Researchers visiting the library must fill out a reproduction request form, available in the reading room, listing all items they wish to have reproduced as photocopies or low resolution PDF files. It can take up to two weeks for the library staff to process each request. If the staff is unable to complete your reproduction request during your research visit, copies will be held for pick-up, mailed, or emailed per your preference.
Researchers who cannot visit the library can place requests by email, telephone, fax, or mail. All requests should be directed to:
Massachusetts Historical Society
1154 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02215
All requests placed via email, telephone, fax, or post should indicate the collection title, call number, and the particular items to be reproduced, indicated by dates or page numbers. Library staff will review the request to ensure the materials can be reproduced and will confirm the request. Due to the large volume of reproductions we create, It can take up to four weeks to complete requests. Researchers are required to sign a copy of the reproduction form and must return it to the library staff (via email, fax, or mail) before reproductions are made.
Photocopies & Low-resolution PDF Files
The MHS will photocopy or create low resolution scans of most material that can safely lie flat on our photocopier and is less than 11 inches x 17 inches in size. Larger items, material contained in volumes, and other fragile items are assessed on a case by case basis at the time of the request.
The MHS will create digital low-resolution files of material available on microfilm which is not protected by copyright. In our online catalog the call number pre-fix 'P' (example: P-525) indicates that a collection is available on microfilm.
The cost of all reproductions, both photocopies and low-resolution digital files, is $0.50 per page/image. Additional shipping costs will be assessed for mailed materials. There is a minimum charge of $10.00 for all reproduction requests placed by email, post, or telephone. Low resolution image requests that require more than 20 images created from our microfilm collections cannot be emailed through our mail servers. These images will be burned onto CD and sent via post. An additional $5.00 shipping and supply fee will be assessed for all such requests.
Large orders (more than 75 pages) or orders that require additional staff preparation must be approved by the head of reader services or reference librarian before processing and will incur an additional processing fee of $15.00 per hour. Estimates for additional fees will be arranged in advance.
For reproduction requests that exceed $100.00, the MHS requires a pre-payment of 50% of the estimated cost. The balance will be invoiced upon completion of the order for remittance of payment.
The MHS accepts cash (from in-person researchers only), personal checks, money orders, and most major credit cards. Researchers who pick up photocopies at the library pay for photocopies at the time of pick-up. Researchers who receive photocopies via post, digital files via email, or low-resolution images on CD via postal mail will receive an invoice with their reproductions and can remit payment upon receipt of the invoice.
Use of Reference Reproductions
Please note that all reference reproductions are for personal/study use only. Researchers wishing to publish images of, cite, or quote material from MHS owned collections must contact the reference librarian at 617-646-0561 or via email for permission to publish.
Statement on Copyright
The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement. This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.