Established in 1969, the Rutland Historical Society is dedicated to collect, preserve, and interpret historical materials that reflect the heritage of the original town of Rutland, Vermont, which today encompasses the present towns of Proctor, Rutland Town, West Rutland, and the City of Rutland.
Counted among the holdings are the Rutland Municipal Court Records from the 1870s to the 1960s, collections of local genealogist Marvel Swan, photocopies of the Evergreen Cemetery records, various account books and ledgers, a collection of Rutland trainmen's notebooks, letter collections, numerous maps, minute books of several Rutland organizations, a modest collection of artifacts, including textiles, some hotel registers, numerous scrapbooks and photo albums, and approximately 300 bound volumes of Rutland newspapers.
In addition, the society holds a collection of books containing military rosters from various wars, Rutland telephone books from 1959 to the present and Rutland directories from 1867 to 1986. The serials collection consists of The Vermonter, Vermont Life, and Vermont History.
The society library holds Smith and Ryan's History of Rutland County (1886), Hemenway's multi-volume Vermont^ Gazetteer, Child's Rutland County Gazetteer and Directory (1881), Rutland Town and city annual reports, published tax assessments for the City of Rutland, Beer's Atlas Map of 1869, Scott's Map of 1854, a map of Socialboro from 1771, and the Plan of Rutland, finished in 1794.
On display are the Nickwackett Fire House, built in 1860, "Eight Generations of Rutland's History," "Rutland Homes and Gardens a Century Ago," the "Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of 1890 Rutland," and "Models of the World of Mirth Shows."
To advance the knowledge of Rutland history, the society offers a comprehensive range of community services, including a monthly television program entitled "Historically Speaking," publications in the form of magazines (Tidbits From Then and Now) and weekly newspapers (Samís Good News).
In addition, it offers live programs in the Spring and Fall, walking tours, educational outreach, free research assistance, and free consulting on archival materials and procedures.
Essay competitions are conducted annually to commemorate the services of Fred and Eleanor Elwert, who are closely associated with the Rutland Historical Society.