Graphics

The Society's collection of graphic material includes approximately 4,000 portrait prints and drawings, most of which are of 19th-century American and British notables, and roughly 220 silhouettes. There are approximately 2,000 prints, engravings, lithographs, drawings, and posters of historical events from the European discovery of America to the present, including a large collection of World War I recruiting and war loan posters. Other separate collections include bookplates, trade bills, and Civil War patriotic covers.

Notable pieces include Paul Revere’s engraving of the Boston Massacre; the earliest known American woodcut, a 1670 portrait of Richard Mather; and mezzotints of Native American leaders. There are two important prints by Peter Pelham, Cotton Mather and Plan of the City and Fortress of Louisbourg after Richard Gridley.

How to Find Graphics

Information about items in the graphics collection is largely limited to in-house databases and card catalogs, although records for World War I posters, silhouettes, and other selected graphics are available in ABIGAIL.  Contact the Reader Services staff for more information.

Upcoming Events

Online Event

The First Reconstruction: Black Politics in America from the Revolution to the Civil War

17May 5:30PM 2021
This is an online program

It may be difficult to imagine that a consequential black electoral politics evolved in the United States before the Civil War, for as of 1860, the overwhelming majority ...

Online Event; Conversation; Racial Injustice Series

Confronting Racial Injustice: The War on Drugs in Massachusetts: The Racial Impact of the School ...

19May 6:00PM 2021
This is an online program

In the 1980s, Massachusetts embraced the War on Drugs, enacting harsh mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. It took decades to confront the reality ...

Online Event

Of Thee I Sing: The Contested History of American Patriotism

26May 5:30PM 2021
This is an online program

When we talk about patriotism in America, we tend to mean one form: the version captured in shared celebrations like the national anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance. But ...

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 ...

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