From an article by Malcolm Gay in the Boston Globe web site:
“Salem is best known for the witch trials, but it was also a vitally important seaport in the Colonial economy and the hometown of Nathaniel Hawthorne, who took early inspiration for “The Scarlet Letter” and “The House of the Seven Gables” there.
“Now, angry residents say, a plan by the Peabody Essex Museum threatens to cut the city’s link to its proud history.
“The museum is preparing to move permanently a vast collection of the city’s historical records to a facility in another town and turn portions of the buildings that housed the museum’s Phillips Library into office space for the fast- growing museum.”
You can read the entire story at: http://bit.ly/2mASZHi.
My thanks to newsletter reader David Dearborn for telling me about this story.
Phillips Library in 1885
Comment by Dick Eastman: The fact that a collection of historical documents is being moved usually isn’t much of a concern for the patrons of that library. To access the same documents in the future, the patrons simply have to visit the new location. HOWEVER, this planned move has a far-reaching impact.
First, this is Salem, Massachusetts, a town that has a unique and a very important place in U.S. history. The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum contains all of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s papers and many of the original documents of the witch trial hysteria and court documents. Now it is being moved out of Salem?
The plan is to move all the documents and books to Rowley, a town about 15 miles away.
Next, the Phillips Library has always been one of the most important genealogy libraries in New England. While other genealogy libraries may contain many of the same books, the Phillips Library also contains many original historical documents from the seventeenth century and later, even many old documents that have never been microfilmed or digitized.
On a personal note, the Phillips Library is the first genealogy library I ever visited. While I had previously collected information going back a few generations from some of my older relatives, my visit to the Phillips Library was my first attempt to find even earlier generations. In my first afternoon at the Phillips Library, I traced one branch of my ancestry back to the mid-1500s (with some rather good supporting documentation) and a couple of other branches to the 1700s. I returned to that library again and again and found many more branches as well.
Admittedly, the library’s contents will still be available at a new location, but I certainly will miss the 19th-century building that has always housed the Phillips Library.