The Holyoke History Room has over 1000 linear feet of archival materials that relate principally to Holyoke history, local biographies, and industry.
This is a list of our named special collections. The collections listed here, along with many others, comprise over half of the library's archives. These are collections that are held in a separate repository on site, and require a request to be made ahead of time to gain access. These materials will be pulled prior to your arrival and be available in the History Room.
Some of these collections have available finding aids which provide histories and inventories of the collections. Click the title link to view avaiable finding aids.
This collection consists of nearly 10,000 veterans who served in the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Most names include records and photographs pertaining to enlistments, service duties and combat, families and marriages, awards and deaths.
Holyoke Postcard Collection
This collection contains over 500 postcards from Holyoke’s Past.
Holyoke Street Railway Collection
|Track Layout Maps|
|Original Footage Converted to Video|
Ella Merkel DiCarlo Collection
This collection includes 8500 note cards on Holyoke historical topics, arranged alphabetically, and kept in a card file.
Milan P. Warner Collection
The collection consists of 358 images (62 of which are matted and framed) taken by Milan P. Warner (1848-1903) who had a photography studio in Holyoke during the 1880’s and 90’s. The glass-plate negatives are not generally available to the public. However, prints have been made from the plates are available for those wishing to examine the collection.
John Olsen Collection
This collection consists of 49 original pen and ink drawings of Holyoke Landmarks completed in 1973 for Holyoke’s Centennial.
Holyoke Savings Bank Collection
This collection consists of the banks records going back to 1855. It includes journals, ledgers, scrapbooks, history, early accounts, officers, and photographs. This is a large collection of over 74 linear feet of material.
Our maps case is filled with over 160 years of maps of this city and surrounding areas, streets and neighborhoods, developments and historic properties, and topographics. There are also other oversized items such as Holyoke Transcript-Telegram full page news stories and tributes, and Holyoke photographs or posters of families, buildings and industries.
Special collection newpapers from January 1800 Gazette explaining George Washington's funeral to January 1993, the very last daily issue of the Holyoke Transcript-Telegram. This collection includes publications from all over western MA, New York, and beyond which covered local, national, and global events. Includes Hampden Freemen, Holyoke Transcript, Holyoke World, Holyoke Daily Democrat, and much more.
The Parsons Paper Company was founded in Holyoke, Massachusetts in 1853 by Joseph Clark Parsons. Colonel Aaron Bagg of West Springfield was the company’s first president and his descendants ran the firm until 1977. In 1959 Parsons Paper Company No. 2 merged with National Vulcanized Fiber Co. From 1989 to 2005 Parsons was the last remaining paper making company in Holyoke producing high quality art papers, parchment and calendar papers and watermarked bond. The company closed in 2005 when National Vulcanized Fiber filed for bankruptcy. The building at 28 Sargeant St. was destroyed by fire in June of 2008.
|Creation of this initial online finding aid is funded in part by Mass Humanities, which receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.|
Holyoke’s Head Start Program was founded in 1965 by the Junior League of Holyoke, a young women’s organization of community volunteers. The Head Start Program was a preschool program for three- and four-year-olds from low-income families. The Junior League of Holyoke researched the need for such a program before embarking on this project, and then successfully applied for federal funding to sustain it. The Head Start Program still exists in Holyoke today, although the Junior League of Holyoke disbanded in 1997, due to the fact that fewer women had time to volunteer. The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc., however, continues to be a viable organization.
The National Blank Book Company, originally founded in 1843 by J.G. Shaw, moved from New York City to Holyoke, Massachusetts in 1881. In 1888, Frank B. Towne became the treasurer, and Edward S. Towne, future president, became employed at the company. The locally established Towne family successfully maintained the operations for nearly a hundred years. The National Blank Book Collection consists of product catalogs, photographs, scrapbooks, and over 75 years of the company's newsletter, The National.
The Holyoke Water Power Company successfully operated and maintained the dam, canal system, and hydroelectric facilities along the Connecticut River in Holyoke, Massachusetts for 108 years beginning in 1859. The HWP Collection consists of hydrological reports and studies; financial, property, and court records; publications and personal papers; and publicity materials including photographs and special edition newspapers.
The Holyoke Gas & Electric Department formed when the Holyoke Water Power Company sold its gas and electric works to the city in 1902. HG&E continues to provide energy to Holyoke after more than century. This collection includes dam licensure records, historical perspectives, environmental reports, and industry reference publications.
The Holyoke Range Collection consists of materials on the three mountains that make up the Holyoke Range. Summit houses on all three mountains were places of commerce and recreation from the mid-1800s into the 1930s. The Mt. Tom Ski Area and Summerside recreation facility and the Mountain Park amusement park were major attractions in the region for several decades. The Mt. Tom Golf club was located on the side of the mountain. Two state parks protect the land and provide a place for visitors and residents to experience the views and natural landscape of the region. Also in the collection are original photographs, many newspaper articles, memorabilia, historical timelines and environmental studies.
The Holyoke Visiting Nurse Association, Inc. was established in 1905 when R.S. Vining was appointed the first and only nurse of the Holyoke District Nurse Association (HDNA). By the year 1912, the HDNA was making more than 3500 visits to 220 different families in Holyoke. In 1925 the name was changed from the Holyoke District Nurse Association and incorporated as the Holyoke Visiting Nurse Association, Inc. (HVNA). The HVNA is still active in the region and currently includes South Hadley and Granby in its coverage area. The collection consists of materials dating from 1905 to the late 1980s, and contains reports from the executive director, annual meeting minutes and booklets, statistical ledgers, account books, photographs, newspaper clippings, press releases, procedural pamphlets and income and expense reports.
The Second Congregational Church began in 1849. The present church which stands on the corner of Appleton and Maple Streets opened in 1885. It includes the Skinner Memorial Chapel which opened in 1912. The building and organization is now known as the United Congregational Church. This collection consists of historical reference books and manuscripts about the church and chapel, over 70 years of pastors’ sermons, records of the Women’s Guild, newspaper articles and photographs, and pamphlets regarding services, recitals, concerts, programs, and dedications dating back to the inception of the congregation.
White & Wyckoff Manufacturing Company began as Smith & White, until Joseph L. Wyckoff joined the firm in 1893. They manufactured specialty paper products for businesses and retailers across the country. During the 1920s, White & Wyckoff operated the largest printing plant inHolyoke,MA. The White & Wyckoff Collection documents over 75 years of the personal, administrative, and operational progress of this local and lucrative stationery company.
The Valley Players was a summer stock theater company that occupied the stage of The Mountain Park Casino for 21 years from 1941-1942 and from 1944-1962. Although they were not the only theater group to occupy the Mountain Park Casino, whose history dates back to 1895, they were the longest. The husband and wife team of Carlton and Jean Guild began the company after the dissolution of the Farragut Players. The most notable veteran of the Valley Players was Hal Holbrook, a Television and Film actor who, as an unknown, starred in 26 plays from 1951-1953 and 1957. He debuted his well-known solo performance of Mark Twain Tonight at the Mountain Park Casino in 1957.