History of Pittsfield, Berkshire County, Massachusetts from the Year 1800 to the Year 1876. J. E. A. Smith.
This exhaustive work begins with a description of the village. No detail of Pittsfield life is left untouched, and the entire book is bursting with the names of early Pittsfielders. Besides its value as a town history, this book is quite enjoyable due to its attention to diverse topics, from the prevalent custom of bundling to the exciting cases of "body snatching" by medical students who needed cadavers for anatomical study. Early leading citizens and their homes are described in the first part of the book. Perhaps the most notable resident of Pittsfield was author Herman Melville, who wrote Moby Dick while in residence. Prominent surnames include: Goodrich, Little, Allen, Childs, Campbell, Van Schaack, Wendell, Colt, Root, Pomeroy, Clapp, Hulbert, Bacon, Brown, Jarvis, McKay, Strong, Hubbard, Newton, Willis, Brewster and Russell. Chapters cover population, emigration to points west, newspapers, post offices, agriculture, manufacture, mercantile affairs, domestic and social life, manners and morals, politics, churches, the War of 1812, the militia, establishment of the medical college, fires, temperance, visit of General Lafayette, explosion of a powder magazine, turnpikes and railroads, burial places and cemeteries, the Civil War and more. Of particular interest is the list of Pittsfield soldiers who served in the Civil War. This list includes officers and men from twenty-eight regiments.