The MHS Library

Open to All

The library is free and open six days a week and welcomes researchers of all ages and experience levels. The library does not lend materials, but anyone wishing to view the collections can register as a researcher through our Portal1791 online request system and use materials in the library. In many cases, we can reproduce selected materials and send them to researchers who cannot visit the library in person.

Use the Library

Our library consists of an orientation room, a reading room, a reference area, and several microfilm reading stations. The library staff assists researchers with navigating our catalogs and collection guides, developing research strategies, and locating other libraries that may hold materials of interest. Our goal is to help researchers find the resources they need to complete their projects.

The “Visiting the Library” section of our website outlines library policies, procedures, and research practices. We strongly encourage researchers to review this information and to register for a Portal1791 account before visiting the library.

Please contact the Reader Services staff (617-646-0532 or by email) with any questions about preparing to use the library. Or, click on the button below to start a live chat.

 

Ask a Librarian chat

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 ...

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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