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Lowell History: Proprietors of Locks and Canals Collection

Library of Proprietors of Locks and Canals on the Merrimack River

Photograph of Proprietors of Locks and Canals Library map of Lowell canal system 1848

Image 1. Locks and Canals Library, Center for Lowell History. Image 2. Map of Lowell Canal System, final stage (1848) The power canals of Lowell, Massachusetts /  Lankton, L., Malone, P., & Van Buskirk, L. (1973). Human Services, Lowell, MA.

The Library of Proprietors of Locks and Canals on the Merrimack contains reference works used in the construction, maintenance, and improvement of the Lowell Canal system and its supporting infrastructure. This self-contained library, that served the informational needs of one of the oldest corporations in North America, has survived intact. Subject areas include engineering and architectural books and pamphlets, in English and French, dating from the 17th to the early 20th century as well as architecture, astronomy, civil engineering, law, mechanics, and physics with many of the tomes heavily illustrated. It also contains biographies of prominent Lowell figures. Besides Lowell history, use of these antiquarian books may be largely in the area of the history of engineering.       

From the Locks and Canals Library holdings

From Tall chimney construction. a practical treatise on the construction of tall chimney shafts, etc. [with Plates.] / Bancroft, Robert M, and Bancroft, Francis J. Manchester, 1885. From A text-book of field astronomy for engineersComstock, George C. New York, J. Wiley & Sons, 1902.


Shelved on the 2nd floor of the Center for Lowell History, Mogan Cultural Center.

Primarily bound codex editions with 15 Hollinger Boxes (5" x 9" x 12") containing pamphlets.

1,666 bound volumes.
80 standard shelves
240 linear feet 
12  Ranges​

53 Monographs cataloged in WorldCat