Image Permissions

It is necessary for users to obtain formal permission (a license) for the visual reproduction of all material held in the MHS collections. All licenses are for one use only. The MHS does not grant open-ended or multi-year licenses. Each instance of use must be separately requested through Portal1791. All reproductions must credit the MHS as the source of the image.

Requests for images and payment of reproduction fees do not constitute or imply permission to reproduce images. 

Licensing Fees

Click here to view the current licensing fees for the use of images of materials held in our collections. Please review this information before submitting your licensing request.

Please note that all licensing fees are assessed on a per-image basis and are independent of reproduction fees. For more information on the cost of purchasing high-resolution images, see High Resolution Images.

Exempt Categories

The following uses are exempt from the formal licensing process:

●     Academic assignments, other than theses/dissertations

●     Lectures, presentations, and classroom use

●     Approved press requests (contact the Director of Communications)

  • Use of images from the MHS website on freely accessible (non-subscription) webpages and in the social media environment (blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc.)

Please use the credit line "Collection of the Massachusetts Historical Society" where the image appears. 

Submitting Requests

Licensing requests may be submitted with high-resolution image orders, or may be submitted independently (as with use of images previously purchased). Whether submitted with an image order or independently, all requests should be made through Portal1791 using the Reproduction/Use Permission request form.

Use ABIGAIL, the collection guides, or online resources to locate the item or items you wish to license and submit a separate request for each item. In some cases, there may only be a collection-level record for the material and you must initiate a request for the collection and then indicate in the Reproduction/Use Permission request form what specific item you wish to purchase and/or license. The reference librarian will review each request and provide an invoice within Portal1791 for approval and payment.

Upon payment of the applicable reproduction and/or licensing fees the images and/or licenses will be made available within Portal1791 for access and download.

License requests placed independent of image orders are typically processed within five business days. Licensing requests made in conjunction with high-resolution image orders are made available upon image delivery. If you are concerned about meeting a submission deadline, please indicate a “must have by” date so that we may determine if we can accommodate your needs.