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

canceled History of Women and Gender Seminar

On Fantasy

20Mar 5:30PM 2018
Location: Fay House, Radcliffe Institute

This program is canceled due to illness. This paper argues that fantasies of racial and gendered mastery—seen in law, racial performance, and sexual violence&mdash ...

Author Talk

People before Highways: Boston Activists, Urban Planners, & A New Movement for City Making

20Mar 6:00PM 2018
There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30.

In 1948, inspired by changes to federal law, Massachusetts officials started to plan highways circling and cutting through the heart of Boston. But when officials began ...

Brown Bag

From Corporate Charter to Modern Constitution: Massachusetts Transformations

21Mar 12:00PM 2018

The U.S. Constitution is not a “social contract,” but a popularly issued corporate charter.  America’s constitutional innovations&mdash ...

From our Blog

Welcome to Our 2018-2019 MHS-NEH Fellows!

The Massachusetts Historical Society’s Research Department is pleased to announce our two 2018-2019 MHS-NEH Long-Term Fellows, Mara Caden and Brent Sirota. Mara Caden will be researching the ...

From Absolute Monarchy to Absolute Demon: “Identity of Napoleon and ...

As a newer library assistant in the MHS library, I occasionally peruse different subjects in ABIGAIL in the hopes of further familiarizing myself with topics our collections cover. Often, the search ...

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