About the MHS

Making the Past Last

Founded in 1791, the Massachusetts Historical Society is an invaluable resource for American history, life, and culture. Its extraordinary collections tell the story of America through millions of rare and unique documents, artifacts, and irreplaceable national treasures.

Accessible To All

As the nation’s first historical society, the MHS strives to enhance the understanding of our nation’s past and its connection to the present, demonstrating that history is not just a series of events that happened to individuals long ago but is integral to the fabric of our daily lives. Its collections are accessible to anyone with an interest in American history. Beyond research, the MHS offers many ways for the public to enjoy its collections including engaging programs, thought-provoking exhibitions, publications, seminars, and teacher workshops.

National Treasures

The MHS collections are particularly well-known for extensive holdings of personal papers from three presidents: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. The collections contain many famous documents including Paul Revere's own account of his famous ride and Abigail Adams’s famous "Remember the Ladies” letter to John Adams, where she advocates for the rights of women to be included in the founding of the United States. In addition, the MHS holds several imprints of the Declaration of Independence, and Thomas Jefferson's architectural drawings, among many other treasures.

Upcoming Events

Brown Bag; Research Fellow

The Last & Living Words of Mark: Following the Clues to the Enslaved Man’s Life, Afterlife, and to ...

16Oct 12:00PM 2019

Mark (1725-1755), a blacksmith, husband, and father, might have slipped from public memory if not for his brutal end: his body gibbeted for decades on Charlestown Common ...

Conversation; Housing as History

Housing as History: Villa Victoria and the Fenway Community Development Corporation

16Oct 6:00PM 2019
There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30.

In the 1960s and 1970s Boston struggled to stem urban flight and a landscape of deteriorating housing stock. Massive redevelopment projects, such as the razing of the ...

Digital History Seminar

The World Comes to Lowell: Building a Digital Immigration History Website

17Oct 5:15PM 2019

Based at UMass Lowell, this digital project provides an entry point to the immigrant and refugee history of Lowell with an eye toward greater New England. An ...

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 ...

Read more from our blog

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