Local History

Library CLOSED Until Further Notice

In response to concerns around COVID-19 and in an effort to ensure the health and safety of staff and patrons town buildings are closed to the public.  The town website has more information about town departments. For updates on Spencer cases check out the Spencer Town Website.  (8/26/20)

Genealogy and local history questions may be emailed to Mary Baker-Wood at mbakerwood@gmail.com.

Historical Museum Hours

Postponed until further notice.

Mondays 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm & Tuesdays 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

 Genealogy and Local History Request FormOpen Book

Local history research requests are by appointment, mail, or email.

Email questions to Mary Baker-Wood at mbakerwood@gmail.com.

Mail, or bring the form to: Richard Sugden Library  ATTN: Local History Request, 8  Pleasant Street, Spencer MA, 01562.

Leave a phone message at 508-885-7513 x 5.  Messages are retrieved once a week.

Researching Your House/Buildings in Spencer? 

Look in the National Register of Historic Places Spencer Inventory Forms to research your house or buildings in Spencer.  Note: Not all buildings in Spencer have been surveyed.

Directions to navigate the linked site: 

When you go to the MACRIS (MA Cultural Resource Information System) link (http://mhc-macris.net/)

  1. Choose ” Click here to begin… (located near the bottom left)
  2. Click the long link at the bottom of the page
  3. Choose Spencer from the Mass Towns List (near top of page)
  4. Click “add to list”
  5. Click Next (at bottom of page)
  6. Click Next (again at bottom of page)
  7. Now you will see the information for Spencer.

Recorded Spencer Historical Presentations

(Spencer Then and Now programs can be viewed on Spencer Cable Access (SCA) Channel 194, or on the SCA YouTube Channel.)

Spencer Then and Now Programs:

School Days

View the 10-10-2019 program on Spencer Cable Access YouTube.


View the 8/1/2019 program on Spencer Cable Access.


View the 5/15/2019 program on Spencer Cable Access.

History of the Massasoit Hotel

View the 3/7/19 program on Spencer Cable Access!

Spencer Through Time Take Two!

View the 11/1/2018 program on Spencer Cable Access!

Luther Hill Park Grand Re-opening

Take a look at the Luther Hill Park Grand Re-Opening – July 1, 2018!

 Spencer through Time

Spencer Through Time, book by Frank and Hannah Morrill, library program (held on June 9, 2018) can be viewed here! 

Historical Pictures of Spencer

Mass Memories Road Show


 Facebook Page for memories of Spencer!

Digital Treasures!

Richard Sugden Library, Spencer, Mass.

Digital Commonwealth: Massachusetts Collections On-line. Learn about the history of towns in MA. Includes Pictures, descriptions, maps and lesson plans.

Mass MomentsVisitors to the Mass Moments website can choose to listen to a one-minute audio spot or read the script, and then explore the story further by reading a background essay and clicking on a primary source document, links to follow, and places to visit. You can also use the timeline to see when a given “moment” occurred and a map to see where it happened. Visitors post comments or questions on the Discussion Board and have the option of being notified when someone responds.

SoldierThe State Library of Massachusetts digital photograph collection predominantly consisting of 26th Yankee Division soldiers who served in World War I. 

Collection donated by the Boston Globe in 1935, represents over 8,500 soldiers from MA and other areas in the northeast. Collection contains over 11,000 images. Accompanying many of these photographs are “cut slips” produced by Boston Globe staff, which include biographical and military information, as well as newspaper clippings.

 Family TreeFree On-line Genealogy Resource

RootsMOOC (A FREE On-line Course) is an introduction to family history research in the United States using commonly available sources.  The course runs from March 23 – June 1, 2015. See Local History page for more information. Topics covered include: Module 1: Getting Started with Genealogy Research, Module 2: Digging into the U.S. Census, Module 3: Working with State and Local Resources, Module 4: Online Sources and Strategies. This project was made possible in part by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The Museum, presently located on the Mezzanine of the Richard Sugden Library, was the idea of Spencer historian Henry M. Tower.

  After discussing the project with Elias Hall, Dr. Charles P. Barton, Joseph W. Temple and Nathan Hersey a meeting was held in the Town Hall in December of 1873. From this meeting a circular was sent out explaining the purpose of the museum and requesting donations. The response was favorable.

Items were displayed in the basement Library of the Town Hall, and later moved upstairs to a room on the second floor. The museum remained at Town Hall until the Richard Sugden Library was opened in 1889. It was then moved to the Reading Room of the Library, then to the basement during renovations in 1931, and finally to the Mezzanine of the Library after extensive renovations in 1997. The Museum has been operated by the Spencer Historical Society. A private non-profit group, for over twenty years.

The Museum consists of two main collections: items donated to the Historical Museum, and items donated to the Library. The Historical Society has undertaken an ambitious project to create a digital catalog of all museum collections, which will provide control over our collections and storage areas, and allow us to produce modern exhibits, displays, brochures, and online catalogs. The Library provides professional cataloging and access for archival materials such as town histories, annual reports, and genealogical materials.

The Museum is an integral part of the Library, and benefits from this partnership by sharing a sophisticated security system, fire protection systems, and utility costs. The Historical Society is, therefore, able to concentrate its resources on museum development. Our current focus is on acquiring and displaying artifacts to tell compelling stories about Spencer history and its families and neighborhoods.