Donate to the Collection

The Massachusetts Historical Society actively collects personal and family papers—diaries, letters, and other personal records—and, to a lesser extent, the records of institutions and organizations such as churches and clubs that document the history of Massachusetts and the nation. The MHS collects materials from all time periods and is particularly interested in acquiring letters, diaries, and other personal accounts written by soldiers and volunteers serving abroad during World War I and personal papers and organizational records that document the environmental history of Massachusetts. The MHS also collects printed materials, photographs, art, and artifacts that provide context for our manuscript collections. 

Please contact the Historical Society before sending material to be sure that it fits the Society's collecting policy. If you would like to discuss a possible donation of research materials, please contact the Director of Collections Services. Please contact the Curator of Art about donating art or artifacts.

Donating Secondary Sources

The MHS Library is currently expanding our collection of modern scholarly works. The library collects these secondary sources to support the work of researchers using our collections. You may review a list of over 140 titles we seek or contact Librarian Elaine Heavey with questions about donating books.  

How can I find out what my collection is worth?

The MHS collects material for its historical value. As an interested party in a possible donation, the Society is unable to provide a financial appraisal of a collection's value.

We can, however, provide information about how you can get your materials appraised and, if you are planning a donation to the MHS, we can arrange for a professional to appraise the material at the Society.  If a donor has acquired a prior appraisal or obtains an appraisal at the time of donation, the Society would appreciate receiving a copy of the written appraisal. Please contact the Director of Collections Services for more information. 

The Massachusetts Historical Society is a non-profit institution. Donors can claim a tax deduction on gifts to the MHS based on a financial appraisal of the donation. The owner of the material must pay the cost of obtaining an outside appraisal, but the cost of the appraisal is also tax-deductible. The MHS recommends that donors check with an attorney or financial advisor about any and all tax implications.

Upcoming Events

Modern American Society and Culture Seminar

Interreligious Responses to the Settlement House Movement, 1880-1924

25Apr 5:15PM 2017

By 1913, over 400 settlement houses catered to immigrants and laborers across the United States. This paper analyzes how Catholic and Jewish immigrant communities in New ...

Author Talk

John Quincy Adams and the Politics of Slavery: Selections from the Diary

26Apr 6:00PM 2017
There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm.

In the final years of his political career, President John Quincy Adams was known for his objections to slavery. As a young statesman, however, he supported slavery. What ...

Cooking Boston

Cooking Boston: Eating Other People's Food

27Apr 6:00PM 2017
There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm.

Program 2: Eating Other People's FoodIn the second half of the 20th century, Americans were re-introduced to the food of the world. Most famously, Julia Child in ...

From our Blog

This Week @ MHS

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE LIBRARY IS CLOSED ON WEDNESDAY, 26 APRIL, FOR A STAFF EVENT.  This week's program schedule is heavy in the middle, with a seminar and a pair of public programs. Here are the ...

“All things are in common now”

Today is the 242nd anniversary of the battles of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the American Revolution. The MHS holds some terrific letters and diaries containing first-hand accounts of ...

Read more from our blog

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