Mapping Marblehead: the 19th century – Recap Presentation

Thursday June 23 at 7:00 pm

Join Marblehead Historical Commissioners Pam Peterson, Chris Johnston and David Krathwohl to learn about Marblehead’s 19th history through maps on Thursday, June 23 at 7:00 pm. The Marblehead Museum will host the presentation via Zoom. Register at to receive the link to the free lecture.

Marblehead is a town that is unusually rich in history. The19th century was a time of tremendous change. The War of 1812, the Civil War and the rise of tourism all shaped the century. Maps from the 19th century set the framework for the town and its development.

The presentation will recap the highlights of the exhibit presented by the Marblehead Historical Commission at the Old Town House in 2020.  The next exhibit, Mapping Marblehead: the 20th century and beyond, will open on July 8th   at the Old Town House. Descriptive panels, artifacts, and interactive computer maps will illustrate Marblehead’s growth. Oral histories from 20th century Marblehead remind us of where we were and where we are going in the 21st century and beyond.


Mapping Marblehead Returns 2022!

Mapping Marblehead
The Twentieth century and beyond
New Exhibit at Old Town House Opens July 8, 2022

Closing date for this exhibit has changed.  The exhibit is now open through the 16th of October, so visit now!

The Marblehead Historical Commission will present a new, innovative exhibit at the Old Town House, 1 Market Square, beginning on July 8. Mapping Marblehead The Twentieth century and beyond continues the Historical Commission’s project of presenting the highlights of Marblehead’s history. This is the third and final in a series of three planned exhibits. The goal is to tell the story of our town in a way that can be appreciated by all ages, encouraging residents and visitors to walk through the exhibit, and then out into the town with a greater understanding of its past. The interactive maps and video displays present the history of Marblehead in a way that can be enjoyed by all.

Funded by a grant from the Harold B. and Elizabeth L. Shattuck Memorial Trust, the exhibit will run from July 8 through October 16. Regular exhibit hours are Fridays from 1 – 4 pm, Saturdays from 10 – 4 pm, and Sundays from 1 – 4 pm. All are welcome, and there is no charge.

The exhibit includes interpretive panels, artifacts, and interactive maps illustrating Marblehead’s growth and expansion. Marblehead entered the twentieth century poor but charmingly situated, with declining industry. It exited wealthy and outwardly focused, with a harbor full of recreational boats.  Forever tied to the sea, Marblehead’s location and history continue to define it.

Marblehead Historical Commissioners David Krathwohl and Pam Peterson have collaborated to present highlights of Marblehead’s history through text, artifacts, and interactive computer displays. Exhibit designer, and local resident, Helen Riegle of HER Design has created an exhibit that will engage and excite visitors of all ages.

Docents from Marblehead’s Historical Commission will be onsite during open hours to interpret the displays for visitors. Schools, and groups of all ages, are encouraged to take advantage of the exhibit as well.

Black Heritage Video Links

Links to videos on Black heritage in Marblehead have been added to the Resources page in the Research section of the website.  “The Inclusive History Project: Black Heritage in Marblehead” comprises a series of short video clips produced by the Marblehead Racial Justice Team (MRJT).   MRJT has a goal to increase awareness about people of color, and the videos give MRJT’s take on individuals and events during several periods in Marblehead’s history.

Gift Shop Will Open Just After Memorial Day!

Abbot Hall Gift Shop is opening!

The Town of Marblehead Historical Commission announces that its Gift Shop in Abbot Hall will open just after Memorial Day and invites you to visit.

The Abbot Hall Gift Shop is THE place in Town to find the perfect Marblehead-related gift or souvenir. The Gift Shop has Marblehead-themed hats, post cards, note cards, notepads, calendars, mugs and glassware, braided rope-work kits…and much more.

It is also the best place in town to find Marblehead related fiction and non-fiction books. The Shop will soon have copies available of the exciting new book about Marblehead’s Glover’s Regiment by Patrick O’Donnell, The Indispensables.

While you are in the Gift Shop, be sure to check out the extensive museum display of Marblehead Pottery as well as a collection of Marblehead duck decoys, including many made by famed decoy-maker Gerald Smith.

The Abbot Hall Gift Shop is located on the first floor of the building and will be open weekdays from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. For the time-being, nose and mouth covering masks are required to be worn in Abbot Hall, including the Gift Shop.

Booklet of Town-Owned Artwork Created by Historical Commission

The Marblehead Historical Commission has created a booklet of Town-Owned Artwork, including artwork in Abbot Hall, Abbot Public Library and the Mary Alley Office Building. The booklet was created by summer intern Melissa Duffy.

The booklet is available as a PDF on the Historical Commission’s web site, using the “Museums” Tab, or by clicking on this link: The Town of Marblehead Artwork.

Abbot Public Library digitizes Marblehead Reporter/Messenger

The Abbot Public Library has digitized more than 140 years of the Marblehead Reporter/Messenger – a great resource for Marblehead historians and genealogists!  Read all about it here:

90th Anniversary Race for Marblehead Trophy Held This Year in St. Petersburg, Russia

Marblehead Trophy – racing was initiated in 1929 as part of Marblehead’s Tercentennial celebration, to be awarded to the best international sailor’s yacht club. The Trophy’s purpose was to promote Marblehead as the “Yachting Capital of the World”.

2019 is the 90th anniversary of the yachting world’s historic Marblehead Trophy. This trophy was established by the Marblehead Selectmen in 1929 in

honorof the 300th anniversary of Marblehead’s settlement. It was raced for in the International Race Week racing that year in Marblehead, could only be won by an international yacht club in the first year, and is a perpetual trophy for sailboat racing. It was intended that over the years, the Trophy would keep Marblehead’s name as Yachting Capital of the World in front of an international audience.

In 1929, the trophy was raced for in 30 Square Meter yachts, and won by the Royal Swedish Yacht Club, represented by Erik Lundberg in his yacht Bachhant. Since that time, there has been occasional awareness in Marblehead of racing for the trophy, with only a few articles in the Marblehead Messenger or the Boston Globe over the years.

1929 Marblehead Trophy winner, Erik Lundberg and his crew in their yacht Bachhant

That all changed in 2018, when Marbleheader Bruce Dyson went to Denmark to race for the Marblehead Trophy. The Trophy was raced for in Dragon Class boats, and won by the Yacht Club de Cannes (France), raced for by Anatoly Loginov. Although unsuccessful in returning it home, Dyson’s trip did reawaken awareness of the Trophy and an interest in finding out where the Trophy has been all these years.

This year, the 90th anniversary racing for the Trophy was held by the St. Petersburg Yacht Club (Russia), which held the event in conjunction with the Yacht Club de Cannes in late July. With assistance from the St. Petersburg Yacht Club organizing committee and especially the head of their Media Center, Andrey Petrov, much more of the Trophy’s history is now known. The means to do this was quite simple. Most years, the name of the winning yacht club, skipper and yacht were engraved on the Trophy – a massive solid silver bowl created by Daniel Low Co. of Salem. Petrov painstakingly photographed each engraving and also copied down the engraving text, summarizing them on a spreadsheet. The Trophy has no engravings for 24 years, and 3 years when the Trophy was known to not have been given out. While there is more to be learned, we now have a much better handle on where the Marblehead Trophy has been and which country and yacht clubs won it.

2019 Marblehead Trophy racing was in Dragon Class boats run by the St. Petersburg Yacht Club (Russia), in conjunction with the Yacht Club de Cannes (France). The winners are shown in this photo. In center is skipper Dmitry Samokhin, along with his crew members.

Sweden dominated Trophy wins until 1950, winning every trophy racing for which there are engravings on the bowl (16 times). After this, the Trophy was won by German (13 times), Italian (9 times), Greek (2 times), Danish (13 times), and French (once) yacht clubs.

This year, the Marblehead Trophy was won by “Yacht Harbour “Hercules” of St. Petersburg, Russia, represented by Dmitry Samokhin, sailed once again in a fleet of 22 Dragon Class boats. The Race Committee was able to get off 5 races over a span of 3 days, with the final outcome not known until the finish of the final race. As a result of Samokhin’s victory, next year’s racing for the Marblehead Trophy will also be in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The second place boat in the 2019 Marblehead Trophy racing was skippered by Pedro Andrade of Portugal, sailing for the Yacht Club Nautico de Tavira, with an all-female crew.

The fact that racing for the Marblehead Trophy is still going on after 90 years is remarkable, and has, indeed, helped keep Marblehead’s name as a yachting center on the world stage.

Click here to see a video about the 2019 Marblehead Trophy racing.

Jonathan Orne’s 1776 Cartridge Box and Replica Given to Marblehead Historical Commission by Orne Family and Bryan Ruocco

On July 4th, 2019, members of the Orne family, including Frank Orne, Stephen Orne, Ted Peach and Standley Goodwin, gave Jonathan Orne’s original Revolutionary War cartridge box, dating to 1776, to the Marblehead Historical Commission. Bryan Ruocco and his son Andrew also gave the Commission a replica of the original cartridge box that they created. Presentation of the boxes was made on July 4th, 2019 at historic Ft. Sewall, with members of Marblehead’s Glover’s Regiment in attendance. Click on the link to see a video of the presentation.

Marblehead Bicentennial Quilt Display Updated

Displayed in Abbot Hall’s auditorium is a gorgeous quilt, made in 1976 by a group of Marblehead women, celebrating the nation’s 200th anniversary. The quilt is made of 33 squares and is approximately ten feet square, depicting different scenes and places in Marblehead. Several copies of a book describing each of the squares, with calligraphy by Nancy Ferguson and illustrations by Elaine Daly, have been printed by two of the original quilters, Anne Scully and Bev Simpson. A copy of this book has been donated to the Historical Commission and placed adjacent to the quilt in Abbot Hall’s auditorium. Next time you are in Abbot Hall, be sure to head to the auditorium and check out this delightful addition to the quilt display. You can also link to the Historical Commission’s web page with a higher resolution image of the quilt and a pdf of the book by clicking on this link.


Marblehead Bicentennial Quilt – copyright Rick Ashley