Harvard Historical Society

Harvard Historical Society We are a private, non-profit organization that is not related to the town's Harvard Historical Commission. Our members and generous contributors support our operations and capital spending. We hope you will become a member and join us in discovering Harvard’s rich history and how that history has shaped the present-day town we love.

The Society is located in the Still River Meetinghouse, now a museum of Harvard’s past, where our collections are displayed, including furniture, tools, paintings, and other objects. Periodic exhibits depict the town’s history and its people. • Concerts feature musicians performing in the meetinghouse, known to be acoustically superb. • Art exhibits allow local painters and crafters to share their creativity with the community. • Discovery Open Houses showcase the extensive collection of the Society. The archives are a treasure trove of information about Harvard. Maps, photos, books, documents, town reports, personal narratives are all windows to a past that influences Harvard today

Artisans & Crafters at HHS Barn To Barn TourThe Harvard Historical Society is hosting its Barn To Barn Tour September 28...
07/08/2019

Artisans & Crafters at HHS Barn To Barn Tour

The Harvard Historical Society is hosting its Barn To Barn Tour September 28. This self-guided tour features seven stops and includes working barns, residential barns, antique, modern and renovated barns. Each barn on the tour will also host an artisan or crafter including; a spinner, quilter, stained glass artisan, stone carver, woodcarver, and painters. Tour participants will also have the opportunity to enjoy professional musicians, chats with experts on heirloom apples, tree grafting, honey making, and view a collection of antique spinners. The tour will also highlight some of Harvard's professional kitchens. Samples of maple syrup (with waffles!), delicious baked goods, honey, jams, jellies and preserves, apple cider and more. And, when you are done touring, come chat with the barn owners, artisans, performers, and tour planners at a reception hosted by the Harvard General Store. To purchase tickets via Paypal go to https://harvardhistory.org/home-2/events-from-march-to-september/barn-to-barn-tour-2019-2/ or send check with ticket order form below to HHS, PO Box 542, Harvard, Ma 01451.

Anyone remember this? Where was it held?The Mills Bros. Circus performed in Harvard on July 23, 1951. After some lengthy...
07/07/2019

Anyone remember this? Where was it held?

The Mills Bros. Circus performed in Harvard on July 23, 1951. After some lengthy research, I discovered the above date is incorrect. It should be July 23, 1966. My apologies...

The Mills Bros. Circus was owned by brothers Jake, Jack and Harry Mills who all had a background in the circus industry. The brothers purchased the Richard Bros. Circus and on April 20, 1940 the Mill Bros. Circus opened in Tallulah, La., the show ran continuously until 1966. The show was a mid-sized truck show and toured the Eastern and Mid West United States. The circus developed a wonderful reputation with the public and employees alike.

To learn more about The Mills Bros. Circus check out our blog page... https://harvardhistory.org/home-2/curators-quarters/

Here are two more early photos of Bromfield. These came from a photo album that includes many pictures of old Harvard, m...
07/06/2019

Here are two more early photos of Bromfield. These came from a photo album that includes many pictures of old Harvard, most dating to around 1890.

A recent donation to our collection-- a matchbook from the Hillside Garage. Remember when people had a matchbook handy? ...
07/02/2019

A recent donation to our collection-- a matchbook from the Hillside Garage. Remember when people had a matchbook handy? Anyone have other advertising from a Harvard business? Scan and send if you want to share.

Nourse's History of Harvard says "Deer reeves" were among the town Officers annually chosen until some time in the prese...
07/02/2019

Nourse's History of Harvard says "Deer reeves" were among the town Officers annually chosen until some time in the present century (writing in 1893.) The first named deer reeves, Thomas Wheeler and Jacob Gates, were elected in town meeting to "take care of ye deer." Their duty was to prosecute those killing deer unseasonably.

He also says no record is found of a deer being captured or even seen in Harvard in the past 25 years--(writing in 1893.)

Just heard that our "Playing with History" musical program "Presidential Pops" will be shown on Harvard's cable network....
07/01/2019

Just heard that our "Playing with History" musical program "Presidential Pops" will be shown on Harvard's cable network.
"Presidential Pops" on July 3rd at 7:30pm on Channel 192. Don't miss this festival of historic patriotic music with an all star Harvard neighbors cast!

Check this out! A wonderful Eagle Scout project by Westborough scout Olivier Whelan about musical instruments in some of...
06/27/2019
Harvard Historical Society – A Musical Instrument Tour of Central Massachusetts

Check this out! A wonderful Eagle Scout project by Westborough scout Olivier Whelan about musical instruments in some of Massachusetts historical societies including Harvard's. http://instrumentaleagle.org/harvard-historical-society/

Harvard Historical Society Harvard Historical Society          Website: http://www.harvardhistory.org/Address: 215 Still River Road in Harvard, MAPhone: 978-456-8285   From the website: “Under the leadership of a small nucleus of loyal and dedicated individuals, the Society has tried to b...

Field Day at the Elementary School, 1981.
06/24/2019

Field Day at the Elementary School, 1981.

From the wayback machine--but what's the date.   Thanks to all our wonderful ambulance volunteers over the years.  This ...
06/24/2019

From the wayback machine--but what's the date. Thanks to all our wonderful ambulance volunteers over the years. This picture was in the Harvard Post.

For Henry David fans, thought we'd share this one.
06/18/2019

For Henry David fans, thought we'd share this one.

June 18, 1856: While visiting friends in Worcester, Massachusetts 38 year-old Henry Thoreau sits for his likeness at Benjamin D. Maxham's "Daguerrean Palace". One of Thoreau's admirers, Calvin Greene of Michigan, had sent Thoreau $5.00, asking for a photograph and a copy of "A Week on The Concord & Merrimack Rivers".

Thoreau sat for three photographs that day. He sent one to Greene while the other two were given to his Worcester friends, H.G.O. Blake and Theophilus Brown. This would be only one of two photographs that Thoreau would sit for in his lifetime.

Thoreau's friends and family were not pleased with the images. Bronson Alcott wrote that the photos were "disagreeable" and that Thoreau looked "sickly" in them. Henry's sister Sophia didn't like it either.

Thoreau himself seemed to like the photographs. He wrote to Greene that the image was "pretty good - though better looking than I."

Before the dump became the transfer station, 1981.  No story with this picture, we don't know if someone didn't know wha...
06/17/2019

Before the dump became the transfer station, 1981. No story with this picture, we don't know if someone didn't know what else to do with it, or if it was an accident?

June 1981, the end of school.  Who are the kids?  Mr Ingmanson is giving an award.
06/17/2019

June 1981, the end of school. Who are the kids? Mr Ingmanson is giving an award.

This is an excellent opportunity to mention that HHS Barn To Barn Tour tickets are now on sale. This event is scheduled ...
06/15/2019
Six Historic Barns - New England Historical Society

This is an excellent opportunity to mention that HHS Barn To Barn Tour tickets are now on sale. This event is scheduled for Sept. 28, 2019. Check us out at www.harvardhistory.org

New England's historic barns had many, many uses, and many stories to tell about their owners and the events that transpired nearby.

We recently got a wonderful donation including a cheerleader's uniform.  Here's a picture from the 1960 yearbook, also i...
06/11/2019

We recently got a wonderful donation including a cheerleader's uniform. Here's a picture from the 1960 yearbook, also in the donation. The yearbook says "these girls participated in practcing three times a week in order to perfect their cheers."

We recently received a copy of this picture from a kind donor.  It's the Harvard Fire Department Ski Doo 1927.  We'd lov...
06/10/2019

We recently received a copy of this picture from a kind donor. It's the Harvard Fire Department Ski Doo 1927. We'd love to know who all the firemen are--can anyone help out?

We love to get pictures, so if you're going through photos think of us. They don't have to be this old, any photos of Harvard's past are great!

Many thanks to Tammy Alfano, Will Stevenson and all those who worked to put together the Society's recent program Reloca...
05/25/2019
Freedom’s Way Hidden Treasures

Many thanks to Tammy Alfano, Will Stevenson and all those who worked to put together the Society's recent program Relocating History - Preserving a New England Barn. This program was part of Freedom's Way Hidden Treasures program and was attended by over 75 people. There is still a week left of Hidden Treasures. If you're looking for a fun event this weekend check out their page www.discoverhiddentreasures.org. If you'd like to see pictures from Relocating History - Preserving a New England Barn go to https://harvardhistory.org/home-2/events-from-march-to-september/http-www-discoverhiddentreasures-org/ and check out the picture gallery at the bottom of the page.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 23 7:00 PM Harvard Historical Society, 215 Still River Rd., Still River, Ma 01467 Picture Gallery – 5/23/2019

Congratulations to Westward Orchards.
05/25/2019

Congratulations to Westward Orchards.

Ernst Hermann (bottom) with son Bill Hermann (above) harvesting apples together at Westward – circa 1920

It was May 23, 1919, Ernst + Flora Hermann purchased a 34 acre farm property known as Westward in Harvard, MA; the beginning of our family’s farm story.

Today marks our official 100th anniversary, and 100th season growing in Harvard. Four generations have given everything they have to keep us moving forward, and a fifth is attentively watching with dreams of their own.

We’d imagine both Great-Grampa & Grampa Hermann would be proud of where we are today. Westward sure has seen a lot over the years. If only these 200 acres of ours could talk, the stories they could tell.

Shaker Treasures - Honoring the Shaker Sisters Marmelade
05/24/2019

Shaker Treasures - Honoring the Shaker Sisters Marmelade

Here are the Brownies on Memorial Day in 1986.  Maybe someone can tell us who they are.
05/21/2019

Here are the Brownies on Memorial Day in 1986. Maybe someone can tell us who they are.

Memorial Day 1986.  The Harvard Post didn't have the boys' names.  Recognize anyone?
05/21/2019

Memorial Day 1986. The Harvard Post didn't have the boys' names. Recognize anyone?

From the Clinton Record, 1880.  This is the end of the article about the first Bromfield Graduation in the previous post...
05/20/2019

From the Clinton Record, 1880. This is the end of the article about the first Bromfield Graduation in the previous post. (Is there a way to change the order of posts?)

From an article in the Clinton Record, 1880.  The writer seems a bit snippy!
05/20/2019

From an article in the Clinton Record, 1880. The writer seems a bit snippy!

a nice article for our upcoming Hidden Treasures programhttps://harvardpress.com/Features/Feature-Articles/ArtMID/4525/A...
05/18/2019
‘Relocating History: Preserving a New England Barn’

a nice article for our upcoming Hidden Treasures program

https://harvardpress.com/Features/Feature-Articles/ArtMID/4525/ArticleID/19044/‘Relocating-History-Preserving-a-New-England-Barn’

In the early centuries of Harvard’s history, almost every home had a barn for farm equipment and the two or three animals the family kept for its own needs. While there are still a surprisingly high number of old barns in town, even more have been lost to time and catastrophe. It is therefore both...

The Andover Organ Co. has begun restoration of our 1870 Steven's organ. Work should be completed in time to celebrate th...
05/18/2019

The Andover Organ Co. has begun restoration of our 1870 Steven's organ. Work should be completed in time to celebrate the organ's 150th anniversary in 2020!

This week saw the beginning of the restoration of the 1870 Geo. Stevens & Co. organ of 13 ranks over1 manual (56 notes) and pedal (25 notes, flat). This organ received OHS Citation number 388.

A crew from Andover has spent about Three and a half days removing the playing mechanism, wind system, and chests for conservative restoration work. The removal of only the interior parts made for some challenging maneuvers. The interior walls at the front of the church were changed many decades ago leaving a roughly 6' x 2.5' door to access the treble end of the organ case. It took a good deal of thought and maneuvering to extract the reservoir, made slightly simpler by the screwed on top, feeders, and plenum boxes. Even in six pieces, it was a tight squeeze!

The original feeders will be restored to working order, and a new blower will be installed in the organ chamber with a check valve. This will restore the ability to manually pump the organ.

We are looking forward to carrying out the delicate work of this restoration in our shop over the next few months.

Stoplist from OHS Database:

Still River Baptist/Harvard Historical Society
Harvard, Massachussetts
George Stevens & Co., c. 1870
OHS ID 4154

MANUAL (56 notes)
____________________________________________________

8 Open Diapason wood bass
8 Stopped Diapason Bass 19 pipes
8 Melodia from tenor C
8 Keraulophon from tenor G
8 Dulciana from tenor G
4 Principal from tenor G
4 Flute from tenor C
2-2/3 Twelfth
2 Fifteenth
Sesquialtera [III] from tenor F
8 Hautboy

PEDAL (25 notes)
____________________________________________________

16 Bourdon 20 wood pipes
Manual to Pedal coupler

[Received online from T. Daniel Hancock, 2012-05-07]

An exhibit at Fruitlands by local artists is coming soon.
05/15/2019

An exhibit at Fruitlands by local artists is coming soon.

Fewer trees and more pasture.  And on the other side of the stone wall, the Hildreth pasture in 1915 was home to some of...
05/13/2019

Fewer trees and more pasture. And on the other side of the stone wall, the Hildreth pasture in 1915 was home to some of Harvard's many cows. Is this below the watering trough on Ayer Road?

Poultry Club at Bromfield, 1925.    The  Poultry club was given as an example of how the schools were developing leaders...
05/13/2019

Poultry Club at Bromfield, 1925. The Poultry club was given as an example of how the schools were developing leadership and cooperation in the Town Report for the year.

Hello FaceBook world! Over the past 4 or 5 months we have been working to create a new HHS website. I am now happy to an...
05/10/2019
Home

Hello FaceBook world! Over the past 4 or 5 months we have been working to create a new HHS website. I am now happy to announce that phase 1 is complete. So..... please stop by www.harvardhistory.org and check us out. As with all long running social endeavors, we will work continuously to bring you a better product. I hope you enjoy your experience and come back often. New Pages like our Events or Curator's Quarters will be updated regularly.

The Harvard Historical Society, located at 215 Still River Road, is committed to preserving Harvard’s past for Harvard’s future and to helping you discover your town through educational and cultural programming that connects to our history. We are a private, not-for-profit organization that reli...

05/09/2019
Here's a wonderful group picture.  Unfortunately no one wrote on the back to tell us what was happening.  Any ideas?  Ca...
05/06/2019

Here's a wonderful group picture. Unfortunately no one wrote on the back to tell us what was happening. Any ideas? Can anyone date the cars? Everyone was certainly dressed up for something special and sporting their hats.

In 1980 Harvard was home to 502 bovines, 97 sheep, 178 goats, 109 pigs, and 93 horses and ponies!  Not to mention 2 donk...
05/06/2019

In 1980 Harvard was home to 502 bovines, 97 sheep, 178 goats, 109 pigs, and 93 horses and ponies! Not to mention 2 donkeys. A lot bigger job for the animal inspector then.

Check the date on this report from the Superintendent of Schools!
04/29/2019

Check the date on this report from the Superintendent of Schools!

Another view of the Brown building, from a recently donated postcard.
04/29/2019

Another view of the Brown building, from a recently donated postcard.

From the Littleton Historical Society.  The crossing near Veryfine.
04/29/2019

From the Littleton Historical Society. The crossing near Veryfine.

For our Thoreau fans out there.
04/26/2019

For our Thoreau fans out there.

April 26, 1841: 23-year-old Henry Thoreau moved into Ralph Waldo Emerson's home in Concord, Massachusetts. During his two-year stay Thoreau would receive free room and board in exchange for his work as a gardener and general handyman around the house. He would also have ample free time to journalize and write poetry.

Less than a week later Thoreau would comment in his Journal, "Life in gardens and parlors is unpalatable to me - it wants rudeness and necessity to give it relish."

Thoreau would be a part of the Emerson household for two years.

Ross and McLaughlin, a Harvard company,  made incubators for poultry farmers to use for hatching eggs.  McLaughlin had s...
04/22/2019

Ross and McLaughlin, a Harvard company, made incubators for poultry farmers to use for hatching eggs. McLaughlin had several other small businesses on Mill Road, including a saw mall. Things revolved around agriculture in Harvard's past.

Harvard was home to many small (by today's standards) poultry farms.  This one was on Shaker Rd near the Ayer border and...
04/22/2019

Harvard was home to many small (by today's standards) poultry farms. This one was on Shaker Rd near the Ayer border and Rte 2A, at the old North Family Shaker House. It may have been after the Shakers left the North Family. The chickens may have been raised for eggs or meat. The North Family house is still there, but the barn is gone.

Ayer Road was home to many dairy farms when Harvard was an agricultural town.  No date on this picture, but it is Ayer R...
04/16/2019

Ayer Road was home to many dairy farms when Harvard was an agricultural town. No date on this picture, but it is Ayer Rd. Come join us for Harvard's Agricultural History on Thursday night, April 18th, 7 p.m.
Admission free, donation suggested. 215 Still River Road, at the Still River Meetinghouse.

Bigelow's wagon and truck brought meat and groceries, and in 1912 you could get home delivery of fish in Harvard.
04/15/2019

Bigelow's wagon and truck brought meat and groceries, and in 1912 you could get home delivery of fish in Harvard.

Address

PO Box 542 - 215 Still River Rd
Harvard, MA
01451

General information

The Curator's Quarters is open most Monday and Tuesday afternoons from 1-5. If you are interested in finding out more about the Society or have research questions, see the addresses below.

Opening Hours

Monday 13:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 13:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(978) 456-8285

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