The MHS Library

Open to All

The library is free and open to researchers of all ages and levels of interest in our collections six days a week. The library does not lend materials, but any person interested in using the collections can register as a researcher and use materials in the library. In many cases selected materials can be reproduced and sent to individuals who cannot visit the library in person.

Use the Library

Our library consists of an orientation room, reading room, several microfilm reading stations, and a reference area. The library staff assists researchers with navigating the catalogs and collection guides, developing research strategies, and locating other libraries that may hold material of interest. Our goal is to help every researcher locate the resources they need to complete their projects.

Researchers planning a visit to the library are strongly encouraged to explore the pages in this section to familiarize themselves with library policies and procedures and to visit Portal1791 to register before visiting.

Please contact the Reader Services staff (617-646-0532 or by email) with any questions about preparing to use the library.

Library Hours

9:00 AM - 4:45 PM Mon.,Wed. - Fri.
9:00 AM - 7:45 PM Tues.
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM Sat.

Please see our events calendar for holidays and other closings.  

Upcoming Events

Pauline Maier Early American History Seminar

Murder at the Manhattan Well: The Personal and the Political in the Election of 1800

19Nov 5:15PM 2019

In 1800, journeyman carpenter, Levi Weeks, was accused of murdering Guliema Sands, a young woman living in the same boarding house. Using the trial transcript, this paper ...

Conversation; Housing as History

Housing as History: New Directions for Boston’s Subsidized Housing: Learning from the Past

20Nov 6:00PM 2019
There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30.

As neighborhoods across Boston face enormous development pressure, there is a risk that low-income residents will be forced out of the city. Social disruption due to ...

African American History Seminar

Mary Church Terrell’s Intersectional Black Feminism

21Nov 5:15PM 2019

Civil rights activist Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954) highlighted the intersections of race and sex in black women’s lives. This paper focuses on Terrell’s ...

From our Blog

This Week @MHS

Join us for a program this week! Here is a look at what is going on: - Tuesday, 29 January, 5:15 PM: Better Teaching through Technology, 1945-1969, with Victoria Cain, Northeastern ...

Founder to Founder

Like so many good stories here at the Historical Society, it began with a reference question. Jeremy Belknap, hunting through his sources, asked Vice President John Adams for some help. Belknap, the ...

Read more from our blog

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