About the MHS

Making the Past Last

Founded in 1791, the Massachusetts Historical Society is an invaluable resource for American history, life, and culture. Its extraordinary collections tell the story of America through millions of rare and unique documents, artifacts, and irreplaceable national treasures.

Accessible To All

As the nation’s first historical society, the MHS strives to enhance the understanding of our nation’s past and its connection to the present, demonstrating that history is not just a series of events that happened to individuals long ago but is integral to the fabric of our daily lives. Its collections are accessible to anyone with an interest in American history. Beyond research, the MHS offers many ways for the public to enjoy its collections including engaging programs, thought-provoking exhibitions, publications, seminars, and teacher workshops.

National Treasures

The MHS collections are particularly well-known for extensive holdings of personal papers from three presidents: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. The collections contain many famous documents including Paul Revere's own account of his famous ride and Abigail Adams’s famous "Remember the Ladies” letter to John Adams, where she advocates for the rights of women to be included in the founding of the United States. In addition, the MHS holds several imprints of the Declaration of Independence, and Thomas Jefferson's architectural drawings, among many other treasures.

Browse a selection of objects from the Society's vast collection.

Watch Catherine Allgor speak about the MHS on Comcast Newsmakers.

Watch Elyssa Tardif speak about National History Day on Comcast Newsmakers.

Upcoming Events

Author Talk; Online Event

The Last Brahmin: Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. and the Making of the Cold War

21Sep 5:30PM 2020
This is an online program

A key figure in American foreign policy for three decades, Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. of Massachusetts, a well-heeled Eastern Establishment Republican, put duty over ...

Pauline Maier Early American History Seminar; Online Event

“The Horrid Deeds of our Enemies”

22Sep 5:15PM 2020
This is an online program

The American Revolution was waged not only on the battlefield, but in the realm of culture. American homes and the wartime violence within them—particularly ...

Online Event; Author Talk

Monument Man: The Life and Art of Daniel Chester French

23Sep 5:30PM 2020
This is an online program

Daniel Chester French is America's best-known sculptor of public monuments, having created the statue for the Lincoln Memorial, the John Harvard statue, and The Minute ...

From our Blog

This Week @MHS

Join us for a program this week! Here is a look at what is going on: - Tuesday, 29 January, 5:15 PM: Better Teaching through Technology, 1945-1969, with Victoria Cain, Northeastern ...

Founder to Founder

Like so many good stories here at the Historical Society, it began with a reference question. Jeremy Belknap, hunting through his sources, asked Vice President John Adams for some help. Belknap, the ...

Read more from our blog

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