2008-12-18 / About Town

JHS receives new historical documents

During the one-year period from October 2007 to October 2008, the Jamestown Historical Society received hundreds of items from 52 different donors. These items represent over three centuries of Jamestown history.

The oldest donations, dated 1754 and 1756, document the construction of the Beavertail Lighthouse. The most recent item is the 2008 program for the graduation from the Lawn Avenue School. The program and 27 of the other smaller items received are now on display at the Jamestown Philomenian Library.

Although the historical society collection consists primarily of donated material, the society also acquires items in other ways. "The thrust this year has been to fill gaps in the collection with particular emphasis on obituaries of Jamestowners," explained Sue Maden, the Collections Committee chair. "By aggressively seeking out newspaper accounts, Ginny Saunders has added over 1,400 obituaries to the collection."

"We included one obit of unusual interest-memorializing the deaf and blind Jamestowner Oliver Caswell (ca. 1836-1896) in the notebook on top of the display case," she added. "There's also a copy of a picture of him from the Perkins School for the Blind."

With the funds raised by the successful Capital Campaign, the society has renovated the museum and built a vault in the basement of the Town Hall. This new storage allows the ever-growing collection to be cared for properly. If anyone has material they would like to donate, contact Sue Maden at jhs@jamestownri. com or 423-2167.

The Jamestown Historical Society is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to preserving, collecting and sharing the island's history. JHS is a valuable resource for students, educators, historians and anyone interested in learning more about the area's rich heritage. For membership information call 423-0784.

Return to top