MHS Collections online

Adams Digital Collection

Adams Digital Collection
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Official title: Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive

This searchable digital collection (entitled, Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive) presents images of manuscripts and digital transcriptions from the Adams Family Papers including the complete correspondence between John and Abigail Adams, the diary of John Adams, and the autobiography of John Adams.

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Images and searchable transcriptions of the correspondence between John and Abigail Adams, the diary of John Adams, and the autobiography of John Adams.

Adams Papers Digital Edition

Adams Papers Digital Edition
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Official title: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses

With a fast and comprehensive search tool new in summer 2010, this is the digital edition of the content of the previously printed editions of the Revolutionary-era Adams Papers, a long-standing documentary edition prepared at the Massachusetts Historical Society. This digital edition includes all text of the historical documents, all editorial text, and a single index with consolidated entries for the 16 printed Adams Papers indexes. Another forthcoming digital edition will present the Winthrop Papers, a documentary edition created at the MHS.

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Digital edition of the content of the previously printed documentary editions of The Adams Papers; includes full annotations, index, and a search tool.

Charles Francis Adams Civil War Diaries

Charles Francis Adams Civil War Diaries
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Official title: Charles Francis Adams, Sr.: The Civil War Diaries

This website presents searchable electronic transcriptions of diary entries written by Charles Francis Adams, Sr. between 1861-1865. On the eve of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln appointed Charles Francis Adams, Sr. minister to the Court of St. James's. He arrived in London on the very day Great Britain recognized the Confederacy as a belligerent. In 1863 Adams convinced the British government to prevent Confederate ironclad ships, built in Liverpool, from leaving port, thereby maintaining British neutrality. Charles Francis Adams, Sr., like his father (John Quincy Adams) and grandfather (John Adams) kept a sequence of detailed diaries. The transcription of Charles Francis Adams's diary entries from 1861-1865 has not been verified against the original manuscript, nor has any annotation been provided. The MHS makes this content available as a valuable research source but with the caveat that it is not yet an edition as established by modern documentary editing standards.

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Read the diary entries (unverified transcriptions) of Charles Francis Adams (the son of John Quincy Adams, and grandson of John Adams) a key US diplomat in Great Britain during the US Civil War.

Diaries of John Quincy Adams

Diaries of John Quincy Adams
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Official title: The Diaries of John Quincy Adams: A Digital Collection

This digital collection presents images of the 51 volumes of John Quincy Adams' diary in the Adams Family Papers. Adams began keeping his diary in 1779 at the age of twelve and continued until shortly before his death in 1848. There are over 14,000 pages within these diaries and a date search tool is available.

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Images of all the pages (over 14,000) within 51 volumes of John Quincy Adams's diary, ranging in date from 1779 to 1848.

Thomas Jefferson Digital Collection

Thomas Jefferson Digital Collection
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Official title: Thomas Jefferson Papers: An Electronic Archive

Featuring selections from the Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson Manuscripts at the Massachusetts Historical Society, this digital collection (entitled, Thomas Jefferson Papers: An Electronic Archive) includes Jefferson's manuscript copy of the Declaration of Independence, Farm Book, Garden Book, book catalogs, and architectural drawings.

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Web presentations of hundreds of pages of Jefferson documents selected from the Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson Manuscripts at the MHS.

Coming of the American Revolution

Coming of the American Revolution
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Official title: Coming of the American Revolution

In the years between 1764 and 1776, America truly became a nation. Using letters, diaries, broadsides, pamphlets, newspapers, maps, and engravings, this website brings those tumultuous years to life for students of all ages. The site is organized around fifteen key topics and features more than 150 documents from the Society's collections. Additional resources include primary-source-based lesson plans developed by middle- and high-school educators, study questions, and contextual essays.

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Primary sources and contextual essays arranged into 15 topics relating to the events leading up to the American Revolution.

Leisure, Travel & Mass Culture (available in the MHS reading room)

Leisure, Travel & Mass Culture (available in the MHS reading room)
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Official title: Leisure, Travel & Mass Culture: The History of Tourism

This digital resource presents primary sources on the rise of mass tourism from 1850 and the 1980s. Printed sources and manuscripts from the Massachusetts Historical Society as well as other repositories are included. Published by Adam Matthew, this resource is available to researchers who visit the MHS library in person. It is also available at many college and university libraries.

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This digital resource features some manuscript and printed sources from the MHS related to the expansion, accessibility, and affordability of mass tourism.

Frontier Life: Borderlands, Settlement & Colonial Encounters (available in the MHS reading room)

Frontier Life: Borderlands, Settlement & Colonial Encounters (available in the MHS reading room)
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Official title: Frontier Life: Borderlands, Settlement & Colonial Encounters

This digital resource containing collections from the Massachusetts Historical Society as well as content from other repositories explores the frontier regions of North America, Europe, Africa, and Australasia through documents revealing the lives of settlers and indigenous peoples in these areas. Published by Adam Matthew, this resource is available to researchers who visit the MHS library in person. It is also available at many college and university libraries.

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Some MHS collections are included in this digital resource published by Adam Matthew, which provides access to primary source materials that reveal the lives of settlers and indigenous peoples across the frontier regions of North America.

Antislavery Images

Antislavery Images
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Official title: Images of the Antislavery Movement in Massachusetts

This website presents digital images of 840 visual materials from the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society that illustrate the role of Massachusetts in the national debate over slavery. Included are photographs, paintings, sculptures, engravings, artifacts, banners, and broadsides that were central to the debate and the formation of the antislavery movement.

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Online displays of photographs, paintings, and other visual materials illustrating the role of Massachusetts in the national debate over slavery.

China, America and the Pacific (available in the MHS reading room)

China, America and the Pacific (available in the MHS reading room)
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Official title: China, America and the Pacific (an Adam Matthew digital resource)

This digital resource containing collections from the Massachusetts Historical Society as well as content from other repositories explores the cultural and trading relationships that emerged between America, China and the Pacific region between the 18th and early 20th centuries. This resource, published by Adam Matthew, is available to researchers who visit the MHS in person and use our reading room. It is also available in many college and university libraries.

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Many MHS collections on the China trade are included in this digital resource published by Adam Matthew that provides access to primary source materials about the trading and cultural relationships between China, America and the Pacific region between the 18th and early 20th centuries.

African Americans and the End of Slavery in Massachusetts

African Americans and the End of Slavery in Massachusetts
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Official title: African Americans and the End of Slavery in Massachusetts

This website features 117 items from the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, including historical manuscripts and early printed works that offer a window into the lives of African Americans in Massachusetts from the late 17th century through the abolition of slavery under the Massachusetts Constitution in the 1780s.

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Web displays of manuscripts and early printed works about the lives of African Americans in Massachusetts from the late 17th century through the abolition of slavery in the state in 1780.

Margaret Hall’s World War I Photographs

Margaret Hall’s World War I Photographs
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Official title: Photographs from the World War 1 Memoir of Margaret Hall

This website allows users to browse and search all 246 photographs and 29 additional illustrative items from Margaret Hall’s typescript narrative, Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country, 1918-1919. As a member of the American Red Cross in France during World War I, Massachusetts-born Margaret Hall worked at a canteen at a railroad junction in the town of Châlons. On her return home she compiled a typescript narrative from the letters and diary passages that she wrote while overseas. Her words offer a first-hand account of life on the Western Front in the last months of the war. She also copiously illustrated the text with her own photographs, which depict soldiers, canteens, and the extensive destruction and ruin following the war.

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Margaret Hall served as a member of the American Red Cross in France during World War I and took many photographs depicting soldiers, canteens, and the extensive destruction and ruin following the war.

Massachusetts Maps

Massachusetts Maps
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Official title: Massachusetts Maps

This website presents manuscript maps of local towns and counties dating from 1637-1809, iconic printed maps of Massachusetts and Boston, and meticulously drawn manuscript maps by Samuel Chester Clough (1873-1949) presenting a wealth of information about property owners in Boston during the 17th and late 18th centuries.

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Web displays of over 100 manuscript and printed maps of Boston and other Massachusetts towns and counties.

Maps of the French and Indian War

Maps of the French and Indian War
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Official title: Maps of the French and Indian War

Online displays of maps depicting North America around the time of the French and Indian War, 1754 to 1763. The maps in this web exhibition are drawn from the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society and provide valuable information about the planning and conduct of the war; commanders on both sides relied on maps as they made their decisions about troop and fleet movements, where to engage the enemy, and what territory to try to hold.

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Online displays of maps depicting North America around the time of the French and Indian War, 1754 to 1763.

Marian

Marian "Clover" Hooper Adams Photographs
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Official title: Marian Hooper Adams: Selected Photographs and Letters

This website presents 48 photographs (one entire album) from the Marian Hooper Adams photograph collection, five selected letters from the Hooper-Adams papers, and two letters by Henry Adams (from a new acquisition) in which he reflects on his wife's death. This website also provides information about Clover's approach to photography by presenting a digital facsimile of a notebook Clover kept from May 1883 to January 1884 in which she listed many of her photographs and commented on exposures, lighting, and other technical details.

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View one entire album assembled by Marian "Clover" Hooper Adams and selected letters and documents conveying her approach to photography.

Highlights from the Saltonstall Family Collections

Highlights from the Saltonstall Family Collections
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Official title: Highlights from the Saltonstall Family Collections at the Massachusetts Historical Society

The papers, photographs, art, and artifacts of the Saltonstall family, one of the founding families of Massachusetts, chronicle five centuries of family history and involvement in public life, from before the European settlement of America through the 20th century. Saltonstall family collections at the Massachusetts Historical Society include papers of Leverett Saltonstall (1783-1845), mayor and U.S. representative from Salem, Massachusetts; Eleanor "Nora" Saltonstall's letters home to her family while serving as a volunteer in France during World War I; and the personal and political papers and photographs of U.S. Senator Leverett Saltonstall (1892-1979).

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Web presentations of 185 items selected from the extensive Saltonstall Family Collections at the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Siege of Boston

Siege of Boston
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Official title: The Siege of Boston: Eyewitness Accounts from the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society

This website presents more than one dozen accounts written by individuals personally engaged in or affected by the Siege, including soldiers, prisoners (one imprisoned Loyalist and one Patriot), and residents along with the record of a town meeting during the Siege. These first-hand experiences recounted in 25 manuscripts (approximately 300 pages of letters, diaries, and documents from the Massachusetts Historical Society collections) give the human side of the American Revolution, a perspective often overlooked in histories that describe the Siege as a series of military events.

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Read manuscripts written by soldiers, residents, and prisoners who describe their experiences during the Siege of Boston, a tense 11-month period from April 1775 to March 1776 at the beginning of the American Revolution.

Highlights from Our Collections

Highlights from Our Collections
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Official title: Highlights from Our Collections

Browse a selection of objects from the Society's vast collection showcasing a range of items-from iconic treasures to quirky historical artifacts. You can limit your search by topic or format.

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Online presentations of selected items in the MHS collections

Object of the Month

Object of the Month
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Official title: Object of the Month

A different web display each month showcasing an item from the collections of the MHS; sometimes the features relate to anniversaries, or convey the variety of historical sources within the collection, as well as help the public understand American history.

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A different web display each month showcasing an item from the collections of the MHS.

Battle of Bunker Hill

Battle of Bunker Hill
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Official title: Battle of Bunker Hill

Web exhibition about the Battle of Bunker Hill in June 1775 featuring personal accounts and eyewitness descriptions of the battle, along with contemporary maps, drawings, engravings, broadsides, and artifacts, either preserved by the participants or found on the battlefield.

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Web exhibition about the Battle of Bunker Hill on 17 June 1775 featuring eyewitness descriptions of the battle, along with contemporary maps and engravings.

Abraham Lincoln: Selections from MHS Collections

Abraham Lincoln: Selections from MHS Collections
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Official title: Celebrating Lincoln

In recognition and celebration of the bicentennial of the birth of Abraham Lincoln in 2009 the Massachusetts Historical Society is hosting a public exhibition about Lincoln and Massachusetts, as well as online displays of manuscripts, artifacts, portraits, and sculpture drawn from the MHS collections.

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Web displays of manuscripts, artifacts, portraits, and sculpture relating to Abraham Lincoln drawn from the MHS collections.

Photographs of Native Americans

Photographs of Native Americans
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Official title: Photographing the American Indian: Portraits of Native Americans, 1860-1913

This web exhibition includes carte-de-visite photographs taken in the 1860s and 1870s depicting posed portraits of Cheyenne, Pawnee, Sioux, and Ute men and women. Selections of Adam Clark Vroman's arresting photographs of the landscape and native peoples of the American Southwest in the 1890s showcase the wide tonal range and pleasing aesthetic quality of platinotypes. Also included are dramatic images taken by Joseph K. Dixon during the Wanamaker expeditions, 1908-1913, used to advocate for the rights of Native Americans.

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Striking photographs of Native Americans taken between 1860 and 1913, selected from four different collections held by the MHS.

Atkins Family in Cuba: Photographs

Atkins Family in Cuba: Photographs
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Official title: Atkins Family in Cuba: A Photograph Exhibit

A selection of photographs providing a unique visual record of life and work on sugar plantations in Cuba during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These photographs were taken and collected by Boston merchant Edwin F. Atkins and other members of his family are from the Atkins Family Photographs. Edwin Atkins was a dominant force in the U.S.-Cuban sugar market and his firm, E. Atkins & Co., established sugarcane plantations along the southern coast of Cuba near the cities of Cienfuegos and Trinidad.

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Photographs depicting life and work on sugar plantations in Cuba in the late 19th century.

Photographs of Francis Blake

Photographs of Francis Blake
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Official title: The Photography of Francis Blake

A selection of photographs taken by Francis Blake, an innovative man who lived in Massachusetts in the nineteenth century. In the 1880s Blake designed a focal-plane shutter that allowed him to take photographs with exposure times of 1/1000 to 1/2000 of a second and he took stunning stop-action images of trains, pigeons, horses, bicyclists, and athletes.

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A selection of photographs, including stop-action images, taken by Francis Blake, in the nineteenth century.

Photographs of 1154 Boylston Street

Photographs of 1154 Boylston Street

A photographic history of the current home of the MHS.

John Adams: The Letters Behind the HBO Miniseries

John Adams: The Letters Behind the HBO Miniseries

Images and transcriptions of the documents that provided the historical background for David McCullough's Pulitzer-Prize winning biography and the miniseries about John Adams.

54th Regiment

54th Regiment
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Official title: The Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment from the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society

The Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment was the first military unit consisting of black soliders to be raised in the North during the Civil War. Browse online presentations of photographs and broadsides relating to a notable Civil War army regiment.

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Visual materials from the MHS relating to the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment.