Local History

Woonsocket Local History and Genealogical Materials

The Woonsocket Harris Public Library has a number of special collections that pertain to various aspects of the area's industrial, political, social, and genealogical past. These collections may be used within the library, but because of their unique nature, and the inability to replace materials that might become lost or damaged, they do not circulate outside of the library itself.

These special collections include:

A collection of slides showing Woonsocket and neighboring communities in the past. These images may be duplicated for you, either in print or slide format. Contact the Reference Dept. for details at 401-767-4124.

The Woonsocket Harris Public Library has these newspapers on microfilm:

English language papers

  1. The Weekly Patriot: October 5, 1833-October 12, 1904. Dates that are not available: 9/18/1840-9/29/1843; 9/1851-1/1853; 1/04/1856-7/11/1856.
  2. The Daily Patriot: 4/03/1876-3/15/1881.
  3. The Woonsocket Daily Reporter: 10/01/1873-3/18/1876.
  4. The Woonsocket Evening Reporter: 3/20/1876-11/14/1908.
  5. The Woonsocket Call: 4/30/1889-Present.

French language papers

  1. La Tribune: 1/02/1896-12/31/1934. Dates that are not available: 1/01/1912-6/30/1912.
  2. L'Independent: 2/04/1935-4/04/1942.
  3. La Sentinelle: 4/04/1924-12/27/1928.
  4. Le Progress: 6/24/1898-12/31/1919.

Non-Woonsocket papers

  1. The Abolitionist: or Record of the New England Anti-Slavery Society: Vol. 1 (Jan-Dec 1933).
  2. The Anti-Slavery Bugle: Vol. 1-16, 6/20/1845-5/04/1861.

The reference staff at the Woonsocket Harris Public Library will be happy to locate items in the Woonsocket papers for you, but request that you supply at least the month and year of the item's publication. The Woonsocket newspapers have never been indexed, which means that searching the paper can be an extremely long process without that minimum information.

We also have a microfilm reader/printer available for patron use. This machine gets a lot of use, so if you plan on visiting from out of town, please call ahead and we will be happy to reserve time on the microfilm machine for your convenience.

Woonsocket Reference Desk: 401-767-4124

Woonsocket High School Yearbooks - The Quiver

From 1913-1994, with the following years missing: 1917-1919; 1940-1941; 1946-1948; 1950-1952; 1957; 1961; 1982; 1991.

We are trying to obtain copies of the Quiver from 1995 on, but have have no success to date. If anyone has copies from any of the missing years that they would like to donate, please let us know.

Woonsocket City Directories

From 1880 to the present, with the following years missing: 1886-87; 1890; 1900; 1910; 1921; 1937; 1948; 1987; 1992; 1998.
Some of the directories are only available on microfilm, so if you do not find the one that you are looking for on the shelf, please ask at the Reference Desk.

Records of some of the churches and funeral homes in Woonsocket, compiled by the American French Genealogical Society. Because of the proximity of the AFGS library, the Woonsocket Harris Public Library has not tried to duplicate their collection, but we do have the items that relate specifically to Woonsocket.

We have a subscription to the Genealogy and Local History Database from ProQuest. This national database covers the time from 1700 to the present, and contains over 25,000 titles. These include genealogical monographs and serials, local histories, tax rolls, cemetary lists, as well as military rosters. It also includes maps, atlases, wills, and church, court and school records and census materials.

Connect to the database (Woonsocket patrons only - you may pick up the login and password at the Reference Desk) at Genealogy and Local History Database .

A print collection of textile materials from Woonsocket's industrial past.

The handwritten notes from Edward Allaire, a former Woonsocket resident who collected materials for many years to assist him in writing a book about the history of Woonsocket.

Various books about Woonsocket and its neighboring towns and some of their more notable residents:

  1. Regimental histories from US wars.
  2. Rhode Island biographical materials.
  3. Rhode Island town and city information.
  4. Inaugural and state of the state addresses from some of Rhode Island's past governors, as well as other state and municipal documents.
  5. Tax records from Woonsocket
  6. Miscellaneous other Rhode Island and nearby Massachusetts materials.


The Museum of Work and Culture is located on Market Square at 42 South Main St, Woonsocket. Operated by the Rhode Island Historical Society, the museum features the story of French Canadian immigrants who moved to the Blackstone Valley in search of jobs in the mills and factories of Woonsocket during the Industrial Revolution. The museum can be reached at 401-769-9675.