The central feature of this website is the White Collection Database containing item-level descriptions for each of the nearly 1,670 documents in the collection. These descriptions were created in 1940 and published as a catalogue and research guide for the collection; we've included the Preface to this catalogue as part of the current website, because it provides additional useful information about the records and their significance.
The database is arranged in a time-line — the first entry is from 1761 and the last from 1900. The wording for each entry reflects formal archival descriptive standards from sixty years ago. Lengthy quotes lifted directly from the original documents are included for many of the more interesting items. (The word 'holograph,' by the way, refers to a document written entirely in the handwriting of the person whose signature it bears.)
A Search Box is available for searching on specific words and phrases. Interested for example, in how many times 'fires' are mentioned in the documents? Enter the word 'fire' in the Search Box and you'll get 13 returns. Use the search feature as well to look carefully for family or community names scattered through the descriptions.
We've currently digitized 83 original records from the White Family Papers for this website, selecting those we thought to be of special interest and importance; many of them are multi-page documents. You can view them either by clicking on the thumbnails that appear as you scroll through the database, or in the Digitized Documents section. We've also applied Zoomify© magnification software, so you can explore the images in detail — some of the handwriting may be a challenge otherwise! (So what are the research 'gems' in this collection? Try Item 1517 — "A List of Taxables for the Town and County of Shelburne Levied for the year 1786"; or Item 1518 — a list of assessments of Shelburne county and poor taxes for 1787.)
The 1940 printed catalogue included an extensive Index which we've duplicated here, linking each entry electronically to the appropriate related document description(s). While the Index is fairly comprehensive, we've noticed that it doesn't include interesting details such as vessel names — and so we recommend that you use the Search Box in addition to the Index.
Lastly, a complementary Virtual Exhibit presents twenty historical photographs, maps and documentary art items, selected from our holdings and presented here in digitized format to enable you to explore 'old' Shelburne as the White family knew it. Detailed note areas accompany most of the images, providing lots of additional historical information. Enjoy!