All Three Library Locations are Open to the public, on a limited schedule. See the schedule at

Masks are not required, but are encouraged. The CDC currently recommends masks and social distancing for those who are not vaccinated

Local History

The Local History Collection is located in the Eben Dale Sutton Room. It contains thousands of rare books, maps, photographs, manuscripts, artifacts, and institutional records related to the history of Peabody, Essex County, and the North Shore area of Massachusetts.


  • Find digitized images, documents, and books.
  • Request to use an image.


  • Browse the Local History Collection.
  • Make an appointment to visit the Eben Dale Sutton Room.

A Brief History of the Eben Dale Sutton Room

During George Peabody’s historic visit to South Danvers on October 15, 1866, Eliza Sutton presented a letter to the Peabody Institute Library’s trustees offering $20,000 to create the Eben Dale Sutton Reference Library in memory of her son who died in 1862 at the age of 14. The Sutton Room was completed in 1869.

The tower addition was designed by Boston architect Gridley James Fox Bryant. The addition extended the library by 46 feet and also added on the front portico which is still in existence. The three story tower had a separate entrance and was built of brick and brownstone to meld with the original library. The top floor gave a panoramic view of the town. In 1953, the third floor of the tower was removed.

Eliza Sutton’s donation built more than a memorial for her deceased son, Eben Dale. It allowed for the expansion of the Peabody Institute and for the creation of a reference library, which went on to house books of “enduring value.”  The Eben Dale Sutton room now houses the Library’s Archives. Included in our collection are thousands of rare books, manuscripts, photographs, prints, artifacts and maps documenting life in South Danvers and Peabody from its earliest days. You can learn more about our collection in Holdings and Finding Aids.