Reference Reproductions

Same Day Photocopy Service

Researchers visiting the library can request photocopies of up to 20 pages of material each day. Researchers wishing to use this service must flag the items and fill out a photocopy request form, available in the reading room, listing all items they wish to have photocopied.  Requests must be placed at least 60 minutes prior to closing or 30 minutes prior to researchers’ departure.

Cost: $0.75 per page

Limits: Photocopies only; no bound volumes or oversized/three-dimensional items; 20 pages per day strictly enforced.

Standard Reproduction Services

Both researchers visiting the library and researchers who contact us from a distance can request low-resolution reference scans (PDF files) of most material in our collections. Loose manuscripts and photographs (less that 11” x 17”) are reproduced on a flatbed scanner. Bound items are photographed on a bookstand. Collections available in facsimile (microfilm, items previously reproduced by the MHS) are reproduced from the facsimile.

All requests must be placed through your Portal1791 account by submitting a Reproduction/Use Permission request. More information on Portal1791 can be found here.

Use ABIGAIL, the collection guides, or online resources to locate the item or collection from which you wish to purchase reproductions and follow the prompt buttons to Place Request. This will take you through to a Portal1791 page where you may place a reproduction request by selecting the button in the upper right hand corner of the webpage that reads Switch to Reproduction/Use Permission Request. The Reproduction/Use Permission form will automatically populate the collection information and you will be prompted to add additional information regarding the reproduction request.

The default format for reference reproductions is PDF files delivered electronically. However the MHS does offer limited photocopying services for researchers that cannot receive digital files. These formats can be selected through the reproduction request form. The form will also prompt you to indicate which particular items or pages you are requesting; please provide as much information as possible. Due to limited staff time we cannot canvas collections on researchers’ behalf. If you need assistance, please contact the reproductions coordinator.

Requests are reviewed by the reproductions coordinator to ensure the materials can be reproduced.  Once a request is approved, generally within two weeks of receiving the request, the reproductions coordinator will provide an estimate of the time required to complete the request and a preliminary invoice for your approval within Portal1791. Once an order has been completed (typically 2-4 weeks) and the invoice paid in full, files will be uploaded to your Portal1791 for access within two business days.

Cost for services

Loose manuscripts & photographs: $0.50 per page plus $15.00 service fee for each grouping of 1-50 pages (Minimum charge = $15.50)

Bound Volumes: $0.75 per frame plus $15.00 set-up fee for each discreet volume (Minimum charge $15.75)

3-D and oversized items: Reviewed by MHS staff and pricing set on case by case basis

Microfilm and other facsimilies: $0.50 per page plus $15.00 service fee for each grouping of 1-50 pages (Minimum charge = $15.50)

Photocopies: The MHS will provide paper copies of reproductions when specifically requested. The fees listed above apply for creation of photocopies. A $5.00 handling fee, plus the actual cost of postage cost will be added to the invoice.

Submitting Payment

The easiest way to submit payment is by credit/debit card or PayPal funds through your Portal1791 account. Once an invoice has been prepared for your approval, you will receive an email with instructions for accessing and reviewing the invoice within Portal1791. On the Invoices page you will be able to select one or more invoices and click on Pay Now to process your payment through PayPal.

After you have approved an invoice, you may submit payment at any point. Payment must be received before your reproductions are delivered. Once paid, the MHS will not adjust final charges unless the cost of your order changes significantly due to unforeseen issues. If the final cost of an order changes more than $10.00 following invoice approval and payment, you will be notified by email.

If you prefer to submit an alternate form of payment, the MHS also accepts cash (in-person only), personal checks and money orders (USD only), and bank transfers. To pay by check or money order (USD only), print your invoice and return it with your payment. Make your check or money order payable to Massachusetts Historical Society, write the invoice transaction number(s) on your check, and mail to:

Reproductions Coordinator
Massachusetts Historical Society
1154 Boylston St.
Boston, MA 02215

If you have questions about payment options, please contact the reproductions coordinator or call the library at 617-646-0500.

Use of Reference Reproductions

Please note that all reference reproductions are for personal/study use only. They may not be donated or deposited in other libraries or archives, or made available to other researchers without the written permission of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

 Ownership of reproduced material does not imply permission to publish or quote from documents. It is the sole responsibility of the researcher to obtain formal written permission from the MHS or, when applicable, the appropriate copyright owner. 

 Researchers wishing to publish images or cite/quote material from MHS owned collections can find details on that process here.