Collections

The Massachusetts Historical Society is one of the nation’s most respected research libraries. Our extraordinary collections provide an unparalleled record of American history and are enjoyed by scholars and the public alike.

The MHS possesses a remarkable assembly of personal papers of three presidents, John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. The collections also contain accounts of the lives of thousands of ordinary Americans.

Explore the collections

The collections are available to all in person, online, and through exhibitions and programs. Learn more about doing research at the MHS

Use these tools to view highlights, digital collections, and other online resources.

Upcoming Events

Author Talk

John Quincy Adams and the Politics of Slavery: Selections from the Diary

26Apr 6:00PM 2017
There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm.

In the final years of his political career, President John Quincy Adams was known for his objections to slavery. As a young statesman, however, he supported slavery. What ...

Cooking Boston

Cooking Boston: Eating Other People's Food

27Apr 6:00PM 2017
There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm.

Program 2: Eating Other People's FoodIn the second half of the 20th century, Americans were re-introduced to the food of the world. Most famously, Julia Child in ...

Teacher Workshop

Civil Rights in America

29Apr 9:00AM 2017
This program is SOLD OUT.

The Civil Rights Movement in America has endured a difficult and tumultuous path. The Emancipation Proclamation ended the institution of slavery. The Fourteenth ...

From our Blog

“Legible only to myself”: John Quincy Adams’s Shorthand

A line in John Quincy Adams’s 1788 diary is the earliest example of his use of English poet John Byrom’s shorthand system. The system replaces words with symbols to make writing faster and ...

This Week @ MHS

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE LIBRARY IS CLOSED ON WEDNESDAY, 26 APRIL, FOR A STAFF EVENT.  This week's program schedule is heavy in the middle, with a seminar and a pair of public programs. Here are the ...

Read more from our blog

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