Ron M. Potvin


The Newport Historical Society has been collecting manuscript materials for more than 150 years, dating back to its days as the Southern Cabinet of the Rhode Island Historical Society in the 1820s. When the Society was chartered in 1854, its collections began to grow dramatically. Today, the Society's Library Special Collections consists of more than 1,500 linear shelf feet of manuscript and archival materials, including merchants' records from the 18th to the 20th century, church records for fourteen congregations, log books for dozens of ships, family papers for hundreds of Newporters, an extensive African-American history collection, town and city records from the 17th to the 19th century, and a unique collection of diaries and journals. The materials encompass the full range of social and cultural diversity that makes Newport County unique.