About the MHS

Making the Past Last

Founded in 1791, the Massachusetts Historical Society is an invaluable resource for American history, life, and culture. Its extraordinary collections tell the story of America through millions of rare and unique documents, artifacts, and irreplaceable national treasures.

Accessible To All

As the nation’s first historical society, the MHS strives to enhance the understanding of our nation’s past and its connection to the present, demonstrating that history is not just a series of events that happened to individuals long ago but is integral to the fabric of our daily lives. Its collections are accessible to anyone with an interest in American history. Beyond research, the MHS offers many ways for the public to enjoy its collections including engaging programs, thought-provoking exhibitions, publications, seminars, and teacher workshops.

National Treasures

The MHS collections are particularly well-known for extensive holdings of personal papers from three presidents: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. The collections contain many famous documents including Paul Revere's own account of his famous ride and Abigail Adams’s famous "Remember the Ladies” letter to John Adams, where she advocates for the rights of women to be included in the founding of the United States. In addition, the MHS holds several imprints of the Declaration of Independence, and Thomas Jefferson's architectural drawings, among many other treasures.

Upcoming Events

Author Talk

The Price for their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from Womb to Grave, in the Building ...

26Jun 6:00PM 2017
There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm.

    In life and in death, slaves were commodities. Their monetary value was assigned based on their age, gender, health, and the demands of the market. The ...

Brown Bag

Maps, Copies, and Rights: Boundaries of Ownership in Early American Piracy

28Jun 12:00PM 2017

The origins and development of copyright practices in the eighteenth century were at once a local, national, and imperial project. While literary property itself was ...

Author Talk

The Many Captivities of Esther Wheelwright

28Jun 6:00PM 2017
There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm.

      Born and raised in a New England garrison town, Esther Wheelwright (1696–1780) was captured by Wabanaki Indians at age seven. Among them, ...

From our Blog

This Week @ MHS

The final week of June is a fairly quiet one here at the Society. Here is what's coming up: - Monday, 26 June, 6:00PM : The Price for their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from Womb to ...

A Swing through Lynn Woods around 1910

The Lynn Woods Reservation is a fun place to spend some time among trees and even take in views of the Boston skyline. It is also notable for various features and structures, such as Stone Tower, ...

Read more from our blog

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