The Leahy Library of the Vermont Historical Society, open to the public four days a week, is a center for individualized research and discovery.
The curious researcher will find a variety of resources documenting the history and people of Vermont, including a collection of books and pamphlets dating from the 1770s to the present. The voices, ideas and commerce of the past are preserved here in unique letters, diaries, ledgers and scrapbooks. Some of Vermont's earliest maps and planning documents are available here. Extensive photograph and broadside collections create a visual record of the state's past. With a special interest in family history, the library has the largest printed genealogical collection in the state.
Use fee, contact and location
Mailing & Physical Address:
Vermont History Center
60 Washington Street
Barre, Vermont 05641-4209
Use Fee: $7.00/day; members and students free.
Books and pamphlets
The largest group of materials in the library are books and pamphlets covering all aspects of Vermont history. The library also has materials related to the history of other New England states, northeastern New York State, and neighboring Canada.
Books are cataloged in the online catalog and main card catalog. Not all materials are listed in both places, so both catalogs need to be consulted.
The Leahy Library of the Vermont Historical Society is a noncirculating research library, so no materials leave our building.
The manuscript collection contains unique hand- and typewritten letters, diaries, account books, records of governments and organizations, and research notes. The collection is particularly strong in family history, agriculture, railroads, personal accounts of military conflicts, religion, emigration, government and politics, and early crafts and trades.
Items in the manuscript collection can be identified through online catalog, through keyword searching below, and through the Brigham Index in the library. Only a small portion of the library’s manuscript holdings are in the online catalog. A few of our manuscripts have been transcribed for online reading.
The finding aids to our manuscript collections can be searched using keywords entered into the box below:
Among the maps at the Leahy Library are some of the earliest maps of Vermont, Wallings county maps (1850s), Beers atlases (1870s), and state highway maps. The collection includes railroad maps, highway department county maps, U.S. Geological Survey topographic maps, and the Dewart Collection of copies of early town lotting plans. Most of the library’s maps are in the online catalog.
The photograph collection may be the library's most popular holding. The majority of the photographs are arranged in the picture file by size and subject; stereoviews and postcards are filed separately. Visit our image galleries on this website to see a sampling our our collections.
The Vermont Historical Society has an extensive collection of Vermont broadsides, posters, and flat paper ephemera dating from the late eighteenth century to the present. All broadsides prior to 1820 and other significant broadsides are cataloged; others are not cataloged but are arranged by size and subject. A selection of broadsides have been digitized and are available on DigitalVermont.
The library has films, videotapes, records, and audiotapes about Vermont subjects; oral history tapes created primarily in the 1970s; sheet music; architectural drawings, and a collection of Vermont bumper stickers.
The library staff is ready to help with the materials and research tools in the library and can make referrals to other collections and institutions. Use our Ask a Librarian service to request assistance online.