The MHS Library

Open to All

The library is free and open six days a week and welcomes researchers of all ages and experience levels. The library does not lend materials, but anyone wishing to view the collections can register as a researcher through our Portal1791 online request system and use materials in the library. In many cases, we can reproduce selected materials and send them to researchers who cannot visit the library in person.

Use the Library

Our library consists of an orientation room, a reading room, a reference area, and several microfilm reading stations. The library staff assists researchers with navigating our catalogs and collection guides, developing research strategies, and locating other libraries that may hold materials of interest. Our goal is to help researchers find the resources they need to complete their projects.

The “Visiting the Library” section of our website outlines library policies, procedures, and research practices. We strongly encourage researchers to review this information and to register for a Portal1791 account before visiting the library.

Please contact the Reader Services staff (617-646-0532 or by email) with any questions about preparing to use the library.

Upcoming Events

Modern American Society and Culture Seminar

POSTPONED: The Pacific Railroads and the Pacific Ocean: American Expansion, Asian Trade, and ...

31Mar 5:15PM 2020

The transcontinental railroads reshaped the United States—its politics, economy, culture and environment. But as this talk argues, late-nineteenth-century Americans ...

postponed Author Talk

The Hunt for History: On the Trail of the World’s Lost Treasures—from the Letters of Lincoln, ...

1Apr 6:00PM 2020
There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30.

Nathan Raab, America’s preeminent rare documents dealer, describes his years as the Sherlock Holmes of historical artifacts and he shows us what the past can tell ...

The Revolutionary Era in Boston with Prof. Robert Allison

3Apr 2:00PM 2020
This is an online program.

Join us for a live virtual Q and A with Professor Robert Allison who will address your questions on the Revolutionary War in Boston and beyond. Subscribers will get ...

From our Blog

This Week @MHS

Join us for a program this week! Here is a look at what is going on: - Tuesday, 29 January, 5:15 PM: Better Teaching through Technology, 1945-1969, with Victoria Cain, Northeastern ...

Founder to Founder

Like so many good stories here at the Historical Society, it began with a reference question. Jeremy Belknap, hunting through his sources, asked Vice President John Adams for some help. Belknap, the ...

Read more from our blog

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