Navigate / search

Digital Collections

The Sawyer Free Library has expanded access to its holdings through digitization. The digital material can be accessed through the North Of Boston Library Exchange (NOBLE) online catalog as well as the Sawyer Free Library Digital Heritage.

The Gloucester Collections include:


Gloucester High School Yearbooks Our digital collection from Gloucester High School dates from the 1901 to 2013 (with gaps). Look for your friends, your parents (or grandparents!) to see what has changed.


The Gloucester Postcard Collection, which has over two hundred postcards which show various historical and recreational sites, as well as maritime scenes of Cape Ann during the early to mid-twentieth century. The postcards can give a view of Cape Ann that might of otherwise be lost.



“Toward an Oral History of Cape Ann” was an oral history project which interviewed prominent and ordinary Cape Ann citizens between 1978 and 1989. Principal oral historians Linda Brayton and David Masters recorded 100 oral histories reflecting the cultural and economic past and present of Cape Ann.



“List of Vessels Belonging to the District of Gloucester” was an annual publication which chronicled the fishing industry of the Cape Ann area. Each volume lists the name of the vessels, tonnage, masters, where and when built, and owners or fitters. Also included is a summary of the fisheries for that year, including the ships and men lost at sea. The Sawyer Free Library and the Cape Ann Historical Museum own various volumes of the List of vessels from the years of 1869-1908.


Gloucester Map Collection has a variety of maps and atlases in its physical collection. Geological maps of Massachusetts and nautical charts of the New England coast are represented in its digital collection.

The NOBLE Digital Heritage showcases the collections of the member libraries of NOBLE and provides a gateway for searching all of the items. The North Shore’s long and rich history of early settlers, patriots, seafarers, industrialists, workers and immigrants as well as it historic scenic beauty are all reflected in photographs, postcards, oral histories, and texts in digital form. The NOBLE Digital Heritage is part of the statewide effort to make a variety of items available through digitization.


The Digital Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a portal to the rich cultural heritage held in museums, historical societies, colleges, libraries and other cultural repositories in Massachusetts. From this site you can search the digital collections of member institutions throughout the state for manuscripts, images, historical documents, and sound recordings. Fifty organizations are members of Digital Commonwealth. As more members contribute their holdings, the variety and quantity of searchable objects will increase, and the richer and more valuable this portal will become.


Another resource is the Digital Public Library of America. The DPLA brings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world. It offers a single point of access to millions of items—photographs, manuscripts, books, sounds, moving images, and more—from libraries, archives, and museums around the United States. Users can browse and search the DPLA’s collections by timeline, map, format, and topic; save items to customized lists; and share their lists with others. Users can also explore digital exhibitions curated by the DPLA’s content partners and staff.


The Internet Archive is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that was founded in 1996 to build an Internet library. Its purposes include offering permanent access for researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public to historical collections that exist in digital format.
The Sawyer Free Library and the other NOBLE libraries are in the process of finding items in their collections that also exist in the Internet Archive and providing a hyperlink to that digital item in the catalog. Click here for a current list of items.


Europe’s culture – collected for you. Europeana enables people to explore the digital resources of more than 2,000 institutions across Europe. These range from major international names like the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the British Library and the Louvre to regional archives and local museums from every member of the European Union. Together, their assembled collections let users explore Europe’s cultural and scientific heritage from prehistory to the modern day. Tens of millions of items include artworks, artifacts, books, videos and sounds.