Visiting the Library

The Massachusetts Historical Society's library operates differently than most public or university libraries. While we strive to provide researchers with access to the contents of all our collections, the preservation of our unique materials is our primary concern. To that end, we enforce strict security protocols. Explore the pages in this section in order to become familiar with library policies and procedures so that you can make the most of your visit to the library.  

What to Expect

Prepare for your first visit by learning about Portal1791 (our online request system), the researcher registration process, how to request materials, and basic security policies.

What to Bring

Learn what personal materials are allowed into the library and what materials the MHS provides for researchers.

How to Prepare

Find advice on where to begin your research, how to search the MHS catalogs, and how much time you will need to complete your research. 

Upcoming Events

Author Talk

Supreme Injustice: Slavery in the Nation’s Highest Court

26Feb 6:00PM 2018
There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30.

The three most important Supreme Court Justices before the Civil War Chief Justices John Marshall and Roger B. Taney and Associate Justice Joseph Story upheld the ...

Modern American Society and Culture Seminar

Panel Discussion: Capitalism and Culture

27Feb 5:15PM 2018

This panel examines the reaction against welfare state capitalism in the mid-20th century U.S., looking at two companies that promoted themselves as bastions of free ...

Special Event

Dinner with Dolley

1Mar 6:00PM 2018
This event is open only to MHS Fund Giving ...

MHS Fund Giving Circle members are invited to a festive evening with good food,fine wine, and lively conversation inspired by Dolley Madison. During dinner, MHS President ...

From our Blog

“He has been the great landmark of my life”: CFA on JQA’s death ...

On a drizzly February morning in 1848, Charles Francis Adams, son of John Quincy Adams, walked into his Boston office. As he reached his desk, Adams noticed a telegraph that communicated that his ...

This Week @ MHS

The Society is CLOSED on Monday, 19 February, for Presidents Day.  It is a holiday-shortened week but there is still plenty of action happening here at the Society. Below are details for what we ...

Read more from our blog

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