Welcome to Special Collections & Archives!

The Special Collections & Archives Department at Haverhill Public Library maintains a wide variety of local history and genealogical resources, in both physical and digital forms. Highlights of the collections include:

  • John Greenleaf Whittier Collection
  • Haverhill Collection of Local History
  • Pecker Collection of Regional History & Genealogy
  • Senter Digital Archive
  • Much, much more!

Special Collections has different open hours than the rest of the library, but our online resources are always available! Click on the images below for Special Collections news and to learn more about our collections.

Unable to come in? We accept obituary and research requests online:
Submit a Research Request

Special Collections News

Special Collections

Senter Digital Archive – New Images Added!

Over the past year, the Special Collections Department has been working to get even more of our digitized images online in the Senter Digital Archive. We are happy to announce that we are now able to continuing adding images at a decent pace! In the latest batch of images, there are many images of the […]

Special Collections

Preservation Week at HPL!

The Special Collections Department is celebrating Preservation Week 2024! From April 28 to May 4, libraries, museums, and all kinds of cultural heritage organizations focus on preservation training, practice, and outreach. Why is preservation so important? It’s what makes our collections last as long as possible, so that we can provide access to them now and in […]

Finding Aids & Catalogs

Finding Aids

Research Our Archival Holdings

Online Catalog

Search Our Catalog for Published Material in Special Collections

Senter Digital Archive

Browse Digitized Images and Find Information about Haverhill's Culture & History

Digitized Yearbooks & Other Materials of Interest

Haverhill High School Yearbooks

Browse virtual copies of Haverhill High School, Haverhill Trade School, and Saint James.

Historical Newspapers

Papers for in-person viewing in print and on microfilm.

Magazines & Newsletters

Magazines, journals, and newsletters available in print.

History & Genealogy Digital Resources

Ancestry: Library Edition

Access from Library Only

Heritage Quest Online

Access from Anywhere with HPL Library Card

New England Quarterly

Access from Library Only

Digital Common-wealth

Digitized Collections Across Massachusetts

All Digital Resources

A List of All Digital Resources Available at HPL

Research Aids & Services

Obituary Searches

Help Locating Local Obituaries

Research Requests

Librarian-aided Research Assistance

How to Use Special Collections

Research Guide

History of Special Collections

Since its inception in 1875, the Haverhill Public Library has maintained a collection of books relating to local history, genealogy, and native poet John Greenleaf Whittier. Shortly after the library’s inception 1873, the local Whittier Club began an official Whittier Collection at the Library around 1887. In 1916, the Pecker Collection, dedicated to New England, state, and town histories, was started and was later expanded in 1932 to include family histories and genealogical material. In 1923, the Haverhill Collection was formally established to preserve existing library material and to collect additional material for future generations. In 1969, with the construction of a new library building, plans called for two rooms to house the then 20,700 volumes that made up the Whittier, Local History, and Genealogy collections. In 1997, with the renovation of the library, Special Collections was moved to the Third Floor where it presently resides.