Since the construction of the present Library building in 1902, the Holyoke Public Library has been the primary repository of the city’s historical record. Currently the Holyoke Public Library Historical Collection and Archive is temporarily housed in secure, fireproof quarters in the Donahue Building at Holyoke Community College, but is accessible to everyone on an expanded daily schedule. This temporary location was graciously provided by the College Administration when environmental conditions in space then available t the Library was determined to be unsatisfactory in terms of the preservation of delicate portions of the collection.
In its present home at HCC, the Library’s Local History Department is staffed by a full-time Archivist, James Massery, who is assisted by a dedicated and active staff of volunteers. Many members of this group have in depth personal knowledge of Holyoke’s past through their own previous involvement with the Holyoke School Department, Holyoke Transcript-Telegram, Holyoke Veterans Hospital, and various Holyoke businesses and industries.
DONATIONS, VOLUNTEERS WELCOME
At the present time research and cataloging materials from several collections, such as the White & Wyckoff, Ella Markel DiCarlo, World War II Veterans, Junior League of Holyoke, and several other special collections is on-going with the support of a group of volunteers directed by Archivist, Jim Massery. “With their commitment and dedication we have made tremendous strides in making these collections more accessible to the public,” Massery said.
As work continues on theses collections Massery reported that the Library History Department is still welcoming the contribution of personal papers, photographs, yearbooks, scrapbooks, artifacts, and other records from individuals, families, businesses, charitable and fraternal organizations and other institutions associated with Holyoke, Massachusetts or the Pioneer Valley.
Holyoke’s unique history unfolds as a colorful panorama as the City is developed as a “planned” community, coupled with its continuing record as a “melting pot” city populated by thousands who migrated from various parts of the world. From Holyoke’s founding on the banks of the Connecticut River by settlers from England, to the thousands who came later, from Ireland, France, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Canada, Puerto Rico and other Caribbean nations, each has brought their own customs and culture that that have now become part of Holyoke’ history and are now part of the Holyoke Public Library Historical Collection.
The Holyoke Public Library History Room and Archive houses extensive collections that focus on various segments of its ethnic diversity and industrial complexity. With over 1,000 linear feet of books and materials that relate principally to Holyoke history, demographics, and socio-economics; local biographies, and authors; and businesses and industries, the History Room collections are preserved and made available for personal use in scholarly, genealogical and public research through the generosity of the donors.
“As we look forward and prepare for our eventual return to specially designed and environmentally suitable space in the renovated and expanded Maple Street home of the History Collection, we will continue in our efforts to expand the collections by soliciting materials from the community to build an even larger and totally representative repository of Holyoke’s history,” Massery concluded.
For information regarding collections, the donation of materials or any other questions concerning the Holyoke Public Library History Room and Archive, please contact: James Massery at 413-522-2842, or check the Holyoke Public Library webpage at http//www.holyokelibrary.org/indexphp/local-history-oom/collections-named-html