Collections

The Massachusetts Historical Society is one of the nation’s most respected research libraries. Our extraordinary collections provide an unparalleled record of American history and are enjoyed by scholars and the public alike.

The MHS possesses a remarkable assembly of personal papers of three presidents, John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. The collections also contain accounts of the lives of thousands of ordinary Americans.

Explore the collections

The collections are available to all in person, online, and through exhibitions and programs. Learn more about doing research at the MHS

Use these tools to view highlights, digital collections, and other online resources.

Upcoming Events

Pauline Maier Early American History Seminar

POSTPONED: “Our Turn Next”: Slavery and Freedom on French and American Stages, 1789-99

7Apr 5:15PM 2020

As the French abolitionist movement gathered momentum alongside the Revolution, Parisians could have seen hundreds of theatrical performances on themes related to race ...

Environmental History Seminar

POSTPONED: “Contrary to the Rules and Maxims of the Law and Nation”: The Destruction of Colonial ...

9Apr 5:15PM 2020

Long before industrialization, New Englanders dammed their rivers. The dams that powered saw and grist mills saved farmers days of backbreaking labor, but they also ...

Author Talk; Online Event

Virtual Book Talk: When It Was Grand: The Radical Republican History of the Civil War

10Apr 2:00PM 2020
This is an online event

In 1862, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison summarized the Civil War: “There is a war because there was a Republican Party. There was a Republican Party because ...

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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