ABIGAIL

Begin Search [card catalog image]Welcome to ABIGAIL, the Massachusetts Historical Society's online library catalog.  ABIGAIL provides access to the majority of the Society's collections of manuscript and printed materials, and--in the near future--will provide access to its entire collection, including graphics and artifacts.

Click here to begin your search.

ABIGAIL at a glance

  • Almost 3,600 descriptions of manuscript collections, approximately 99% of the Society’s manuscript holdings. Descriptions of approximately 350,000 manuscript items are available on microfiche at the Society. Most of the item descriptions also have been reproduced in the Catalog of Manuscripts of the Massachusetts Historical Society published by G.K. Hall in 1969 and in a 1980 supplement, available at many libraries.
  • More than 180,000 descriptions of books and other printed materials. This number includes our biography, local history, and general research collections, early imprints, newspapers, broadsides, pamphlets, and serials.  
  • More than 1600 records for separately published maps and atlases.
  • 380 descriptions of photograph collections. Most of the approximately 120,000 separate items in the photograph collections are or will be cataloged by collection, rather than as individual items, but 50,000 photographs are currently described through a combination of online finding aids and ABIGAIL records. There are separate catalog descriptions for 800 individual images in the Society’s daguerreotype and ambrotype collection in ABIGAIL.
  • Approximately 1400 records for works of art, artifacts, and graphic materials. This number includes portraits, paintings, silhouettes, sculpture, and miniature portraits. Catalog records for the Society’s artifact and graphics collection will be added on a regular basis beginning in 2013.

For assistance with graphic materials and artifacts, please consult the reader services staff if you do not find what you are looking for. 

Upcoming Events

Online Event

The First Reconstruction: Black Politics in America from the Revolution to the Civil War

17May 5:30PM 2021
This is an online program

It may be difficult to imagine that a consequential black electoral politics evolved in the United States before the Civil War, for as of 1860, the overwhelming majority ...

Online Event; Conversation; Racial Injustice Series

Confronting Racial Injustice: The War on Drugs in Massachusetts: The Racial Impact of the School ...

19May 6:00PM 2021
This is an online program

In the 1980s, Massachusetts embraced the War on Drugs, enacting harsh mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. It took decades to confront the reality ...

Online Event

Of Thee I Sing: The Contested History of American Patriotism

26May 5:30PM 2021
This is an online program

When we talk about patriotism in America, we tend to mean one form: the version captured in shared celebrations like the national anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance. But ...

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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 ...

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