Graphics

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

History of Women and Gender Seminar

Transgender History and Archives: An Interdisciplinary Conversation

18Dec 5:30PM 2018
Location: Knafel Center, Radcliffe Institute

This panel aims to begin an interdisciplinary conversation in transgender history. What is the state of the field of transgender studies in history, archiving, and public ...

MHS Tour

The History and Collections of the MHS

22Dec 10:00AM 2018

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 90-minute docent-led walk through our public rooms. The tour is free, open to the public, ...

Early American History Seminar

The Consecration of Samuel Seabury and the Crisis of Atlantic Episcopacy, 1782-1807

8Jan 5:15PM 2019

Samuel Seabury’s consecration in 1784 signaled a transformation in the organization of American Protestantism. After more than a century of resistance to the office ...

From our Blog

“On the Borders of Nonsense”: John Quincy Adams, Poet

It was a rainy day in May 1839 and John Quincy Adams, stuck inside, was amusing himself writing poetry. He was trying to imitate the Roman poet Horace, and outdo the English poet Alexander Pope. ...

Barefoot Families and Demon Rum: The Work of an Urban Missionary

In June 1854, the Boston City Missionary Society appointed a Methodist Episcopal clergyman named Luman Boyden to serve as missionary to the poor in East Boston. The 48-year-old Boyden (pictured above, ...

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