The Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) is an independent research library and manuscript repository. Its holdings encompass millions of rare and unique documents and artifacts vital to the study of American history, many of them irreplaceable national treasures. A few examples include correspondence between John and Abigail Adams, such as her famous “Remember the ladies” letter; several imprints of the Declaration of Independence; and Thomas Jefferson’s architectural drawings.
When the Reverend Jeremy Belknap, a Boston minister, brought together nine acquaintances in a friend’s parlor on January 24, 1791, his goal was to find a way to gather and protect the basic sources of American history. As he envisioned it, the historical society would become a repository and a publisher collecting, preserving, and disseminating resources for the study of American history.
Through their pledges of family papers, books, and artifacts, the founding members made the Society the nation’s most important historical repository by the end of their initial meeting. With the appearance of their first title at the start of 1792, they also made the MHS the nation’s first institution of any description to publish in its field.
The MHS has rotating exhibits of documents, printed material, and artifacts from its collection, and its research rooms are free to all.
Contact Information and Hours
Massachusetts Historical Society
1154 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02215-3695
9:00 am - 4:45 pm Mon., Tues., Wed., Fri.
9:00 am - 7:45 pm Thurs.
9:00 am - 4:00 pm Sat.
Closed Sundays; 19 April 2010 (Patriots’ Day); 29 May to 31 May 2010 (Memorial Day Weekend); Monday, 5 July 2010 (Independence Day holiday).