In 1913, a group of town residents concerned about preserving the town's historical resources founded the New Ipswich Historical Society. The hopes and goals of the founding members, Sarah Fiske Lee, William A. Preston, Mary F. Preston, Herschel W. Lewis, Helen M. Brooks, and Helen A. Sargent, have persisted for all of these years. Their original mission was "to discover, secure, and preserve whatever may relate to the natural, civil, literary, family, and ecclesiastical history of the town." Although the Society has grown, relocated, and modernized, it remains essentially an expression of those original sentiments--an institution committed to preserving and presenting the history of New Ipswich, in as many ways as we can imagine.
Today, the collection of the New Ipswich Historical Society includes books, photographs, maps, letters, paintings, samplers, trade signs, bandboxes, furniture, cooking implements, tools, clothing, firefighting equipment, and a myriad of other historical artifacts that enrich our understanding of the history of this place.
The Historical Society will be open to the public on the second and fourth Saturday of the month, June 6th - October 11th 2020 and open for special events as published here.
The New Ipswich Historical Society Board is comprised of volunteers who open the building every other week on Saturdays (generally 1-3 p.m. and by appointment) from early June through mid-October. We welcome visitors to use the resources available at the Society to do their own research and will do our best to refer visitors to other local and regional resources if we do not have the materials they need. The New Ipswich cemetery records have been digitized, and interested individuals seeking genealogical information may contact Ollie Niemi, Sextant of the Cemetery Committee (New Ipswich). In addition, the New Ipswich Town Offices have records of vital statistics that visitors to the Society may be seeking.
The Cemetery Database can be downloaded, from here.
New Ipswich Center Village Historic District
If you live in one of the houses listed on the National Register of Historic Places (the New Ipswich Center Village Historic District), or if you are just interested in the architectural history of New Ipswich, see our new page dedicated to the Historic District.
Save These Dates:
Thursday, June 23, at 6:30 p.m. at New Ipswich Library: How to Clean A Gravestone
Have you ever wondered how to clean an ancestor’s or family member’s headstone without damaging it? Or perhaps, you’ve seen a blackened or lichen-laced stone in a local cemetery and thought of volunteering to clean it. If so, you are welcome to attend this free public program (in-person or via Zoom*) sponsored by the New Ipswich Historical Society. Kim Black will explain the proper methods for cleaning gravestones and the protocol for seeking permission to clean those belonging to non-family members. The presentation will include recent photographs of Carl Toko’s and Kim’s work on historic grave markers in New Ipswich’s oldest public cemetery on Porter Hill. *The link to the Zoom session is:
Time: Jun 23, 2022 06:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
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Meeting ID: 872 0919 2625
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Meeting ID: 872 0919 2625
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Saturday, June 25, at 9:00 a.m. at Central Cemetery in New Ipswich: How to Clean a Gravestone: A Hands-On Workshop
Join Kim Black and Carl Toko for a hands-on workshop in Central Cemetery, where they will clean the headstones in the Stearns’ family plot. Jesse Stearns and Lucinda Davis were the first of the Stearns family to live in New Ipswich during the late 1700s into the mid-1800s. Of the ten family gravestones being cleaned, the first burial occurred in 1850, with the last known burial in 1915. Additional names on one of the monuments are currently illegible. After the cleaning, who knows whether we may learn something new and exciting to add to the researched information? Additional information about those buried in the Stearns’ family plot is posted on the New Ipswich Historical Society website.
Meet Kim and Carl at the front gate of Central Cemetery at 9:00 a.m. Parking is available on the street adjacent to the cemetery. Appropriate clothing and footwear as well as bug spray are highly recommended.
Click to read about our latest Preservation Project and signup to receive out New Ipswich Historical Society Newsletter.
We also have a ongoing project called “The Greatest Generation,” which involved scanning and interpreting a photo album in the collection with pictures of the young men and women from New Ipswich who went to fight in World War II. We would love to have you contribute your memories to this project.