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The Lexington Collection

In addition to hundreds of books about Lexington during the Colonial and Revolutionary periods, Cary Memorial Library has a substantial collection of materials on all aspects of Lexington’s history, from colonial and revolutionary times to the present.

In addition to published histories, the collection includes:

  • Town annual reports
  • planning and zoning studies
  • Lexington High School yearbooks
  • family histories
  • newspapers
  • school committee reports
  • vital records
  • voting lists
  • histories of surrounding towns

Local history materials may be found by searching the Minuteman Library Network’s catalog.

Specific items are located in our circulating, reference and/or special collections. If you need assistance, please ask a librarian.

Following are examples of our local history materials and resources.

The Battle of Lexington

Cary Library has hundreds of books about the Battles of Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill, as well as materials about related events, people, places and celebrations. 
Catalog listing of materials (partial)

General Histories of Lexington

Hudson, Charles. History of the Town of Lexington, Massachusetts…, 1913.
Vol. 1: History; Vol. 2: Genealogies. 974.44L H867h.
Hudson’s original one-volume work, published in 1868, was “revised and continued to 1912” by the Lexington Historical Society and republished in two volumes. 
The volumes also are available online full-text from the Internet Archive:
Volume I - History
Volume II - Genealogies  

Kollen, Richard. Lexington: from liberty’s birthplace to progressive suburbs, 2004. 974.44L K.
A brief but thorough and up-to-date history of Lexington. 

Worthen, Edwin B. Tracing the past in Lexington, Massachusetts, 1998.
Includes sections on East Lexington, the Cary family, southwest Lexington, taverns and hotels, and the railroad. 

Worthen, Edwin B. A calendar history of Lexington: 1620-1946, 1946. 974.44L W899c
Organized by date, there also is a separate “Index to Tracing the Past in Lexington, MA,” 974.44L W899ti

Hinkle, Alice. Life in Lexington: 1946 through 1995, 1996. 974.44L H

Kelley, Beverly A. Lexington: a century of photographs, 1980 974.44L K287keL

Research Materials on Lexington People, Places and Events 

Proceedings of Lexington Historical Society and papers relating to the history of the town.
Four volumes published by the Lexington Historical Society, 1889-1912.  974.44L L5913p
More information and catalog listing

Investigating Lexington’s History, 1997-2010.
This collection of research papers written by Lexington High School students includes studies of Lexington families, neighborhoods, businesses, organizations and activities.
Complete listing of materials, or find relevant materials by searching the catalog. [LEX ROOM] 974.44L L591poi, 1997-2007.

Local history “vertical files”
These include newspaper articles, brochures, flyers, pamphlets, etc. on specific subjects.
Complete listing, or find relevant materials by searching the catalog.

The Lexington Historical Commission’s Cultural Resources Survey is a good source of information on Lexington’s neighborhoods as well as on specific street addresses. This resource also Includes area histories, maps and photographs. Some building descriptions include dates, owners and architectural styles.

Lexington Minuteman newspaper on microfilm, 1871- present.
Located in the Reference area. While there is no comprehensive index, the years 1871-1912 may be searched in a card catalog.

Record of births, marriages, and deaths to January 1, 1898 ... (also known as “Lexington Vital Records”) 974.44L L59r.
Look for names in Part I (“from earliest period to end of 1853”) and Part II (1854 to 1897).
Cary Library also has vital records for most Massachusetts cities and towns in our Genealogy Room.

Lexington High School Yearbook, 1939-present (with some gaps). [LEX ROOM] 373.1 L
List of the library’s yearbook holdings.

Lothrop's Lexington Mass. Blue book and directory.
A general directory of residents, businesses, churches, schools, town officers, fire and police departments, clubs, societies, and miscellaneous organizations, 1924-1942. Holdings include 1922, 1924, 1926, 1928, 1930, 1932, 1934, 1936, 1938, 1942. [LEX ROOM] 974.44 L L59d

The Lexington and Bedford directory
Contains lists of residents, societies, churches, streets, etc., 1894-1898. [LEX ROOM] 974.44L L59d

Resident and business directory of Lexington, Massachusetts
Contains a complete resident, street and business directory, town officers, schools, societies, churches, post offices, map, etc., 1902-1918. Holdings include 1902, 1906, 1908, 1913, 1915, 1918. [LEX ROOM] 974.44L L59d

List of Poll Taxpayers in the Town of Lexington and List of Persons.
Names of voters by precinct and street since 1884, with gaps; some list occupation and ages. [LEX ROOM] 974.44L L591Li

Local and regional maps and atlases
Cary Library has 18th and 19th century maps of Lexington, 19th and 20th century area atlases, Sanborn fire insurance maps for the early- to mid-20th century, and more recent street, precinct and USGS maps. There are also some early land and tax records on microfilm. Please ask a librarian for assistance.

Massachusetts & New England Resources

The New England historical and genealogical register, 1847-present. Indexes were published in 1906 (vols. 1-50) and 1995 (vols. 51-148). Print volumes are in the Genealogy Room; CD (1847-1994) is at the Reference desk. [LEX ROOM] 929.3 N

New England court records: a research guide for genealogists and historians, by Diane Rapaport, 2006. 929.1 R.

Massachusetts officers and soldiers, 1702-1722: Queen Anne's War to Dummer's War / edited by Mary E. Donahue.
From the Massachusetts Archives collection of colonial muster rolls and military records. [LEX ROOM] 973.25 D

Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War, 17 volumes.
A compilation from the Mass. Archives of those who served from Massachusetts in the American Revolution. [LEX ROOM] 973.344 M

Massachusetts soldiers, sailors, and marines in the Civil War, 9 volumes.
A compilation of registers from the Adjutant General’s Office of those who served from Massachusetts. Organized by regiment, with an index of names. [LEX ROOM] 973.74 M

Online Databases

The following resources may be accessed online:

Ancestry.com Library Edition (in-library access only) 
Search Census records, immigration records, passenger lists, military records, and much more.

HeritageQuest Online
Search Census records and other documents, as well as digitized books containing family and local histories.

Historical Boston Globe (1872-1924) and New York Times (1851-2004)
Search for articles, illustrations and advertisements.

ProQuest Obituaries
This database includes obituaries and death notices of both famous and lesser-known individuals.

Important Organizations

Lexington Historical Society
The Lexington Historical Society maintains a research library and archives at the Hancock-Clarke House. The collection focuses on all aspects of Lexington history from its settlement in the late 17th century through the present, with a special concentration on the American Revolution.

Town of Lexington Archives  
The Town Clerk is the Town's chief election official, recording officer, registrar of vital statistics, public records officer, and licensing officer. Staff responds to inquiries from the public and serves as a central information point for the Town.

Lexington Historical Commission  
The Historical Commission’s website provides an architectural and historical overview of the Town of Lexington and its neighborhoods, as well as the Comprehensive Cultural Resources Survey (“inventory”) of individual structures and objects.

National Heritage Museum
Founded and supported by the Scottish Rite Masons of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction in 1975, the NHM explores America’s story through its collections, exhibitions, programs, and research library.

Massachusetts Historical Society  
Located in Boston’s Back Bay, the library holds collections of the personal papers of individuals and families who lived in Massachusetts. It is open to the public without charge. Researchers are encouraged to contact the Reference Librarian before planning a visit, at 617-536-646- 0509 or library@masshist.org

New England Historic Genealogical Society  
Founded in 1845, NEHGS is the oldest and most respected nonprofit genealogical organization in the country. Located at 99 Newbury Street, Boston, the library contains more than 200,000 books, periodicals and microform materials, and more than one million manuscripts.

National Archives  
Located in Waltham, NARA's Northeast Region facility is among New England's renowned centers for local, regional and national historical research. Resources include Census Records, Naturalization Records, Passenger Arrival Lists, and Military Records. Call 781-663-0130 or e-mail waltham.archives@nara.gov

Massachusetts State Archives
The Archives Division of the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Office is the repository for Massachusetts records generated by state government, dating from the beginning of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1628. Documents include Vital Records for 1841-1915 as well as Census, Judicial and Military Records. For more information, call 617-727-2816 or e-mail archives@sec.state.ma.us.

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Ask a Librarian! Call the Reference Desk 781-862-6288, ext. 250 or send an e-mail to askcary@minlib.net.