Town History

Our collection of local history material on Wakefield and the surrounding area is comprised of more than 1,600 volumes. We also have many genealogical sources about local families. Please note that materials from this collection are to be used only in the Library and are not available for Interlibrary Loan. You are welcome to photocopy information you need, however, and we are happy to send photocopies to individuals who cannot come to the Library in person. Most local history materials are shelved in the Quiet Reading Room on the main floor. A few others are kept in our climate controlled archives room. A librarian will be happy to retrieve them for you. In addition, some of the materials below are available on microfilm.

For further information on the Internet you may want to check out the web sites for the Wakefield Historical Society and the Wakefield Historical Commission. For genealogical information a good local resource is the Essex Society of Genealogists. For historical information about the Pleasure Island Amusement Park try the Pleasure Island page of Wakefield’s website. For information about the wicker furniture industry in Wakefield try the Wakefield Wicker website.

Our collection includes:

*Local histories of Wakefield and many Massachusetts cities and towns.

*Microfilm of the Wakefield Daily Item from 1891 to the present, the Reading Chronicle (Wakefield Edition) from December 1996 to the present, the Wakefield Observer from January 1998 to the present, and the Wakefield Citizen & Banner from 1872 to 1911. Please note that there are no indexes to any of these newspapers.

*Wakefield High School yearbooks from 1919 to the present, with some gaps.

*Wakefield street lists from 1916 to the present. Street lists list all residents age 17 and over alphabetically, as well as by street.

*Official Town Reports of Wakefield from 1859 to the present, with some gaps.

*Vital records for most cities and towns in Massachusetts, covering births, marriages, and deaths up to 1850. To search for deaths in Wakefield, try our Wakefield death records page.

*Selected city directories that include Wakefield from 1869 to 1922.

*The Cultural Resources of Wakefield, a listing of nominees to the National Register of Historic Places, which was compiled in 1985 by the Wakefield Historical Commission. It includes two-page profiles of almost 400 historic public and private buildings in Wakefield.

*Historic maps of Wakefield at various points in its history.

*A pamphlet and clipping file covering many topics in Wakefield history such as the Pleasure Island Amusement Park, the Beebe Family, and Lake Quannapowitt. Click here for a printable list of what’s available in the Local Clippings File.

Wakipedia is an online wiki encyclopedia of current and historical information about the town Wakefield, Massachusetts. It is not currently open to public editing. If you would like to contribute to Wakipedia, please contact the Reference Desk at Beebe Library at 781-246-6334 x2, or by email at email@wakefieldlibrary.org/

libraryBeebe Library owns a number of books about Wakefield history which have been scanned and made available online through the efforts of the Internet Archive, a non-profit organization founded in 1996 to create an online digital library and preserve it for future historians as well as current users. The archive currently contains well over a million books, as well as extensive collections of media such as newsreels, advertising, cartoons, music, radio shows, and more. Materials in the archive, mostly published prior to the 1920s, are in the public domain and can be used without restrictions.

The books in the following list are owned by Beebe Library in hard copy, but by following the “full text” link, you can go directly to the online version and view the scanned copy, as well as search the text of the book by key words.

General Town Histories

Hand-book of Wakefield, Mass. A strangers’ guide and residents’ manual. by William E. Eaton (published in 1885).

History of Wakefield (Middlesex County) Massachusetts by William E. Eaton (published in 1944).

Malden, Maplewood, Wakefield, Reading, Stoneham, Medford and West Medford : their representative business men and points of interest. (published in 1893).

Tabloid history of the town of Wakefield by Arthur A. Fulton (published in 1923).

Vital Records

Vital records of Wakefield, Massachusetts, to the year 1850. covering births, marriages, and deaths in Wakefield (South Reading) up to 1850 (published in 1912).

Cemeteries

Reading’s “Old Burial Ground” now in Wakefield, Massachusetts, 1688 by William E. Eaton. Lists names and locations of stones in the old burying ground on Church Street (published in 1935).

Inscriptions from the most ancient burial ground in South Reading, 1644-1834. covering inscriptions from the old burying ground on Church Street (published in 1938).

Celebrations

Inaugural exercises in Wakefield, Mass. : including the historical address and poem delivered on the occasion of the assumption of its new name, by the town formerly known as South Reading, on Saturday, July 4th, 1868. (published in 1868).

Wakefield souvenir of the celebration of the 250th anniversary of ancient Reading, at Wakefield … May 28th, Reading … May 29th, 1894. (published in 1894).

Proceedings of the 250th anniversary of the ancient town of Redding, once including the territory now comprising the towns of Reading, Wakefield, and North Reading : with historical chapters. edited by Chester W. Eaton, Warren E. Eaton ; compiled and arranged by Will Everett Eaton (published in 1896).

Genealogies & Family History

Genealogical history of the town of Reading, Mass. : including the present towns of Wakefield, Reading, and North Reading, with chronological and historical sketches, from 1639 to 1874. by Lilley Eaton (published in 1874).

Lucius Beebe of Wakefield and Sylenda Morris Beebe, his wife, and their forebears and descendants. by Louise Beebe Wilder (published in 1930).

Wakefield memorial, comprising an historical, genealogical and biographical register of the name and family of Wakefield. by Homer Wakefield (published in 1897).

Churches

Wakefield Congregational church : a commemorative sketch, 1644-1877. by Charles Robinson Bliss (published in 1877).

Commemorative address, by Samuel K. Hamilton, delivered at the celebration by the first parish in Wakefield, Massachusetts of the completion of payment covering the cost of the fifth meeting-house of the Congregational Church (published in 1919).

The five meeting houses and early parsonages of the first parish of Old Reading, now Wakefield, Massachusetts. by William E. Eaton (published in 1937).

History of the First Baptist Church in Wakefield, Mass., 1800-1900. compiled by N. R. Everts (published in 1901).

Military

History of the Richardson Light Guard, of Wakefield, Mass. 1851-1901 by William E. Eaton (published in 1901) and the second volume, covering the years 1901-1926 (published in 1926).

The military record of Reading men in the War of Independence. by Loea Howard Parker (published in 1934).

Wakefield, Massachusetts in the World War, 1917-1920. compiled by Emma Florence Eaton (published in 1935).

Beebe Library

The Lucius Beebe memorial library : an historical sketch. by Elizabeth Frances Ingram (published in 1925).

Industry

A completed century, 1826-1926; the story of the Heywood-Wakefield Company. a history of the notable Wakefield wicker furniture manufacturer (published in 1926).

Wood work, chair designs. designs from Wakefield’s wicker industry hand drawn and colored by local artist Joseph C. Payro (published in 1885).

Special Topics

Geology of Wakefield, Massachusetts. by E.E. Fairbanks (published in 1922).

History of the Hartshorne House in Wakefield, Massachusetts. by William E. Eaton (published in 1937).

Town ReportBeebe Library’s collection of annual town reports of Wakefield is now available online thanks to a grant administered by the Boston Public Library and federally funded with LSTA funds through the Mass. Board of Library Commissioners. The reports have been digitally scanned and are now part of the Internet Archive, a non-profit organization founded in 1996 to create an online digital library and preserve it for future historians as well as current users. The archive currently contains well over a million books, as well as extensive collections of media such as newsreels, advertising, cartoons, music, radio shows, and more. Materials in the archive, mostly published prior to the 1920s, are in the public domain and can be used without restrictions.

The library owns town reports back to the mid-19th century. Online copies are available below back to 1875. All reports are also available in hard copy in the library’s Local History Room. Please ask at the Reference Desk if you would like to view a hard copy of a particular report.

YearbooksBeebe Library’s collection of annual Wakefield High School Yearbooks is now available online thanks to the digitization assistance of the Boston Public Library. The Yearbooks have been digitally scanned and are now part of the Internet Archive, a non-profit organization founded in 1996 to create an online digital library and preserve it for future historians as well as current users. The archive currently contains well over a million books, as well as extensive collections of media such as newsreels, advertising, cartoons, music, radio shows, and more. Materials in the archive, mostly published prior to the 1920s, are in the public domain and can be used without restrictions.

The library owns High School yearbooks back to 1907, in the form of the Debater, and more recently, the Oracle. Online copies are available below. All reports are also available in hard copy in the library’s Local History Archives. Please ask at the Reference Desk if you would like to view a hard copy of a particular yearbook. The library is missing hard copies of a small number of years. If you happen to own one of the missing years and would be willing to let us borrow it for scanning purposes, please contact the reference desk at 781-246-6334 x2, or at email@wakefieldlibrary.org/

1929 – MISSING
1928
1927
1926 – MISSING
1925
1924
1923
1922
1921
1920

1919
1918
1917 – MISSING
1916
1915
1915 (Christmas issue)
1914
1913 – MISSING
1912 (Christmas issue)
1911 – MISSING
1910 – MISSING

1909 – MISSING
1908 – MISSING
1907