Gloucester City Hall

9 Dale Avenue, Gloucester, MA. Photograph by Steve Rosenthal


The Gloucester City Archives are the repository for the municipal records of the City of Gloucester, Massachusetts. The Archives collect, preserve and make accessible the history of Gloucester, Massachusetts.

The Archives contain one of the most complete collections of municipal records in the United States, beginning before the town’s 1642 incorporation. One of the largest collections within the Archives is the City Documents Collection (1874–present), which is arranged chronologically and consists of official city documents and papers of supplemental meetings of the Board of Aldermen, Common Council and City Council.

Other highlights of the Archives include the Vital Records, which list the births, deaths, intentions and marriages of the people of Gloucester dating from 1634 to the present. The Overseers of the Poor Records (1739–1916) include correspondence, accounts, legal and financial records relating to the general support of Gloucester’s poor. Of particular historical significance are the approximately four hundred children’s indenture documents dating from 1739 to 1852. The Archives also provide access to the City Engineers’ Maps and Plans Collection, which includes over six thousand maps of Gloucester and the vicinity dating from 1786 to 1997. More recent maps can be found at the City Engineer’s Office. The Archives also contain an extensive research and reference file collection, photographs of Gloucester, and research guides created by the dedicated archival volunteers.

The Gloucester City Archives participate in several digital initiatives to increase online access to its holdings. Detailed archival finding aids, research guides and digital collections are now available on the Archives’ website. Currently, the Archives are collaborating with the Cape Ann Museum and the Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Library to provide digital access to the earliest Town Records and the Gloucester City Directories (1860–1993).

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