The more we can learn about all of Dedham’s residents through the centuries, the better we can tell Dedham’s history.

Black History
in Dedham

The history of the Black community in Dedham stretches through the centuries. Click here to listen to a webinar on Black History in Dedham.

Please also see “Dedham Stories” below. 


My Dear Mother: Civil War Letters to Dedham from the Lathrop Brothers


Click here to order from the publisher. Click here to order from Amazon. 

One by one the three Lathrop brothers from Dedham enlisted to fight for the Union after the Civil War broke out in 1861. During the next four years, John, Julius, and Joseph Lathrop wrote more than 100 letters home to their mother and three sisters.

More than 150 years later, the Lathrop letters come to life in the new book, My Dear Mother: Civil War Letters to Dedham from the Lathrop Brothers. The letters tell of the fierce battles, long marches, camp life, and the brothers’ dedication to the Union cause. The letters are published as written, without corrections or sanitation, but transcribed using the language of their time. 

 Between them the Lathrop brothers saw action across the breadth of the war, from Antietam and Fredericksburg in the East to Port Hudson in the West. When the war ended, only two brothers came home. “The three Lathrop brothers exemplified the Union cause,” said transcriber Stuart Christie, a former DHSM Board member.  “Battle after battle, day after day in the camps, they pressed ahead with whatever it took to preserve the Union.”

Along with photographs of the brothers, the book includes images of battlefield maps hand-drawn by John and Julius in their letters. With its unique perspective from three siblings, My Dear Mother: Civil War Letters to Dedham from the Lathrop Brothers is an important addition to the library of Civil War letters and diaries. The letters were donated to the DHSM in 1928. Transcribed for the Dedham Historical Society & Museum (DHSM), they are published by Damianos Publishing. A reading of select letters is available directly below.

The project received financial support from the DHSM’s Pagliuca Fund in memory of longtime member Joe Pagliuca, and from DHSM Board members Bill Flanagan and Jim Kaufman.

Featured in Antiques & the Arts Weekly and The Boston Globe.

Enjoy the following selected letters from My Dear Mother, read by Michael Roberts for the DHSM.
One of six recording will be uploaded weekly.

Recording of a letter dated
February 13, 1862.
Assault on Roanoke Island, S.C.

Recording of a letter dated
March 15, 1862. Battle of New Bern, N.C.

Recording  of a letter dated
November 28, 1862. Hampton Roads, Va, aboard the steamer Baltic. 

Recording to come of a letter dated
January 23, 1863

Recording to come of a letter dated
April 26, 1863

Recording to come of two letters from
early 1864

History of Mother Brook

The oldest man-made canal in America

Mother Brook Brochure

[Left] Click here to read a brochure on the history of Mother Brook. The brochure was created as part of the 375th anniversary of the building of Mother Brook in 1639-1641.

Mother Brook Historic Walking Trail

[Right] Take a walk along the historic Mother Brook, stopping to read the historic markers along the way. 

History Tidbits

Dedham Stories

Histories of the people of Dedham, past and present

People of all ages are affected by COVID-19. DHS history teacher Michael Medeiros asked students to submit journals of their experiences during the end of their 2019-2020 academic year. A selection of those stories is shared here. Thank you to Mr. Medeiros and to the students who gave permission to share their history.
Photo by Dan Libon.

The story of Lillian Wood (1893-1946)
“A Life Overshadowed by Disease.”

Every stage of Lillian’s life was overshadowed by disease, yet throughout, Lillian rallied. Her legacy to her descendants is that she tenaciously rewove her heartache into her life’s fabric, a fabric that was textured with hope and love.
Thank you to Sally Seurfert Holmes for sharing Lillian’s story.

Members of four multi-racial Dedham families share their experiences on an episode of “I am Dedham,” a program about Dedham residents. A central message is: 
“I hear you.”
Thank you to Dedham TV and to Joseph Borsellino of the Dedham Human Rights Commission.

One Dedham familie’s story of life during the 1918 influenza pandemic, with comparisons and contrasts to the COVID-19 pandemic of today.

One Man’s Experience of how an individual can contribute to history.

Historic Building Date Markers

House Date Marker Plaque Orders

Help promote awareness of historic preservation and learn more about your home. Click here for details about the program and to fill out a form to order a house date plaque.  Payments can be  made by check (instructions on the form) or with the Buy Now button to the left.