The William Arnold Autograph Collection

The William Arnold Autograph Collection

The William Arnold Autograph Collection is part of a larger collection of books and manuscripts dealing with American, and especially Rhode Island, history.  The entire collection was donated to the Providence Public Library in 1923 by Mr. Frederick Augustus Arnold.  The collection was named for William Arnold, an ancestor of Frederick A. Arnold.

The collection is made up of more than 150 manuscripts, ranging from legal documents and business records to personal correspondence and portraits, spanning a period of 267 years. 

The following selection of manuscripts aims to present a diverse scope of materials representative of the entire collection.  Check back in the coming months for access to the entire collection online!

View the Collection Guide (pdf)

      Deed signed by Edward Gray. (1687)    

      Children in the Wood, a poem by Sally Ann Arnold.  (1798)

      Receipts from the Providence Proprietors of the Lands. (1718)

About Frederick Augustus Arnold:

Son of Russell G. Arnold and Sarah P. Arnold, Frederick A. Arnold was born March 21, 1841. He served in the Second Rhode Island Infantry Regiment during the Civil War and later served as Secretary for the Second Regiment Rhode Island Voluntary Infantry Veteran Association. He worked in the water department for the City of Providence, and was a well-known figure among Providence Public Library users of the time.  He was also a member of the Rhode Island Historical Society. Arnold died August 8, 1924.

About William Arnold (collection namesake):

Son of Nicholas Arnold and Alice Gully Arnold, William Arnold was born June 24, 1587, in Ilchester, Somerset, England.  He married Christian Peake in 1610, and they had four children: Elizabeth, Benedict, Joanna, and Stephen.  Arnold sailed with his family from Dartmouth, England to America on May 1, 1635.  With Roger Williams, Arnold was one of the founding settlers of Rhode Island, and settled in Providence.  After several years, he moved and formed the settlement known as Pawtuxet, now a part of Cranston.  Arnold died during King Philip's War sometime between 1675-1676.  


This exhibition was created by Stephanie Knott, who processed and scanned the Arnold Autograph Collection in Autumn of 2013.

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