Annual Report

The Society's annual report to the community was published in the Main Street Journal on April 27, 2008

Preserving and Promoting Local History

Janet Licht
The Marlborough Historical Society

Throughout our 2007 – 2008 season of programs and special events we’ve been opening doors to Marlborough history throughout our community.  One of the special ways we’re doing that is through the Spring Historic Homes Tour and Tea on Sunday, May 4.

This is the only event dedicated to historic preservation in Marlborough, with six historic homes dating from 1688 to 1898 open from noon to 5 p.m.  A Spring Tea is also included. Complete details, including photos and advance admission, are online

This comes near the end of a year of significant progress and innovation at the Society all focused on our mission of historic preservation, education, and celebration in Marlborough.

Our new website has opened the Society to anyone regardless of where they live.  Every month more than 700 people from around the world learn about Marlborough by visiting our site where they find histories of Marlborough, information on recent donations, and details on our free monthly programs and upcoming special events.

Out of a year of great programs, one of the highlights was Joan Abshire’s multimedia presentation on the John Brown Bell. Through her original research locally and at Harpers Ferry, she uncovered new connections to Marlborough that she presented to the Society and made available to all as a free 29-page book downloaded from the Society’s web site.

Our free monthly programs are now being recorded to air on our local cable station.

The five-volume Marlborough Survey of Historic, Architectural, and Cultural Resources was scanned and put online.  The survey contains valuable information on hundreds of historic buildings and other landmarks throughout the city, and Marlborough is one of only a handful of cities and towns in Massachusetts to make their entire survey available online.

Donations of items linked to our city’s history have come in from more places than ever before.  For example, spoons once used at Williams Tavern were given by a woman in Connecticut, while a man in California sent pictures and scrapbooks from Marlborough.

One of the most surprising donations came from a woman in New Hampshire with a scrapbook that contains hundreds of World War II service announcements from Marlborough.  This scrapbook will be on display during a new community event that the Society will host this fall.

The board and membership of the Society continues to grow.  Through outreach at last year’s Heritage Festival we welcomed several new members, and we continue to bring onto our board people who expand our Society with new skills and fresh insights.  Notably, our members continue to be recognized for their contributions to the community, including Vice-President Peggy Ayres, who was named Humanitarian of the Year by the Mayor a few weeks ago.

Longtime members and board members continue to sustain and enrich the Society, including Gene Schneider, who 20 years ago served two terms as the president of the Society and today serves as the Society’s treasurer and the chairman of the building committee.

Board members and Society volunteers continue to lead historic education efforts, with tours of the Peter Rice Homestead, presentations in the schools and to seniors, and an annual scholarship given in memory of Dorothy Medill, Claudia McCarty, and Frank Valianti.  This year’s recipient is Devon Blake, a senior at Marlborough High School.

The last program of this year is on June 24 and it’s on Charles Hudson, author of the 1862 History of Marlborough.

The Society is planning a new event for the city: A Salute to Marlborough Veterans.  This will take place in November, and will include items from the Society’s collection, including the recently-received scrapbook of World War II service announcements.

We’re moving one of the city’s longstanding traditions, Christmas at the Farm, up to November 28 – 30, giving everyone the chance to get in the Christmas spirit and enjoy a festive holiday celebration at the Peter Rice Homestead.

As a resident of Marlborough for more than 50 years, I’m honored to serve as the president of the Marlborough Historical Society. I’m also eager to hear your ideas for the year ahead.  Write and let me know your thoughts and the role you’d like to play: You can reach me via e-mail or via postal mail to the Marlborough Historical Society, P.O. Box 513, Marlborough, MA 01752.

I look forward to seeing you Sunday, May 4 at the Spring Historic Homes Tour and Tea.


Janet Licht was re-elected as the president of the Marlborough Historical Society at the annual membership meeting on April 22, 2008.

Thanks to the generosity of participating homeowners and the support of the community, The Spring Historic Homes Tour and Tea was the most successful event that the Society has held in years, drawing people from Marlborough and beyond.  Pictures of the event are here.