Search through our Special Collections online!
Patterson Library's special collection includes several local history documents ranging from the Westfield Republican archives, local photographs, files and genealogy documents. Our collections also includes documents, artifacts and taxidermy from around the world. Scroll down below for a sneak peak. For research assistance or to access special collections in our archives, please call Nancy Ensign at 326-2154.
Click the rare passenger pigeon below to visit some of our birds online!
In the late 1800′s enormous flocks of Passenger Pigeons flew over North America, by some reports taking 14 hours to pass over head. Estimates put the flock sizes at over 3.5 billion birds. Due to loss of habitat and over-hunting, Passenger Pigeons went extinct on September 1, 1914 when the last surviving specimen died in the Cincinnati Zoo. Visit this guy in our lower level hallway. Our collection of 255 species from North and South America date from 1845-1872.
We have one of the largest collections of original WWI posters in the country! Visit Patterson Library to see these masterpieces of graphic design. We are working on a color catalog of this collection to share with our patrons in 2021.
Patterson Library held an incredible collection of local photographs. Over 12,000 images are in our Westfield Historical Photographs Collection. A project to digitize all of the photographs and create a finding aid was completed with the help of a federal grant and many hours of volunteer help. Click here to access images from this collection. Much of our collection was moved in 2018 to the CCHS McClurg Mansion although you can view them here.
Our stuffed mammals were donated almost entirely by H.W. Mossman in the early 1900s, who as a young man taught himself the art of taxidermy with the help of local taxidermists. In his 80s, Mr. Mossman returned to Patterson Library and was astounded that his animals were still on display.
The exception is "Chipper" our Albino Squirrel. The Besch family fed Chipper Ritz crackers and peanut butter every day, and when Chipper died had him preserved and donated him to the Library.
We have hundreds of shells, some as old as the 1830s. Our shells came from two sources, John D. Patterson and Rev. Reuben Tinker. Tinker collected shells in the south seas while he was a missionary on the "Sandwich Isles" (Hawaii). Our shell collection is finally displayed in it's entirety throughout the library in various shelving.
On loan from Mark and Debra Puckhaber, and now on display in the Reference Room, is a model ship built by George Rubin, the Benjamin W. Latham. This is the second of George's remarkable ships we have on display. The other, the Essex, can also be seen in the Reference Room. The Benjamin W. Latham was built in the Tarr & James yard at Essex, Massachussetts in 1902, sailing out of Noank, Connecticut as a mackerel steiner. She was lost off the coast of San Juan in 1943. Amazingly detailed, these ships represent years of patient work.