Books About Bedford

Books by Abram English Brown

A. E. Brown was born in Bedford in 1849. Throughout his life, he was a proud and patriotic citizen of our town. Brown held several town offices, acted as clerk of the Bedford Free Public Library, and was a founding member of the Bedford Historical Society. His biography appears on page 44 of Vol. LXIV of The New England Historical and Genealogical Register (1910) and can be read online here: A.E. Brown online biography . A prolific author, his books about Bedford are listed below, and are also available to read online at: A.E. Brown online library .

  • History of the Town of Bedford,originally published 1891,  reprinted 1992.  This is THE book on Bedford. Includes genealogical information. Available for purchase from the Bedford Historical Society and the Bedford Free Public Library.
  • Glimpses of Old New England Life, Legends of Old Bedford, published 1892.  A retelling of Bedford tales told to the author by his grandmother. Includes, “The Mysterious Room,” “The Silver Crown,” “The Witch of the Shawsheen,” and “A Pod of Nine Peas.”
  • Beneath Old Rooftrees, published 1896. Written to show “in a story-like manner the part taken by many towns [including Bedford] in the opening events of the Revolution.” With photographs.
  • Beside Old Hearthstones, published 1897. Profiles of some of the early patriots and their communities. With photographs.

Books about Bedford, other authors:

The following books are available for purchase from the Bedford Historical Society or at the Freight House Store in Bedford Depot Park. See our “About” page for more information.

  • An Awesome Century,  Charles Williston Farrington with Judith Lindau McConnell,  1999. Originally published as a series of articles in the Bedford Minuteman, these essays present a changing view of Bedford’s history as seen through more than 90 years of keen and loving observation. 116 pages, photographs.
  • The Bedford Sampler, Bicentennial Edition,  Paperback book, 256 pages,  illustrated. Compiled and edited by the Friends of the Bedford Free Public Library. A variety of articles on Bedford’s history; description of historic houses and their inhabitants; brief biographies of Asher Benjamin and Rufus Porter; and an assortment of favorite recipes.
  • Bedford Center in the 1800’s, (second edition), written by Ina Mansur, illustrated by Lawrence Mansur. This book profiles three builders who constructed most of the noteworthy buildings in Bedford Center and gave it the character we still enjoy today.
  • Bedford Postcard History, Alethea Yates, 2013. A history of the town as retold through an extensive collection of postcards and images of Bedford through the years.
  • Bedford in the World War; an Account of the Part Played by the Citizens of the Town of Bedford , Military and Civilian, in the Great War with Germany, 1917-1919 by Charles W. Jenks, undated. Capsule biographis of Bedford’s service personnel and their activities in World War I. Photographs.
  • A Brief History of Bedford, Kathleen Kelly-­Broomer, 2004. (Excerpted from  Communitywide Historic Properties Survey, 1998.) Paperback book, 36 pages. A concise overview of the town’s founding, development , institutions and architecture, from 1700s to the present.
  • The Bedford Flag Unfurled, by Sharon Lawrence McDonald, 1996, 2000. A richly  detailed and thoroughly documented history of the Bedford Flag. Illustrations, photos
  • The Bedford Flag, A National Treasure, by Barbara Hitchcock, 1998. This book was written for the Friends of the Bedford Flag when funds were being raised for conservation of the Flag.
  • Historic Properties and Neighborhoods of Bedford,  3rd Edition, by Kathleen Kelly­-Broomer, 2014. Produced for the Bedford Historic Preservation Commission. Complete, detailed and authoritative descriptions of the history and architecture of more than 300 houses and other noteworthy buildings, plus the origins of Bedford’s most historically significant neighborhoods. More than 300 photographs, 380+ pages, fully indexed.
  • The Ina Mansur Reader,  Ina Mansur, 2014.  Published by the Bedford Historical Society in 2014, this book represents a compilation of her well-researched newspaper articles on Bedford’s history. These articles were originally published by the Bedford Minuteman during the late 20th century.
  • A New England Church: 1730­-1834, Ina Mansur, 1974. Paperback book, 238 pages,  illustrated. A thoughtful study of the town’s early religious life and of the dissention, beginning with the Great Awakening of the 1740s, that split Bedford’s single congregation in two in the 1830s.
  • A Pictorial History of Bedford, Massachusetts, 1729 to Modern Times,by Ina and Lawrence Mansur, 1992. A lavishly illustrated overview of Bedford’s history. Photographs, drawings, maps.
  • Remembered in Bedford, Mass., written and illustrated by Bedford’s former Town Historian, John Brown. A thoughtful and entertaining distillation of fourscore years of life in Bedford. Illustrations.
  • A Revolutionary Town, Louise K. Brown, 1975. Hardbound book, 318 pages,  illustrated. Bedford’s role in the Revolution, with a detailed look at the customs and  institutions that shaped the town. Includes capsule biographies of Bedford’s militia  and Minute Men.
  • Scenes from Bedford, Massachusetts, 1909. Second edition, 2004. Paperback book, 12 pages, illustrated. Reprinting of a 1909 pamphlet published by the Edison Electric  Illuminating Co. Fifteen photographs plus a description of the town’s attractions and  amenities.
  • Wilderness Town: The Story of Bedford, Massachusetts, Louise K. Brown, 1968.  Paperback book, 219 pages, illustrated. An affectionate portrait of life in Bedford from  early days to modern times. Includes genealogical information on notable Bedford families.

Additional Sources: can be borrowed from the Bedford Historical Society Archives, or, in  many cases, from the Bedford Free Public Library.

  • Vital Records of Bedford, Massachusetts, to the Year 1850, published by the New England Genealogical Society, 1903. The most complete compendium of Bedford births, marriages and deaths from early days to 1850. A fully searchable electronic version is available here:  Bedford Vital Records to 1850
  • Deacon Job Laneof Bedford; Major John Lane of Billerica; Job Laine of Malden and  Billerica, by Ina Mansur, 1982. This monograph is a valuable reference work on three members of one of Bedford’s founding families.
  • The Deacon Job Lane House of Bedford, Massachusetts,compiled by Ina Mansur,  illustrated by Ellen Hatch Michaud, 1984. A monograph on the history and architectural development of the c. 713 Job Lane House on North Road, Bedford. Illustrations.
  • The Flag of the Minutemen, by Williston Farrington, 1996. A pamphlet on the history of the Bedford Flag. Photographs.
  • Freeholders & other Votable Inhabitants: Bedford’s Town Meetings During the  American Revolution, Carla Fackler, Signe Hanson, and Judith R. Brown, editors. 1976. Paperback book, 43 pages. Extracts from Town Meeting minutes, with modern commentaries, providing a vivid illustration of the reaction of Bedford’s people to the events of the Revolution.
  • History of Bedford, by Maria T. Johnson, illustrated by Lucia S. Kespert, published by the Bedford Woman’s Community Club, 1960. Essays on Bedford’s history and customs from early days to modern times.
  • History of the Bedford Fire Department, Boston: Boston Publishing Co. The most detailed publication on Bedford’s firefighters, from the early days of the Shawsheen Engine Company to modern times. With photographs.
  • The Old Burying Ground: Gravestone Survey, Map, and Databases. Third edition,  2004. Paperback book, 65 pages. A complete reference on the Old Burying Ground  on  Springs Road – its history; catalog listings of the stones, alphabetically and by number; a detailed fold-out map; and a complete list of inscriptions and epitaphs, with notes on items of special interest.
  • Old Paths and Legends of New England, by Katharine M. Abbott, 1903.  “Saunterings over historic roads with glimpses of picturesque fields and old homesteads in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire.” Includes a brief chapter on Bedford. Photographs. A fully searchable electronic version of this book is available here: https://archive.org/details/oldpathslegendso03abbo
  • Communities in Transition: Social Change in Bedford and Lincoln, Massachusetts,  1729-­1850, by Richard John Holmes, 1979. A sociological “enquiry into the nature  of rural society in New England from the early eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth century.”
  • General Marshall’s Victory Report on the Winning of World War II, 1945. With an  added section on Bedford’s servicemen and women by the American Legion Auxiliary  of  Bedford.