The Marlborough Historical Society in the Community

In addition to free monthly programs, members of the Historical Society make special presentations to school, senior, and community groups, and participate in celebrations throughout the city.

Let us know if you are interested in scheduling a special presentation at your meeting, or are interested in a tour of the historic Peter Rice Homestead and Museum.

2010 Heritage Festival

October 3, 2010

The Society put on display essays and other materials from the recently-opened time capsule.  The essays from school children described what they thought Marlborough would be like in 50 years.


2010 Season Kick-off
At the Senior Center
September 28, 2010

The Society started the year with a pasta diner and dance at the Senior Center as part of the Society's community outreach.

The event included this large display of items from the Lyonhurst Ballroom.


2009 Heritage Festival
October 4, 2009

The "Then and Now" collection of photos of downtown Marlborough exhibited by the Society at this year's Heritage Festival was again very popular.  (Many of the "Then" photos are here.)

2010 Season Kick-off
The Edmund Rice Association

September 18, 2009

Bob Kane and Sue Brigham (not pictured) led a tour of the Peter Rice Homestead and gave a presentation to the Edmund Rice Association during the association's annual meeting.

Scholarship Awarded
Annual Meeting
April 28, 2009


The Marlborough Historical Society's annual scholarship was awarded to Kaylin Ossing.  Pictured (L to R): Michael Ossing, Society President Janet Licht, Kaylin Ossing, Linda Ossing, and Joerama Valianti, a descendant of one of the three people who initiated the scholarship.  The essay, Taking a Walk in the Shoes of Marlborough, can be read here [PDF].

Marlborough Public Library
January 10, 2009

Joan Abshire (far right) gets ready to give her presentation on the John Brown Bell to a standing room only crowd.  You can download the 29-page book Joan wrote or learn more about the John Brown Bell here.

Salute to Veterans
November 8 - 9, 2008

More than 500 people attended this exhibition in honor of all Marlborough veterans.  The centerpiece was a scrapbook of WWII service announcements.   More photos here.


Idea Exchange for Boards of New England  Historical Societies
November 1, 2008

Marlborough Trustee Lee Wright directs traffic during a meeting of fifty-five board members from historical societies throughout New England who gathered in Marlborough for a day-long session to exchange ideas and share insights.  Organized by the Marlborough Historical Society, this was the first meeting of its kind that brought together board members throughout the region.  (Read the Boston Globe article here.)

2008 Heritage Festival
October 5, 2008

The Society's exhibit at this year's Heritage Festival included our "Then and Now" photo display of downtown Marlborough.   (Many of the "Then" photos are here.)

  • Only July 16, more than 50 residents heard Society member Joan Abshire, author of The John Brown Bell--The journey of the second-most important bell in American history, from Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, to Marlborough, Massachusetts, give a multi-media presentation on the John Brown bell and its many connections to Marlborough.  The presentation was hosted by the Marlborough Senior Center and was was followed by a reception.
Joan first gave her presentation at the Society's monthly meet on January 26, 2008, as reported in this article.  Read more about her original research and download a PDF of her book here.
Taste of Downtown Marlborough 2008

June 23, 2008

Visitors to the large "Then and Now" photo display on downtown Marlborough, which was created by Joan Abshire, the Society's photo archivist and researcher, and Bob Kane, Society trustee and organizer of the Taste event.

(View many of the old photographs that were a part of that display here.)
  • Historical Society President Janet Licht, board member and former president Jack Gracey, and board member Lee Wright were interviewed for a story about the Marlborough Historical Society included on the local cable channel's monthly magazine for May.

Marlborough Historic Homes Tour and Tea
May 4, 2008

Jen and Dow, owners of the c. 1790 William Howe Homestead, were two of the homeowners who opened their home to guests that day in support of historic preservation in Marlborough.

It was a rare opportunity to see some of the area's most interesting and treasured homes, and despite the overcast skies, people turned out in droves.  This article captured some of the day's activities.  View all of the homes here.



Scholarship Awarded
Annual Meeting
April 22, 2008


The Marlborough Historical Society's annual scholarship was awarded to Devon Blake.

Joining us for the presentation were Deborah Valianti and Paul Dwyer, descendants of two of the three people who initiated the scholarship.

  • Jack Gracey, curator, board member, and past president of the Society, presented on April 14 to a Junior English class at Marlborough High School as part of their study of Thornton Wilder's Our Town.  The presentation, which included historic photos and maps, discussed the history of Marlborough with a focus on the 20th century. 
Jack, who is heading up the Society's outreach to local schools, is also presenting at the end of April to third grade students at Kane Elementary School, where he will provide an overview of the history of Marlborough.
  • Long-time Society member Joan Abshire presented
    The John Brown Bell--The journey of the second-most important bell in American history, from Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, to Marlborough, Massachusetts to the Sisters of St. Chretienne in Marlborough on April 10, 2008. 
Library Display
April 2008


This year's display featured the Peter Rice Homestead and told the story of the Society's mission of historic preservation, education, and celebration with examples of the Society's many activities in each of these areas.  Our thanks to the Library's director and staff for their help.
  • Society curator and past president Jack Gracey presented “Five Centuries of American Housing On One Marlborough Street” to the Marlborough Area Newcomers and Neighbors Club at their meeting on March 31, 2008.  Jack presentation described the history of American housing using slides of homes on Farm Road built in the 17th through the 21st centuries.

2007 Heritage Festival
September 30, 2007

Janet Licht, president of the Marlborough Historical Society, and Louis Bibi, with the mystery item that the Society had on display at the Society's table on Main Street.

Mr. Bibi identified it as a food chopper.  Food to be chopped was placed in the metal tub.  Turning the crank raised and lowered a metal blade and rotated the metal tub.

The chopper dates to the 1880s and was made by the L.S. Starrett Company, which is still in existence.  Located in Athol, Massachusetts, the company stopped making kitchen appliances long ago.  More on the company's history in this profile and on the company's site.

Scholarship Awarded
Annual Meeting
April 2007

Presenting the Society's scholarship to winner Lindsey Cunningham  were Janet Licht (left), president of the Marlborough Historical Society, with descendants of those whose contribution funded the original scholarship.



Scholarship Awarded

Annual Meeting
April 2006

Board member Peggy Ayres, chairwoman of the Society's scholarship committee, presenting  the annual award to winner Andrew Harvey, who researched the history of the Marlborough Country Club.



Scholarship Awarded
April 2005

Janet Licht (left), president of the Marlborough Historical Society, presents the Society's scholarship to Ryan Walsh, who is joined by his mother.




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