The industrialization of Norwood is the most significant and distinctive feature of its history. Beginning in the mid-19th century, local tanneries, printing presses, ink manufacturers and other industries helped transform Norwood into a booming and ethnically-diverse industrial town.

The story of Norwood’s industrialization and its impact on local residents can be seen in this selection of primary sources from the archives of the Norwood Historical Society.

patent Patent for Smith Tannery
7 October 1870
This document describes the patent Lyman Smith’s Sons received for an improvement to their tannery vats.
letter Letter from W.H. Monroe
13 February 1874
In this letter, the buyer for the Lyman Smith’s Sons tannery talks about the market for raw material in Europe and current events abroad.
morrill1 Original Residence of George H. Morrill
This photo shows South Norwood just prior to its turn-of-the-century residential development.
logo Company Logos
20 December 1894
These logos were for the companies that comprised Norwood Press.
uptodate “Norwood Up To Date…”
14 October 1898
This article argues that Norwood is ideal for business development because of its fresh air, low mortality and open space.
press Inside Norwood Press
ca. early 1900s
This photograph of men inside the Norwood Press bindery illustrates the equipment used in early 20th century factories.
morrill2 Morrill Ink Works
ca. early 1900s
This photo of ink factory, railroad, houses and irrigated farmland illustrates the early industrial development of South Norwood.
businessmen “Business Men and the Manager Form”
November 1917This newspaper article details the advantages of the Town Manager form of municipal government, recently introduced in Norwood.
whittemore “To our customers…”
31 March 1944This letter from a local coal company talks about fuel rationing during World War II.

Acknowledgements: This project is supported by a grant from the Norwood Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.


Organization and documentation of the Norwood Industrial History Collections supported by a grant from the Massachusetts Historical Records Advisory Board and the Secretary of the Commonwealth, William Francis Galvin. Thank you to archivist Jane Ward, Elisabeth McGregor and Patricia Fanning for their work on this project. Original content and web design by Heather Cole.

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