Photographs

The MHS Photograph Collection consists of approximately 120,000 photographs that span the development of photographic technology. The bulk of the collection consists of portraits of individuals and family groups that support work in the Society's manuscript collections. The collection includes more than 550 daguerreotypes, 100 tintypes, 200 ambrotypes, 4,000 cartes-de-visite, 200 cabinet cards, and 5,000 glass plate negatives.

Highlights

The Society holds many striking examples of daguerreotype photography, including portraits of Annie Adams Fields, ca. 1853, and Daniel Webster, 1851, both taken by Southworth and Hawes of Boston. The daguerreotypes also include views, such as Joslin Gilman's Faneuil Hall, Boston, Mass. (1840).

There are also more than 2,000 images that document people, places, and events of the abolitionist movement and the Civil War, with an emphasis on Massachusetts regiments and personnel. Among the most notable are tintypes of members of the Massachusetts 54th Volunteer Infantry Regiment, the first African-American regiment raised in the North.

How to Find Photographs

Daguerreotypes and ambrotypes are cataloged individually in ABIGAIL, the library online catalog. While the remainder of the photographs in the collection are not cataloged as individual items, 50,000 photographs located within collections are described in online collection guides and in ABIGAIL. Please contact the reader services staff if you do not find a specific photographic item in the online catalog.

Information on ordering reproductions of photographs is available on the Reproduction Services web page.

Selections Online

View a selection of photographs online.

Upcoming Events

Author Talk

Lexington & Concord: The Battle Heard Round the World

19Apr 6:00PM 2018
There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30.

The mounting political tensions that ignited the battles of Lexington and Concord are critical to the narrative of the American Revolution. However, the economic forces ...

Begin at the Beginning - Overstepping Their Bounds: How the Puritans Wrested Massachusetts from ...

21Apr 1:00PM 2018

In 1628, King Charles the 1st made a royal grant of what is now the entire state of Massachusetts (not including Plymouth) to the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Remarkably ...

Modern American Society and Culture Seminar

Creepy Crawling in Los Angeles: The Manson Family and Cultural Mixing as Apocalypse

24Apr 5:15PM 2018

Charles Manson made national news in 1969 when several “Family” members were arrested for murder, but by then he was well-established in Los Angeles. This ...

From our Blog

This Week @ MHS

The Society is CLOSED on Monday, 16 April, for Patiots' Day/Marathon Monday. Enjoy the race! After the holiday we get right back into the public events here at the MHS. Here are the details: - ...

“Vast awful & never ending Eternity”: Personal Accounts of ...

I recently came across the Elizabeth Craft White diary, written in 1770 when the death of her husband left her distraught. “Life seems a burden to me since Death, Cruel, & unrelenting Death- ...

Read more from our blog

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