Hanson Historical Society

Overview: The major focuses of the Hanson Historical Society’s collection are family papers, artifacts, and photographs documenting the history of Hanson (Plymouth County) in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The collection’s highlights include its Civil War collection, which contains the original account books and papers of the Hanson G.A.R. organizations.

American Revolution Materials: Because Hanson was incorporated in 1820, its collections focus primarily on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. American Revolution holdings include materials related to the houses and gravestones of Revolutionary war soldiers from Pembroke, the town from which Hanson separated. The other main subject addressed by the collection is Reverend Gad Hitchcock, who gave a pro-patriot election speech at the Old South Church in May 1774 which outraged General Thomas Gage. These collections consist of photographs of the Smith House (purchased by Captain Joseph Smith with money from the Revolution) and photographs of the Reverend Gad Hitchcock House. There are also books of gravestone transcriptions for the town of Hanson, which include Revolutionary War soldiers, as well as a transcription of Reverend Gad Hitchcock’s diary, in which he recorded all the baptisms, marriages, and burials he performed at the Pembroke West Parish Church (now the Hanson Congregational Church).

The Hanson Historical Society also possesses a newsprint article about the Bunker Hill Centennial published in 1875 in Boston. The article is four full newspaper pages in size when unfolded and gives a detailed account of the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Key Words: Bunker Hill, cemeteries, commemorations, diaries, ephemera, Hanson, houses, Rev. Gad Hitchcock, Pembroke, photographs, Joseph Smith, soldiers/militia

Collection Policies: The Hanson Historical Society does not have an active collection policy in place, but takes donations. Areas of the collection that the institution hopes to expand include family papers, photographs, and artifacts related to Hanson’s history. A finding aid for the manuscript and unframed photograph collections are available on-site in print form and Excel and Word formats. No finding aids exist for the artifact, book, or framed photograph collections.

Because the Hanson Historical Society has yet to fully catalogue its holdings, it has not loaned materials to other institutions. That being said, the Hanson board would be willing to discuss the possibility of loaning an artifact or manuscript to another local institution. Small exhibits are displayed at the Society’s headquarters and digital exhibits for the institution’s website are under development.