Monday, February 6, 2017

Halliday Photograph Collection (MS. Coll. 162)

If First Period architecture piques your interest, the State Library has a great collection of photographic prints of 17th century Massachusetts buildings.  This period of architecture dates from 1626 through 1725, and there are more examples in Essex County (especially the town of Ipswich) than anywhere else in the country.  Characteristics of this period include steeply sloped roof lines, central chimneys, exposed summer beams, south-facing facades, and asymmetrical designs due to the fact that the homes were built in phases.

The library has 20 volumes, or over 1100 black and white photographic prints, published by William Halliday (later the Halliday Historic Photograph Co. of Boston) between 1902 and 1932.  The bulk of the collection consists of Massachusetts historic buildings constructed between 1628 and 1700, however examples from other New England states are included.  Many of the buildings in this collection no longer exist, and in some cases Halliday’s photographs are the only visual records that remain.

These volumes can be viewed by visiting our Special Collections Department in Room 55 of the State House.  They are also available for sponsorship through the library’s Adopt-a-Book program, which aims to conserve and preserve library materials with historical significance to Massachusetts and the world:

If you have any questions about these prints or our Adopt-a-Book program, you can send your inquiries via email at or call their reference desk at: 617-727-2595.

Kaitlin Connolly
Reference Department