Guide to the Photograph Collection
Archival photographs relating to the Massachusetts Historical Society.
Tucker, Louis Leonard. The Massachusetts Historical Society: A Bicentennial History 1791-1991 (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1995).
The Massachusetts Historical Society Archives photographs document the history and activities of the MHS from approximately 1855 to 2004. Included in the collection are photographs of officers, staff, and members; meetings and other events; collections; and buildings associated with the Society. Photographers represented in the collection include David Bohl, George M. Cushing, Alfred Eisenstaedt, and Charles Stearns, among others.
Detailed Description of the Collection
I. MHS buildings, 1791-1899
Between 1791 and 1899, the MHS inhabited six locations in downtown Boston. From 1791-1792, the Society was located in the building of the Massachusetts Bank (formerly known as the Manufactory House) at what is now the corner of Hamilton Place and Tremont Street. From 1792 to 1794, the Society moved to rented quarters in the northwest corner of the attic of Faneuil Hall. Charles Bulfinch's Tontine Crescent on Franklin Street (demolished in 1858) served as the headquarters from 1794 to 1833. The fourth and fifth homes of the Society were on Tremont Street, adjacent to King's Chapel Burial Ground. From 1833 to 1872, the Society was located in the second floor and attic of the Provident Institution for Savings building, which it purchased in 1856. In 1873, the Society constructed a new five-story building on the site, leasing the ground floor to the Suffolk County Probate Office and Registry of Deeds and occupying the rest of the building until 1897. In 1897, the Society sold this building to the city of Boston and moved to temporary quarters at 73 Tremont St. until the completion of its new headquarters in 1899.
Boston Museum and first Tremont Street building.
First Tremont St. headquarters of the MHS.
First Tremont St. headquarters.
II. 1154 Boylston Street, 1899-2004
On 9 March 1899, the members of the Massachusetts Historical Society gathered at 1154 Boylston St. for the first meeting in their new headquarters. Designed by Edmund March Wheelwright, formerly Boston's city architect, the building was described in the newspapers of the day as an "Ornament to Boston" and "one of the most beautiful of modern buildings." This series comprises exterior and interior views of the building, as well as photographs of major construction projects that took place in 1970 and 1999-2004.
A. Neighborhood and exterior views
B. Interior views
C. Construction photographs, 1970-2004
First floor rooms after renovations.
III. MHS functions, 1941-2002
This series comprises photographs taken at public events of the Massachusetts Historical Society, including afternoon meetings, annual meetings, spring receptions, and annual dinners.
This meeting was held 22 September 1961 to celebrate the publication of four volumes of the Diary and Autobiography of John Adams. Speakers included Lyman H. Butterfield, Thomas James Wilson, Paul Herman Buck, Julian Parks Boyd, and Samuel Flagg Bemis.
Photograph of Mr. & Mrs. Clifford K. Shipton, Thomas Boylston Adams, and Stephen T. Riley.
Photographs of Malcolm Freiberg & Barbara (Mrs. Endicott) Peabody.
Those photographed include Peter Gomes, Henry Lee, Thomas Boylston Adams, Oscar Handlin, Bernard Bailyn, Pauline Maier, and Edward M. Kennedy.
Photographs from the Society's bicentennial exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts.
Those photographed include Robert MacNeil (speaker), William Fowler, and Henry Lee.
Those photographed include George H. W. Bush (speaker), David McCullough, William Fowler, and Amalie Kass.
IV. MHS collections items
Photographs of Emancipation Proclamation pen with bronze hands of Lincoln; Charles Sumner's Senate chair (2); and the Edes family punch bowl.
V. MHS members, officers, and staff, 1855-
A. Individual portraits
B. Group portraits, 1854-1997
Shown: William P. Lunt, Robert C. Winthrop, and George E. Ellis.
Copy 21.845a was given by the photographer.
Photograph taken at Frederic Tudor's home in Nahant, Mass.
Photographs taken at Frederic Tudor's home in Nahant, Mass.
Shown: [Mr.] Oatley, Warren Wheeler, Winifred V. Collins, Marjorie Bruce, Stewart Mitchell, Augusta Hitchcock, Isabelle Davis, and Stephen T. Riley.
Shown: Clifford K. Shipton, Robert E. Moody, Kevin H. White, Lyman H. Butterfield, Richard W. Hale, Walter M. Whitehill, Malcolm Freiberg, and Stephen T. Riley.
Shown: Stephen T. Riley, Wendell Garrett, John Cushing, Lyman Butterfield, Malcolm Freiberg, and Warren Wheeler.
Shown: Glynn Marini, Marc Friedlander, Lynne G. Crane, Lyman Butterfield, and Susan F. Riggs.
Shown: Celeste Walker, Gregg Lint, and Joanna Revelas.
Shown: Louis L. Tucker, James Barr Ames, Thomas Boylston Adams, F. Douglas Cochrane, Henry Lee, and others.
Shown: James Barr Ames, Thomas Boylston Adams, F. Douglas Cochrane, and Henry Lee.
VI. Images used in MHS publications
VII. Film negatives
Negatives for many of the photographs in this collection. These are arranged into the series established above, but have not been individually enumerated.
Massachusetts Historical Society Archives photographs, Massachusetts Historical Society.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in ABIGAIL, the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should search the catalog using these headings.