Library Catalogs

There are several ways to search for information about the Society's collections.

ABIGAIL

ABIGAIL, the Society's library online catalog, is the place to start your search for information about MHS holdings.  Updated frequently, ABIGAIL provides access to catalog records for manuscripts, books, pamphlets, broadsides, photographs, art, artifacts, and other formats of material. 

Collection Guides

Many of the Society's manuscript and photograph collections are described in more detail in searchable online collection guides. Collection guides not yet online are available in the Society's reading room.

Online Adams Catalog

The Online Adams Catalog (OAC) contains more than 110,000 records representing every known document related to the Adams family dating from 1630 to 1889.

Other catalogs

Approximately 350,000 individual manuscripts are described in an item catalog available on microfiche at the MHS.  Although many of the descriptions have been revised or superceded, and more have been added, The Catalog of Manuscripts of the Massachusetts Historical Society (published by G. K. Hall, 1969; 1980 supplement) is available in more than 150 U.S. libraries and remains a useful resource for descriptions of individual manuscript items.

For Further Information

Researchers with questions about research strategies or the Society's library holdings should contact the Reader Services staff.

Upcoming Events

African American History Seminar; Online Event

Emancipation In America, Seen Through One Man's Dreadlocks

3Dec 5:15PM 2020
This is an online program

1864. A ship leaves its New England port carrying a USCT regiment to fight Confederates on the Louisiana front. But on the way, a showdown takes place when Pvt. John ...

Author Talk; Online Event

Bank Notes and Shinplasters: The Rage for Paper Money in the Early Republic

7Dec 5:30PM 2020
This is an online program

Before Civil War greenbacks and a national bank network established a uniform federal currency in the United States, loosely regulated banks saturated the early American ...

History of Women, Gender and Sexuality Seminar; Online Event

“To Make Her Own Bargains with Boats:” Gender, Labor, and Freedom in the Western Steamboat ...

8Dec 5:15PM 2020
This is an online program

Free and enslaved Black women have been rendered nearly invisible in the historical andpopular imagination of the antebellum steamboat world. This essay examines how ...

From our Blog

This Week @MHS

Join us for a program this week! Here is a look at what is going on: - Tuesday, 29 January, 5:15 PM: Better Teaching through Technology, 1945-1969, with Victoria Cain, Northeastern ...

Founder to Founder

Like so many good stories here at the Historical Society, it began with a reference question. Jeremy Belknap, hunting through his sources, asked Vice President John Adams for some help. Belknap, the ...

Read more from our blog

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