Topsfield Historical Society

Overview: The collections at the Topsfield Historical Society focus primarily on the families of early Topsfield, with a particular concentration on their genealogy and homes. The society possesses limited records dating back to Tewksbury’s incorporation in 1648 as well as narratives depicting the lives and settlements of the town’s early families. Some of the most recognized individuals documented at the institution include the poet Anne Bradstreet, three women convicted and hanged as witches during the Salem witch trials, and George F. Dow, a New England historian. In addition to its archival collections, the Topsfield Historical Society is the home of the Essex Agricultural Society, which has hosted the annual Topsfield fair since 1818. It also owns the Parson Capen House, which is furnished with objects from the seventeenth century.

American Revolution Materials: Topsfield had a great number of participants in the war effort: 110 men from the town served (15% of the total population). The most significant materials from the Revolution are the Topsfield town records, which include muster rolls, soldiers’ pay slips, letters, and Selectmen’s meeting notes. In addition, the institution possesses family papers from there era, which include deeds, letters, and wills.

Key Words: deeds, government documents, letters, pensions, receipts, Topsfield, wills

Collection Policies: The Topsfield Historical Society is actively expanding its collection, and would both purchase acquisitions and receive donations of materials significant or unique to Topsfield’s history. The Society’s collection is entered into the PastPerfect database, which is currently being digitized for online usage. The Topsfield Historical Society has hosted exhibits on the American Revolution and Civil Wars and lends materials to local institutions.