Massachusetts Historical Society

Massachusetts Historical Society Founded in 1791, the Massachusetts Historical Society is an independent research library and an invaluable resource for American history, life, and culture. www.masshist.org
(103)

It’s a busy week at the MHS! Here is a look at what is planned: On Monday, 18 November, at 6:00 PM, David J. Silverman, ...
11/18/2019
This Week @MHS | Beehive

It’s a busy week at the MHS! Here is a look at what is planned:

On Monday, 18 November, at 6:00 PM, David J. Silverman, George Washington University, presents "This Land Is Their Land The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, & the Troubled History of Thanksgiving."

On Tuesday, 19 November, at 5:15 PM, Paul Gilje, University of Oklahoma, presents "Murder at the Manhattan Well: The Personal & the Political in the Election of 1800" with comment by Kate Grandjean, Wellesley College.

On Wednesday, 20 November, at 6:00 PM, Kate Bennett, Boston Housing Authority; Soni Gupta, The Boston Foundation; Lawrence Vale, MIT; Sandra Henriquez, Detroit Housing Commission; and moderator David Luberoff, Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, present "New Directions for Boston’s Subsidized Housing: Learning from the Past." Please note that registration for this program is now closed.

On Thursday, 21 November, at 5:15 PM, Alison M. Parker, University of Delaware, and Kerri Greenidge, Tufts University, present "Mary Church Terrell’s Intersectional Black Feminism."

On Friday, 22 November, at 2:00 PM, an Adams Papers editor will walk visitors through "Abigail Adams: Life & Legacy."

On Saturday, 23 November, at 10:00 AM, join us for "The History & Collections of the MHS," a 90-minute docent-led tour.

For more information or to register, please visit www.masshist.org/events.

This Week @MHS November 15, 2019 It’s a busy week at the MHS. Here is a look at what is planned: On Monday, 18 November, at 6:00 PM: This Land Is Their Land The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, & the Troubled History of Thanksgiving with David J. Silverman, George Washington University. David S...

Thomas Jefferson wrote this condolence letter to John Adams sixteen days after the death of Abigail Adams. He told John,...
11/13/2019
MHS Collections Online: Letter from Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, 13 November 1818

Thomas Jefferson wrote this condolence letter to John Adams sixteen days after the death of Abigail Adams. He told John, "I know well and feel what you have lost, what you have suffered, are suffering, and have yet to endure."

Massachusetts Historical Society, Collections Online: Letter from Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, 13 November 1818

Join us for a program this week. Here is a look at what is planned: On Tuesday, 12 November, at 5:15 PM, Donald C. Jacks...
11/12/2019
This Week @MHS | Beehive

Join us for a program this week. Here is a look at what is planned: On Tuesday, 12 November, at 5:15 PM, Donald C. Jackson, Lafayette College, presents "Engineering, Politics, & Dams: John R. Freeman & San Francisco’s Hetch Hetchy Water Supply" with comment by Conevery Bolton Valencius, Boston College. On Wednesday, November 13, at 12:00 PM, Michael D’Alessandro, Duke University, presents "Staged Readings: Parlor Play & Contesting Class in 19th-Century America." On Wednesday, 13 November, at 6:00 PM, Karilyn Crockett, MIT; Tony Hernandez, Dudley Neighbors, Inc.; and Valerie Shelley, Orchard Gardens Resident Association, present "Housing as History: the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative & Orchard Gardens." This program will be held at the Dewitt Center, 122 Dewitt Drive, Boston. On Thursday, 14 November, at 6:00 PM, Nancy Seasholes, Robert Allison, Richard Garver, and Jim Vrabel present "Atlas of Boston History." On Saturday, 16 November, at 4:00 PM, John Stauffer, Harvard University; Jeffrey O.G. Ogbar, University of Connecticut; Adrienne Lentz-Smith, Duke University; and moderator Valerie Roberson, Roxbury Community College, present "Legacies of 1619: Black Radicalism / Black Power." This program will be held at Roxbury Community College, Student Commons, 1234 Columbus Avenue. For more information and to register, please visit www.massshist.org/events.

This Week @MHS November 8, 2019 While the MHS is closed on Monday, 11 November, there is still a lot planned for the week. Here is a look: On Tuesday, 12 November, at 5:15 PM: Engineering, Politics, & Dams: John R. Freeman & San Francisco’s Hetch Hetchy Water Supply with Donald C. Jackson, Lafayet...

On 10 August 1774 John Adams departed Boston for Philadelphia. He was traveling with Robert Treat Paine, Thomas Cushing,...
11/08/2019
“They talk very loud, very fast, and altogether”: John Adams and Revolutionary Manhattan | Beehive

On 10 August 1774 John Adams departed Boston for Philadelphia. He was traveling with Robert Treat Paine, Thomas Cushing, and Samuel Adams. Together, they were Massachusetts’s delegation to the First Continental Congress. Adams kept a diary not only for his benefit, though. “I have [kept] a few Minutes by Way of Journal,” he told Abigail Adams on 28 August, in one of the few letters he wrote during this period. The diary, Adams went on, “shall be your Entertainment when I come home.” He committed 18 pages to his time in New York City, considerably more than any other place. In a 23 August diary entry, Adams wrote of New Yorkers, "They talk very loud, very fast, and altogether."

“They talk very loud, very fast, and altogether”: John Adams and Revolutionary Manhattan November 6, 2019 by Christopher F. Minty, Assistant Editor, the Adams Papers On 10 August 1774 John Adams departed Boston for Philadelphia. He was traveling with Robert Treat Paine, Thomas Cushing, and Samue...

In this letter, dated 7 November 1895, 28-year-old W. E. B. Du Bois writes to Massachusetts Senator George Frisbie Hoar ...
11/07/2019
MHS Collections Online: Letter from W. E. B. Du Bois to George Frisbie Hoar, 7 November 1895

In this letter, dated 7 November 1895, 28-year-old W. E. B. Du Bois writes to Massachusetts Senator George Frisbie Hoar seeking Hoar’s assistance in securing a teaching position, either at Howard University or in the Washington, D.C., public schools. Acknowledging that he has “no claim upon an entire stranger to ask so great a favor,” Du Bois outlines for Hoar his personal ambitions as a historian and sociologist in order to demonstrate how a teaching position in Washington, with access to the vast libraries in the nation’s capital, would help him achieve these goals.

Massachusetts Historical Society, Collections Online: Letter from W. E. B. Du Bois to George Frisbie Hoar, 7 November 1895

Please note that the MHS library and exhibition galleries will be closed on Thursday, 7 November for a staff retreat. Th...
11/06/2019

Please note that the MHS library and exhibition galleries will be closed on Thursday, 7 November for a staff retreat. The building will open at 5:00 PM for the evening program.

Here is a look at what is planned at the MHS this week: On Tuesday, 5 November, at 5:15 PM, Emilie Connolly, New York Un...
11/04/2019
This Week @MHS | Beehive

Here is a look at what is planned at the MHS this week: On Tuesday, 5 November, at 5:15 PM, Emilie Connolly, New York University, and Franklin Sammons, University of California, Berkeley, present "Native Lands & American Expansion in the Early Republic" with comment by Nancy Shoemaker, University of Connecticut. On Wednesday, 6 November, at 12:00 PM, Emily Clark, Johns Hopkins University, presents "Laboring Bodies: Dispossessed Women & Sexuality in Colonial New England." And at 6:00 PM, Jessie Morgan-Owens presents "Girl in Black & White: The Story of Mary Mildred Williams & the Abolition Movement." On Thursday, 7 November, at 6:00 PM, T.H. Breen, Northwestern University, presents "The Will of the People: The Revolutionary Birth of America." On Saturday, 9 November, at 10:00 AM, joins us for "The History & Collections of the MHS," a 90-minute docent-led tour. Please note that the library and exhibition galleries will be closed on Thursday, 7 November for a staff retreat. The building will open at 5:00 PM for the evening program. Visit www.masshist.org/events for more information and to register.

This Week @MHS November 4, 2019 This week at the MHS we have a seminar, two evening programs, a brown-bag lunch, and a tour. Please note that the library and exhibition galleries will be closed on Thursday, 7 November for a staff retreat. The building will open at 5:00 PM for the evening program. On...

11/01/2019
Legacies of 1619 - Program 2: Afro-Native Connections

Program 2 of our 1619 series is now available online. Watch "Afro-Native Connections" with Christine DeLucia, Williams College, Kendra Field, Tufts University, and moderator Catherine Allgor, MHS.

-- Recorded 19 October 2019 at Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston, MA -- - Christine DeLucia, Williams College - Kendra Field, Tufts University - Moder...

The MHS holds three manuscript diaries kept by Ruth Evelyn Beck in 1919, 1920 and 1921. They describe social activities ...
10/31/2019
Happy Halloween from the MHS | Beehive

The MHS holds three manuscript diaries kept by Ruth Evelyn Beck in 1919, 1920 and 1921. They describe social activities with family and friends including parties, dances, movies, her job, church activities, the local news, and courtship. Along with the diaries there are loose printed items such as dance cards and letters. While using the collection in the MHS reading room today, a researcher happened upon an invitation to a Halloween party in 1920 as well as a dance card and table placard from the party. The Halloween party is noted in Ruth's diary entry for 22 October 1920. Happy Halloween from the MHS.

This week we have a seminar, a brown-bag lunch, and a sneak preview of our upcoming exhibition. Here is a look at what i...
10/28/2019
This Week @MHS | Beehive

This week we have a seminar, a brown-bag lunch, and a sneak preview of our upcoming exhibition. Here is a look at what is planned: on Tuesday, 29 October, at 5:15 PM, Kathryn Ostrofsky, Freelance Historian, presents "Sesame Street & the Cultural Politics of the Spoken Word in the 1970s" with comment by Victoria Cain, Northeastern University. On Wednesday, 30 October, at 12:00 PM, Amber Hodge, University of Mississippi presents "Inhuman Women & Puritanical Legacies in The VVitch 2015." On Wednesday, 30 October, 6:00 PM, MHS Fellows and Members are invited to the sneak preview reception for "Fire! Voices from the Boston Massacre." Please note that this event is sold out. For more information and to register, visit www.masshist.org.

This Week @MHS October 25, 2019 This week we have a seminar, a brown-bag lunch, and a sneak preview of our upcoming exhibition. Fire! Voices from the Boston Massacre opens to the public on Thursday, 31 October. Here is a look at what is planned: On Tuesday, 29 October, at 5:15 PM: Sesame Street & th...

English Egyptologist (and later discoverer of Tutankhamun's tomb) Howard Carter wrote this letter on 25 October 1908 to ...
10/25/2019
MHS Collections Online: Letter from Howard Carter to Kingsmill Marrs, 25 October 1908

English Egyptologist (and later discoverer of Tutankhamun's tomb) Howard Carter wrote this letter on 25 October 1908 to Kingsmill Marrs from an archaeological dig in Luxor, Egypt. The letter contains descriptions of beautiful scenes resulting from the flooding of the Nile River, as well as a prominent sketch of Queen Nefertari on the first page.

Massachusetts Historical Society, Collections Online: Letter from Howard Carter to Kingsmill Marrs, 25 October 1908

This week we have a couple of evening programs, a brown-bag lunch program, a biography seminar, and a gallery talk. On M...
10/21/2019
This Week @MHS | Beehive

This week we have a couple of evening programs, a brown-bag lunch program, a biography seminar, and a gallery talk. On Monday, 21 October, at 6:00 PM, Lizabeth Cohen, Harvard University, presents "Saving America's Cities: Ed Logue & the Struggle to Renew Urban America in the Suburban Age." On Wednesday, 23 October, at 12:00 PM, Peter Wirzbicki, Princeton University, presents "Towards an Intellectual History of Reconstruction: Ideas about Democracy, Nation, & Race in the era of Reconstruction." On Wednesday, 23 October, at 6:00 PM, Polly Putnam, Historic Royal Palaces, presents "Queen Victoria: The Making of an Icon." On Thursday, 24 October, at 5:15 PM, Sidney Blumenthal presents "On the Campaign Trail" with Megan Marshall. On Friday, 25 October, at 2:00 PM, an Adams Papers editor will lead visitors through "Abigail Adams: Life & Legacy," a pop-up display. Visit www.masshist.org/events for more information and to register.

This Week @MHS October 21, 2019 This week we have a couple of evening programs, a biography seminar, a brown-bag lunch program, and a gallery talk. Here is a look at what is planned: On Monday, 21 October, at 6:00 PM: Saving America’s Cities: Ed Logue & the Struggle to Renew Urban America in the S...

Massachusetts Historical Society's cover photo
10/21/2019

Massachusetts Historical Society's cover photo

This photograph, taken around 1919 by Bachrach, depicts Opal Whiteley in the process of reassembling her diary that had ...
10/18/2019
Massachusetts Historical Society: Opalescent: The Story of Opal Whiteley

This photograph, taken around 1919 by Bachrach, depicts Opal Whiteley in the process of reassembling her diary that had been ripped into thousands of pieces by a "jealous foster sister." Between March and August 1920, editor and publisher of The Atlantic Monthly Ellery Sedgwick published extracts from Whiteley’s reconstructed journal in serial form in the Atlantic, and then published an extended version of it the same year as The Story of Opal: The Journal of an Understanding Heart. Click on the link to learn more about Opal Whiteley.

This photograph, taken around 1919 by Bachrach, depicts Opal Whiteley in the process of reassembling her diary that had been ripped into thousands of pieces by a "jealous foster sister." This diary would later be published as The Story of Opal: The Journal of an Understanding Heart.

In this understated diary entry written 16 October 1846, Dr. John Collins Warren gives an account of his role in a world...
10/16/2019
MHS Collections Online: John Collins Warren journal, entry for 16 October 1846

In this understated diary entry written 16 October 1846, Dr. John Collins Warren gives an account of his role in a world-changing event that took place at the Massachusetts General Hospital--the first widely publicized operation using anesthesia: "Did an interesting operation at the Hospital this morning while the Patient was under the influence of Dr. Morton’s preparation to prevent pain – the Substance employed was Sulphuric Ether –"

The operation was immediately and successfully repeated. News of anesthesia, a term suggested by Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, quickly spread throughout the United States, on to Europe, and elsewhere in the world. Within a few months of Dr. Warren's public demonstration in Boston, ether was being used by surgeons in Scotland and England, and within a year under battlefield conditions in the Mexican War.

Massachusetts Historical Society, Collections Online: John Collins Warren journal, entry for 16 October 1846

On Monday, 14 October from 10 AM to 3 PM, the MHS will join its neighboring cultural institutions and Fenway Culture Bos...
10/12/2019
Massachusetts Historical Society: MHS Calendar of Events

On Monday, 14 October from 10 AM to 3 PM, the MHS will join its neighboring cultural institutions and Fenway Culture Boston for OPENING OUR DOORS, a day of free history, art, music, and cultural happenings in the Fenway neighborhood. Stop by the MHS to see "Fenway Connections," an exhibition put together by the MHS and the Fenway Studios and join us for a historic walking tour of the Fenway neighborhood. You can also take part in a family-friendly #RememberAbigail art project we are doing at The Mary Baker Eddy Library (200 Massachusetts Ave). Learn more about the day at fenwayculture.org/opening-our-doors-2019.

The MHS will join its neighboring cultural institutions for a day of free history, art, music, and cultural happenings in the Fenway neighborhood. With over 20 different museums, venues, colleges, and organizations participating, there will be something for everyone. View Fenway Connections, an exhi...

In diary entries dating from 19 June 1775 to 3 October 1775, Boston resident Peter Edes records information about his ca...
10/11/2019
MHS Collections Online: Peter Edes diary, June-October 1775

In diary entries dating from 19 June 1775 to 3 October 1775, Boston resident Peter Edes records information about his capture and his 3 1/2-month-imprisonment by the British following the Battle of Bunker Hill. He writes about the difficulty of getting information about his case and describes the Boston Jail. He mentions James Lovell, John Leach, and other prisoners. The last page of the diary is a list of 30 prisoners taken from the Battle of Bunker Hill. In 21 September 1775 entry, Edes mentions that only 11 of them are still living.

Massachusetts Historical Society, Collections Online: Peter Edes diary, June-October 1775

Nine new videos from the MHS and Medal Collectors of America conference "Art & Memory: The Role of Medals" are now avail...
10/10/2019
"Art & Memory" - 2018 Medal Conference - YouTube

Nine new videos from the MHS and Medal Collectors of America conference "Art & Memory: The Role of Medals" are now available online. The conference included presentations on the role medals have played in America history, the evolution of medallic art, and the ways medals have reflected American culture up through the 20th century. Panel discussions looked at the stylistic developments from Renaissance medallic art to contemporary art medals and the individual passions that drive numismatists to build their unique collections.

Have you ever wondered about the origins of the everyday technological devices that we take for granted today? The newly...
10/09/2019
From Radaranges to Handie-Talkies: Post-War Technology in Massachusetts | Beehive

Have you ever wondered about the origins of the everyday technological devices that we take for granted today? The newly processed papers of Charles Francis Adams give us an idea. Adams (1910-1999) was, among other things, a Navy veteran, vice president of the Massachusetts Historical Society, and executive at Raytheon for many years. His papers include 15 scrapbooks of newspaper clippings, photographs, and ephemera that document much of the history of Raytheon. Adams’ tenure coincided with a period of explosive technological innovation, and while the company has become one of the country’s foremost military contractors, it was also involved in the development of a variety of commercial technological gadgets and home appliances in the post-World War II years including the microwave oven, the television, and the walkie-talkie.

From Radaranges to Handie-Talkies: Post-War Technology in Massachusetts October 8, 2019 by Susan Martin, Processing Archivist & EAD Coordinator Have you ever wondered about the origins of the everyday technological devices that we take for granted today? How far back do these devices go? What did so...

Address

1154 Boylston St
Boston, MA
02215

General information

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 national treasures, including the personal papers of three presidents—John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. Through its research library, online resources, publications, exhibitions, and programs, the MHS makes its holdings accessible to anyone with an interest in the people and events that shaped our country. 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.

Opening Hours

Monday 10:00 - 16:00
Tuesday 10:00 - 16:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 16:00
Thursday 10:00 - 16:00
Friday 10:00 - 16:00
Saturday 10:00 - 16:00

Telephone

(617) 646-0500

Alerts

Be the first to know and let us send you an email when Massachusetts Historical Society posts news and promotions. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Videos

Category

Nearby museums