The Peabody Historical Society’s extensive collections, gathered over the course of the past century, document over 300 years of the region’s history. The collections are instrumental in the development of the Society’s exhibitions and educational programs because of their comprehensive nature and relevance to countless people, places and events in Peabody.
Costumes & Textiles
The costumes and textiles collection is comprised of about 3700 items that span the late 18th through the 20th centuries. The collection’s many treasures include early samplers, historic wedding gowns and signature quilts, as well as table and bed linens, clothing, hats, shoes, jewelry, and accessories.
Image: Sampler, 1817, made by Sally Richardson, silk and linen, gift of Sarah E. Hunt
Furniture & Decorative Arts
The Society preserves several hundred fine examples of Colonial, Federal and Victorian furniture and decorative arts that were made and/or used in Peabody between the 18th and 20th centuries. The collection ranges from high style furnishings, such as a Salem case clock and a Hepplewhite sideboard, to one-of-a kind items that feature decorative painting and embellishments.
Image: Hepplewhite Sideboard, ca. 1800, pine with flame mahogany veneers and inlay
Paintings, Prints & Drawings
The Peabody Historical Society’s collection of paintings, prints and drawings represents the work of artists from Peabody and the north shore of Massachusetts from the 18th through the 20th centuries. Highlights of the collection include portraits by noted 19th century artists Asa Bushby and Charles Osgood, as well as a series of watercolors of the Society’s Felton properties by depression-era artist Richard Ellery.
Image: Almira Peabody Bushby, ca. 1870, Asa Bushby, oil on canvas
Ceramics, Glass and Metalwork
Peabody was an important center for the production of high quality pottery from the 17th through the 20th centuries. The collection reflects such activity with superb examples of redware, an early type of earthenware made from the area’s iron rich clay. The Society’s holdings also include early American pewter and glass, fine domestic and imported china, silver, and arts and crafts ceramics.
Image: Redware Dish, 18th century, earthenware, red glaze, yellow slip
The Society’s collection of historical artifacts tells the story of daily life in Peabody from its beginnings as an agrarian community populated by English migrants, to its rise as a melting pot and manufacturing center in the 19th and 20th centuries. The collection is comprised of several thousand items including tools, agricultural implements, architectural components, household accessories, children’s toys and games, sports equipment and uniforms, musical instruments, and artifacts related to Peabody’s churches, ethnic communities, businesses and clubs.
Image: Melodian, 19th century, George A. Prince & Co., Buffalo, N.Y., rosewood, gift of John H. Wright