Press Releases

MHS Statement on Racism and Violence

The Massachusetts Historical Society joins the nation in condemning racism, hate, bigotry, and the violence borne of those views as evident in the recent actions in Charlottesville, Virginia. The MHS celebrates the American values of inclusion and diversity and will not tolerate individuals or groups who incite fear and hate based on factors such as race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.

Gerry E. Studds Papers—available for Researchers at the Massachusetts Historical Society—Used in New Biography

Collection contains material on wide-ranging subjects such as environmental and wildlife conservation, foreign policy, and gay rights and HIV/AIDS prevention.

The papers of Rep. Gerry E. Studds, donated to the MHS in 2014 by Studds’s husband Dean T. Hara, were used to write the first biography of Studds and are available for research. Gerry Eastman Studds (1937-2006), the first openly gay Congressman in the United States and an early leader in the gay and lesbian fight for equal rights and HIV/AIDS prevention, was also a vocal advocate for the environment, fisheries and wildlife conservation, the Coast Guard, health care, and many other causes. This wide-ranging collection contains material on a variety of subjects.

One of America's Great Swords Found

Robert Gould Shaw’s sword, whereabouts unknown since his death at the Assault on Fort Wagner, is among Civil War items recently donated to the MHS.

Shaw swordThe Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) announced the acquisition of a significant collection of Shaw and Minturn family papers, photographs, art, and artifacts, including 13 letters written by Robert Gould Shaw of the 2nd and 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiments, the 54th being the first African American regiment raised in the North during the Civil War. The most remarkable item in the collection is the officer’s sword carried by Shaw during the Assault on Fort Wagner where he was killed. Stolen from his body that night, the sword was recovered in 1865 and returned to Shaw’s parents. It then went to his sister Susanna (Shaw) Minturn; three of her great-grandchildren generously donated it to the MHS.