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


Antislavery Images

Digital Collection  Antislavery Images
Online displays of photographs, paintings, and other visual materials illustrating the role of Massachusetts in the national debate over slavery.
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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.

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Early Photographs

Online Feature  Early Photographs
Online presentation of early photographs (daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and stereoviews) depicting people and places.
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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.

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View over 400 architectural drawings, sketches, and notes by Thomas Jefferson.
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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.

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Massachusetts Maps

Digital Collection  Massachusetts Maps
Web displays of over 100 manuscript and printed maps of Boston and other Massachusetts towns and counties.
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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.

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Selections of rings, bracelets, brooches, and other pieces of mourning jewelry from Massachusetts Historical Society dating from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.
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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.

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Photographs depicting life and work on sugar plantations in Cuba in the late 19th century.
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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.

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Web presentations of hundreds of pages of Jefferson documents selected from the Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson Manuscripts at the MHS.
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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.

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54th Regiment

Online Feature  54th Regiment
Visual materials from the MHS relating to the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment.
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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.

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A selection of historical objects from the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society that provide the foundation on which its collections have been built and inform us today about how our ancestors lived.
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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.

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Photographs of Francis Blake

Online Exhibition  Photographs of Francis Blake
A selection of photographs, including stop-action images, taken by Francis Blake, in the nineteenth century.
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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.

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Web displays of manuscripts and early printed works about the lives of African Americans in Massachusetts from the late 17th century through the abolition of slavery in the state in 1780.
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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.

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Browse selections of newspapers, engravings, printed materials and manuscripts about the debate in Massachusetts about the ratification of the U. S. Constitution.
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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.

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Margaret Hall served as a member of the American Red Cross in France during World War I and took many photographs depicting soldiers, canteens, and the extensive destruction and ruin following the war.
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Full title: Photographs from the World War 1 Memoir of Margaret Hall

This website allows users to browse and search all 246 photographs and 29 additional illustrative items from Margaret Hall’s typescript narrative, Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country, 1918-1919. As a member of the American Red Cross in France during World War I, Massachusetts-born Margaret Hall worked at a canteen at a railroad junction in the town of Châlons. On her return home she compiled a typescript narrative from the letters and diary passages that she wrote while overseas. Her words offer a first-hand account of life on the Western Front in the last months of the war. She also copiously illustrated the text with her own photographs, which depict soldiers, canteens, and the extensive destruction and ruin following the war.

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Boston Abolitionists, 1831-1865, features important manuscripts, photographs, and artifacts from the Massachusetts Historical Society's collections that convey how Boston became a center of the national antislavery movement.
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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).

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Boston By Manuscript

Web Resource  Boston By Manuscript
Browse documents and artifacts relating to significant historical buildings, locations, and events in Boston, Massachusetts.
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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.

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Long Road to Justice

Online Exhibition  Long Road to Justice
Web version of 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.
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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.

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A new web presentation featuring letters, pamphlets, diary entries, legal notes, and engravings relating to the Boston Massacre.
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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.

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