Library Catalogs

There are several ways to search for information about the Society's collections.

ABIGAIL

ABIGAIL, the Society's library online catalog, is the place to start your search for information about MHS holdings.  Updated frequently, ABIGAIL provides access to manuscripts, books, pamphlets, broadsides, photographs, art, artifacts, and other formats of material. 

Collection Guides

Many of the Society's manuscript and photograph collections are described in more detail in searchable online collection guides. Collection guides not yet online are available in the Society's reading room.

Online Adams Catalog

The Online Adams Catalog (OAC) contains more than 110,000 records representing every known document related to the Adams family dating from 1630 to 1889.

Other catalogs

Approximately 350,000 individual manuscripts are described in an item catalog available on microfiche at the MHS.  Although many of the descriptions have been revised or superceded, and more have been added, The Catalog of Manuscripts of the Massachusetts Historical Society (published by G. K. Hall, 1969; 1980 supplement) is available in more than 150 U.S. libraries and remains a useful resource for descriptions of individual manuscript items.

For Further Information

Researchers with questions about research strategies or the Society's library holdings should contact the Reader Services staff.

Upcoming Events

History of Women and Gender Seminar

How to Be an American Housewife: American Red Cross “Bride Schools” in Japan in the Cold War Era

22Jan 5:30PM 2019
Location: Massachusetts Historical Society

In 1951, the American Red Cross in Japan began offering “schools for brides,” to prepare Japanese women married to American servicemen for successful entry ...

Biography Seminar

Writing Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom

24Jan 5:30PM 2019

Join us for a conversation with David Blight about the challenges of writing his biography of Frederick Douglass, the fugitive slave who became America's greatest orator ...

Modern American Society and Culture Seminar

Better Teaching through Technology, 1945-1969

29Jan 5:15PM 2019

Uncertainty about media technology’s affective and political power plagued post-World War II efforts to expand media use in schools around the nation. Would ...

From our Blog

Images of the 1925 bombing of Damascus

These images are part of a series of 24 photographs of the October 1925 bombing of Damascus found at the MHS in the papers of Sheldon Leavitt Crosby,* a professional American diplomat in the interwar ...

“Light, airy, and genteel”: Abigail Adams on French Women

When Abigail Adams arrived in France in August 1784, she must have felt like she had just landed on the moon. In all 39 years of her life, Abigail had never been south of Plymouth, north of Haverhill, ...

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