The MHS Library

Open to All

The library is free and open to researchers of all ages and levels of interest in our collections six days a week. The library does not lend materials, but any person interested in using the collections can register as a researcher and use materials in the library. In many cases selected materials can be reproduced and sent to individuals who cannot visit the library in person.

Use the Library

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

Researchers planning a visit to the library are strongly encouraged to explore the pages in this section to familiarize themselves with library policies and procedures and to visit Portal1791 to register before visiting.

Please contact the Reader Services staff (617-646-0532 or by email) with any questions about preparing to use the library.

Library Hours

9:00 AM - 4:45 PM Mon.,Wed. - Fri.
9:00 AM - 7:45 PM Tues.
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM Sat.

Please see our events calendar for holidays and other closings.  

Upcoming Events

History of Women and Gender Seminar

Transgender History and Archives: An Interdisciplinary Conversation

18Dec 5:30PM 2018
Location: Knafel Center, Radcliffe Institute

This panel aims to begin an interdisciplinary conversation in transgender history. What is the state of the field of transgender studies in history, archiving, and public ...

MHS Tour

The History and Collections of the MHS

22Dec 10:00AM 2018

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 90-minute docent-led walk through our public rooms. The tour is free, open to the public, ...

Early American History Seminar

The Consecration of Samuel Seabury and the Crisis of Atlantic Episcopacy, 1782-1807

8Jan 5:15PM 2019

Samuel Seabury’s consecration in 1784 signaled a transformation in the organization of American Protestantism. After more than a century of resistance to the office ...

From our Blog

“On the Borders of Nonsense”: John Quincy Adams, Poet

It was a rainy day in May 1839 and John Quincy Adams, stuck inside, was amusing himself writing poetry. He was trying to imitate the Roman poet Horace, and outdo the English poet Alexander Pope. ...

Barefoot Families and Demon Rum: The Work of an Urban Missionary

In June 1854, the Boston City Missionary Society appointed a Methodist Episcopal clergyman named Luman Boyden to serve as missionary to the poor in East Boston. The 48-year-old Boyden (pictured above, ...

Read more from our blog

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