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Legendary Tales. Timeless History.

The Wayside Inn Foundation has diverse collections from the Inn’s past and present, including correspondence, records, books, maps, antique furniture, photographs, ephemera, and other historic objects dating back to the early 1600s.

A Commitment to Historic Research and Preservation.

Gladys Salta created the first archives at The Wayside Inn in 1927 at the request of Henry Ford. It was originally stored at the Inn in a closet and the attic, before relocating to the basement of the Martha-Mary Chapel. For almost a century, the archives have expanded with the help of generous donors. The archives’ primary goal is to document the history and management of The Wayside Inn, and preserve it for posterity. To accommodate and better preserve our holdings for future generations, the archives will be relocated to the newly restored Gate House as part of our Archives & Research Center.

Below are the main categories of our key collections. Please contact our Archives & Research Center at archives@wayside.org to learn more or to discuss donating items to our collections.

The Howe Family Collection

The Howe Family Collection

The bulk of The Howe Collection was a gift from the Herbert F. Howe family in 1995. It is comprised of correspondence, diaries, financial documents, photographs, books, and objects related to the Howe family, from the 17th to 20th centuries.

The Wayside Inn Collection

The Wayside Inn Collection

The archive’s largest collection is The Wayside Inn Collection, which is comprised of over half a million separate documents. It consists of deeds, correspondence, maps, business papers, ledgers, and photographs that have been generated by the Inn and its related businesses since the early 18th century.

The Hostess Diaries

The Hostess Diaries

The Hostess Diaries were written by the women who served as hospitality hostesses at the Inn from 1929 to 1950. The hostesses were highly involved in the Inn’s operations and created daily records that range from the mundane to the fascinating. Entries include accounts about visitors and activities across the property, reflections and newspaper clippings about current events, menus of special dinners and functions, as well as poetry, letters, and photographs shared by visitors.

Furniture & Ephemera

Furniture and Ephemera

Henry Ford acquired the bulk of the furniture in our collection. It ranges from pieces owned by Howe family members, such as Jerusha’s pianoforte, to era appropriate pieces purchased to furnish the Inn.

Carriages & Vehicles

Carriages & Vehicles

Henry Ford acquired an 1867 “Concord” stagecoach by the Abbot-Downing Company Carriage Works for the Wayside Inn in 1926. It is currently on loan at the American Heritage Museum in neighboring Hudson, MA. In 2021, the Inn acquired a 1930 Ford Model A firetruck, which served in the Sudbury Fire Department until 1968.

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