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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Spotlight on the Massachusetts Historical Society

Today I wanted to take the chance to highlight the Massachusetts Historical Society. I have been doing research on the First Ladies as part of a class for my Masters program and I have used their website a lot. They have so much wonderful information on their website and I hope to get to their actual facility someday.

The Massachusetts Historical Society is located in Boston, Massachusetts. It has been around since 1791 and holds many great works of national significance, including all of the Adams’ family papers. They are not only a research library where you can go to access their many documents but they host many historical events there as well. This past week they hosted an event that I so wish I could have attended, Fifty Years and Two Continents: The Diaries and Memoirs of Louisa Catherine Adams. You can check out their schedule of events here. They have Stacy Schiff, author of Cleopatra: A Life coming in to speak on May 3rd if you are in the area and can attend – make sure you reserve online! They have prominent historians and speakers attend their lecture series. They also host changing exhibitions.

May of their resources are available online – those are the sources I have been using the most. Among their online collections there are: The Adams Digital Collection (letters between John and Abigail Adams, John Adams diaries, and autobiography of John Adams), Diaries of John Quincy Adams (all 14,000 pages!), The Thomas Jefferson Digital Collection (hundreds of pages of documents), Coming of the American Revolution (primary sources and essays), Antislavery Images (documenting Massachusetts role in the slavery issue), African Americans and the End of Slavery in Massachusetts (manuscripts and printed works about the lives of African Americans in Massachusetts), Massachusetts Maps, Maps of the French and Indian War, Siege of Boston (manuscripts/firsthand accounts of the experience of the Siege of Boston at the start of the Revolution), Abraham Lincoln: Selections from the MHS Collections, Battle of Bunker Hill exhibit, Photographs of Native Americans, and much, much more. I encourage you to check out some of these online sources, and you may see some of them pop up again on this website because they are just so cool!

MHS also publishes books, the most recent being Thomas Jefferson’s Granddaughter in Queen Victoria’s England. One of the editors will be having a book talk and signing at MHS on February 2.

They also have an official blog: The Beehive, if you wanted to check it out and have a Twitter account @JQAdams_MHS where they post a line a day from John Quincy Adams’ diaries.

Copyright © 2012 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. What a wonderful place. It is a great resource for writers and those of us who are just curious. Thanks for letting us know about it.

    1. I love that so much of their collection is available online. That certainly makes it so much more accessible.


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