John H. Paine Collection Archival Project
Tracing Harwich History Through the Paine Collection
The Paine Collection is a premier acquisition of the Harwich Historical Society.
A collection of historical documents, it preserves much local history. The material was collected by Josiah Paine. Born in Harwich in 1836, he early developed an interest in history and genealogy and collected data for a history of the town.
Fortunately, he was able to talk with people whose recollections extended back into the 18th century. Eventually, his work was published in 1937 by his son John as “A History of Harwich, Barnstable County, Massachusetts, 1620-1800” and reprinted in 1971 by John’s widow, Mildred. Copies of the book are available at the museum and for check out at Brooks Free Library.
The Paine Collection has now been professionally archived through a grant from the Community Preservation Funds.
Researchers can access the Collection online through this Archives Finding Aid (pdf format) and at the museum through the Society’s database. The finding aid is keyword searchable.
Highlights from the Collection:
- Abstracts of ancient deeds, 1674 - 1800 +
- Abstracts of valuable records, maps, etc. early 1600 – 1800.
- Indian deeds, maps, wills.
- Early church records, including the New Light, Methodist, Baptist, and South Parish Church.
- Extracts from Town Records.
- Obed Brooks Manuscript book and his diary.
- "Our Village" by Sidney Brooks.
- First draft of "The History of Harwich"
- French and English war papers, 1755.
- Revolutionary War papers.
- Several genealogies.
Archives Finding Aid (pdf format)