History Topics

Over the centuries, Nantucket history has been recorded by historians, biographers, filmmakers, story tellers, and simply by the people who have lived through it. Here we include brief articles on diverse topics as recently told by Nantucketers and other lovers of Nantucket and its history.

If you are interested in contributing to this collection, please contact us at library@nha.org and let us know of your topic of interest.

Nantucket Women’s Initiatives

Nantucket has a long and proud history of empowering women. Mary Starbuck led the way in introducing Quakerism to the...More Read more from Nantucket Women’s Initiatives

Native Peoples

Introduction The history of human habitation on Nantucket traces back approximately 12,000 years to the PaleoIndian Period, pre-dating the time...More Read more from Native Peoples

Artifacts

The Nantucket Historical Association has over 15,000 artifacts in its collection reflecting the variety of island life from the native Wampanoags and the earliest EuropeanMore Read more from Artifacts

On This Day in Natnucket History Cover

This Week in Nantucket History

Nantucketer Amy Jenness shares her research on what happened On This Day In Nantucket History one day at a time for the past seven days.More Read more from This Week in Nantucket History

Elisabeth Oldham

Ask Libby

From her desk at the Research Library, Elizabeth “Libby” Oldham was an invaluable resource on Nantucket history to all—from renowned writers and filmmakers, to genealogistsMore Read more from Ask Libby

Illustration from the log of the Ship Washington, kept by Captain James G. Coffin, 1842-1844.

Whaling

From the late 1600s—when Nantucketers first gleaned the prized oil from small whales that washed ashore—into the next two centuries —when Nantucket whaleships would tra­verseMore Read more from Whaling

Watercolor "Moby Dick and Ahab " by Claus Hoie

Literature

This topic explores the special character of Nantucket Island as reflected in literature, from ship’s logs and journals, diaries, and music as well as it’sMore Read more from Literature

Rights and Race Exhibition, Hadwen House, May 26-December 2018.

People

History is quite simply the story of people and places. Herein is a diverse collection about the special people of Nantucket.More Read more from People

Map of Nantucket, 1772, drawn by Dr. James Taylor

Places

There are many not-very-well-known stories about the places on Nantucket. In these varied articles, you might discover some interesting facts about Nantucket you didn't know.More Read more from Places

NHA Curator preserving lightship basket.

Preservation

This topic offers some helpful suggestions on how to protect and preserve your own family heirlooms.More Read more from Preservation

Civil War Veterans

Nantucket and War

This topic explores the role of the island in war.More Read more from Nantucket and War

Nantucket Roots

Genealogy

This topic offers guidelines to help you trace your Nantucket heritage and build your family tree.More Read more from Genealogy

Photographic portrait of Elisha Pope Fearing Gardner, the poet of Poet's Corner

Fun Facts

Like any community, Nantucket has its unusual and sometimes quirky stories about events and happenings on the island.More Read more from Fun Facts

The Nantucket Historical Association preserves and interprets the history of Nantucket through its programs, collections, and properties, in order to promote the island’s significance and foster an appreciation of it among all audiences.

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