Massachusetts Historical Society

Reference Reproductions

The Massachusetts Historical Society provides reference quality reproductions of its holdings on a fee for service basis. Please note that the current turnaround time for reference reproductions is 8-12 weeks from the date of submission. Orders for a large quantity of material may take longer and may be delivered in multiple batches. Rush services are not offered for reference reproductions.

If you would like to consult with the rights and reproductions librarian regarding a reproduction or publication/permission request please call 617-646-0542 or send an e-mail to

Complimentary Reference Images

The MHS provides up to twenty-five (25) reference images free of charge. These are provided as JPEG or PDF images of collections or reference materials, scanned from microform or created with a handheld device. These images are delivered by e-mail or through Portal1791 depending upon the context of the request.

High-Volume Reference Reproductions

Requests for more than 25 reference images are considered "high volume". High-volume reference reproductions are created using copy stands and delivered as PDF files through Portal1791. Reproduction requests are processed at the following unit levels:

Folder of material, manuscript or print $25.00
Bound volume, manuscript or print $25.00
Narrow Hollinger box of manuscripts $50.00
Standard Hollinger box of manuscripts $75.00
Reel of microfilm $75.00
Record carton $225.00
Individually-cataloged loose items, up to 25 individual items $25.00
Individually-indexed items in manuscript or photograph collections, up to 25 individual items* $25.00
Individually-indexed items in manuscript or photograph collections, 26 to 50 individual items* $25.00

*While we provide item-level scanning of loose manuscript and photograph materials that can be located using MHS-created indexes, to meet our researchers' needs equitably we limit item-level requests to 100 items per year. Additional materials can either be requested at the folder or box level or by waiting until the next service period to make new item-level scanning requests.

Cap on Orders

Individuals are limited to $450.00 of reference reproduction services per year. Researchers who reach the limit during a single year may request to be placed in a queue for additional reproductions by contacting

Rush Services

The MHS does not offer rush services on reference reproductions.

How to Place High-Volume Reference Reproduction Requests via Portal1791

All reference reproduction requests must be placed through your Portal1791 account by submitting a Reproduction/Use Permission request. More information on Portal1791 can be found here.

Use ABIGAIL, the collection guides, or online resources to locate the item(s)/collection(s) you want reproduced. Follow prompts to place your request. You will be redirected to Portal1791 where you will be able to review the item request form. Click the Switch to Reproduction/Use Permission Request button in the request form. A reproduction order form will automatically populate the collection information. Complete the required fields and provide any further information you would like, then click Submit Request.

The default format for reference reproductions is PDF files delivered electronically. However, researchers who cannot receive digital files may request photocopying services through the reproduction request form in Portal1791.

Requests are reviewed by library staff to ensure the materials can be reproduced. Once approved, a preliminary invoice will be provided. An e-mail from will provide instructions for accessing the invoice within Portal1791 and the Invoices page in Portal1791 provides detailed instructions for approving and paying your invoice. The invoice must be approved and/or paid before your request is processed. The invoice must be paid before images are delivered.

Files will expire after 30 days, after which time a new request must be made and additional charges may apply. PDF files are packaged in a zip file; download the zip file and follow your system instructions to unzip the file and view/save contents locally.

Use of Reference Reproductions

All reference reproductions are for personal/study use only. They may not be donated or deposited in other libraries or archives or made available to other researchers without the written permission of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Ownership of reproduced material does not imply permission to publish or quote from documents. It is the sole responsibility of the researcher to obtain formal written permission from the MHS or, when applicable, the appropriate copyright owner.

Researchers wishing to publish images or cite/quote material from MHS owned collections can find details on that process here.

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