Community Calendar

Community Artists Program
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Charlestown

Complimentary Health Screenings
3 p.m. - 6 p.m. Westerly

GED Preparation Classes
5 p.m. - 8 p.m. Westerly

Chess Club
6 p.m. - 7:45 p.m. Westerly

Wilderness Land navigation Using Latitude/Longitude or UTM
6 p.m. - 8 p.m. Charlestown

Westerly Youth Basketball and Cheerleading
6 p.m. - 8 p.m. Westerly

Financial Literacy
6:30 p.m. - 8 p.m. Westerly

Book Discussion
7 p.m. - 8 p.m. Carolina

Wills and Trusts
7 p.m. - 8 p.m. Charlestown

GED Preparation Classes
9:15 a.m. - Noon Wyoming

... View all of today's events

Stay Connected

R.I. puts historic records online

PROVIDENCE — In 1957, the Davol Rubber Company distributed a handy booklet for expectant mothers in Rhode Island. Among the bits of advice: Before you head to the delivery room, make sure you leave your husband plenty of prepared meals so he won’t go hungry. The 28-page booklet is one of scores of historic documents, records and odds and ends in the Rhode Island State Archives that are now available for viewing online. The digital collection includes an 1803 letter from President Thomas Jefferson to the state’s governor, a list of soldiers who served in the War of 1812 and a curious photo of Red Sox great Ted Williams posing with a 557-pound tuna he caught off Point Judith.

The online archive — — is intended to be used by researchers, genealogists, schoolchildren, journalists and anyone with an interest in the state’s history, according to Secretary of State Ralph Mollis, who oversees the State Archives.

“It puts history at your fingertips,” Mollis said. “The whole goal is to give people information about Rhode Island’s history in an incredibly accessible way.”

A quick search of the online collection yields several surprising finds.

• A list of the dozens if not hundreds of Rhode Island soldiers who succumbed to the 1918 flu pandemic while serving in World War I.

• An 1862 telegram from President Abraham Lincoln requesting 50,000 troops from Gov. William Sprague to fight in the Civil War.

• Incredible photos of the devastation caused by the Hurricane of 1938.

• A copy of the act giving women the right to vote.

• A meandering, reverent history of the state’s most famous chicken breed, the Rhode Island Red.

New material is added to the online collection regularly.

“Sometimes the oddest things get people really excited and intrigued,” State Archivist Gwenn Stearn said. “The idea is to get it together all in one place and get it online.”

For some of the archives’ best material, however, take a trip to its downtown Providence office. That’s where the originals are kept — including letters from George Washington, writings of Roger Williams, royal decrees and a police baton used to dispel looters in the Hurricane of 1938. And the state’s own copy of the Bill of Rights.

“We have so many fascinating things,” Stearn said. “And they’re not our archives. They’re the people’s archives.”

Back to State
Top Stories of the Week

Robbery suspect is killed by police …
A man who was wanted in a string of bank robberies across southeastern Connecticut and southwestern Rhode Island was shot and killed Saturday morning by … more ...

Westerly Behavioral Health’s closure leaves some of region’s opioid patients …
WESTERLY — The dissolution of a local psychiatry practice, one of just four medical providers in town that was authorized to prescribe a regulated drug … more ...

Police identify man found dead in wood chipper …
11:12 a.m. update: Police have identified the man who was killed when he apparently fell into a wood chipper Thursday at the Ogden Farm on … more ...

Landscaper was victim of chipper accident …
STONINGTON — Police identified a man killed Thursday when he apparently fell into a wood chipper on the Ogden Farm property at 117 South Anguilla … more ...

Police formally release name, details in shooting of bank robbery …
OLD SAYBROOK — Connecticut State Police have formally released the name of a man shot and killed following a police standoff Saturday, identifying him as … more ...