Publications of the Brookline Historical Society

The Brookline Historical Publications Society compiled numerous volumes of their works into separate series and published each series in one bound volume. Series 1 contains numerous historical accounts of early Brookline, and for genealogists, the baptisms, marriages and deaths recorded of the First Parish Church.

Series 1 includes numbers 1-10 bound in one volume


Table of Contents:

A letter from Rebecca Boylston to Edward Boylston
The Sharp papers in the Brookline public library
Brookline in the revolution. By M.E. May
Papers of the White family of Brookline, 1650-1807
Roxbury church records relating to Brookline
Early notices of local events
Letter from Brigadier-General Edward A. Wild to the Brookline war committee
First parish church records of baptisms, marriages and deaths in 100 years
The history of the lyceum movement in Brookline. By G. E. Mathews
Brookline in the civil war. By K. R. Briggs. ad ser.
Three glimpses of Brookline, in 1700,1800, and 1900. By M. L. Sharp
Major Thompson's deposition
The Brookline town meeting. By C. W. Kellogg, Jr.
The Devotion family of Brookline. By S. V. Griggs
Extracts from the account book of John Goddard of Brookline
More early notices of local events. Collected by Miss Ellen Chase


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The Lyceum Movement

About the middle of the present century, a great wave of literary enthusiasm swept over this country. The necessity of a broader and more general education was felt, and the Lyceum arose to satisfy this need.

The first society was founded by Josiah Holbrook, probably in 1820. He was born in Derby, Connecticut, and graduated at Yale, where he became deeply interested in Prof. Silliman's lectures on chemistry, mineralogy and geology.

In 1820 he published an article in the American Journal of Education on "Associations of adults for the purpose of mutual education." Some time afterwards, while he was delivering a course of lectures on scientific subjects before the people of Millbury, Massachusetts, he induced about forty persons to organize such a society and to name it the Millbury Lyceum. The members were residents of the village, and the lecturers were their own townsmen, who gave addresses on philosophical and scientific subjects. Their aim was to diffuse knowledge by means of classes, lectures and the interchange of ideas.

A convention was held in Boston, November 7, 1820, "to promote the interests of the lyceums and to further their widespread organization." Among those who participated in this meeting were Webster, Everett, Dr. Lowell and George B. Emerson ; and it is probable that part of the business transacted was the organization of the American Lyceum, which was to represent the local societies.

A series of scientific tracts was published by Holbrook in 1830, and in 1832 he started a journal called the "Family Lyceum." There were then seventy-eight Lyceums in Massachusetts, with state and county organizations.

In 1834 he went to Pennsylvania and promulgated his schemes there. One of his chief plans was for a Universal Lyceum, which should unite all the societies of the United States. He also tried to start several Lyceum Villages, but the only one which really did begin had a short existence.

Holbrook was an earnest advocate of his progressive ideas, and his relatives may well claim him with pride, as the originator of the Lyceum movement.