The Debra A. Charpentier Archives & Special Collections

The Debra A. Charpentier Archives & Special Collections maintains a wide variety of historical materials related to the history of Fairhaven and of the Millicent Library. Its collections include newspapers and local history publications, audiovisual materials, rare books, manuscripts, personal and family papers, organizational records, vital records, cemetery records, photographs, artwork, maps, and more.

Because of their uniqueness and fragility, materials in the Archives are non-circulating and can be viewed only in the Archives reading room, under the supervision of the Archivist or another staff member. Some of our records are available online; please see our list of databases below for more information.  

The Archives are open to the public for research by appointment. To make an appointment or to submit a research request by e-mail, please e-mail



Millicent Library Archives Databases

Fairhaven High School Yearbooks

Fairhaven High School Yearbooks have been digitized and are available online through Internet Archive. The library’s collection runs from 1923 – 2019, with a few years missing. The earliest available yearbooks are different than modern yearbooks and do not include student photos. Digitization was made possible by the Regional Digitization in Massachusetts, funded by LSTA Grant and administered by the Boston Public Library.

The Barnacle Magazine

The Barnacle was “a free, biweekly news magazine serving the New Bedford Fishing industry and Maritime interests,” running from 1990-1993. It has been digitized and is available online at Internet Archive. Many thanks to Library School student Samantha Correia for scanning and uploading these magazines!

Fairhaven Town Reports 

Town reports have been digitized and are available from 1847 to 2018. Browse to see how townspeople handled things.

The Fairhaven Star Newspaper (1879-1967)

The Fairhaven Star is temporarily unavailable. We are working to get this collection back online and estimate that it will be back up in early 2025. For more information, please click here

The Fairhaven Star, founded in 1879 by Charles Dean Waldron, is an excellent source for local news and opinion.. As Mabel Hoyle Knipe wrote in “Following ‘The Star,’” “letters motivated by avarice, political aspiration, sarcasm, patriotism, testiness, resentment and joy are spread all through the pages of THE STAR...and they provide an invaluable record of the thinking and the emotional convolutions of scores of Fairhavenites.” A full run of the newspaper is available online in a digital archive is made possible by the Community Preservation Act and the Millicent Library.

Fairhaven Cemetery Records

Designed to help users locate the graves of their relatives or other people in whom they are interested, our cemetery records database includes records from three cemeteries: Naskatucket, Riverside, and Woodside. When complete, it will contain the records of more than 25,000 burials. The information is based on cemetery records, town records, and field research at the cemeteries themselves. The database also includes cemeteries that are on private property and inaccessible to the public.

Fairhaven Vital Records 1844-1899

Birth, death, and marriage records of the Town of Fairhaven. This database is designed to be used by genealogists, historians, and others interested in the people who lived in our town in the nineteenth century. In addition to the dates of life events, many entries include the cause of death, names of parents and spouses, and place of birth.

Lost Fishermen Database 

This database is dedicated to those local fishermen lost at sea. Archivist Deb Charpentier and her volunteers created this site as a labor of love, to commemorate the lives and work of area fishermen. The website contains information about the men and vessels associated with the Port of New Bedford and nearby towns.



Fairhaven Historic House Plaque Program

We are happy to assist local residents and homeowners seeking to apply for a historic house plaque through the Fairhaven Historical Commission. The Archives maintains a variety of sources that can be helpful to those seeking to learn more about their house’s history, including historic maps, city directories, street lists, tax records, and newspapers.

To get started, please review the Historical Commission’s Historic House Plaque form and read about How to Inventory your House.


Get Involved

Since the earliest days of the library, we have been fortunate to receive donations of historical materials related to the history of Fairhaven and its surrounding communities. We are always grateful for these donations, which we seek to make accessible and to preserve for future generations.

If you have photos, scrapbooks, memorabilia, or other items that might be a good fit for our collections, please e-mail

Donations of time, knowledge, and talent are also more than welcome! Please e-mail us about opportunities to volunteer in the Archives and to learn how you can play a role in preserving or sharing our history.