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.
Medium: visual materials (paintings, artifacts, drawings, engravings, and maps) | Pick a different topic
Full title: Images of the Antislavery Movement in Massachusetts
This website presents digital images of 840 visual materials from the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society that illustrate the role of Massachusetts in the national debate over slavery. Included are photographs, paintings, sculptures, engravings, artifacts, banners, and broadsides that were central to the debate and the formation of the antislavery movement.
Full title: Early Photographs from the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society
Browse online presentations of early photographs from the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS). These images include portraits taken by some of Boston's most notable photographers as well as depictions of locations in and around Boston.
Full title: Thomas Jefferson: An Electronic Archive Architectural Drawings
There are over 400 architectural drawings in the Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson Manuscripts at the Massachusetts Historical Society. Approximately 245 of these drawings (including notebook pages) are plans for Jefferson's home, Monticello. The collection also contains Jefferson's drawings for municipal and civic institutions: the University of Virginia; capitol buildings for Washington and Richmond; and the president's house.
Full title: Massachusetts Maps
This website presents manuscript maps of local towns and counties dating from 1637-1809, iconic printed maps of Massachusetts and Boston, and meticulously drawn manuscript maps by Samuel Chester Clough (1873-1949) presenting a wealth of information about property owners in Boston during the 17th and late 18th centuries.
Full title: The Tradition of Anglo-American Mourning Jewelry: 17th to 19th Centuries
Americans, like their English counterparts, wore rings, brooches, pendants, and other jewels in memory of family and friends. Over the centuries a striking range of design, styles and craftsmanship was employed, from the simple gold bands of the 17th century to the intricate and opulent earring and brooch sets of the late Victorian era. The way memorial jewelry was worn also shifted over the years and these changes tell the story of a culture’s changing sensibility around death and grief.
Full title: Atkins Family in Cuba: A Photograph Exhibit
A selection of photographs providing a unique visual record of life and work on sugar plantations in Cuba during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These photographs were taken and collected by Boston merchant Edwin F. Atkins and other members of his family are from the Atkins Family Photographs. Edwin Atkins was a dominant force in the U.S.-Cuban sugar market and his firm, E. Atkins & Co., established sugarcane plantations along the southern coast of Cuba near the cities of Cienfuegos and Trinidad.
Full title: The Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment from the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society
The Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment was the first military unit consisting of black soliders to be raised in the North during the Civil War. Browse online presentations of photographs and broadsides relating to a notable Civil War army regiment.
Full title: Thomas Jefferson Papers: An Electronic Archive
Featuring selections from the Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson Manuscripts at the Massachusetts Historical Society, this digital collection (entitled, Thomas Jefferson Papers: An Electronic Archive) includes Jefferson's manuscript copy of the Declaration of Independence, Farm Book, Garden Book, book catalogs, and architectural drawings.
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: The Photography of Francis Blake
A selection of photographs taken by Francis Blake, an innovative man who lived in Massachusetts in the nineteenth century. In the 1880s Blake designed a focal-plane shutter that allowed him to take photographs with exposure times of 1/1000 to 1/2000 of a second and he took stunning stop-action images of trains, pigeons, horses, bicyclists, and athletes.
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: Massachusetts Considers Ratifying the U. S. Constitution
The following web presentations of selections from the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) relate to the debate about the ratification of the U. S. Constitution in Massachusetts (including the District of Maine). These materials have been assembled for a workshop, Ratification! The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788.
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: Long Road to Justice
Web exhibition by the Ruffin Society (website currently hosted at MHS) relating to a traveling exhibition about the African American experience in the Massachusetts courts. PLEASE NOTE: this exhibition features items and images that aren't part of the collections of the MHS.
Full title: Boston Abolitionists, 1831-1865
The Massachusetts Historical Society holds many important manuscripts, photographs and artifacts that relate to the abolitionist movement in Boston. This website includes a range of materials from the first antislavery tract published in America, The Selling of Joseph by Samuel Sewall, (printed in New England in 1700) to a broadsheet with William Nell's tribute in December 1865 to last issue of The Liberator (the country's leading abolitionist newspaper).