Browse Exhibits (8 total)

Lewis Hine Exhibit

Lewis Hine DL-24-02432u.jpg

Lewis Wickes Hine 

(September 26, 1874 – November 3, 1940)

  was an American sociologist and photographer. Hine used his camera as a tool for social reform. His photographs were instrumental in changing child labor laws in the United States.

In 1908 Hine became the photographer for the National Child Labor Committee. Over the next decade, Hine documented child labor to aid the NCLC's lobbying efforts to end the practice. Hine's work for the NCLC was often dangerous. As a photographer, he was frequently threatened with violence or even death by factory police and foremen.  At the time, the immorality of child labor was meant to be hidden from the public. Photography was not only prohibited but also posed a serious threat to the industry. To gain entry to the mills, mines and factories, Hine was forced to assume many guises. At times he was a fire                             inspector, postcard vendor, bible salesman, or even an industrial photographer making a record of factory machinery.

Hine spent the month of November, 1911 photographing the children who worked at Dwight Manufacturing Company in Chicopee. Images displayed at the Chicopee Public Library are selected from thirty-six  images Hine took at the Dwight Mill. The full set of photographs is viewable at the Library of Congress and are part of the National Child Labor Committee Collection.


Historic Homes and Buildings


A survey of Chicopee was taken in the early 1980s by the Massachusetts Historical Commission to inventory the city's buildings, structures, and burial grounds. Each inventory includes an image, map sketch, short description, architectural significance and historical significance.

The images in this exhibit are just a few examples of what can be found in the Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System (MACRIS). The MACRIS database allows you to search the Massachusetts Historical Commission database for information on historic properties and areas in the Commonwealth.

Users of the database should keep in mind that it does not include information on all historic properties and areas in Massachusetts, nor does it reflect all the information on file on historic properties and areas at the Massachusetts Historical Commission.

Chicopee Library Civil War Exhibit


In 2013, the Library displayed a 10 case exhibit commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. The display focused on Chicopee's substantial role in the Civil War as one of "Lincoln's Arsenals". The men and women of Chicopee contributed to the Union's cause both on the battlefield and in the factories. On display are numerous swords forged by the Ames Manufacturing Company, leather accoutrements made by the Gaylord Manufacturing Company, and various memorabilia from the Civil War era.  The exhibit was the result of a collaboration between the Chicopee Historical Society and the Chicopee Public Library with the intention of educating our community about Chicopee's rich local history and its citizens important contributions to one of the most substantial wars ever fought in North America. The exhibit is no longer on display but online images may still be viewed.

Roy Belliveau World War II Scrapbook


The scrapbook and photographs in this exhibit were taken by Roy Belliveau during his time in the army while serving abroad in Europe during World War II.

, ,

Postcard Exhibit


The Chicopee Public Library Postcard Collection Exhibit is a series of photographs showing the postcard exhibit as it is displayed at the Chicopee Public Library.

Charles H. Tracy, 1833-1911


Charles H. Tracy received the Congressional Medal of Honor on November 19, 1887 for his service in the Civil War. Tracy was born in Jewett City, CT son of Albert L. Tracy and moved to Chicopee as a young man. In Chicopee he learned his trade as a Machinist for Ames Manufacturing Company. At the age of 29 on August 6, 1865, Charles H. Tracy enlisted for 3 years in the 37th Regiment, Co. A, Massachusetts Infantry Volunteers. He was mustered into the service on August 15, 1862.

Tracy was promoted to Sergeant shortly after his enlistment. In the engagment at Petersburgh on April 2, 1865, he was wounded and his right leg had to be amputated above the knee in a field hospital. He was promoted to a 2nd Lieutenancy May 17, 1865 but due to delays in the Massachusetts Adjutant General's office, he was never mustered in his new grade. He was discharged from service due to his wounds at Chester, Pennsylvania on July 4, 1865.

After the Civil War, Tracy returned to Chicopee where he was an active member in both the G.A.R., an organization of Civil War veterans, and Lodge of Odd Fellows. He was also Commander of the G.A.R.  Post 103 in Chicopee. Charles H. Tracy died on September 13, 1911 and is buried in Chicopee's Fairview Cemetery.

1922 Willimansett Flood Postcards


The library recently acquired a set of 4 photograph postcards documenting the 1922 Willimansett flood in which two dams burst, releasing 20 million gallons of water into Willimansett. No lives were lost, but the damages were estimated at $500,000.

Chicopee Factory Girls

Mill workers cmc.jpg

Local history books give credit for the industrial success of Chicopee to the men who established and invested in the various manufacturing companies in the city.  Boston financiers were key to the development of Chicopee from an agricultural village into an industrial city with worldwide recognition as a manufacturing Mecca.  Yet, the importance of the workers who made up the backbone of the industry’s workforce, especially the role of the female cotton factory workers is often overlooked.  This section is meant to draw attention to The Factory Girls of Chicopee, Massachusetts in the early-mid 19th century.