Citation Permissions

Researchers citing and quoting from unpublished materials held at the MHS must request permission from the Society through their Portal1791 account. The reference librarian reviews all requests to ensure there are no copyright or other restrictions on the materials. When a request is approved, you will recieve use permission notification through Portal1791.

There are no fees charged for citation/quotation permission.

Submitting Citations

To initialize your request, locate the collection from which you plan to cite or quote material using ABIGAIL and submit a reproduction/use permission request through Portal1791.

The MHS grants citation permission at the collection level so there is no need to itemize individual citations in your request. When prompted to provide information regarding specific materials for reproduction you may simply write "Entire collection" in the field.

You will need to submit a separate request for each collection. 

When providing a project description, please include:

●     Title of work and publication title (if relevant)

●     Publisher or sponsoring institution

●     Actual or planned date of publication, presentation, exhibition opening, etc.

●     Mailing address where you wish to receive the permission letter.

Once your request has been submitted the reference librarian will review the collection for copyright or other restrictions and, if the request is approved, issue a use permission confirmation notice delivered to your Portal1791 account and via email. 

Published Materials

The MHS does not have a role in granting permission to cite or quote from published works including, but not limited to, books, broadsides, pamphlets, and journals. When a work has been published, the intellectual copyright lies with the author until the copyright expires.

Cornell University provides a useful chart showing the Copyright Term and Public Domain in the United States as well as a checklist for fair use of published materials that may be helpful to you in determining whether or not any published materials you wish to reproduce are protected by copyright.

Crafting Citations

Please review our citation guidelines as you finalize your citations. If you have questions about how to cite a specific document, please contact the reference librarian. In your email, provide as much detail regarding the item as you can so that we may assist you to the best of our abilities.

The MHS does not provide verification of quotations.

Exempt Categories

The following uses are exempt from the formal use permissions process:

●     Academic assignments, other than theses/dissertations

●     Lectures, presentations, and classroom use

●     Personal blogs/websites, and social media platforms

Please follow the citation guidelines to ensure proper identification of materials used.

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 ...

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It is our last week of programming at the MHS for 2018. Join us for a seminar, a Saturday tour, or stop by to see our current exhibition. - Tuesday, 18 December, 5:30 PM: Transgender History ...

“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. ...

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