Welcome to the BH&PS web site. 
We also have a Facebook page so please don't forget to "Like" us at


Come visit us!! 
Our building is so cool!  
It's a 1828 jail where not only the prisoners were jailed
but also where the jailer and his wife and children lived. 
There are two very dark old cells on the second floor
and even a VIP jail cell with a fireplace and a window.  
The rear 1858 jail block of 10 austere cells with bars as doors is still intact.  
Come see for yoursel

Open Hours:
1:00 to 5 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays
1:00 to 4 p.m. Summer Saturdays (June to October)
and always by special appointment.

Call ahead for special tours of our collections or for access to our research library.  Books on Bristol history, historic maps, prints and other items are available for sale in our Museum Corner Gift Shop during open hours.

Society members will receive direct mailings of upcoming events 
and this site will provide updates as they occur.  To become a
 member, stop by the Society during open hours or click on 
the membership page to your left.


For details, please click on the "Events" and "Calendar"  tabs
in the column to the left on this page.

7 p.m.
Bristol Statehouse, 240 High Street, Bristol

Guest Speaker:  Jerry Dauterive, Ph.D.

"The Spermaceti Candle Trust: The First Energy Monopoly"

The development of the spermaceti candle in the middle of the 18th century had a major impact on New England's whaling industry.  The production of this innovative and important product, which took place primarily in Rhode Island, provided a means for America's entry into world economic markets. In addition, the industry was the setting for the first "energy monopoly," with the creation of the United Company of Spermaceti Chandlers.  Through a cartel agreement, candle makers in Rhode Island attempted to control prices and prevent the entry of new competitors into the spermaceti candle industry.

Dauterive, a member of the Society, is professor of economics and former dean in the Mario J. Gabelli School of Business at Roger Williams University, Bristol, RI.  Prior to his appointment at RWU in 2008, he held administrative and faculty appointments in the College of Business at Loyola University, New Orleans.


Next Regular Meeting: November 3, 2018, at 9 a.m.

Society Headquarters

This meeting will focus on discovering your World War I ancestors.  

Bring your research and share your story about how you are "stuck" on a particular ancestor and let the Genie Club offer suggestions.

The Club meets regularly on the 1st Saturday of the month except for July and August. If the Saturday falls on a holiday weekend, the group will meet the following Saturday.
Open To All - Just Walk In and Join the Group
send an email to: 
and request to be added to the Genealogy Club Mailing List for notices about upcoming meetings, general genealogical events throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and other information shared between members.

                   Individual Review of Research Problems

We have a very lively group and we devote a portion of each meeting to our "brick wall roundtable" to help members with their individual research problems.  The idea is for members to present their latest "brick wall" so others can help decide what to do next.  The purpose of this short session is not to review an entire family history nor is it to actually solve the entire brick wall but is instead to give ideas on HOW to solve it.


As of December 2015, Fire, Burglar and Security systems at the BHPS are fully installed due to the receipt of a generous $15,000 matching grant from The 1772 Foundation.  The BHPS has motion alarms and security cameras throughout the building, has a secured entry alarm system and a fire alarm system that is directly linked to the Town of Bristol Fire Department.  As part of its 2015 Matching Grants for Historic Preservation made available to organizations in Connecticut, New Jersey and Rhode Island, The 1772 Foundation Grant has enabled the Society to protect its unique research library, its extensive paper document room, the significant portrait collection, and all of the other artifacts throughout the building.

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