Research Library

The Old Sturbridge Village Research Library encompasses more than 35,000 volumes and focuses on the history and material life in rural New England from the years following the American Revolution until the Civil War. The collection includes textbooks, juveniles, advice books, periodical literature, maps, broadsides, diaries, account books, letters, as well as copies of manuscript census schedules, property deeds, probate records, and town directories. Modern scholarly journals and secondary works, and selected pre-1790 and post-1840 sources dealing with aspects of rural life and American history are also available. Areas of strength include local and regional history, health and medicine, agriculture and horticulture, domestic life, education, religion, architecture, and early industrial history.

The Research Library is open to qualified researchers by appointment only. The Research Library is a closed stacks facility and appointments must be made at least 14 days in advance. Requests should clearly indicate the purpose of the visit and the researcher’s qualifications. For additional information or to schedule an appointment, please email [email protected]

Manuscript Collection Inventory

The Research Library’s Manuscript Collections contain rare and important primary source material including family papers, business accounts, and town records. These collections span from the 18th century through the early 20th century, and include account books, ledgers, correspondence, friendship albums, diaries, and legal documents.

Old Sturbridge Village is currently working to process its Manuscript Collections and digitize finding aids. While this work is underway, you can review this document, containing basic data about the collections. This data is not complete, and is subject to change. Learn more here.

Shelves of Books in the Research Library

Search the Collections and Archives

Over the next several years, the Village’s curatorial staff will be working to make the entire collection – including more than 40,000 historic objects as well as its expansive Research Library – available via the online portal. New content will be added regularly as our curators review and update records, so check back often!

A desk with notes, papers, and quill pens
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