Boston by Manuscript

 

Banner for Boston by Manuscript program, montage of primary sources

The following web presentations of selections from the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) relate to Boston history, places, and events.  This list has been assembled for a program at MHS for Boston By Foot docents.

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.  

Boston (the setting circa 1722 and 1775)

Map of Boston by Captain John Bonner; rare original of third state, probably printed in 1725:  http://www.masshist.org/online/massmaps/doc-viewer.php?old=1&item_id=1783

Map of Boston by Captain John Bonner; facsimile:
http://www.masshist.org/online/massmaps/doc-viewer.php?old=1&item_id=1784

Map of Boston in October 1775:
http://www.masshist.org/online/siege/doc-viewer.php?item_id=2053

Paul Revere House

Paul Revere writes about his activities on 18-19 April 1775 in a letter he sends to Belknap written in 1798: 
http://www.masshist.org/database/99

Revere's deposition also describes his activities on 18-19 April 1775;  (this deposition probably written at the request of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress.

Letter from Rachel Revere to Paul Revere in April 1775 (after his famous ride):
http://www.masshist.org/objects/2009october.php

Advertising card of Revere and Son Bell and Cannon Foundry (and link to manuscript list by Paul Revere listing bells that were cast by the Revere family business):
http://www.masshist.org/objects/2011july.php

Old State House

Henry Alline describes hearing the Declaration of Independence (read from the Old State House balcony) on July 18, 1776:  http://www.masshist.org/objects/2008july.cfm

John Rowe describes hearing the Declaration of Independence:
http://www.masshist.org/database/213use-onview-id

Abigail Adams describes hearing the Declaration of Independence:

State Street, 1801 (painting depicts Old State House):
http://www.masshist.org/database/42

Boston Massacre

Paul Revere's engraving of the Boston Massacre:  
http://www.masshist.org/database/2

Legal notes assembled by John Adams relating to the Boston Massacre Trials:

Pamphlet about the Boston Massacre from the Tory perspective:  http://www.masshist.org/revolution/doc-viewer.php?old=1&mode=nav&item_id=419

Pamphlet about the Boston Massacre from the Patriot perspective:  http://www.masshist.org/revolution/doc-viewer.php?old=1&mode=nav&item_id=369

Old South Meeting House

William Cheever describes the damage the British troops did to the Old South Meeting House (15 November 1775, page 7):
http://www.masshist.org/objects/2010november.php

Old Corner Bookstore (site of Anne Hutchinson’s house and location of Ticknor and Fields)

Two colonial governors write about Anne Hutchinson: http://www.masshist.org/objects/2008may.cfm

Daguerrotype of Annie Fields (wife of James Ticknor):
http://www.masshist.org/database/59

Faneuil Hall

About a town meeting in 1767 held after the Townsend Revenue Act:
http://www.masshist.org/revolution/doc-viewer.php?old=1&mode=nav&item_id=286

About a play British soldiers put on at Faneuil Hall in December 1775: http://www.masshist.org/objects/2004march.cfm

View of Faneuil Hall in 1789:  http://www.masshist.org/database/67

Menu for the Fourth of July Feast held in 1844:  http://www.masshist.org/objects/2007july.cfm

Daguerreotype of Faneuil Hall:  http://www.masshist.org/objects/cabinet/may2003/may2003.htm

Bunker Hill

Manuscript map of the battle: http://www.masshist.org/online/massmaps/doc-viewer.php?old=1&item_id=1762

Letter from William Prescott to John Adams: http://www.masshist.org/revolution/doc-viewer.php?old=1&mode=nav&item_id=767

Letter from John Bromfield to Jeremiah Powell : http://www.masshist.org/revolution/doc-viewer.php?old=1&mode=nav&item_id=760

Letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams: https://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/aea/cfm/doc.cfm?id=L17750618aa&numrecs=1&archive=all&hi=on&mode=&query=Sunday%20June%2018%201775&queryid=&rec=1&start=1&tag=text#firstmatch

Letter from John Quincy Adams to Joseph Sturge:  http://www.masshist.org/revolution/doc-viewer.php?old=1&mode=nav&item_id=438

Letter from Waller to Unidentified (written by a member of the British marines): http://www.masshist.org/revolution/doc-viewer.php?old=1&mode=nav&item_id=766

Letter from Peter Brown to Sarah Brown (shares perspective from the ranks): http://www.masshist.org/revolution/doc-viewer.php?old=1&mode=nav&item_id=765

Beacon Hill

Lithograph depicting the memorial column circa 1811-1812: http://www.masshist.org/database/588

Lithograph depicting the removal of soil from Beacon Hill circa 1811-1812:
http://www.masshist.org/database/589

Robert Gould Shaw Memorial

Letter from Governor Andrew to Francis Shaw (Robert Gould Shaw's father) explaining why he offered command of 54th regiment to Robert Gould Shaw:
http://www.masshist.org/objects/2009may.php

Massachusetts 54th regiment: http://www.masshist.org/online/54thregiment/essay.php?entry_id=528

Various Boston topics and views

Additional MHS websites to explore:

Battle of Bunker HIll (section from the Coming of the American Revolution website)
http://www.masshist.org/revolution/bunkerhill.php

Boston Massacre (section from the Coming of the American Revolution website) 
http://www.masshist.org/revolution/massacre.php

Coming of the American Revolution
http://www.masshist.org/revolution/

Massachusetts Maps
http://www.masshist.org/online/massmaps/

Siege of Boston
http://www.masshist.org/online/siege/

Silence Dogood: Benjamin Franklin in the New-England Courant
http://www.masshist.org/online/silence_dogood/

Adams family

 

The MHS is an independent research library that collects, preserves, makes accessible, and communicates manuscripts and other materials that promote the study of the history of Massachusetts and the nation--a mission it has pursued since 1791.