Preserving Our History

As you grow older, I’ve heard it said, it’s the places you remember, not the people. I’m not sure I agree with that statement, perhaps I’m not old enough, but it does give me pause for thought. When I think back to the places I knew as a child, I can still walk from room to room in my memory, recalling specific details – the blue Chambers stove that was my mother’s pride and joy, the parlor grand piano that filled our living room, the oversized stuffed chair that stood by the fireplace. I can hear the creak of a stair step, sense the stillness of a room on a hot afternoon, and feel the sharpness of dry grass on my bare feet. I can walk – in my mind – the eight blocks from my home to my grandfather’s recalling every house, every step, and every crack in the sidewalk along the way. Such memories are comforting; they provide me a sense of connectedness to the past – to my history.

It’s important for each of us to remember our history. Remembering allows us to understand our past, which in turn allows us to understand our present. However, as time passes, places change, buildings disappear, landscapes alter, and memories fade. That is why preserving our memories – our history – while we can is important. This applies to communities as well as individuals since the collective history of a community is made of individual histories. The history of any community is the history of the people who settled there, reared children, worked hard to make a living, and strived to live in dignity and peace with their neighbors. In libraries, we call this collective history Local History, and preserving local history is an integral part of our service to the community.

When you visit our webpage, raynhampubliclibrary.org, you will see the tab, Local. This tab opens to Raynham History. On this page, you will find the preserved memories that form the history of Raynham – local histories, anniversary celebrations, cemetery records, public school reports from the 19th century, biographies of young men from Raynham who died in the service of their country and a collection of photographs of old Raynham in Raynham Remembers. The library’s Local History collection is in its infancy, but it is a beginning.

If you have memories to share – photographs of family, events, postcards, letters, family histories that helped to shape the history of Raynham, we’d like to preserve them in our digital Local History collection. We scan the item, return it to you and give you a digital copy as thanks. Help us preserve the history of Raynham and that which is unique to our community. For more information about this project, call 508.823.1344.

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