The Hanover Historical Society was founded in 1961, as the town celebrated its two-hundredth anniversary. This non-profit organization works to document Hanover’s past, by collecting local historical and biographical materials and publishing occasional papers, and to preserve the physical remnants of Hanover’s heritage, by helping with the maintenance of tombstones in the oldest cemeteries and operating the Webster Cottage Museum.
The Society’s document collection is kept at Rauner Special Collections Library at Dartmouth, and a guide to the holdings is available.
The Society holds regular meetings and programs. Membership fees are nominal. For more information, contact the Society at P.O. Box 142, Hanover, NH 03755.
WEBSTER COTTAGE MUSEUM
Webster Cottage is a small farmhouse that was built in 1780. Its first inhabitants were the Reverend Sylvanus Ripley and his wife, Abigail, who was the daughter of Eleazar Wheelock, the founder of Dartmouth College.
Over its long existence the cottage housed a number of different families. At times rooms were rented to students studying at Dartmouth College. The house takes its name from one of its most famous residents, Daniel Webster, a member of the Dartmouth Class of 1801 who lived there for a time during his undergraduate years.
Webster Cottage is furnished with antiques dating to the 18th and 19th centuries. A front parlor displays a desk belonging to Daniel Webster and a number of other items relating to his career as a lawyer and statesman.
Other rooms highlight different eras in Hanover’s history and several former residents including Henry Fowle Durant, who founded Wellesley College, and Alice Van Leer Carrick Skinner, who published several books recounting her life as a collector of antiques.
Webster Cottage Museum opens to visitors each spring, typically around Memorial Day. Visiting hours, which are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 2:30 until 4:30 PM, continue through the warmer months until mid-October.
The cottage is located at 32 North Main Street in Hanover, on the campus of Dartmouth College. Admission is free. Visitors may obtain a card from the museum docent which will allow them to park on Choate Road.