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

Environmental History Seminar

The Fight before the Flood: Rural Protest and the Debate over Boston’s Quabbin Reservoir, 1919 ...

16Jan 5:15PM 2018

In 1919, state engineers proposed solving Boston’s water supply crisis by damming the Swift River, flooding a western Massachusetts valley and evicting 2,500 ...

Brown Bag

Skulls, Selves, and Showmanship: Itinerant Phrenologists in 19th-Century America

17Jan 12:00PM 2018

"Come, then, one and all, and learn to know yourselves." With these words, a traveling phrenologist advertised his lecture to the public. Proponents of phrenology ...

Author Talk

Pauline Maier Memorial Lecture - Madison’s Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention

17Jan 6:00PM 2018
There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm.

James Madison’s Notes on the 1787 Constitutional Convention have acquired nearly unquestioned authority as the description of the U.S. Constitution’s creation ...

From our Blog

This Week @ MHS

First things first in this weekly round-up: The Society is CLOSED on Monday, 15 January, in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day. Normal hours resume on Tuesday, 16 January. Now that we have ...

A Midwinter’s Tale

  At eight o-clock on a January morning in 1891, and a world away from the ice-caked streets of his native New England, 52-year-old Henry Adams leisurely began to go about his day. Armed with ...

Read more from our blog

Have you seen?