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COLLECTION Identifier: Hollis 011570217

Artemas Ward House and Ward family papers digital collection,


A collection of digital facsimiles of manuscripts, photographs, and prints created by the family of General Artemas Ward. The source materials are from The American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts; The General Artemas Ward House Museum in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts and Mr. Andrew Ward of Savannah, Georgia.


  • 1724-1933.


1 collection (254 digital objects representing manuscripts, bound volumes, documents, and historical prints and photographs.)

Materials digitized for this collection include Ward family correspondence and select family records from the Ward Family Papers Collection, 1661-1919, held by the American Antiquarian Society. Family correspondence in Boxes 1-7 and family records from Box 19 (folders 1 and 2) and Box 36, as well six bound volumes (Vol. 3, 12, 21, 22, 23 and 24) were digitized. Not included in the digital collection are Business Papers (Boxes 8-19); Official Papers (Boxes 20-31); Shrewbury Town Documents (Boxes 32-35); and volumes of business records. The digitized materials concern the Ward Family of Shrewsbury, Mass., during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The central figures include General Artemas Ward's son Thomas Walter Ward I (1758-1835) and his son, Thomas Walter Ward II (1798-1890). There are also a few documents of Artemas Ward (1727-1800) and considerable family correspondence of Sarah Henshaw Ward Putnam (1800-1894), daughter of Thomas Walter and Elizabeth Denny Ward, as well as correspondence of other family members.

Materials digitized from the holdings of the General Artemas Ward House include: an album documenting the house; 6 folders of manuscript material, including materials removed from boxes, desks, and wallets; two folders of obituaries; three military commissions; and historical photographs and prints of family members, the Ward house and grounds and related sites. Also digitized is a manuscript, "The Four Young Wards," still held by the Andrew Ward. These materials document the Ward family, from the life of General Artemas Ward, commander of the patriot army at the Battle of Bunker Hill, through his descendents who occupied the house until the early twentieth century.

Biographical / Historical

In 1925 Harvard University inherited the Artemas Ward Homestead from a member of the Ward family. The house was the home of General Artemas Ward, first commander-in-chief of the patriot forces, and was occupied by his descendents until 1909. It was opened to the public by one of Ward's descendants, also Artemas Ward, from 1909 to 1925 when it was given to Harvard University. Harvard currently operates the house as a historic house museum. The house contains over 1,250 eighteenth- and nineteenth-century objects; most of these were owned by members of the Ward family. Photographs documenting late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century changes to the house have been preserved as well. Family papers, ranging in date from the mid-seventeenth to the twentieth century, also survive in the collections of the American Antiquarian Society and the Massachusetts Historical Society. Those in the possession of the American Antiquarian Society were donated to that institution by Harvard in 1931 and later. The Ward Homestead is located in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts which is about 35 miles from Harvard's main campus. It is open on a seasonal basis to the public and on an "as needed" basis to Harvard students enrolled in specific courses.


Source materials for the The Artemas Ward House and Ward Family Papers Digital Collection are from: 1. The American Antiquarian Society,Worcester, Massachusetts, 2. The General Artemas Ward House Museum,Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, and 3. Mr. Andrew Ward of Savannah, Georgia. Digital Facsimiles of this collection are stored in the Digital Repository Service of the Harvard University Library, under the stewardship of Widener Library.

Related Materials

Books authored by Ward family members, 1847-1892

  1. Ward, Andrew Henshaw. History of the town of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, from its settlement in 1717 to 1829: with other matter relating thereto not before published, including an extensive family register.Boston : S.G. Drake, 1847.
  2. Ward, Andrew Henshaw. Ward family, descendants of William Ward, who settled in Sudbury, Mass., in 1639: with an appendix, alphabetically arranged, of the names of the families that have intermarried with them. Boston : S.G. Drake, 1851.
  3. Ward, Elizabeth. Old times in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts: gleanings from history and tradition. New York : McGeorge Printing Co., 1892.
  4. Ward, Henry Dana. Free masonry : its pretensions exposed in faithful extracts of its standard authors : with a review of Town's speculative masonry : its liability to pervert the doctrines of revealed religion : discovered in the spirit of its doctrines and in the application of its emblems : its dangerous tendency exhibited in extracts from the Abbé Barruel and Professor Robison : and further illustrated in its base service to the illuminati by a master Mason.New York : [s.n.], 1828.

Books about the Ward family, 1921-1925

  1. Martyn, Charles. The life of Artemas Ward, the first commander-in-chief of the American Revolution. New York : A. Ward, 1921.
  2. Martyn, Charles. The William Ward genealogy : the history of the descendants of William Ward of Sudbury, Mass., 1638-1925New York : A. Ward, 1925.

Processing Information

The General Artemas Ward House and Ward Family Papers Digital Collection is the product of ongoing efforts to digitize materials relating to the General Artemas Ward House and the Ward family.

In January of 2005 Harvard Professor Laurel Ulrich began a digital initiative centered on the Harvard owned Artemas Ward House. Professor Ulrich had been using objects from the house in her teaching, and was interested in pursuing ways to use new technologies to allow Harvard students and the public at large to study the General Artemas Ward House. The project began in 2006 with the digitization of the Ward family correspondence from the American Antiquarian Society (AAS). AAS agreed to make the materials available for digitization and to allow Harvard to present the images online within Harvard's digital library infrastructure. With funding from the Harvard College Library, these materials were digitized by Imaging Services and made available through the Page Delivery Service (PDS). The project continued in 2007 with additional funding from the Harvard University Library's Library Digital Initiative. Manuscripts, historic photographs and prints held by the General Artemas Ward House were digitized. Manuscripts pages are delivered through the PDS. Prints and photographs were cataloged at the item level and are available through VIA, Harvard's Union catalog of images. Also available in VIA are interior and exterior views of the house, as well as images of objects from the first floor of the house. A manuscript currently held by the Andrew Ward family was also digitized.

Ward family. Artemas Ward House and Ward family papers digital collection: A Finding Aid.
Harvard College Library
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University Repository

Harvard Yard
Harvard University
Cambridge MA 02138 USA
(617) 495-2413