Online Resources What is this? Our online resources are sets of digitized items which have been organized either around a common topic, such as the American Revolution, or to highlight a specific collection, such as the papers of Thomas Jefferson.
Era: Era of the Revolution (circa 1764-1783) | Pick a different topic
Full title: Perspectives on the Boston Massacre
Read and examine materials offering a range of perspectives about the Boston Massacre. Included are letters, diary entries, pamphlets, broadsides, newspaper accounts, printed depositions, orations, trial notes, and even bullets recovered from the site. Use a comparison tool to closely view any two of seven featured images side by side.
Full title: The Siege of Boston: Eyewitness Accounts from the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society
This website presents more than one dozen accounts written by individuals personally engaged in or affected by the Siege, including soldiers, prisoners (one imprisoned Loyalist and one Patriot), and residents along with the record of a town meeting during the Siege. These first-hand experiences recounted in 25 manuscripts (approximately 300 pages of letters, diaries, and documents from the Massachusetts Historical Society collections) give the human side of the American Revolution, a perspective often overlooked in histories that describe the Siege as a series of military events.
Full title: The Annotated Newspapers of Harbottle Dorr, Jr.
Beginning in 1765 and continuing over the course of more than a dozen years, Harbottle Dorr, Jr., a Boston shopkeeper, collected Boston-area newspapers and arranged them into four volumes. He thoroughly read the articles, inserted many annotations, and created indexes for them. This website presents high-quality images of all index, newspaper and pamphlet pages; transcriptions of the index pages; and a search tool allowing user to search for words Dorr used in the index terms.
Full title: Battle of Bunker Hill
Web exhibition about the Battle of Bunker Hill in June 1775 featuring personal accounts and eyewitness descriptions of the battle, along with contemporary maps, drawings, engravings, broadsides, and artifacts, either preserved by the participants or found on the battlefield.
Full title: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses
With a fast and comprehensive search tool new in summer 2010, this is the digital edition of the content of the previously printed editions of the Revolutionary-era Adams Papers, a long-standing documentary edition prepared at the Massachusetts Historical Society. This digital edition includes all text of the historical documents, all editorial text, and a single index with consolidated entries for the 16 printed Adams Papers indexes. Another forthcoming digital edition will present the Winthrop Papers, a documentary edition created at the MHS.
Full title: Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive
This searchable digital collection (entitled, Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive) presents images of manuscripts and digital transcriptions from the Adams Family Papers including the complete correspondence between John and Abigail Adams, the diary of John Adams, and the autobiography of John Adams.
Full title: Correspondence of Mercy Otis Warren and Hannah Winthrop
The letters exchanged between Mercy Otis Warren (1728-1814) and Hannah Winthrop (baptized 1727-1790) provide a remarkable window into the daily lives of families living through the challenges of revolution and nation building. Explore history through the eyes and pens of those who participated in the extraordinary events of the period! These intimate letters (57 different letters written between 1752 and 1789) offer readers an opportunity to connect with the past by imagining themselves in the narrative. The correspondence between Warren and Winthrop reveals the important roles that women played in the revolutionary era.
Full title: African Americans and the End of Slavery in Massachusetts
This website features 117 items from the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, including historical manuscripts and early printed works that offer a window into the lives of African Americans in Massachusetts from the late 17th century through the abolition of slavery under the Massachusetts Constitution in the 1780s.
Full title: The Object of History: 18th-Century Treasures
This companion website is divided into three parts according to John Adams’s scheme: "Politicks and War," "Mathematicks and Philosophy," and "Painting, Poetry ... and Porcelaine." It consists of artifacts, manuscripts, medals, paintings, engravings, furniture, clothing, and early publications. These historical objects form a solid foundation on which the collections of the MHS have been built and inform us today about how our ancestors lived.
Full title: Highlights from the Saltonstall Family Collections at the Massachusetts Historical Society
The papers, photographs, art, and artifacts of the Saltonstall family, one of the founding families of Massachusetts, chronicle five centuries of family history and involvement in public life, from before the European settlement of America through the 20th century. Saltonstall family collections at the Massachusetts Historical Society include papers of Leverett Saltonstall (1783-1845), mayor and U.S. representative from Salem, Massachusetts; Eleanor "Nora" Saltonstall's letters home to her family while serving as a volunteer in France during World War I; and the personal and political papers and photographs of U.S. Senator Leverett Saltonstall (1892-1979).
Full title: Boston By Manuscript
The following web presentations of selections from the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) relate to Boston history, places, and events. The following primary sources offer details and perspectives that should complement and supplement the existing knowledge base Boston experts have already established regarding the events and history of the city.
Full title: Coming of the American Revolution
In the years between 1764 and 1776, America truly became a nation. Using letters, diaries, broadsides, pamphlets, newspapers, maps, and engravings, this website brings those tumultuous years to life for students of all ages. The site is organized around fifteen key topics and features more than 150 documents from the Society's collections. Additional resources include primary-source-based lesson plans developed by middle- and high-school educators, study questions, and contextual essays.