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Sources for On a Cliff  (research)

Copy of "Notes on Sources" at end of book (lightly edited). In addition, see extensive endnotes in book.

Notes on Sources

General. Below are basic sources of information, and abbreviations, used in this book. This supplements the endnotes, which mostly attempt to follow the Chicago Manual of Style.

The endnotes link (hotlink) to many websites. This may be particularly helpful if you use the electronic version of this book. The links were good when consulted for this book and most were still good at time of publication. Unfortunately, it seems some special-interest websites last less than five years. That is less time than it took in writing this book. So some of these websites no longer work (“former” websites or “dead links”). To find or recover these websites, try a Google search, or the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.


Architecture. Virginia Savage McAlester, A Field Guide to American Houses: The Definitive Guide to Identifying and Understanding America’s Domestic Architecture (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2013). A great, helpful guide to understanding houses.

Assessor’s Database (Town of Scituate). Past versions were consulted online. Current version is online at

Biographical Review, Vol. XVIII: Containing Life Sketches of Leading Citizens of Plymouth County, Massachusetts (Boston: Biographical Review Publishing Co., 1897), and (“Biographical Review”).

Boston Globe. Most citations are from online archives, powered by ProQuest Archiver or, more recently, The word “Daily” is omitted.

Directories. Key ones are below, but only the first one is online:

  • 1894. (Quincy, MA:
    J. H. Hogan Co., 1894), Scituate Historical Society and online;

  • 1915. Harold Howard, (Harold Howard, 1915), Scituate Historical Society (Businesses file);

  • 1918. Harold Howard, compiler, Towns of Scituate and Marshfield Massachusetts Directory 1918: Containing an Alphabetical List of the Inhabitants, a Summer Resident Directory, Street Directory and Classified Business Directory; a List of Town Officials and Churches, Diagrams of Boston Theatres and Census of Massachusetts (Boston: Harold Howard, 1918), Scituate Historical Society (“1918 Directory”);

  • 1926. Harold Howard, compiler, Towns of Scituate and Marshfield Massachusetts Directory 1926: Containing Alphabetical List of Inhabitants and a Street Directory Classified Business Directory; a list of Town Officials; Churches, Schools, Teachers, Societies, Associations, Clubs, Institutions and Summer Resident Directory (Boston: Harold Howard, 1926), Scituate Historical Society (“1926 Directory”).


Maps. See Sanborn and State Library, below. A key map is the 1903 map, J. E. Judson, Topographical Atlas of Surveys: Plymouth County together with the town of Cohasset, Norfolk County, Massachusetts (Springfield, MA: L. J. Richards & Co., 1903), plate 31 (“1903 map”). Online at Massachusetts State Library.

Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System (“MACRIS”). It documents old buildings and other resources, and is a database of the Massachusetts Historical Commission, online.

North and South Rivers Watershed Association (“NSRWA”).

Plymouth County Registry of Deeds (“PCRD”). Deeds and plans are online at

Sanborn Maps. They covered parts of Scituate, including Third Cliff, in 1909, 1918, 1926, and 1939. On file on microfilm at State Library of Massachusetts, Special Collections. Now also online at Library of Congress; start with 1918 and see bottom of page for "More items like this."

Scituate Historical Society (“SHS”),

Scituate Town Archives (“Town Archives”). A great resource, located at Town Hall.

Scituate Town Library. Local history books. Website has digitized local newspapers and town reports, (tab for Research/Local History & Genealogy).

Scituate Town Reports. Published annually by the Town of Scituate, they are on file in the Town Archives and the Scituate Historical Society. They are available online from Scituate Town Library and Scituate Historical Society websites. They list printers, including The Memorial Press of Plymouth, Boundbrook Press of North Scituate, and Sanderson Brothers of North Abington, MA. Notes in this book omit the place of publishing and printing, and the year (normally the year after the one in the title).

State Library of Massachusetts. Key source for historical maps, including Sanborn maps. The library’s Real Estate Atlas Digitization Project put many atlases online.

Third Cliff-Rivermoor Improvement Association (“TCRIA”) archives.

US Census data. HeritageQuest Online, distributed by ProQuest, powered by (“HeritageQuest”), available online from Scituate Town Library.

Valuation Lists. (“Valuation List,” or “VL” in notes). Tax valuation lists were prepared each year by hand in bound ledgers, on file in the Town Archives. In addition, they were printed and published occasionally, with partial information, as part of town reports, including those for 1876, 1886, 1896, 1906 and 1927. These reports are on file in the Town Archives and at the Scituate Historical Society. Some or all are available online from the Scituate Town Library website. The one for 1896 is in the set of 1892–1898 reports, and the one for 1906 is in the set of 1906–1908 reports. Note that taxpayers are listed alphabetically only by first letter of last name, and nonresidents appear in a separate section at the end.



More links are here.

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