On February 14, 1922, a number of local residents met in the High School Library on William St. (the brick building housing the former Central School). The Town’s 200th anniversary was approaching and the need was felt for a Society to serve as the nucleus for the accumulation of valuable historical material, which might otherwise be lost. In addition, such a Society could assist in carrying out an appropriate anniversary celebration. After adopting by-laws and electing officers on February 24, 1922, the Commissioner of Corporations certified the group as the Stoneham Historical Society on March 31, 1922. The purpose of the organization was stated as follows:
“The Corporation is constituted for the purpose of the study of the history of the Town of Stoneham, Massachusetts, its societies, organizations, families, individuals and events, the collection and preservation of articles of historic value pertaining to Stoneham or elsewhere, the establishment and maintenance of an historical library, and the publication from time to time of such information relating to the same as shall be deemed expedient.” – SHS Charter, 1922.”
The thirteen founders who signed the charter creating the Stoneham Historical Society were: William B. Stevens, Oliver W. Richardson, Luther Hill, Ethel B. Davis, Claude E. Patch, Emma A. Steele, Charles J. Emerson, Harold C. Hurd, Cora E. Dike, Arminda Hill, Priscilla F. Bryant, George D. Connor, and Frederick Steele. Judge Stevens was elected the first President, and Luther Hill served as secretary.
For early meetings, members researched and reported on topics such as early Stoneham families and their homes, as well as early meeting houses, schools, roads, music, transportation, peddlers, etc. Members also collected artifacts and photographs to add to the Society’s collection. In July 1930, the Society placed tablets at several historic locations.
The earliest meetings were held in the High School Library on William Street (formerly Central School). In 1932, the Society began to hold its meetings in the hall of the “new” portion of the Stoneham Public Library on Main Street. A part of the Library’s vault was used for storing the Society’s records and artifacts. By 1939, the Society’s collection had increased to the extent it was housed in a room rented at the Library. Occasional supper meetings were held at the Congregational Church. The Annual Harvest Supper is a tradition begun in 1937.