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. 

We’re Making History at Dedham Museum & Archive

Galleries receive their 2nd Repainting since 1888!

To say the “update” is long overdue is an understatement. It was obvious from the peeling paint and dingy yellow walls that the main gallery, with its thirteen-foot ceilings and architectural woodwork, needed attention. With the temporary closure of the museum resulting from COVID, the Dedham Museum & Archive Board decided it was the opportune time to repaint the main exhibition room and smaller rear gallery. Additionally, updating the interior was in unison with the rebranding of the Museum—the new name, new logo (soon to be released), new color palette and materials, new Kiosk (coming soon), and forthcoming website.

The images below show work prior to the final coat of paint—stop by the museum to see the final colors; they are stunnin!

From left to right: Alfred Zuniga and Kevin Corey of Hermann Dexter Lodge were instrumental in helping pack up the collections. The emptied main gallery showing peeling and dingy paint. Paint loss above a window. Preparation of the walls. Primer coat being applied over the old yellow paint. Drive In Paint Mart store manager Gregory Wallace donated 25 gallons of paint to the project.


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 Dedham Museum & Archive (Dedham Historical Society & Museum) 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 Dedham Museum & Archive in 1928. Transcribed for the Dedham Museum & Archive, they are published by Damianos Publishing. A reading of select letters is available directly below.

The project received financial support from the museum’s Pagliuca Fund in memory of longtime member Joe Pagliuca, and from museum 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 and places 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.

The Schortmann Insurance building opened in 1892 and is one of the most significant landmarks in Dedham Square. To learn more, read an article by Judy Neiswander published in the November 8, 2019 issue of the Dedham Times.

Historic Building Date Markers

Please note that there is a significant delay in processing plaque requests due to the extensive research needed and limited staff time. 


Because we are unable to process the research in a timely manner because of limited staff time, effective immediately we are changing how we process requests for house plaques.

Going forward, homeowners will need to conduct their own deed research. Please do not rely on the date from the current assessors records, a full deed history is required as the modern assessors records usually reflect the sale of property rather than when a house was built.

A deed history form is available here.
Deed research directions are available here.

On completion of the deed history, please contact the Dedham Museum & Archive staff. Staff will use the information as the basis for research in the  Archives since there is often a time lag of months to decades from when land was sold or divided to when a house was built. Staff will then inform the homeowner of the date and order the house plaque. Payment is due with the deed history. The pricing structure on the order forms will remain the same since the research and report preparation takes several hours; previously, significant time was not covered by the fees.

You may call 781.326.1385 with questions or email

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 may be  made by check (instructions on the form) or with the Buy Now button to the left.