About the MHS

Making the Past Last

Founded in 1791, the Massachusetts Historical Society is an invaluable resource for American history, life, and culture. Its extraordinary collections tell the story of America through millions of rare and unique documents, artifacts, and irreplaceable national treasures.

Accessible To All

As the nation’s first historical society, the MHS strives to enhance the understanding of our nation’s past and its connection to the present, demonstrating that history is not just a series of events that happened to individuals long ago but is integral to the fabric of our daily lives. Its collections are accessible to anyone with an interest in American history. Beyond research, the MHS offers many ways for the public to enjoy its collections including engaging programs, thought-provoking exhibitions, publications, seminars, and teacher workshops.

National Treasures

The MHS collections are particularly well-known for extensive holdings of personal papers from three presidents: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. The collections contain many famous documents including Paul Revere's own account of his famous ride and Abigail Adams’s famous "Remember the Ladies” letter to John Adams, where she advocates for the rights of women to be included in the founding of the United States. In addition, the MHS holds several imprints of the Declaration of Independence, and Thomas Jefferson's architectural drawings, among many other treasures.

Upcoming Events

Teacher Workshop

Slavery & the U.S. Supreme Court

24Feb 9:00AM 2018
Registration fee: $25 per person

How did the personal and political philosophies of Justices John Marshall, Roger B. Taney, and Joseph Story influence their proslavery positions? Paul Finkelman, ...

Author Talk

Supreme Injustice: Slavery in the Nation’s Highest Court

26Feb 6:00PM 2018
There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30.

The three most important Supreme Court Justices before the Civil War Chief Justices John Marshall and Roger B. Taney and Associate Justice Joseph Story upheld the ...

Modern American Society and Culture Seminar

Panel Discussion: Capitalism and Culture

27Feb 5:15PM 2018

This panel examines the reaction against welfare state capitalism in the mid-20th century U.S., looking at two companies that promoted themselves as bastions of free ...

From our Blog

“He has been the great landmark of my life”: CFA on JQA’s death ...

On a drizzly February morning in 1848, Charles Francis Adams, son of John Quincy Adams, walked into his Boston office. As he reached his desk, Adams noticed a telegraph that communicated that his ...

This Week @ MHS

The Society is CLOSED on Monday, 19 February, for Presidents Day.  It is a holiday-shortened week but there is still plenty of action happening here at the Society. Below are details for what we ...

Read more from our blog

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