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The Rutland Historical Society is not a county society but services the area of the "old" Town of Rutland which today includes the City of Rutland and the towns of Rutland, Proctor and West Rutland. The majority of the Society's collections are located on the second floor of the historical society building. Upon request materials are available for use on the main floor (handicapped accessible) where a guide to the collections may be found. The Society's holdings include over 1,000 books, over 125 boxes of documents and numerous maps. There are also over 2,000 photographic images. The Society has a modest collection of artifacts including textiles. There are nearly 300 bound volumes of Rutland newspapers. Fortunately these have all been microfilmed and microfilm copies are available at the Rutland Free Library.

The Society library does include Smith and Ryan's History of Rutland County (1886), Hemenway's multi-volume Vermont Gazetteer with index and Child's Rutland County Gazetteer and Directory (1881), Rutland Town and City Annual Reports and reports from the village of Rutland and the Towns of Proctor and West Rutland. Published tax assessments for the City of Rutland are also available. The collections include the Beer's Atlas Map of 1869 which shows the locations of homes and the names of the occupants, the Scott's Map of 1854 which offers similar information, a map of Socialboro [a New York Grant that included Rutland] from 1771 and the Plan of Rutland [New Hampshire Grants] probably done in 1794. The Sanborn Insurance maps of Rutland give the size and material of buildings as well as their location. Used in conjunction with a directory, these can be very informative about a building and its occupants. The 1890 map is currently on display. A 1925 map is also available.

Research on any historical topic needs to answer the question of "who?". The sources for information about people are numerous. One of the easiest and quickest to use, particularly if you have an approximate date, is the city directory. The Society has a collection of Rutland directories from 1867 to 1986. It also has a collection of Rutland telephone books from 1959 to the present. The Rutland Free Library has Federal Census records from 1791 to 1930 on microfilm. The Society has cemetery inscription books published by Margaret Jenks for Rutland, West Rutland, and Pittsford and Proctor. The Rutland City Public School attendance records provide teacher and student names for all classes of all the public schools from 1899 to 1963. The high school yearbook collection is also a great source of "people" information. There are Rutland Grand List property tax records year by year from 1815 to 1870 which are on microfilm at the Rutland Free Library. These are easier to use than the census records because they are in alphabetical order. Dawn Hance's Early Families of Rutland is particularly useful for seeking people before 1850.

The Society's collections include the Rutland Municipal Court Records from the 1870's-1960's, genealogical files of Marvel Swan, photocopies of the Evergreen Cemetery records, numerous account books and ledgers, a collection of Rutland trainmen's notebooks, some hotel registers and numerous scrapbooks and photo albums. There are minute books of some Rutland organizations and diaries and collections of letters. There are a number of books providing military rosters for various wars and a set of Vermont law books. The Society's serials collection includes The Vermonter, Vermont Life and Vermont History.

The Society library is not a circulating library but there are copy facilities available at five cents per copy. The copy machine also produces excellent copies of photographs.

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