‘Colonial Justice’ – a Digital Archive of 1729-1812 Rhode Island Court Records

The following announcement was written by the Rhode Island Historical Society:

The Rhode Island Historical Society has launched the digital archive “Colonial Justice: Preserving and Digitizing Early Rhode Island Court Records.” These specific collections were selected by RIHS curators for digitization based on their rarity, as well as their unique documentation of the colonial justice system in Rhode Island.

From a single online location, users can now access selected 1729-1812 records from the courts of Providence County, Kent County, and what was known as Kings County (now Washington County). The online archive is free and open to the public.

The earliest documents are those from 1729-1741 for the Providence County Justice Court at Warwick and those from 1730-1739 for the Kings County Court Records. The latest documents are the Providence County Justice Court Dockets from 1809 to 1812. Rhode Island has a rich judicial history, which is now visually – and immediately – accessible to students, researchers, and scholars anywhere in the world.

The project was made possible through a generous grant from the Rhode Island Supreme Court Historical Society Fund at the Rhode Island Foundation. The digital archive is located at http://www.rihs.org/connect/online-exhibits/colonial-justice-gallery/. All images are also linked to digital catalog records for easy navigation in the RIHS’s online catalog, NETOP.

About the Rhode Island Historical Society

Founded in 1822, the RIHS is the fourth-oldest historical society in the United States and is Rhode Island’s largest and oldest historical organization, as well as its only Smithsonian Affiliate. In Providence, the RIHS owns and operates the John Brown House Museum, a designated National Historic Landmark, built in 1788; the Aldrich House, built in 1822 and used for administration and public programs; and the Mary Elizabeth Robinson Research Center, where archival, book and image collections are housed. In Woonsocket, the RIHS manages the Museum of Work and Culture, a community museum examining the industrial history of northern Rhode Island and of the workers and settlers, especially French-Canadians, who made it one of the state’s most distinctive areas.


Thanks, it’s a nice archive but the images are too small to read even when enlarged (as well as watermarked).


Try using CTRL + to increase font – may work.


Thanks, but it’s an image problem, not a font problem. And artificially zooming in won’t help actual image resolution.


Typical old docs, but I can read the samples I looked at and Ctrl+ does enlarge them and does help.


Besides the image size the absurdly large water mark often obscures the writing. If it has to be that jealously guarded why did they bother putting it on a public web page?


I double clicked on the sample page and it opened to full size and found no problem reading – well, except for some of the old script but that is my problem!


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