Welcome to the Edwin B. Worthen Collection
Cary Memorial Library · Lexington,
The Edwin B. Worthen Collection documents life in
Lexington, Massachusetts from its earliest settlement through the mid-20th
century. The materials were collected by Edwin B. Worthen (1879-1956), his
son Edwin B. Worthen, Jr. (1913-1976) and his daughter-in-law, Anita P.
Worthen (1913-2008), and donated to Cary Memorial Library in 1976. The
Worthens were avid collectors of, and enthusiastic participants in, all
things Lexington. They lived during a period when the town was transformed
from a relatively small community of 3,831 in 1900, to a vibrant suburb of
17,335 in 1950, peaking at over 31,000 in 1970.
The Worthens had a particular interest in
the settlement, growth and development of the town of Lexington, and this
interest is reflected in the materials they collected. Subjects covered by
the materials include American history, the Battles of Lexington and Concord,
April 19th reenactments and other commemorative celebrations, Lexington's
historic properties and monuments, its families, groups and individuals,
religious, social and civic organizations, neighborhoods, schools and
businesses, socio-economic conditions, politics and town government, and
infrastructure and transportation - among others. Thorough researchers and
prolific writers, the Worthens not only collected materials but also created
them. They wrote and published monographs, articles and letters to the
editor; gave talks to a variety of audiences; and participated in numerous
civic and social organizations. These activities are well-documented in the
Worthen Collection materials.
The Edwin B. Worthen
Collection is comprised of two
that can be researched on this site – a Lexington-focused collection of
"non-book" materials encompassing research notes, manuscripts,
pamphlets, photographs, lantern slides, scrapbooks, maps, drawings, sketches,
correspondence, newspaper clippings, vertical file materials and memorabilia.
In 2011, these materials were organized and cataloged by a team of librarians
and archivists. The result is this "Virtual Exhibit," which
presents the materials in six sections (listed on the left side of this page)
and makes them available for viewing and searching.
A library of
more than 500 books, which may be searched via the Minuteman Library Network's catalog.
Using this site: To browse or search an exhibit, click one of the images or links on
the left. To search the entire collection, click the Search All Exhibits link
QUESTIONS? Please contact the Reference Department at
781-862-6288 x. 250, or click here
to submit a question.
Collection cataloging project has been funded in part by a Library Sciences
and Technology Assistance (LSTA) grant from the Institute of Library and Museum Services (IMLS) through
Board of Library Commissioners. The Institute of Museum and Library
Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries
and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and
museums that connect people to information and ideas. The project also is
funded by a gift from the estate of Anita P. Worthen.
Collection project team includes Linda L. Carroll, project director; Alethea
Yates, project archivist; and Sandra Waxman, photo archivist. Cataloging
assistance was provided by Simmons GSLIS students Sarah Wetherbee and
Christina Tanguay. Staff from the Lexington Historical Society scanned the
Materials in the
Worthen Collection Virtual Exhibit may be used for personal, educational
and/or research purposes. Images may not be reproduced in any format for
profit or presentation without the permission of Cary Memorial Library.