ABIGAIL

Begin Search [card catalog image]Welcome to ABIGAIL, the Massachusetts Historical Society's online library catalog.  ABIGAIL provides access to the majority of the Society's collections of manuscript and printed materials, and--in the near future--will provide access to its entire collection, including graphics and artifacts.

Click here to begin your search.

ABIGAIL at a glance

  • Almost 3,600 descriptions of manuscript collections, approximately 99% of the Society’s manuscript holdings. Descriptions of approximately 350,000 manuscript items are available on microfiche at the Society. Most of the item descriptions also have been reproduced in the Catalog of Manuscripts of the Massachusetts Historical Society published by G.K. Hall in 1969 and in a 1980 supplement, available at many libraries.
  • More than 180,000 descriptions of books and other printed materials. This number includes our biography, local history, and general research collections, early imprints, newspapers, broadsides, pamphlets, and serials.  
  • More than 1600 records for separately published maps and atlases.
  • 380 descriptions of photograph collections. Most of the approximately 120,000 separate items in the photograph collections are or will be cataloged by collection, rather than as individual items, but 50,000 photographs are currently described through a combination of online finding aids and ABIGAIL records. There are separate catalog descriptions for 800 individual images in the Society’s daguerreotype and ambrotype collection in ABIGAIL.
  • Approximately 1400 records for works of art, artifacts, and graphic materials. This number includes portraits, paintings, silhouettes, sculpture, and miniature portraits. Catalog records for the Society’s artifact and graphics collection will be added on a regular basis beginning in 2013.

For assistance with graphic materials and artifacts, please consult the reader services staff if you do not find what you are looking for. 

Upcoming Events

Online Event; Seminar; Environmental History Seminar

Climate in Words and Numbers: How Early Americans Recorded Weather in Almanacs

9Mar 5:15PM 2021
This is an online event.

As we begin to consider climate as an everyday problem, it's valuable to see how people did that in the past. With support from the Guggenheim Foundation, Joyce Chaplin ...

Online Event; Conversation; Racial Injustice Series

Confronting Racial Injustice: Redlining: From Slavery to $8 in 400 Years

11Mar 6:00PM 2021
This is an online program

In 2015, the Boston Federal Reserve found the median net worth for Black families in Boston was $8, in stark contrast to $250,000 for white families. This discrepancy is ...

Author Talk; Online Event

The Hunt for History: On the Trail of the World’s Lost Treasures—from the Letters of Lincoln, ...

15Mar 5:30PM 2021
This is an online program

Nathan Raab describes his years as the Sherlock Holmes of historical artifacts and he shows us what the past can tell us about the present. Raab shares some ...

From our Blog

This Week @MHS

Join us for a program this week! Here is a look at what is going on: - Tuesday, 29 January, 5:15 PM: Better Teaching through Technology, 1945-1969, with Victoria Cain, Northeastern ...

Founder to Founder

Like so many good stories here at the Historical Society, it began with a reference question. Jeremy Belknap, hunting through his sources, asked Vice President John Adams for some help. Belknap, the ...

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