Our initial collection was started at the YWCA and consisted of documents of resident women immigrants. Thirty seven years later, we own and are located at 6 Essex Street, Lawrence, Massachusetts in the former Essex Company complex – a site on the National Register of Historic Places built in 1882-3 that includes a main office building, carpenter shop, blacksmith shop, stable, and warehouse. Our largest single collection is the Essex Company business and planning records that meticulously document the building of the City of Lawrence starting in 1845. Other collections include over 20,000 photographs and glass plate negatives, 800 digitally mastered oral histories, mayoral papers, non-current municipal records, church records, organizational records from local businesses and agencies, and an array of family and individual records that document the ethnically diverse and intellectually challenging nature of Lawrence. We engage the community by employing these materials through physical and online exhibits, symposia, educational programs, and research services to foster understanding of the interaction of the built community and the lives of those who live and work there.