The Society's collection of graphic material includes approximately 4,000 portrait prints and drawings, most of which are of 19th-century American and British notables, and roughly 220 silhouettes. There are approximately 2,000 prints, engravings, lithographs, drawings, and posters of historical events from the European discovery of America to the present, including a large collection of World War I recruiting and war loan posters. Other separate collections include bookplates, trade bills, and Civil War patriotic covers.

Notable pieces include Paul Revere’s engraving of the Boston Massacre; the earliest known American woodcut, a 1670 portrait of Richard Mather; and mezzotints of Native American leaders. There are two important prints by Peter Pelham, Cotton Mather and Plan of the City and Fortress of Louisbourg after Richard Gridley.

How to Find Graphics

Information about items in the graphics collection is largely limited to in-house databases and card catalogs, although records for World War I posters, silhouettes, and other selected graphics are available in ABIGAIL.  Contact the Reader Services staff for more information.

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 ...

Read more from our blog

Have you seen?