Visiting the Library

The Massachusetts Historical Society's library operates differently than most public or university libraries. While we strive to provide researchers with access to the contents of all our collections, the preservation of our unique materials is our primary concern. To that end, we enforce strict security protocols. Explore the pages in this section in order to become familiar with library policies and procedures so that you can make the most of your visit to the library.  

What to Expect

Prepare for your first visit by learning about Portal1791 (our online request system), the researcher registration process, how to request materials, and basic security policies.

What to Bring

Learn what personal materials are allowed into the library and what materials the MHS provides for researchers.

How to Prepare

Find advice on where to begin your research, how to search the MHS catalogs, and how much time you will need to complete your research. 

Upcoming Events

Brown Bag

Re-categorizing Americans: Difference, Distinction, and Belonging in the Dillingham Commission (1907 ...

22Aug 12:00PM 2018

This talk traces how the federal government surveyed immigrants in the early-20th century and how such attempts helped solidify the racial boundary-making for the nation ...

canceled Teacher Workshop

Education: Equality and Access

23Aug 9:00AM 2018
Registration fee: $35 per person

 This workshop has been POSTPONED.  Further information will be posted here when it is rescheduled. This program will investigate the history of education ...

Brown Bag

"A Brazen Wall to Keep the Scriptures Certainty": European Biblical Scholarship in Early America

24Aug 12:00PM 2018

During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, European scholars made significant advances in the historical and critical study of the Bible, often with highly ...

From our Blog

Barbara Hillard Smith’s Diary, August 1918

Today we return to the 1918 diary of Newton teenager Barbara Hillard Smith. You may read our introduction to the diary, and Barbara’s previous entries, here:   January | February | March ...

Travel Without Moving : Adam Matthew Digital and the History of ...

As summer draws to its inevitable end, I am somewhat grateful (In case you haven’t noticed, it has been a hot one!) and somewhat wistful. Although I’ve been privileged to take several ...

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