Abstract Carboniferous basins in southeastern New England provide insight into, and constraints on, models for Alleghanian orogenesis. In particular, the Narragansett and Norfolk basins represent Devonian- to Pennsylvanian-aged, non-marine basins in southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island that were variably deformed and metamorphosed during the Alleghanian orogeny, and intruded by Permian granites generated by crustal thickening. As such these basins provide an unusually complete documentation of the Alleghanian orogeny. We summarize their sedimentologic, structural and metamorphic features, with emphasis placed on the Narragansett basin, and provide a comprehensive bibliography of recent work. The Narragansett basin also contains complexly deformed and variably metamorphosed coals that are unlike coal describe from other orogenic terrains. Thus we describe these unusual, high rank coal deposits and their response to orogenesis.