Edward W. Kane Library

Begin your research

The Edward W. Kane Library of the Newport Historical Society collects books, articles and research on all aspects of Newport County history, with particular strength in genealogy, property ownership, architecture and decorative arts. For this reason, the library is often the first stop for research inquiries at NHS.

Genealogy & Biography

Genealogical and biographical research is supported by the library and special collections at the NHS. An important section of the library collection includes published biographies, autobiographies, diaries and journals of prominent New England personalities who had an important role in the founding and growth of Newport County and Rhode Island. The lives and writings of politicians, military heroes, theologians, and merchants are well represented in this growing collection.

The collection also includes census data and other indexes to Newport residents, occupations, and land use, as well as works on English and European families with known and suspected ties to early Rhode Island.

Property Research

The library and special collections at NHS hold extensive resources for researching properties in Newport, including colonial land evidence, deeds, building surveys, photographs, city atlases and directories.

Quick Guide for Research

  • Access

    You must make an appointment to access our collections.

  • Fees

    Library appointments are $5/hour. Appointments to see photographs or manuscripts are $10/hour.

  • Reading Room

    All personal belongings must be stored in lockers. Food, drinks and pens are forbidden.

  • Photography

    Photography is not permitted. Staff will provide images by request. $5 for lo-res, and $25 for hi-res.

  • Image Use

    Images from the collection may be reproduced only with written consent of the NHS.

  • Staff Research

    Can't come in-person? NHS staff can conduct research on your behalf for $75/hr. The first half hour is free.

  • Member & Student Rates

    Some research-related costs are reduced for students and NHS members.