Donate to the Collection

The Massachusetts Historical Society actively collects personal and family papers—diaries, letters, and other personal records—and, to a lesser extent, the records of institutions and organizations such as churches and clubs that document the history of Massachusetts and the nation. The MHS collects materials from all time periods and is particularly interested in acquiring letters, diaries, and other personal accounts written by soldiers and volunteers serving abroad during World War I and personal papers and organizational records that document the environmental history of Massachusetts. The MHS also collects printed materials, photographs, art, and artifacts that provide context for our manuscript collections. 

Please contact the Historical Society before sending material to be sure that it fits the Society's collecting policy. If you would like to discuss a possible donation of research materials, please contact the Director of Collections Services. Please contact the Curator of Art about donating art or artifacts.

Donating Secondary Sources

The MHS Library is currently expanding our collection of modern scholarly works. The library collects these secondary sources to support the work of researchers using our collections. You may review a list of over 140 titles we seek or contact Librarian Elaine Heavey with questions about donating books.  

How can I find out what my collection is worth?

The MHS collects material for its historical value. As an interested party in a possible donation, the Society is unable to provide a financial appraisal of a collection's value.

We can, however, provide information about how you can get your materials appraised and, if you are planning a donation to the MHS, we can arrange for a professional to appraise the material at the Society.  If a donor has acquired a prior appraisal or obtains an appraisal at the time of donation, the Society would appreciate receiving a copy of the written appraisal. Please contact the Director of Collections Services for more information. 

The Massachusetts Historical Society is a non-profit institution. Donors can claim a tax deduction on gifts to the MHS based on a financial appraisal of the donation. The owner of the material must pay the cost of obtaining an outside appraisal, but the cost of the appraisal is also tax-deductible. The MHS recommends that donors check with an attorney or financial advisor about any and all tax implications.

Upcoming Events

Breaking the Banks: Representations & Realities in New England Fisheries, 1866–1966

16Jan 6:00PM 2019
There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30.

Matthew McKenzie weaves together the industrial, cultural, political, and ecological history of New England’s fisheries through the story of how the Boston haddock ...

African American History Seminar

Race, Empire, and the Erasure of African Identities in Harvard’s “National Skulls”

17Jan 5:15PM 2019

In 1847, John Collins Warren gave his anatomical collection to the Harvard medical school, including a collection of “national skulls.” This paper analyzes ...

History of Women and Gender Seminar

How to Be an American Housewife: American Red Cross “Bride Schools” in Japan in the Cold War Era

22Jan 5:30PM 2019
Location: Massachusetts Historical Society

In 1951, the American Red Cross in Japan began offering “schools for brides,” to prepare Japanese women married to American servicemen for successful entry ...

From our Blog

“Light, airy, and genteel”: Abigail Adams on French Women

When Abigail Adams arrived in France in August 1784, she must have felt like she had just landed on the moon. In all 39 years of her life, Abigail had never been south of Plymouth, north of Haverhill, ...

This Week @MHS

We have two seminars and an evening talk scheduled at the MHS this week.  - Tuesday, 15 January, 5:15 PM: Camp Benson & the “GAR Camps”: Recreational Landscapes of Civil War ...

Read more from our blog

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