ABIGAIL

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Welcome to ABIGAIL, the Massachusetts Historical Society's online library catalog.  ABIGAIL provides access to the majority of the Society's collections of manuscript and printed materials, and--in the near future--will provide access to its entire collection, including graphics and artifacts.

Click here to begin your search.

ABIGAIL at a glance

  • Almost 3,600 descriptions of manuscript collections, approximately 99% of the Society’s manuscript holdings. Descriptions of approximately 350,000 manuscript items are available on microfiche at the Society. Most of the item descriptions also have been reproduced in the Catalog of Manuscripts of the Massachusetts Historical Society published by G.K. Hall in 1969 and in a 1980 supplement, available at many libraries.
  • More than 180,000 descriptions of books and other printed materials. This number includes our biography, local history, and general research collections, early imprints, newspapers, broadsides, pamphlets, and serials.  
  • More than 1600 records for separately published maps and atlases.
  • 380 descriptions of photograph collections. Most of the approximately 120,000 separate items in the photograph collections are or will be cataloged by collection, rather than as individual items, but 50,000 photographs are currently described through a combination of online finding aids and ABIGAIL records. There are separate catalog descriptions for 800 individual images in the Society’s daguerreotype and ambrotype collection in ABIGAIL.
  • Approximately 1400 records for works of art, artifacts, and graphic materials. This number includes portraits, paintings, silhouettes, sculpture, and miniature portraits. Catalog records for the Society’s artifact and graphics collection will be added on a regular basis beginning in 2013.

For assistance with graphic materials and artifacts, please consult the reader services staff if you do not find what you are looking for. 

Upcoming Events

Begin at the Beginning - Overstepping Their Bounds: How the Puritans Wrested Massachusetts from ...

21Apr 1:00PM 2018

In 1628, King Charles the 1st made a royal grant of what is now the entire state of Massachusetts (not including Plymouth) to the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Remarkably ...

Modern American Society and Culture Seminar

Creepy Crawling in Los Angeles: The Manson Family and Cultural Mixing as Apocalypse

24Apr 5:15PM 2018

Charles Manson made national news in 1969 when several “Family” members were arrested for murder, but by then he was well-established in Los Angeles. This ...

Conversation; This Land is Your Land

This Land is Your Land Series: Public Land

25Apr 6:00PM 2018
There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30.

Massachusetts has undertaken large scale preservation of open space by government entities. The Boston Public Garden, the Emerald Necklace, the first American public ...

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Charles Cornish Pearson and the Great War, Part V

This is the fifth post in a series about the wartime experience of Charles Cornish Pearson. Go back and read Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV for the full story.   Today we return to ...

This Week @ MHS

The Society is CLOSED on Monday, 16 April, for Patiots' Day/Marathon Monday. Enjoy the race! After the holiday we get right back into the public events here at the MHS. Here are the details: - ...

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