Due to COVID-19 containment efforts, the Oak Bluffs Public Library building will remain closed to the public until further notice. Contactless hold pickup begins Saturday, June 20.

Digital Oak Bluffs Archives

2020 Special : Covid-19 Chronicles of Vineyard workers.

  • Read this ongoing series of feature articles by the Vineyard Gazette featuring those still working to keep the community going. (Oak Bluffs Library’s Reference Librarian, Nina Ferry is featured in the April 15th newspaper.) Community Heroes Keep Society Functioning.
    Reference Librarian, Nina Ferry, reading to her son Oliver, while working from home during Covid-19

Historical Guides: Downloadable guides include links to other resources and source summary information. 

  • Library of Congress Digital Archives: List includes 19th century Sanborn Insurance Fire maps, images, and a book. Useful for zoning, remodeling, and historic architectural accuracy LOC archives
  • Martha’s Vineyard Commission: Maps and statistics – current and historical MV Commission resources
  • Martha’s Vineyard Museum: Oral histories, including some topical interviews on African American history and culture on the island MV Museum Oral Histories
  • Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School Archives: Yearbooks, high school newspaper and senior presentations MVRHS Archives
  • Martha’s Vineyard Times: Then & Now Series, collated by Chris Baer. Includes articles and photographs about a variety of historical topics from visitors to tragedies to businesses. Don’t miss this ten page guide! MV Times-this was then
  • Photographs of Oak Bluffs from Historical Records of Dukes County. Please see the website link below for the full scope of the website. This guide offers specific links to Oak Bluffs photographs.
  • Vineyard Gazette’s Time Machine–Digitized articles from their archives, the articles outlined in this guide are specific to Oak Bluffs history and organized by topic. Access to Time Machine guide.

Websites that include Vineyard specific content.

  • The Wampanoag Tribe are the original people of the Island of Noepe, now known as Martha’s Vineyard. Read about the history of Noepe, the traditions and practices of the Wampanoag people, and their centuries of advocacy to be recognized and respected by local, state and national governments. Visit their official website. 
  • The Legend of Moshup Education Guide from MV Museum, read about the Wampanoag creation legend.
  • Historical Records of Duke’s County MA- a crowd sourced website with areas overseen by both the MV Museum and Chris Baer, local teacher and MV history researcher. Edits and public inquiries welcomed.
  • Our Portuguese Heritage Project of Martha’s Vineyard- This linked website is a locally organized crowd-sourced genealogy database. Not all information is up-to-date, but it does include a number of good resources and uploaded documents, as well as references to books available at the library.

National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC)

An introduction to the historical significance of African Americans in Oak Bluffs. Curator Kevin Strait of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture shares a special behind-the-scenes view into The Power of Place exhibit: Oak Bluffs and the Shearer Theater. Covered in the video are the histories of the African American community and architecture, the vacation destination, as well as the Shearer Summer Theater.

African American Heritage Trail Resources and Projects

African Heritage Trail Website

Read about the people honored at each site on the Trail and access up-to-date information on plaque dedications, tour availability, and contact details.

African American histories of Martha’s Vineyard

Explore this resource from the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School Library that links to articles, primary sources, student projects, and contemporary tours of African American Heritage on Martha’s Vineyard.

Looking for information about a historical property in Massachusetts?

MACRIS (Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System) A free database offered by the Massachusetts Historical Commission. Please read instructions carefully for searching guidelines.

For more information about the island’s history and library resources 

If you would like to schedule an appointment with the Reference Librarian for help with any of these resources, or research additional information please contact:

Nina Ferry
nferry@clamsnet.org
508-693-9433 xt. 406