The MHS Library

Open to All

The library is free and open to researchers of all ages and levels of interest in our collections six days a week. The library does not lend materials, but any person interested in using the collections can register as a researcher and use materials in the library. In many cases selected materials can be reproduced and sent to individuals who cannot visit the library in person.

Use the Library

Our library consists of an orientation room, reading room, several microfilm reading stations, and a reference area. The library staff assists researchers with navigating the catalogs and collection guides, developing research strategies, and locating other libraries that may hold material of interest. Our goal is to help every researcher locate the resources they need to complete their projects.

Researchers planning a visit to the library are strongly encouraged to explore the pages in this section to familiarize themselves with library policies and procedures and to visit Portal1791 to register before visiting.

Please contact the Reader Services staff (617-646-0532 or by email) with any questions about preparing to use the library.

Library Hours

9:00 AM - 4:45 PM Mon. - Fri.
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM Sat.

Please see our events calendar for holidays and other closings.  

Upcoming Events

Early American History Seminar

Panel: Nathaniel Hawthorne and Friends

2May 5:15PM 2017

Gould’s essay, “Hawthorne and the State of War,” reads the under-studied travel memoir Our Old Home (1863) as a meditation on the important—and, ...

Brown Bag

Politics of Civil War Governance: A Conversation about Lincoln and his Loyal Governors during the ...

3May 12:00PM 2017

Engle will discuss his most recent book, Gathering to Save a Nation: Lincoln and the Union’s War Governors (2016) and how it led to his current project, a ...

Cooking Boston

Cooking Boston: Where to Go

3May 6:00PM 2017
There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm.

Cooking Boston: Where to Go This series of programs explores the culinary history of Boston and the impact the city has had on the American diet. In the first half of ...

From our Blog

Reference Man in Catalog Land : Describing publications in the George ...

We here in the Library Reader Services department at the MHS concern ourselves with the user/researcher side of our collections. This job allows us to continually sharpen the skills of reference ...

“Legible only to myself”: John Quincy Adams’s Shorthand

A line in John Quincy Adams’s 1788 diary is the earliest example of his use of English poet John Byrom’s shorthand system. The system replaces words with symbols to make writing faster and ...

Read more from our blog

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