Library

  • Finding aids for the extensive collection of family papers available online here.
  • Finding aid for numerous diaries available online here.
  • NEW ACQUISITION! Learn about Josiah Allen’s diaries here.
  • Many documents in the library collection are digitized. Search for a specific document or topic here.

Redeemed Captive editedThe PVMA  Library collection, part of the Memorial Libraries represents the life and thought of one small town and its environs from the close of the 17th century through the 20th century. Together they embody three centuries of reading fare— literature, sermons, history, travel, biography, periodicals, and works on agriculture, animal husbandry, and domestic economy—many of which exist in rare imprints.

The libary collection, part of the Memorial Libraries (the PVMA library and Historic Deerfield library) is open year-round. Tuesday to Friday, 9 a.m. to noon, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., closed most holidays.  Phone: (413) 775-7125.

PVMA Library manuscripts include:

  • The library owns more than 600 account books and daybooks of local origin, ranging in date from the late 17th to the mid-20th century. Kept by merchants, professionals, farmers, craftsmen, and business firms, these ledgers yield valuable material for studies in economic and local history. Finding aids to the most extensive collections of family papers are available here.
  • Manuscript sermons document the work of various local ministers, occasionally in considerable depth. Included are the writings of the Reverends Jonathan Ashley (1712-1780), Samuel Williams (1743-1817), and Edward Hitchcock (1793-1864). Each offers an opportunity to study religious life and thought in rural New England. Records of churches in Deerfield and surrounding towns have also been preserved.
  • More than 200 diaries provide an intimate and often detailed view of life in an earlier day. Represented are the writings of 90 individuals; men, women, and children who recorded their personal and family concerns, and their activities as farmers, politicians, artists, physicians, ministers, craftsmen, and travelers.
  • Of particular interest to social historians is the library’s collection of records of voluntary societies in Deerfield and surrounding towns. An extensive miscellany of 17th- to 19th-century Deerfield town records and documents from other western Massachusetts towns provide additional research opportunities.

See a large number of items from the PVMA library collection scanned and transcribed on our American Centuries website.