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The Rhode Island Historical Society is a privately endowed membership organization, founded in 1822, dedicated to collecting, preserving, and sharing Rhode Island’s history. Its offices are located at 110 Benevolent Street, Providence, Rhode Islandmarker 02906.


Founded in 1822, the Society is the fourth oldest state historical society in the United States (after the Massachusetts Historical Society, New York Historical Societymarker, and Maine Historical Society). The Rhode Island Historical Society was founded and funded by many of Providence's early Yankee luminaries, including Moses Brown and Henry J. Steere. In 1854 the "Southern Cabinet" of the Rhode Island Historical Society became reorganized as the Newport Historical Society.


The Society has the largest and most important historical Rhode Island collection within its main library and three museums. The Society's collections include some 25,000 objects, 5,000 manuscripts, 100,000 books and printed items, 400,000 photographs and maps, and 9 million feet of motion-picture film. The Society offers through the Newell D. Goff Education Center a variety of educational programs including workshops, lectures, films, and walking tours of Providence. In recent years the Society has been very active in teacher training programs seeking to improve the quality of history teaching in Rhode Island. The Society also presents exhibits, films, concerts, and many other community activities and programs.

The Society’s most noteworthy recent advances include its first on-line collection access catalog and the first major restoration of the historic John Brown Housemarker, a $2.5 million project that should be complete in 2010.


The Society owns and operates the following notable museums and properties:


  1. Publications of the Rhode Island Historical Society, Volume 3 (New Series) (for RIHS by Snow and Farnham: Providence, 1900), pg. 24 [1]
  2. Bulletin of the Newport Historical Society - Page 17 by Newport Historical Society - Newport (R.I.) - 1912[2] (accessed on Google Book Search, July 7, 2008)

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