Quincy Historical Society & Museum

Quincy Historical Society & Museum Founded in 1893 and located within a historic landmark, we are a museum of local history, a venue for public lectures, and a research library for historians, genealogists and researchers interested in subjects related to Quincy, MA.

The Quincy History Museum at Quincy Historical Society takes you through more than 400 years of some of America's richest, most influential history. Meet rebels and reformers, workers and visionaries: John and Abigail Adams and others who helped create the United States; Granite workers who moved 5-ton blocks and helped change the look of America; Three centuries of shipbuilders, culminating in 30,000 men and women who built the ships that helped win World War II; Meet the entrepreneurs who brought Americans 28 flavors of ice cream, do-it-yourself home repair, and drive-thru coffee and doughnuts.

Temporarily closed

August, 1766: John Adams Visits "Witch City"Salem, Massachusetts is most famous for its history involving the Witchcraft...

August, 1766: John Adams Visits "Witch City"

Salem, Massachusetts is most famous for its history involving the Witchcraft Trials of 1692. Ever since, that history has been a source of tourism for the city. People from all over the world have made the pilgrimage to Salem to see the historic sights and learn the truth about the Salem Witch Trials. (Or maybe to take in some of the Halloween-themed attractions.) Even John and Abigail Adams were not immune to the allure of Salem’s history.

In August of 1766, John and Abigail Adams made one of their frequent trips to the North Shore in order to visit Abigail’s sister and her husband, Mary and Richard Cranch, at their home in Salem. After a day-trip with Abigail and her sister to Marblehead, Adams recorded another visit in his diary:

“Returned and dined at Cranch’s; after dinner walked to Witchcraft hill, a hill about half a mile from Cranch’s, where the famous persons formerly executed for witches were buried. Somebody within a few years has planted a number of locust trees over the graves, as a memorial of that memorable victory over the ‘prince of the power of the air.’ This hill is in a large common belonging to the proprietors of Salem, etc. From it you have a fair view of the town, of the river, the north and south fields, of Marblehead, of Judge Lynde’s pleasure-house, etc. of Salem Village, etc.”

The “Witchcraft hill” that he mentions is today known as Proctor’s Ledge. Adams’ noting of the locust trees on this hill provided the Gallows Hill Project, of Salem State University, a clue in the search for the true site of executions during the Witchcraft Trials. Along with a number of other pieces of evidence, the Project team officially announced their findings in January of 2016, and today a memorial to the victims of the Trials stands at the base of Proctor’s Ledge.

It should be noted that Adams’ retelling of the history of the hill is incorrect on one count. The victims of the Trials are not buried on Proctor’s Ledge. In many cases, the families of the victims came and took the bodies to be buried on private land. The Gallows Hill Project confirmed in 2016 that there are no burials in the area.

Wishing our friends and followers a safe and happy Halloween!

- Alexandra Elliott, Curator QHS

(NOTE: Due to the Covid-19 public health emergency, the City of Salem is asking that any potential visitors to the city postpone their trips until next year. Please check with event organizers, tour operators, and the City of Salem's safety guidelines if you do plan to visit.)

Special announcement from our friends over at Eastern Nazarene College (ENC): Starting tomorrow evening (October 16th) a...

Special announcement from our friends over at Eastern Nazarene College (ENC):

Starting tomorrow evening (October 16th) at 7pm and continuing for the next four weeks, ENC's Theatre for Social Justice program and QATV will present radio-play adaptations of four classic Sherlock Holmes stories, starting with "The Strange Case of Alice Faulkner"!

Tune in live at QATV.org and QATV Channel 8, and then later at enc.edu/podcast and QATV.org

Quincy Historical Society is visiting the restaurants under the orange roof! On Tuesday, October 6th, at 7pm, our next o...

Quincy Historical Society is visiting the restaurants under the orange roof! On Tuesday, October 6th, at 7pm, our next online event will explore "A Social History of Howard Johnson's Ads: From Print to Television."

Howard Johnson’s, the Quincy-based chain of restaurants and motor lodges, became one of 20th-century America’s most recognizable and most trusted brands. Its success, of course, rested on the quality of the products themselves. But Howard Johnson’s advertising also created images and themes that became familiar to Americans and part of their lives. On Tuesday, October 6, at 7pm, in an online program, we’ll take a nostalgic look at Howard Johnson’s ads and branding and their messages, from the first local newspaper ads to the national magazine and advertising campaigns, from the earliest days of modern advertising to the era of Mad Men.

The program is produced by Thomas Crane Public Library. It will be available via Zoom, YouTube Live, and the Crane Library page.

For more info please visit the event page on the Thomas Crane's website: http://www.eventkeeper.com/cham/ch_popevent.cfm?chamOrg=TCPL&EventID=6505637

And check out this promo that we recorded last week for a preview of what's to come: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDHa96JoqNk&feature=emb_logo

Tonight (Monday, September 14th) at 7:30pm, WCVB's Channel 5 program "Chronicle", will feature a segment highlighting th...
Monday, September 14: Adams Street

Tonight (Monday, September 14th) at 7:30pm, WCVB's Channel 5 program "Chronicle", will feature a segment highlighting the history of Adams Street; starting with the Adams Academy, John Hancock's birth-site, and of course, Quincy Historical Society & Museum, before moving on to the Old House at Peace Field, and beyond.

Keep an eye out for Quincy Historical Society's executive director Ed Fitzgerald, and curator Alexandra Elliott, who were interviewed for the program!

Special thanks to Kerry Byrne for getting this segment on its feet.

No, we aren’t visiting one town, but rather one street: Adams Street.

From our friends over at the Quincy Homestead 1686, where new discoveries about the house are being made!

From our friends over at the Quincy Homestead 1686, where new discoveries about the house are being made!

The Find at DQH ...

Restoration efforts on the third story floors at the Dorothy Quincy Homestead (DQH) are underway thanks to the generous grant awarded to the National Society of The Colonial Dames in The Commonwealth of Massachusetts (NSCDA-MA) by the City of Quincy’s Community Preservation Committee. Just two days into this project, a unique find was uncovered. It was made by Howard Brickman, who put his exceptional talents to use and beautifully conserved the Homestead’s dining room floors last year.

Beneath several layers of the modern grey paint in one of the rooms, Howard uncovered an unusual stencil pattern. Upon his discovery, Alexandra Rollins and Barbara Armenta, the DQH committee members leading this conservation project for the Dames, immediately contacted Christine Thomson. Christine, who assisted with other conservation work at the Homestead, answered their call to analyze the paint as well as the distinct stencil design. Her evaluation suggests that the floor was originally painted in a black and white checkerboard pattern. It appears that some years later, red paint was applied to the floor and spattered with other paint colors for decorative purposes. The checkerboard pattern was a very popular motif in the 18th century. Christine stated, “I think it [the floor design] is pretty fantastic!”

The conservation team will do their best to preserve a section of the original stenciled floor. As with past preservation discoveries, the Homestead never fails to continue to captivate the interest of our conservator teams, volunteers and members of the Dames and the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), who are its stewards.

Continue to follow us to learn more about the on-going conservation work at the Homestead.

In case you haven't seen it already, over the course of the summer The Patriot Ledger has been publishing articles highl...
Summer of Nostalgia: That time when Howard Johnson's was everywhere

In case you haven't seen it already, over the course of the summer The Patriot Ledger has been publishing articles highlighting nostalgic aspects of life on the South Shore. This past Saturday the theme was "HoJo's", and some images from the Society's archives were featured.

You can find the rest of the series via The Patriot Ledger's website.

Howard Johnson went from owning a store in Wollaston to building a chain of almost 800 restaurants that left an enduring influence on American life.

Yesterday we teased a new article from the Quincy History Blog about the complexities of telling the story of Women's Su...
Remember the Ladies: Woman’s Suffrage and the Black Holes of Local History – Quincy History Blog

Yesterday we teased a new article from the Quincy History Blog about the complexities of telling the story of Women's Suffrage at the local level and highlighting some of Quincy's less-well known Suffragists, and here it is!

"Remember the Ladies: Women's Suffrage and the Black Holes of Local History" by QHS curator Alexandra Elliott.

An excerpt from the article:

“Remember the Ladies” Abigail Adams implored her husband John in a letter from March 31, 1776. She advocated that in the new Republic, women be given more rights than they had been under English law. She went on to say, “be more generous and favorable to them [the Ladies] than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands.” Whether she argued for women to be given the right to vote or not is a matter of much scholarly debate. However, this letter does make Abigail Adams one of the first women to advocate for women’s rights in Quincy history. She would not be the last."

Editorial History Posts Women's Suffrage August 19, 2020 Remember the Ladies: Woman’s Suffrage and the Black Holes of Local History By Alexandra Elliott Introduction: Reexaminations of the Woman Suffrage Movement Local historical institutions play an important role in expanding the conversation su...

Today we mark the centennial anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution. An...

Today we mark the centennial anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution. An Amendment which reads: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex." The adoption of this Amendment was the culmination of 72 years of struggle and perseverance, and it is an important milestone in the fight for voting rights in our nation, a fight that is ongoing.

Of course, the story of the 19th Amendment is far more complicated that that short summary can encapsulate. Almost as soon as it was adopted, states began to throw up barriers to prevent women from exercising that newly won right, and this was particularly true for women of color who did not truly gain the right to vote until the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Bearing all of this in mind, let us use this anniversary as an opportunity for reflection on the importance of voting and what it means to have (or not have) that right.

In the words of Miriam N. Marsh, one of Quincy's most active champions of Suffrage: "The best way to show our patriotism is by trying to make our country a better place to live in. This means that we shall seek to make our country not the nation with the biggest commerce, or the nation with the biggest fleet, but the nation with the best government and the highest level of citizenship. All of us can be good citizens by living uprightly and obeying the laws but we cannot make our country, or our state, or our city a better place to live in unless we can elect [those] who make the laws. And it is because the women are just as patriotic as the men that they are asking for the ballot, in order to have part in bringing about better social conditions."

Tomorrow the Society will publish a blog article highlighting some of Quincy's less-well known Suffragists, and discussing some of the complexities of the history of the Suffrage Movement.

The Image included is a political cartoon from the Patriot-Ledger that ran on June 4th, 1919 and acted as the headline heralding the passage of the 19th Amendment through Congress.

- Alexandra Elliott
Curator, QHS

At Your Library: Yellow Fever

Today we are excited to announce our next virtual gathering, co-hosted by the Thomas Crane Public Library and Quincy Access Television. It will be held on Monday, August 24th, at 7pm, and we will discuss "Yellow Fever: The Plague that Haunted America, from John Adams to Bette Davis."

This program will dive into the history of Yellow Fever in America, one of the country's deadliest recurring plagues, with a particular focus on the ways in which the disease influenced American art and culture. We will discuss the novels "Arthur Mervyn" and "The Grandissimes", assorted works of Edgar Allen Poe, and even feature clips from the silver screen.

More information to come! In the meantime, please enjoy this short promotional interview with Ed Fitzgerald and Alexandra Elliott talking about the event.

Join Ed Fitzgerald and Alexandra Elliott from the Quincy Historical Society for a preview of this fascinating multi-media look at this deadly disease and its...

Shared from the Thomas Crane Library's page: a flashback to 1975 and an Historical Society event featuring Quincy-native...

Shared from the Thomas Crane Library's page: a flashback to 1975 and an Historical Society event featuring Quincy-native, and Academy Award-winning actress, Ruth Gordon.

Let's flashback to 1975 in this edition of #TBT. The big news that summer was a visit by movie star and Quincy native Ruth Gordon. The Quincy Historical Society & Museum feted Gordon at a reception, captured in the society's newsletter (https://bit.ly/2DkXlOB). Browse issues from 1973 through 2001 at http://thomascranelibrary.org/historical-society-newsletter-index. So much great Quincy history to read up on! #ThrowbackThursday

Last week we teased the launch of a new blog produced by Quincy Historical Society. Today, we are pleased to announce th...
Quincy History Blog – Historical Dimensions of Quincy, Massachusetts

Last week we teased the launch of a new blog produced by Quincy Historical Society. Today, we are pleased to announce that very same blog is officially open!

The Quincy History Blog is a platform that allows the Society to keep connected with our friends and members even while we remain socially distant. On the blog the Society will be able to share articles and posts about our ongoing research, and snippets of Quincy history that we think our members would find interesting. Additionally, as we begin to return to normal life, the blog provides the Society with the opportunity to present information in new and creative ways, as well as the ability to present smaller stories that would previously go untold but that we think are still interesting and noteworthy.

Currently, the blog features a number of articles, including: “Solomon Willard: The Enigmatic Man Behind the Monument” in honor of Bunker Hill Day, just past. Upcoming articles will include a continuation of the “Sacco and Vanzetti at 100: The Quincy Connections” series, and “John Quincy Adams and the Amistad” in honor of John Quincy Adams’ birthday anniversary on July 11th, and many more.

The Quincy History Blog also currently features two special digital exhibits: “Quincy’s Experience During the 1918 “Spanish” Flu Pandemic” highlighting the original research done by the Society about the 1918 Influenza Pandemic, and “Howard Johnson’s and the 20th Century” which presents an overview of the history of the Howard Johnson’s company and some of our favorite HoJo images from our archives.

You can access the blog at: https://quincyhistory.org/blog/

We hope that you enjoy this new platform, and that it provides some interesting reading while we await the opportunity to come together once more.

- Alexandra Elliott
Curator, QHS

Welcome to the Quincy History Blog! The upcoming source for media content from Quincy Historical Society & Museum. Digital Exhibit: Quincy and the Flu Pandemic of 1918 Read More Recent Posts: Quincy Historical Society in 1893 and Today Read More Recent Posts: Solomon Willard: The Enigmatic Man Behin...

Thomas Crane Public Library Presents: Quincy & the 1918 Pandemic

To everyone who joined us a couple of weeks ago for our encore presentation of the story of Quincy’s experience during the 1918 Influenza Pandemic, thank you so much! It was lovely to be able to reconnect with our friends, even if we could not do so in person.

If you missed the presentation that night for any reason, we are happy to report that the Thomas Crane Library and QATV recorded the program, and that it has been uploaded to the Thomas Crane Library’s YouTube page.

Here is a link directly to the video: https://youtu.be/6EozpJz3l8I

We hope that you can enjoy the presentation a little late or for the second (or third) time!

For any who would like to delve deeper into the history of the 1918 Pandemic we recommend these sources for further reading:

"The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History", by John M. Barry. (Penguin, 2018).

“The Influenza Encyclopedia”, compiled by University of Michigan Library. https://www.influenzaarchive.org/index.html

"Influenza: The Hundred Year Hunt to Cure the Deadliest Disease in History", by Dr. Jeremy Brown. (Simon & Schuster, 2018).

"Pandemic 1918: Eyewitness Accounts from the Greatest Medical Holocaust in Modern History", by Catherine Arnold. (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2018).

"September 1918: War, Plague, and the World Series", by Skip Desjardin. (Simon & Schuster, 2018).

P.S. At the end of the presentation, we hinted about a new official Society blog that we have been working on over the past few months. Keep your eyes peeled for an announcement regarding that blog next week!

Alexandra Elliot from the Quincy Historical Society presents a look at original research on how the last major pandemic in 1918 impacted the City of Quincy

Uncle Sam's latest adventure, Day 10

The past few weeks have seen Quincy residents at their best, showing their concern for others in many ways.

We just want to take a moment and recognize Uncle Sam Rounseville for his recently completed 11-day virtual bicycle ride from Quincy to New York City in support of the Quincy Relief Fund. The Fund was established, under the Quincy Foundation, to aid those experiencing hardship as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. You can view Sam’s virtual ride on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxaj2tm0Ewk

For more information, or to donate to the Relief Fund directly, please visit their official website: www.quincyrelieffund.com

Uncle Sam Rounseville is pedaling his stationary bike from Quincy to Ground Zero in New York to raise money for the Quincy Covid-19 relief fund. Visit quincy...


8 Adams St
Quincy, MA

Located two blocks from Quincy Center on the Red Line.

Opening Hours

Monday 09:00 - 16:00
Tuesday 09:00 - 16:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 16:00
Thursday 09:00 - 16:00
Friday 09:00 - 16:00


(617) 773-1144


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Hope everyone is staying safe during this quarantine!! It’s been difficult to stay busy and optimistic during this weird time but it’s so important to find things that keep us afloat. I’ve been watching plenty of movies during my new free time and have found a great new movie streaming website called Film Festival Flix that is full of great independent movies from all over the world!! It’s been so fun to discover new voices on their carefully curated channels, especially the IndieFest International channel. I just finished watching a time-travel period piece on it called Dimensions that had stunning costumes that replicated the 1800s really well and I was so impressed!! The film itself was a sci-fi tale with mystery and a really sweet love story intertwined in the plot. If anyone wants to watch a film there but doesn’t know where to begin, I have so many recommendations and would be happy to share them!!
We thoroughly enjoyed the article about the Pneumatic Scale Corporation in the most recent issue of Quincy History. We had no idea of all the industrial machinery that was invented and manufactured here. Great work QHS.
Hello Ed, Audrey and all. Nice page.
**Help Support the Sailors' Snug Harbor Cemetery Memorial Campaign** @SSHMarinersGenealogy The Descendants of Sailors’ Snug Harbor Mariners have been reaching out to New York and New England Heritage (Historical and Genealogical) Societies, Museums, Military Veterans Groups, and Concerned Citizens, to invite them to join a Letters of Support Campaign to support their efforts to gain access to the old Sailors’ Snug Harbor Cemetery on Staten Island to honor their Ancestors, and all of the 6,500 Merchant and Naval Mariners interred there (1834-1976), by installing a Memorial Monument (Obelisk) and holding an annual Memorial Service. Some of the Mariners were famous Sea Captains and some sailed on famous Merchant and Naval ships dating back to the American Revolution. Many were just average seamen whom sailed and endured for many years on the sea under arduous conditions. A significant amount of the Mariners were from New England. https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/2244490/sailors-snug-harbor-cemetery Sadly, the Sailors' Snug Harbor Cemetery is devoid of gravestones or markers, except for 15 remaining gravestones. The Cemetery is closed and not open to the public. The Board of Trustees of Sailors' Snug Harbor have rejected the Descendants' requests to access the SSH Cemetery to honor their Ancestors. https://nypost.com/2018/12/29/caretakers-shoot-down-plans-for-monument-for-fallen-sailors/ The Descendants are collecting Letters of Support to persuade the Trustees of Sailors’ Snug Harbor to change their decision. You can help support the Descendants by writing a Letter of Support using the Support Letter Writing Instructions at the following link: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1sZv5VFLNWw0HA-pW2i33RhbgVFQ6oExx
As a child I loved going to the Quincy Historical Museum. As a senior I appreciate and love it even more.
My grandfather, Daniel S. Davis Jr., took a position in Smalley's Granite office there in Quincy, Massachusetts in late 1921. He and my grandmother, Minnie, rented an apartment for $20 a month at Curtis Hotel on Quincy Square. Minnie taught in George Washington School earning $25 a week. After just three weeks, the big granite strike came and lasted nearly a year. Dan was able to get a position as bookkeeper at the Boston Dispensary. Dan's brother, Edwin, couldn't sell granite because of the strike so he took an art course in Boston and lived with Dan and Minnie that winter. Dan was then able to get a position with E. W. Bailey back in Montpelier, Vermont (they were from Northfield, VT) and he and Ed left April 1st, 1922. Minnie stayed on, moving to the Quincy Hotel, to remain until school finished June 1st. This information comes for a letter Minnie wrote. if you're able to provide any further details such as when exactly that granite strike started, any photos of Smalley's, the Curtis & Quincy Hotels, or the Boston Dispensary, where those places were located, if any of the buildings still exist, etc. I would be quite interested.
Hard to Believe there is only only one day to the Elm Street Cemetery tour in Braintree and the weather forecast remains a perfect 70 degree sunny fall day! Expectations are for a large crowd! All Systems are GO! Here is brief tid bit that will be discussed... The original Grave of Sylvanus Thayer ... and how long he reposed there.... This year's tour will be different from our previous tours in that the group will all meet at 3:00 PM and be lead through the Cemetery as one group. Meet in front of the cemetery at 3:00 PM Sunday October 22nd to see the recent grave stone restorations and hear other stories like the tale of the "Iron Fence", "The Braintree Trolley", "Who’s Buried in Hon E. Thayer’s Tomb?", "What was Thayer’s Corner?", "The First Cemetery Burial", "The Missing Tombs", "Who Was a Pormologist", "Tales of Civil War Soldiers and Revolutionary War Soldiers, “Marked Graves of Braintree Slaves” and "The Mystery of the Double-Dated Grave Stone". Parking is available behind First Congregational Church (across the street). GPS address opposite 12 Elm Street. Suitable for all ages. No Charge for Admission... Donations to the Society are welcome! Braintree-Historical.org for more info.
Elm Street Cemetery Historic Tour Sunday October 22nd 3:00 PM. This year's tour will be different from our previous tours in that the group will all meet at 3:00 PM and be lead through the Cemetery as one group by Cemeterian and amateur historian Dave Crispin. Dave is a life long Braintree resident, one of our Society members and has been in cemeteries for over 46 years having been an employee at Blue Hill Cemetery all that time. He is also a recognized professional cemetery design engineer with the BSC Group of Boston. He is also active in the Massachusetts Cemetery Association and New England Cemetery Association. Join us at 3:00 PM Sunday October 22 to hear the tales of some of those resting at the historical site, one that has been exhumed, the fences and walls, trolly cars, the stones, the symbols, civil war soldiers, old yankees, slaves and perhaps a ghost story or two and maybe some singing! This year there is no reason to miss it... (the foot ball game is a night game). Parking is available behind First Congregational Church (across the street). This year, the town is placing matting (temporary pathways) on the grounds to aid in access around the cemetery. Donations to the Society are welcome! Rain Date October 29th same time. (Wish we had a rain date last year... remember is was rained out?)
Get your tickets and visit Braintree Farmers Market, today! Great event, Fasano's Catering, live music by Comfort Street - BHS Farm to Table Supper. Beautiful outdoor venue, Thayer Birthplace open for free tours! You can also get tickets online Sustainable Braintree