A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Finding Documents


If you know whose writings you are interested in or what period of time you need to focus on, we recommend navigating to the relevant documents using the browse function.

Browse Index


Warning #1: because this resource is so extensive, unlimited searches on major authors or expansive date ranges, as well as searches on common terms or phrases, may produce hundreds or even thousands of results.

We recommend using the Browse function to find the documents you want unless you can specify your search parameters quite closely.

Warning #2: searching by key word or phrase in the text may leave out documents relevant to your line of inquiry since the transcriptions from original manuscript to printed edition did not regularize spellings to modern conventions. Furthermore, the words the authors used in their documents did not always include the terms a researcher today might expect: the words slavery or slave may not have been used in a discussion of slavery, for example. A writer's comments on a particular individual may not have included that individual's name.

Consequently, we recommend supplementing any key word searches with a search on the consolidated index.