Goodnow Library, c1888The Goodnow Library, c1888Etching by J. S. Conant, from Alfred S. Hudson, History of Sudbury, 1889 Our Collections Doing Research at SHS Links and Resources

Doing Research at SHS

Our collections archivist, volunteers, and our members are happy to answer your questions and help with research using our library and collections. We are often contacted for research into family genealogy, identification of objects and the history of houses and plots of land in town.

During the Coronavirus pandemic, all research inquires must be made by email or by phone.

The Society charges $20 per hour for research for non–members. Research services are free for SHS Members.

Note that only a small percentage of the Society's collections are arranged in exhibition displays. Some of the Society's collection is kept off site in secure, controlled storage. Please notify the Society in advance if there are specific objects you wish to research so that they can be made available when you visit.

Research Procedures

Before beginning research, please:

  1. Sign in using the visitor’s log.
  2. Read the rules and procedures regarding use of archival materials.

When visiting the library or research lab:

  1. Note that food and drinks may not be consumed in the research area.
  2. Only pencils may be used in the lab. Pencils are available.
  3. Handle all collection items with care. Regardless of age, each item is unique, important and often irreplaceable.
  4. Researchers examining photographs, and certain maps, books and papers must wear cotton gloves. Gloves are available from staff.
  5. Please keep all material in the same order as you received it. The arrangement of archival records is often as important as the information they contain. Do not try to rearrange, repair, or remove items. If something appears to be out of order or in need of repair, please tell the staff.
  6. Please leave all items used on the table when through. Staff will return all items to bookshelves and files.


By signing in at the Research Lab or Library, a researcher agrees to cite the Sudbury Historical Society in any footnotes, bibliographies, captions, labels, acknowledgments and other citation mechanisms.

Reproduction Policies

The Research Lab at the Sudbury History Center includes in its holdings books, maps, newspapers, periodicals, published and unpublished documents, scrapbooks, photographs, and drawings, plus a vast array of other historical records. Note that the Historical Society archives contain some images that do not belong to the Historical Society, but to other organizations. It is the responsibility of the user to obtain reproduction permission from these other organizations. When reproducing material held by the Sudbury Historical Society:
  1. The user must sign a Reproduction and Usage Agreement and follow its requirements.
  2. The images obtained from the SHS may not be altered or manipulated beyond the requirements of normal image enhancement or cropping. Nothing will be done to change the integrity of the image.
  3. The image(s) may be stored electronically for this use only.
  4. The Sudbury Historical Society credit line must appear on or near each image reproduced, in a manner accessible to the public. If the image is part of a special collection or if the photographer's name is known, that information must appear as well. Credit lines will be supplied by the Historical Society.
  5. The SHS requests that at least one copy of any publication containing reproductions of its photographs be presented to the Historical Society without charge.
  6. The Historical Society does not offer exclusive rights to any user, publisher, author, or photographer, and assumes no responsibility for duplication of subjects by others or any responsibility for claims by third parties.
  7. In consideration of the SHS’s furnishing of an image, the publisher/user agrees to defend, fully indemnify, and hold harmless the SHS or its employees from and against any and all claims, actions, liabilities, expense, losses or damages (including but not limited to any based on libel, slander or on rights of privacy or of publicity or on infringement of copyright or other literary or artistic rights claimed by others, irrespective of whether such claim arises out of any act or omission of the publisher/user or any act or omission of any independent contractor having a contract with the publisher/user) including reasonable attorney's fees, arising out of the use, publication, distribution, exhibition or dissemination of any or all said photographs by the publisher/user or his or her agents or employees.
  8. Nonprofit and government organizations or agencies will not be charged a reproduction fee, nor will commercial organizations or individuals doing pro bono work for nonprofit or government agencies. Users in all categories must obtain permission from the SHS to reproduce the material.
  9. There are no fees for reproducing material for academic uses (including dissertation, thesis, class presentation, publication in a scholarly journal, or any academic publication that is not for sale).
  10. Reproduction (usage) fees apply for other uses. All fees must be paid in advance.
  11. Fees are per image for a one time, one project use.
  12. Patrons who wish to publish or display photographs from the Historical Society's archive must receive permission to use photographs. The patron should first submit their request in writing, including details about how the image will be used.
  13. In making a request for photographs, the patron should be as specific as possible. If the request is for an illustration from an SHS publication, page and figure numbers should be given. If the patron submits an extremely general request, such as for "Children at school," or "Old Sudbury Houses," which requires the staff to conduct a file search, the search will be performed at the discretion of the staff. Long lists or nonspecific requests cannot be accommodated.
  14. The fee for file searches is $20 per hour. Search times and estimated fees will be discussed.
  15. The above considerations apply equally to images that are to be used on-line. Payment of the reproduction/usage fee entitles the user to use the image at a specified site only. The user is prohibited from transmitting the image to another site without the knowledge or permission of the SHS.
  16. Images may be downloaded to a printer by the user for individual use only, not for resale.
  17. Copying is up to the discretion of staff. Researchers may not personally photocopy collection items. Photocopies will be made only if copying will not damage items. Charges are $.10 per page.

Image Usage Fees

Image usage fees where applicable vary depending on how the image is used. Most fees are between $15 and $25 per use. Please contact the Society for the full schedule of usage fees (email:, telephone: 978/443-3747).