Online Catalog

The Rhode Island Historical Society online catalog contains records for all genres of the Society’s collections. This includes, but is not limited to: books, objects, maps, manuscripts, newspapers, paintings, film, textiles, pamphlets, and broadsides. Currently, this contains only a portion of our full collection.  For the most complete listing,  please visit the RIHS Library.

How To Search the Catalog: NETOP: RIHS NETworked Online Public Catalog

Basic Search click here
Find items using a single-term search in: Keyword, title, subject, author/creator, year of creation, place of origin, object type, printer/publisher, call number or accession number
Advanced Search click here
Construct a search with multiple terms

Reference Services

Direct, in-person access to the materials in the RRC is by appointment only. There are no walk-in hours.

The Reference Staff will be happy to direct you to resources that may provide the information you seek. We realize that an in-person visit is not always possible. For those of you unable to visit, we can suggest several options based on your topics of interest.

Ask the Reference Staff 

REMOTE reference & research services during the COVID-19 pandemic: The RIHS has created a new structure of the remote reference and research services it can offer. Our goal remains to serve the public as equitably as possible while ensuring the sustainability of the organization.

FREE to every researcher:

  • Reference interview (via phone, e-mail, or video chat)
  • +up to 1 hour of research
  • +up to 20 pages of scans (subject to approval if items are delicate)

FREE to every RIHS Member:

  • Reference interview (via phone, e-mail, or video chat)
  • +up to 2 hours of research
  • +50 pages of scans (subject to approval if items are delicate)

BEYOND the above, the following charges apply:

  • Research charge of $50 / hour (an estimate will be provided before work begins)
  • Copy charge of $0.25 per scanned item (up to legal size only; larger formats TBD)

Rates may be subject to change.

See our reference policy for more information.

Elementary and Middle School Students

Do you have an assignment to find out about Rhode Island history? Elementary students click here (pdf), Middle School students click here (pdf) for a Rhode Island guide prepared especially for you. For current facts about Rhode Island, visit the Rhode Island Unwind and Kids Konnect websites.

Click on the links below to learn more about our collections:

Hire an Independent Researcher

For questions that require in-depth research, you may want to hire an independent researcher to conduct your research for you. Researchers on our List of Independent Researchers are familiar with our collections and may be able to help or click on the link to the website for the Association of Professional Genealogists.

General Rhode Island History Information

Rhode Island Facts and Trivia website for more fun and useful information about Rhode Island.
Roots Web for a brief history of the state with a timeline.
AskRI: Rhode Island’s Statewide Reference Resource Center is online. This is the place to go with general questions on Rhode Island history. And if you have a card from any of Rhode Island’s public libraries, you can also access a number of electronic resources from this site, including HeritageQuest Online, a resource for genealogy researchers.

Genealogical Research

Selected Genealogical Resources
Rhode Island Vital Records
Naturalization Records
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
Genealogical Research in the Manuscripts Collection
Passenger Lists

Rhode Island History and Heritage

Rhode Island History Online Directory Initiative (RHODI)

Rights and Reproductions

To request reproductions for publications, see our Rights & Reproductions page.