- Civil War Collection
- Carlisle: Origins (article)
- Print Material Collections
- Local history guide
- Map collection
- Oral Histories
- Wilkins Notebooks (Old Houses and Families of Carlisle)
For a century, what is now the Hollis Room was the home of the collections of the Carlisle Historical Society and the Gleason Public Library. When the library renovation was completed in the summer of 2000, the collections were separated. The Carlisle Historical Society now houses their object and document collections in their headquarters, the Heald Homestead.
In 2002 the materials in the Gleason Public Library's archives were processed and arranged. A finding aid is available to assist researchers in locating materials. The collection contains documents and records unique to Carlisle that are of interest to researchers and genealogists.
Upcoming August 2016 Viewings
- Monday, August 22nd from 10am-12:30pm; 2pm – 4pm; and 7pm – 8:30pm.
In 1916, W. Irving Heald, formerly of Carlisle, gifted the Town of Carlisle under management of the Gleason Public Library, with a valuable collection of approximately one hundred Civil War artifacts, the majority of which may have been salvaged from the fields of the Battle of Gettysburg. Heald had purchased the collection in 1890 from Joel Danner, a resident and museum/shop owner located in Gettysburg, PA. Additional pieces owned by Joel Danner were subsequently sold and now comprise a large part of the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center collections.
Since 1916, the Gleason Public Library has been responsible for the collection on behalf of the Town of Carlisle. For many years the collection was displayed in the Library’s Reading Room and stored in the Library’s attic. When the Library’s renovation began in 1999, the collection was put into offsite storage. In 2001, the Library gave the Carlisle Historical Society temporary custody of the collection to house in Heald House.
Over the years, the collection has deteriorated, due in large part to the passage of time, but also due to poor storage and handling conditions. In 2013 the Library began a yearlong investigation into the best options available for the long-term preservation of the collection. In 2015, thanks to the generosity of the residents of Carlisle through the Community Preservation Act, the Library received a grant to conserve items in the collection, including the flag. The following has been completed to help bring the collection into archival quality:
- Textile conservator was hired to preserve three textiles, including the Civil War flag
- Arms conservator was hired to preserve thirty-four non-textile and non-leather items
- Leather conservator was hired to preserve seven leather objects
- Museum software was purchased to catalog the collection
- Photographer was hired to photograph the collection for digitization
- Off-site archival quality storage space was purchased to store items safely
The collection will be safely stored in environmentally stable conditions (with proper temperature and humidity controls) within an archival storage facility. The library director and project manager of the collection, in consultation with the Carlisle Historical Society, will rotate artifacts out of the storage facility every 3 to 4 months to put on exhibit at Heald House or the Gleason Library. Exhibiting only a handful of artifacts at a time will allow the library to highlight the background of individual objects through research and display, and use them relationally to connect with Carlisle’s own history. The collection will remain in stable condition for Carlisleans to discover and learn from for years to come.
The core of the Gleason's local history collection is the 25 volumes of the Wilkins' Notebooks (Old Houses and Families of Carlisle), researched, written, and assembled by Martha Fifield Wilkins during her tenure in Carlisle as the wife of the minister of the Congregational Church. The result of over a decade of research, the Notebooks contain local history and lore, genealogies, photographs, poems and drawings, and a wealth of information illustrating the history of Carlisle.
In 2012, the Wilkins Notebooks were digitized through the Internet Archive in cooperation with the Boston Public Library, supported by a grant the BPL received from the MBLC (Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners) and funded by the LSTA (Library Services and Technology Act). You can flip through the notebooks online, or download a copy to your computer.
- Indexes (click for PDF): By Street Address | By Family Name (partial listing) | Selected genealogies (families with more extensive genealogical sections)
- Click here for all volumes. Indexes are found in Volume II.
- For information on reprint permissions and image reproductions, please contact the library or visit our special collections policy.
PRINT MATERIAL COLLECTIONS
Vital Records to 1850 for Carlisle and surrounding towns
The Wilkins Notebooks and the History of the First Parish Church - now available in full online at the Internet Archive: http://archive.org/details/gleasonpubliclibrary
Lewis French Collection
Old Home Day Collection
Numerous small local history document collections
Carlisle Mosquito: print and microfilm
Carlisle Journal/Concord Journal Scrapbooks
"Creating Carlisle" originally ran in the Spring 2002 edition of The Concord Magazine, an online webzine based in Concord, Massachusetts.
LOCAL HISTORY GUIDE
This guide provides a list of print resources at the Gleason Public Library for researching Carlisle's history. The guide is in pdf format. Carlisle History Guide
A listing of maps housed in special collections.
In pdf format Map Collection
|Father James Byrne||1987||audiocassette, transcript|
|Guy Clark||1995||videocassette, audiocassette, transcript, DVD copy (request)|
|Kathy Coyle||2010||DVD (request)|
|Cutter Home||1998||videocassette, DVD copy (request)|
|James (Jim) Davis||2002||audiocassette, transcript|
|Rachel Page Elliott||1997||videocassette, audiocassette, DVD copy (request)|
|Garthe Family||1985||audiocassette & genealogy|
|Great Brook Farm||1998||audiocassette, transcript, DVD copy (request)|
|Anna P. Johnson||1996||videocassette, audiocassette, transcript, DVD copy (request)|
|Inga MacRae||1996||videocassette, audiocassette, transcript, DVD copy (request)|
|Sharing stories: an oral history about Ellen Miller||2010||DVD (request)|
|Beulah Swanson||1996||videocassette, transcript, DVD copy (request)|
|Helen L. Wilkie||1996||videocassette, audiocassette, DVD copy (request)|