Online Resources What is this? Our online resources are sets of digitized items which have been organized either around a common topic, such as the American Revolution, or to highlight a specific collection, such as the papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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Web presentations of hundreds of pages of Jefferson documents selected from the Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson Manuscripts at the MHS.
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Full title: Thomas Jefferson Papers: An Electronic Archive

Featuring selections from the Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson Manuscripts at the Massachusetts Historical Society, this digital collection (entitled, Thomas Jefferson Papers: An Electronic Archive) includes Jefferson's manuscript copy of the Declaration of Independence, Farm Book, Garden Book, book catalogs, and architectural drawings.

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Digital edition of the content of the previously printed documentary editions of The Adams Papers; includes full annotations, index, and a search tool.
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Full title: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses

With a fast and comprehensive search tool new in summer 2010, this is the digital edition of the content of the previously printed editions of the Revolutionary-era Adams Papers, a long-standing documentary edition prepared at the Massachusetts Historical Society. This digital edition includes all text of the historical documents, all editorial text, and a single index with consolidated entries for the 16 printed Adams Papers indexes. Another forthcoming digital edition will present the Winthrop Papers, a documentary edition created at the MHS.

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Diaries of John Quincy Adams

Digital Collection  Diaries of John Quincy Adams
Images of all the pages (over 14,000) within 51 volumes of John Quincy Adams's diary, ranging in date from 1779 to 1848.
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Full title: The Diaries of John Quincy Adams: A Digital Collection

This digital collection presents images of the 51 volumes of John Quincy Adams' diary in the Adams Family Papers. Adams began keeping his diary in 1779 at the age of twelve and continued until shortly before his death in 1848. There are over 14,000 pages within these diaries and a date search tool is available.

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View over 400 architectural drawings, sketches, and notes by Thomas Jefferson.
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Full title: Thomas Jefferson: An Electronic Archive Architectural Drawings

There are over 400 architectural drawings in the Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson Manuscripts at the Massachusetts Historical Society. Approximately 245 of these drawings (including notebook pages) are plans for Jefferson's home, Monticello. The collection also contains Jefferson's drawings for municipal and civic institutions: the University of Virginia; capitol buildings for Washington and Richmond; and the president's house.

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Web presentations of 185 items selected from the extensive Saltonstall Family Collections at the Massachusetts Historical Society.
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Full title: Highlights from the Saltonstall Family Collections at the Massachusetts Historical Society

The papers, photographs, art, and artifacts of the Saltonstall family, one of the founding families of Massachusetts, chronicle five centuries of family history and involvement in public life, from before the European settlement of America through the 20th century. Saltonstall family collections at the Massachusetts Historical Society include papers of Leverett Saltonstall (1783-1845), mayor and U.S. representative from Salem, Massachusetts; Eleanor "Nora" Saltonstall's letters home to her family while serving as a volunteer in France during World War I; and the personal and political papers and photographs of U.S. Senator Leverett Saltonstall (1892-1979).

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Siege of Boston

Online Feature  Siege of Boston
Read manuscripts written by soldiers, residents, and prisoners who describe their experiences during the Siege of Boston, a tense 11-month period from April 1775 to March 1776 at the beginning of the American Revolution.
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Full title: The Siege of Boston: Eyewitness Accounts from the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society

This website presents more than one dozen accounts written by individuals personally engaged in or affected by the Siege, including soldiers, prisoners (one imprisoned Loyalist and one Patriot), and residents along with the record of a town meeting during the Siege. These first-hand experiences recounted in 25 manuscripts (approximately 300 pages of letters, diaries, and documents from the Massachusetts Historical Society collections) give the human side of the American Revolution, a perspective often overlooked in histories that describe the Siege as a series of military events.

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Web displays of manuscripts and early printed works about the lives of African Americans in Massachusetts from the late 17th century through the abolition of slavery in the state in 1780.
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Full title: African Americans and the End of Slavery in Massachusetts

This website features 117 items from the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, including historical manuscripts and early printed works that offer a window into the lives of African Americans in Massachusetts from the late 17th century through the abolition of slavery under the Massachusetts Constitution in the 1780s.

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A selection of Eleanor "Nora" Saltonstall's letters and photographs conveying her experiences as a volunteer in France during World War I.
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Full title: Nora Saltonstall Papers and Photographs from the Highlights from the Saltonstall Family Collections

During World War I Eleanor "Nora" Saltonstall (1894-1919) volunteered in France, first with the Bureau of Refugees and Relief (a division of the American Red Cross that provided lodging for refugees), and then with an American Red Cross dispensary. Presented here are a selection of Nora's letters to her family describing her experiences written from November of 1917 through the end of 1918, her passport, and photographs taken by and of Nora, including one taken just weeks prior to her death in the summer of 1919.

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Full title: Looking at the Civil War: Massachusetts Finds Her Voice

As part of the Massachusetts Historical Society's commemoration of the Civil War sesquicentennial, each month a different item from the collection will be selected to share voices of the people of Massachusetts as they experienced the war 150 years before. When the project concludes in April 2015, fifty-two items from our collection will tell the story of Massachusetts' role in the Civil War in an online exhibition.

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Object of the Month

Online Feature  Object of the Month
A different web display each month showcasing an item from the collections of the MHS.
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Full title: Object of the Month

A different web display each month showcasing an item from the collections of the MHS; sometimes the features relate to anniversaries, or convey the variety of historical sources within the collection, as well as help the public understand American history.

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View one entire album assembled by Marian "Clover" Hooper Adams and selected letters and documents conveying her approach to photography.
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Full title: Marian Hooper Adams: Selected Photographs and Letters

This website presents 48 photographs (one entire album) from the Marian Hooper Adams photograph collection, five selected letters from the Hooper-Adams papers, and two letters by Henry Adams (from a new acquisition) in which he reflects on his wife's death. This website also provides information about Clover's approach to photography by presenting a digital facsimile of a notebook Clover kept from May 1883 to January 1884 in which she listed many of her photographs and commented on exposures, lighting, and other technical details.

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Browse selections of newspapers, engravings, printed materials and manuscripts about the debate in Massachusetts about the ratification of the U. S. Constitution.
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Full title: Massachusetts Considers Ratifying the U. S. Constitution

The following web presentations of selections from the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) relate to the debate about the ratification of the U. S. Constitution in Massachusetts (including the District of Maine). These materials have been assembled for a workshop, Ratification! The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788.

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Primary sources and contextual essays arranged into 15 topics relating to the events leading up to the American Revolution.
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Full title: Coming of the American Revolution

In the years between 1764 and 1776, America truly became a nation. Using letters, diaries, broadsides, pamphlets, newspapers, maps, and engravings, this website brings those tumultuous years to life for students of all ages. The site is organized around fifteen key topics and features more than 150 documents from the Society's collections. Additional resources include primary-source-based lesson plans developed by middle- and high-school educators, study questions, and contextual essays.

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Images and searchable transcriptions of the correspondence between John and Abigail Adams, the diary of John Adams, and the autobiography of John Adams.
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Full title: Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive

This searchable digital collection (entitled, Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive) presents images of manuscripts and digital transcriptions from the Adams Family Papers including the complete correspondence between John and Abigail Adams, the diary of John Adams, and the autobiography of John Adams.

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The Case for Ending Slavery

Online Feature  The Case for Ending Slavery
Primary sources and lesson plans arranged around five topics relating to slavery, the end of slavery, and the Civil War.
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Full title: Massachusetts Historical Society: The Case for Ending Slavery

This website features more than 50 primary sources from the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society and the Library of Congress that reveal how slavery, and debates about slavery, contributed to the formation of the United States. Using letters, diaries, broadsides, artifacts, songs, legal notebooks, and photographs representing a variety of viewpoints, this site highlights the complex nature of ideas about slavery and freedom that circulated in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Available are lesson plans, study questions, and resources for educators.

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Boston By Manuscript

Web Resource  Boston By Manuscript
Browse documents and artifacts relating to significant historical buildings, locations, and events in Boston, Massachusetts.
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Full title: Boston By Manuscript

The following web presentations of selections from the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) relate to Boston history, places, and events. The following primary sources offer details and perspectives that should complement and supplement the existing knowledge base Boston experts have already established regarding the events and history of the city.

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Battle of Bunker Hill

Online Exhibition  Battle of Bunker Hill
Web exhibition about the Battle of Bunker Hill on 17 June 1775 featuring eyewitness descriptions of the battle, along with contemporary maps and engravings.
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Full title: Battle of Bunker Hill

Web exhibition about the Battle of Bunker Hill in June 1775 featuring personal accounts and eyewitness descriptions of the battle, along with contemporary maps, drawings, engravings, broadsides, and artifacts, either preserved by the participants or found on the battlefield.

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Images and transcriptions of the documents that provided the historical background for David McCullough's Pulitzer-Prize winning biography and the miniseries about John Adams.

Web displays of manuscripts, artifacts, portraits, and sculpture relating to Abraham Lincoln drawn from the MHS collections.
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Full title: Celebrating Lincoln

In recognition and celebration of the bicentennial of the birth of Abraham Lincoln in 2009 the Massachusetts Historical Society is hosting a public exhibition about Lincoln and Massachusetts, as well as online displays of manuscripts, artifacts, portraits, and sculpture drawn from the MHS collections.

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War of 1812

Online Feature  War of 1812
Web presentations of selected broadsides, letters, and artifacts relating to the War of 1812.
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Full title: The War of 1812: Items from the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society

The Massachusetts Historical Society has a rich collection of materials relating to the War of 1812, as it was the first major military conflict that the United States was involved in after the Society's founding in 1791. In recognition of the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, the Society presents a selection of broadsides, letters, and artifacts.

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