Massachusetts Historical Society

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Massachusetts Historical Society Building
MassHistorichq.JPG
(2008)
Massachusetts Historical Society is located in Massachusetts
Massachusetts Historical Society
Location 1154 Boylston Street
Boston, Massachusetts
Coordinates: 42°20′47″N 71°5′26″W / 42.34639°N 71.09056°W / 42.34639; -71.09056
Built 1899
Architect Edmund M. Wheelwright
Architectural style Colonial Revival
Governing body private
NRHP Reference #

66000770

[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP October 15, 1966
Designated NHL December 21, 1965

The Massachusetts Historical Society is a major historical archive specializing in early American, Massachusetts, and New England history. It is located at 1154 Boylston Street in Boston, Massachusetts and is the oldest historical society in the United States, having been established in 1791.

The Society's building was constructed in 1899 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.[1] It is a National Historic Landmark.

History[edit]

The Society was founded on January 24, 1791, by Reverend Jeremy Belknap to collect, preserve, and document items of American history. He and the nine other founding members donated family papers, books, and artifacts to the Society to form its initial collection. Its first manuscript was published in 1792, becoming the first historical society publication in the United States. The society incorporated in 1794; signatories included William Baylies, Jeremy Belknap, Alden Bradford, Peleg Coffin, Manasseh Cutler, John Davis, Daniel Davis, Aaron Dexter, John Eliot, Nathaniel Freeman, James Freeman, Thaddeus Mason Harris, Isaac Lothrop, George Richards Minot, John Mellen Jr., Thomas Pemberton, William Dandridge Peck, John Prince, Ezekiel Price, James Sullivan, David Sewall, Peter Thacher, William Tudor, Samuel Turell, Dudley Atkins Tyng, James Winthrop, Thomas Wallcut, Redford Webster, and William Wetmore.[2] Indeed, the Society claims to have been the only historical collection in the United States until establishment of the New-York Historical Society (1804) and the American Antiquarian Society (1812), after which time the Society's collecting activities began to focus primarily on Boston and New England.

"The society, for several years after its organization, met in the attic of Faneuil Hall; afterwards rooms were occupied in Hamilton Place, and then in Franklin Street. In 1833 ... quarters on Tremont Street were occupied" in the building of the Provident bank through the 1890s.[3][4][5] The society's current building in the Back Bay was built in 1899; it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1965 in recognition of the society's distinctive contribution to historic preservation.[6]

Collections[edit]

Today the Society continues to collect, preserve, and communicate historical information about Massachusetts and the United States. It is now organized in five departments: Library, Publications, Education and Public Programs, Research Programs, the Adams Family Papers, and Administration. Major collections include:

The Society continues to produce scholarly books, but now augments these publications with digital editions available through its website and other online resources.

Notable fellows[edit]

The Fellows of the Massachusetts Historical Society are elected and serve as the Society's legal governing body.[7] Notable fellows include:[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15. 
  2. ^ The act of incorporation [1794]: with the additional acts and by-laws of the Massachusetts Historical Society : with a list of officers and resident members. Boston: printed for the Society, 1882.
  3. ^ King's handbook of Boston. 1881
  4. ^ City directory of Boston. 1848
  5. ^ Boston Almanac. 1894
  6. ^ "NHL nomination for Massachusetts Historical Society". National Park Service. Retrieved 2014-06-18. 
  7. ^ Membership, Massachusetts Historical Society website, retrieved November 16, 2013.
  8. ^ Massachusetts Historical Society Annual Report, July 1, 2009, to June 30, 2010
  9. ^ "This Month at the MHS". Massachusetts Historical Society website. Retrieved 4 January 2014. Larry Ruttman, Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society 
  10. ^ Jonathan Sarna Elected Massachusetts Historical Society Fellow, Brandeis NOW, retrieved November 16, 2013

Bibliography

Further reading

  • A short account of the Massachusetts Historical Society: originally prepared by Charles Card Smith, together with the act of incorporation, additional acts and by-laws and a list of officers and members. January 1791-June 1918.
  • The act of incorporation: with the additional acts and by-laws of the Massachusetts Historical Society : with a list of officers and resident members. Boston: printed for the Society, 1882.
  • Thomas Boylston Adams. "Here We Have Lived: The Houses of the Massachusetts Historical Society." Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Third Series, Vol. 78 (1966)

External links[edit]