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Worcester, MA history





Worcester, MA History:  Directory for 1871


Worcester MA Directory for 1871

Worcester History:  Howland's 1871 Worcester Directory

The longer we're involved in re-publishing history, genealogy and Americana, the more we understand the importance of the information found in old directories and gazetteers. 

This one, Henry J. Howland's 1871 Worcester Directory, is a great case in point. 

Howland's Worcester Directory has all the features one expects to find in a 19th century city or county directory.  First, there's plenty of advertising.  Nothing really gives a flavor of a community or area -- or the times -- better than the advertising that appeared in it.  The Worcester Directory we've re-published is better than many others in that it has a convenient index of advertisers, which serves a purpose for the historian or genealogist as well as the collector of Americana. 

The Worcester Directory has a "General Information" section that begins with a list of the officers of Worcester city government for 1871, beginning with the mayor, Edward Earle, and going on to list the ward officials, as well as the police and fire departments and the overseers of the poor.  The government of Massachusetts is next, including court officers.  The public schools follow, along with the free public library, the Worcester Academy, the College of the Holy Cross, the Worcester County Free Institute of Industrial Science, the private schools, the American Antiquarian Society, the State Lunatic Hospital, the Worcester County Mechanics Association, the Worcester Lyceum and Natural History Association, the Worcester County Medical Convention, the Mozart and Beethoven Choral Union, the Worcester Agricultural Society, the Worcester County Horticultural Society, the YMCA, the Worcester People's Club, and even more organizations.

Next, we find meeting houses and ministers, railroads, stages and omnibuses, banks, insurance companies, Masonic organizations and other lodges, coroners, temperance organizations, mutual aid and protective associations, the local GAR, and even the New England Poultry Club.  There was a lot happening in 1871 in a city of 41,115!  With regard to population, there is considerable detailed census information for Worcester, for Worcester County, for Massachusetts, and for the United States, and the section ends with a compilation of crime for the previous year.

Another convenience in the Worcester Directory is a directory of "Streets, courts, Lanes, &c." with descriptions of each.  These things do change over the decades, and this listing should be of use in translating historic addresses to current locations.  We have also reproduced the fold-out map of Worcester, and supplemented them with old topographic maps of the area.

Next comes the Worcester Directory itself.  Names are listed, along with occupations, businesses, whether a boarder or a homeowner, and the address.  A business directory by trade for the City of Worcester follows.  The volume concludes with still more advertising.

Typical page from the Worcester Directory for 1871

WHO NEEDS THE Worcester Directory?

If you are working on genealogy or history with a Worcester County connection, we think that you do.  While Massachusetts had a particularly well-documented history, too often it is the history of the privileged classes, and the ordinary people are, if present at all, simply surnames or numbers.  This kind of directory provides information.

We think that libraries will decide that the CD-ROM represents a good way to avoid further wear and tear on that carefully guarded original of the Worcester Directory -- if they're fortunate enough to have one

We know that teachers, particularly in Social Studies and History, will find it useful.  Since this is a CD-ROM, the kind of AV facilities used to display PowerPoint presentations in the classroom can easily display pages of the Worcester Directory -- it is in PDF format -- and the onscreen navigational aids enable you to jump from section to section, page to page, without wasting time (and class attention).

If you're simply interested in Worcester or Worcester County, MA -- even as it is today -- the Directory represents an inexpensive, easy to use way of learning about the city's 19th century past.   

This CD-ROM is now available for $15.00 plus shipping and handling. Click "Add to shopping cart" to pay with a major credit card or PayPal.

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If you'd prefer to send us your order for the Worcester Directory - 1871 CD-ROM -- or any of our other CD-ROMS - by mail  -  simply Print order form to print our convenient mail order form.  You can pay by check or money order.


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Between the Lakes Group is located at 372 Between the Lakes Road, in Salisbury, Litchfield County, Connecticut.  More specifically, we're in Taconic -- a hamlet  in the Twin Lakes area of the Town of Salisbury.  Questions about us or about our products?  Go to our Frequently Asked Questions page.  

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