SEARCHABLE ANTEBELLUM CONCORD (MASS.) TOWN REPORTS
At present, these pages represent only a small portion of the total body of printed Concord town reports. The pre-Civil War time period was chosen because it contains a relatively manageable body of data and because it is an era of particular interest to a variety of scholars and researchers. The pages as they currently exist will eventually be expanded to include later town reports. They will also serve as a prototype for the Searchable Antebellum Concord (Mass.) Newspapers pages, an ambitious, closely-related set of pages that will be mounted on the Concord Free Public Library website in the coming months.
Support for the creation of the Searchable Antebellum Concord (Mass.) Town Reports was provided in part by contributions to the Bradley P. Dean Memorial Fund.
Issued on an annual basis from the 1830s to the present time, the printed municipal reports of the Town of Concord — its officers, departments, and citizen committees — comprise a rich source of information about not only the town's governmental and civic life but its social history, as well. The town reports were and are published specifically to provide Concord's citizens with factual data like the cost of road repairs, school maintenance, and the surveying of municipal properties, and the results of votes taken at the annual spring town meeting. But in addition to fulfilling this primary purpose, the reports also reveal much about broader topics, such as the nature of local concern for the town's disadvantaged and changes over time in educational theory and practice. (The nineteenth-century reports of transcendentalist Bronson Alcott as Concord's Superintendent of Schools are legendary for their length and their philosophical density.)
The Searchable Antebellum Concord (Mass.) Town Reports pages make all Concord town reports between 1834 and 1862 in the Concord Free Public Library's William Munroe Special Collections readily available for local informational purposes and for research in history, literature, the social sciences, and other disciplines. Users may browse scanned images of the pages in every town report within that time span, or may search the text of all scanned reports for specific words or combinations of words.