RIHS News: ‘Colonial Justice’ Digital Archive Launches With 1729-1812 R.I. Court Records

MSS 230 B1 F1 Kings County Court Records, Miscellaneous Papers,


The Rhode Island Historical Society has launched the digital archive “Colonial Justice: Preserving and Digitizing Early Rhode Island Court Records.” These specific collections were selected by RIHS curators for digitization based on their rarity, as well as their unique documentation of the colonial justice system in Rhode Island.

From a single online location, users can now access selected 1729-1812 records from the courts of Providence County, Kent County, and what was known as Kings County (now Washington County). The online archive is free and open to the public.

The earliest documents are those from 1729-1741 for the Providence County Justice Court at Warwick and those from 1730-1739 for the Kings County Court Records. The latest documents are the Providence County Justice Court Dockets from 1809 to 1812. Rhode Island has a rich judicial history, which is now visually – and immediately – accessible to students, researchers, and scholars anywhere in the world.

The project was made possible through a generous grant from the Rhode Island Supreme Court Historical Society Fund at the Rhode Island Foundation. The digital archive is located at http://www.rihs.org/connect/online-exhibits/colonial-justice-gallery/. All images are also linked to digital catalog records for easy navigation in the RIHS’s online catalog, NETOP.