerk's Office||Robbins Memorial Town Hall
730 Massachusetts Avenue
Arlington MA 02476
|Arlington Historical Society||7 Jason Street
Arlington MA 02476
|Cyrus E. Dallin Museum||1 Whittemore Park
Arlington, MA 02476
|The Old Schwamb Mill||Attn.: Ed Gordon, OSM Historic Site Administrator
17 Mill Lane at 29 Lowell St.
Arlington, Massachusetts 02476-4189
|South Middlesex Registry Of Deeds||208 Cambridge Street
Cambridge MA 02141
|Massachusetts Archives (1841-1910)||220 Morrissey Boulevard
Boston MA 02125
|Massachusetts Vital Records (1911-Present)||150 Mt. Vernon Street, 1st floor
Dorchester, MA 02125-3105
Orders (617) 740-2606
Fax: (617) 825-7755
|Boston Public Library||Copley Square
Boston MA 02117
|National Archives Northeast Region||380 Trapelo Road
Waltham MA 02452-6399
|New England Historic Genealogical Society||101 Newbury Street
Boston MA 02116
Access to the NEHGS website is available at Robbins Library (in-library access only).
|Arlington Historic Districts Commission||Arlington Board of Selectmen
730 Mass. Ave.
Arlington, MA 02476
|Massachusetts Historical Society||1154 Boylston St.
Boston, MA 02215
|American Antiquarian Society||185 Salisbury St.
Worcester, MA 01609
|Arlington Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center||1 Whittemore Park
Arlington, MA 02474
|Peabody Essex Museum||East India Square
161 Essex St.
Salem, MA 01970
|Boston Athenaeum||10 1/2 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02108
|National Heritage Museum||Van Gorden-Williams Library and Archives
33 Marrett Rd.
Lexington, MA 02421
|Concord Museum||200 Lexington Road
Concord, MA 01742
|Middlesex Canal Association||located at Faulkner Mills
71 Faulkner St.
North Billerica, MA 01862