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Rhode Island Historical Society

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rhode Island Historical Society Seal, using a variation of the Rhode Island Seal.
Rhode Island Historical Society Seal, using a variation of the Rhode Island Seal.

The Rhode Island Historical Society is a privately endowed membership organization, founded in 1822, dedicated to collecting, preserving, and sharing the history of Rhode Island. Its offices are located in Providence, Rhode Island.


Founded in 1822, the Society is the fourth oldest state historical society in the United States (after the Massachusetts Historical Society, New-York Historical Society, and Maine Historical Society). The Rhode Island Historical Society was founded and funded by many of Providence's early Yankees, including Moses Brown and Henry J. Steere.[1] In 1854 the "Southern Cabinet" of the Rhode Island Historical Society became reorganized as the Newport Historical Society.[2]


The Nelson W. Aldrich House in Providence, a National Historic Landmark that serves as the society's headquarters.
The Nelson W. Aldrich House in Providence, a National Historic Landmark that serves as the society's headquarters.

The Society has the largest and most important historical Rhode Island collection within its main library and two museums. The Society's collections include some 25,000 objects, 5,000 manuscripts, 100,000 books and printed items, 400,000 photographs and maps, and 9 million feet of motion-picture film. Through the Newell D. Goff Center for Education and Public Programs, the Society offers a variety of educational programs including workshops, lectures, films, and walking tours of Providence. In recent years the Society has been very active in teacher-training programs seeking to improve the quality of history teaching in Rhode Island. The Society also presents exhibits, films, concerts, and many other community activities and programs. The Society publishes its journal Rhode Island History in either two or three issues annually covering various aspects of Rhode Island history from pre-colonial to recent.[3]

The Society’s most noteworthy recent advances include its first on-line collection access catalog[4] and the first major restoration of the historic John Brown House, a $2.5 million project that should be complete in 2010.


John Brown House photographed in 1918.
John Brown House photographed in 1918.

The Society owns and operates the following notable museums and properties:

See also


  1. ^ Publications of the Rhode Island Historical Society. New Series. Vol. 3. Providence: Snow and Farnham. 1900. p. 24. Retrieved July 7, 2008.
  2. ^ Bulletin of the Newport Historical Society. Vol. 3–15. Newport, Rhode Island. 1912. p. 17. Retrieved July 7, 2008.
  3. ^ "Rhode Island History". Rhode Island Historical Society. Retrieved 21 Feb 2019.
  4. ^ "Rhode Island Historical Society NETOP". Retrieved August 18, 2010.

External links

This page was last edited on 15 March 2021, at 19:54
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