Welcome to Topsfield

The Topsfield Historical Society is dedicated to the study and preservation of the history of Topsfield Massachusetts. All volunteers, we are active participants in the vitality and character of our small town. We invite all Topsfield residents and those interested in the preservation of our town’s history to join in on our many opportunities to be involved.

  • Our Next Program
    • Arbor Day Event
      Removal of the 100+ Year Old Capen House Ash Tree
    • Saturday, April 29
    • 10am - 2pm
    • Capen House Lawn
    • Celebrate the life of the Parson Capen House Ash Tree that has graced the lawn for many years, and be there for the historic moment when this beautiful old tree is taken down by a giant crane; having reached the end of its life, it is a potential storm threat to the house. There will be a family celebration, particularly for children, to learn about trees and watch the removal process. Many fun tree-related events are planned, including guessing the age of the Ash Tree, working on craft projects and learning how to identify various trees. Parents can “ask the experts” about our changing environment for plants.
    • For Kids Only!

      Tree Age Guessing Contest

      From April 14 through May 14, kids up through age 12 will have a chance to win an Essex County Coop Gift Certificate by guessing the ages of the Capen House Ash Tree and the Essex County Co-op Oak Tree. Contest Rules and a link to the online contest will be provided here starting April 14.

      Every family who has a child entering the contest will receive a free one year Topsfield Historical Society Family Membership. Parents must sign a consent form for their child's participation.

Sharing the Love of History

We are organized to enjoy, learn and preserve the history of Topsfield, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the United States of America. We offer monthly talks on a wide variety of historical topics such as colonial slavery, women's history, Boston history and historical actors such as Eleanor Roosevelt and Mark Twain. We run educational programs for Topsfield schools and local children. Every June, we sponsor the Strawberry Festival which features Topsfield's local nonprofit organizations, local history exhibits and local craftspeople.

Since the early 1900s, we have owned and cared for the 1683 Parson Capen Historical House. In the 1990s, we moved and restored the 300 year old Gould Barn which we now offer to the community as a meeting and event space.

Study

We also actively promote research and promotion of Topsfield’s history through scholarships, lectures and Topsfield school programs. We collaborate with the Topsfield Town Library, the Topsfield Town Clerk's office, the Essex National Heritage Commission, Gordon College (Wenham) and other historical and cultural organizations within Essex County and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Our new project for the new millenium is the Digital History Online Project. We are creating a new website that will act as a central clearinghouse for all original and secondary source resources on Topsfield's history. Since our beginnings in the late 1800s, the Topsfield Historical Society has published over 30 volumes of information and historical research results regarding Topsfield's history. Digital History Online Project is the beginning of a new effort to make this information easily accessible to researchers of all types into the future.

Strawberry Festival

Our major fundraiser is the annual June Strawberry Festival which attracts newcomers, old-timers, and visitors from all over Massachusetts and the United States.

The Topsfield Historical Society has existed for 113 years and has approximately 502 members in 18 states. We invite you to join our membership.

The Gould Barn page has more information on renting the Barn for your next event.

Questions about our historical archives can be addressed to HistoricalRecords@TopsfieldHistory.org.

We invite you to explore our website, send us your comments and join our Society.