Rhode Island Historical Tracts

by Sidney S. Rider

More than any other Rhode Islander of his generation, Sidney S. Rider was in the business of history. Rider was the premier bookseller in Rhode Island in the later part of the 19th and early 20th centuries. He was also a learned chronicler of Providence’s early history

 - Erik Chaput & Russell J. DeSimone, smallstatebighistory.com


The purpose of the Historical Tracts was to “preserve in neat and inexpensive form” a collection of various Rhode Island historical works. Rider was a lifelong collector of books and ephemera. His huge personal collection is housed at Brown University. The Historical Tracts are familiar booklets in local history collections across the state. Below are series 1 and 2 in their entirety.

A useful index to the first series is contained in Series. 1. Number 20

Click on the books below for the full text


Series 1. Number 1

The Capture of General Richard Prescott by Lt-Col. William Barton by J. Lewis Diman (1877)




Series 1. Number 2

Visits of the Northmen to Rhode Island by Alexander Farnum (1877)




Series 1. Number 3

The Wanton Family by Sidney S. Rider (1877)




Series 1. Number 4

William Coddington in Rhode Island Colonial Affairs by Dr. Henry E. Turner (1877)




Series 1. Number 5

Memoir Concerning the French Settlements and French Settlers in the Colony of Rhode Island by Elisha R. Potter (1877)




Series 1. Number 6

The Centennial Celebration of the Battle of Rhode Island at Portsmouth, R.I. August 29, 1878 (1878)




Series 1. Number 7

The Journal of a Brigade Chaplain in the Campaign of 1779 Against the Six Nations Under Command of Major-General John Sullivan by the Rev. William Rogers (1879)




Series 1. Number 8

Some Account of the Bills of Credit or Paper Money of Rhode Island from the First Issue in 1710, to the Final Issue, 1786. By Elisha R. Potter (1880)




Series 1. Number 9

A True Representation of a Plan Formed at Albany, in 1754, for Uniting All the British Northern Colonies, in Order to Their Common Safety and Defence by Stephen Hopkins (1880)




Series 1. Number 10

An Historical Inquiry Concerning an Attempt to Raise a Regiment of Slaves by Rhode Island During the War of the Revolution by Sidney S. Rider (1880)




Series 1. Number 11

Bibliographical Memoirs of Three Rhode Island Authors. Joseph K. Angell; Frances H. (Whipple) McDougall; Catharine R. Williams. To which is added The Nine Lawyer’s Opinion on the Right of the People of Rhode Island to Form a Constitution by Sidney S. Rider (1880)




Series 1. Number 12

The Medical School Formerly Existing in Brown University, Its Professors and Graduates by Charles W. Parsons (1881)




Series 1. Number 13

The Diary of Thomas Vernon [1715-1784] A Loyalist. Banished from Newport by the Rhode Island General Assembly in 1776. To which is added the Vernon Family and Arms and the Genealogy of Richard Greene of Potowomut (1881)




Series 1. Number 14

Roger Williams’s “Christenings Do Not Make Christians” 1645. A long-lost tract recovered and exactly reprinted. Edited by Henry Martyn Dexter. Followed by certain Letters Written by Roger Williams (1881)




Series 1. Number 15

The Planting and Growth of Providence illustrated in the Gradual Accumulation of the Materials for Domestic Comfort, the Means of Internal Communication and the Development of Local Industries by Henry C. Dorr (1882)




Series 1. Number 16

A Looking Glass for the Times or the Former Spirit of New England Revived in This Generation by Peter Folger (1883)




Series 1. Number 17

A Defence of Samuel Gorton and the Settlers of Shawomet by George A. Brayton (1883)




Series 1. Number 18

Gleanings from the Judicial History of Rhode Island by Thomas Durfee (1883)




Series 1. Number 19

Stephen Hopkins, a Rhode Island Statesman. A Study in the Political History of the Eighteenth Century. By William E. Foster (1884)




Series 1. Number 20

Additions and corrections to the first series of Rhode Island historical tracts: with anindexto the same (1895)

NOTE: This volume contains the index to series 1.




Series 2. Number 1

An Inquiry Concerning the Origin of the Clause in the Laws of Rhode Island (1719-1783) Disfranchising Roman Catholics by Sidney S. Rider (1889)




Series 2. Number 2

An Inquiry Concerning the Authenticity of an Alleged Portrait of Roger Williams by Sidney S. Rider (1895)




Series 2. Number 3

A Century of Lotteries in Rhode Island 1744-1844 by John H. Stiness (1896)




Series 2. Number 4

The Forgeries Connected with The Deed Given by the Sachems Canonicus and Miantinomi to Roger Williams of the Land on Which the Town of Providence was Planted by Sidney S. Rider (1896)




Series 2. Number 5

Soul Liberty. Rhode Island’s Gift to the Nation. An Inquiry Concerning the Validity of the Claims Made by Roman Catholics that Maryland was Settled upon that Basis Before Roger Williams Planted the Colony of Rhode Island by Sidney S. Rider (1897)




Sidney Rider also published an annual series called Book Notes, which he describes on the title page as “literary gossip, criticism of books, and local historical matters connected with Rhode Island. Thirty-three volumes are available in full-text, through the HathiTrust.