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 Now Open!

Abbot Hall Gift Shop is now open!

The Town of Marblehead Historical Commission announces that its Gift Shop in Abbot Hall is open again 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

Inside Abbot Hall Video Tour

Take a virtual tour of Abbot Hall with your guide, Chris Johnston, Chairman of the Marblehead Historical Commission.  Learn more about Benjamin Abbot’s gift to Marblehead and some of the special features of this historic building that you may not have noticed before.  Inside Abbot Hall was created by Jenna Comins-Addis and has been posted on the Marblehead Historical Commission’s new YouTube channel.  Take the tour!

Archival Facility Requirements Nearing Completion

The Marblehead Historical Commission is leading a planning project for the future Town-wide Marblehead Archival Facility. Initiated in July 2017, the planning project will culminate in late 2019 with a Master Plan for creation of the Archival Facility. The project is being assisted by well-known archival consultant Michele Pacifico. An Archives Advisory Committee has been established by the Selectmen to provide direction to the project.

In the first phase of the project, local organizations that wished to participate in the planning project, along with Town Departments, were identified; these organizations provided Letters of Intent to verify their willingness to participate. The second phase, establishing the facility requirements, is now underway.

A draft of the Marblehead Archival Facility Requirements Document was presented to the Archival Advisory Committee on June 13th by consultant Michele Pacifico. The requirements are expected to be finalized this Fall, following completion of archival holdings size measurements at a number of Town Departments and other participating organizations in town. The Advisory Committee also will establish types of spaces to be included in the Archival Facility, number of archival workers, volunteers, and researchers to be accommodated. Outlines of many of the archive’s policies and procedures will also need to be completed by the Committee.

We are fortunate to have a Master’s Degree candidate intern from Simmons College, Ariana Fiorello, who is taking the lead, in conjunction with consultant Pacifico, on measurements and recommendations for the other needed items. She is also developing a cataloging tool for the participating organizations to use as well as a list of preferred archival storage materials.

More information is available on the Historical Commission web site at: