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

canceled Modern American Society and Culture Seminar

Our Own Orient: Mecca, California, and Dates

26Feb 5:15PM 2019

Residents changed the name of Walters, California to Mecca in 1904. They were trying to use the exoticism of the Middle East to sell dates. This paper will focus on Mecca ...

You Are What You Wear? Navigating Fashion & Politics in New England, 1760s–1770s

27Feb 6:00PM 2019
There will be a pre-talk reception 5:30.

Our guest curator will explore the social values placed on luxury and thrift in New England in the late 18th century. What messages were telegraphed by a person’s ...


The Great Molasses Flood Revisited: Labor and the Molasses Flood

28Feb 6:00PM 2019
There will be a pre-program reception at 5:30

After the collapse of an industrial tank of molasses left a North End neighborhood devastated, a legal battle for reparations ensued, prompting questions about the role ...

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 ...

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