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
  • Pecker Collection of Regional History & Genealogy
  • Haverhill Collection of Local History
  • Senter Digital Archive
  • Haverhill City Directories
  • Vital records to 1850
  • Family histories
  • Historical house data
  • Much, much more!

Click on the images below to learn more and stop in anytime during Special Collections open hours (at right). We are located on the Third Floor of the library and we are always happy to help you with your research.

Ready to dive in? Take a look at our Featured Resources & Collections:
Featured Resources & Collections

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.