Wikipedia:Meetup/MassHist OAMass13

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Join us at the Massachusetts Historical Society for an edit-a-thon and special behind-the-scenes tour!

When: Tuesday October 22nd, 2-6:30pm

Where: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston Street, Boston.

Focus: How philanthropists and philanthropic societies shaped Boston in the 19th century
This edit-a-thon is part of Open Access to Massachusetts History 2013.

Event Details[edit]

About Us[edit]

The Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) is an independent research library with invaluable resources for American history, life, and culture. MHS was founded in 1791 (it was the first historical society established in the United States) and it 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. Our collections are accessible to anyone with an interest in American history, and are particularly well-known for extensive holdings of personal papers from three presidents: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. We care for 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, we hold several imprints of the Declaration of Independence, and many other national treasures.

Our Theme: Philanthropy and Philanthropists in 19th c. Boston[edit]

Throughout the nineteenth century, Boston was a locus of philanthropic and reform activity. New England families that had made their fortunes in industry, investment, and international commerce, had time and money to invest in activities and organizations intended to improve the social welfare. Those with fewer economic resources or political connections could still become involved in reform and charitable activities through clubs, religious organizations, and other social groups. The Massachusetts Historical Society's print and manuscript collections are rich with materials that help to document these individuals, institutions, and campaigns that helped shape Boston and the nation during a turbulent century of social change. Below you will find a list of suggested article topics -- but you are also welcome to explore and come up with your own.


  • 1:45-2:00 Check-in (complete library registration form)
  • 2:00-2:30 Introductory talk and tour about MHS and library resources
  • 2:30-3:00 Wikipedia basics (pending!)
  • 3:00-6:00 Edit articles
  • 6:00-6:30 Wrap-up


  • MHS is in the Fenway, and easily accessible by public transportation. Additional directions and parking information are here.
  • Twitter: @MHS1791, with hashtag #OAMass13 for this series of edit-a-thons.
  • WiFi: WiFi is available onsite.
  • What to Bring: Attendees should bring their own laptops and power cords. A government-issued photo ID (such as a driver's license or passport) is required to register for library access.
  • Contact the organizers: If you have questions about the event, please contact Anna Clutterbuck-Cook, Reference Librarian at acook (at) masshist (dot) org / @feministlib / 617-646-0561.

Sign Up and Guest List[edit]


Please note: Due to space constraints within the building this fall, MHS will need to limit the maximum number of attendees to 12 people. Thanks for understanding.

Participating Remotely[edit]


  • Kathleen Barker, Asst. Director of Education & Public Programs, MHS
  • Laura Lowell, Library-Collections Services, Massachusetts Historical Society


Suggested Topics[edit]

The list of suggested topics below include people, places, events, and organizations with little or no Wikipedia article associated with their philanthropic endeavors. All of these topics have materials in the MHS collections which will support authors wishing to write or expand an article on the subject.

This section is still under construction.



Topical Resources[edit]

Our library has plenty of reference materials which might help you flush out the information for your Wikipedia articles. Among these items are subject encyclopediae, biographical materials, bibliographical works, and local or topical histories. The list below highlights some works that might be generally useful for 19th century philanthropy, but your individual searches will be much more focused on the individual, event, place, or institution. For that reason, there is also a short guide on how to best utilize our catalog to find resources for your topic.

Useful Reference Resources[edit]

These items are some print resources within our reference materials in the library that pertain to philanthropic endeavors in the 19th century.

How to Best Utilize ABIGAIL[edit]

ABIGAIL, the Massachusetts Historical Society's online library catalog, provides access to the majority of the Society's collections of manuscript and printed materials, and--in the near future--will provide access to its entire collection, including graphics and artifacts. Here's a basic overview of how to best use our online catalog.

Types of Searches[edit]

Author Search[edit]

To conduct an author search, simply type the "last name, first name" in the search text box and click "Author" in the "Find Results in" box. Click the search button to find the results. Please note that our catalog is not inituitive and will not correct any spelling mistakes.

I.e. "Reynolds, Malcolm" will return any items authored by Captain Malcolm Reynolds.
Title Search[edit]

If you know the title of the work you are interested in viewing, simply type the title into the search text box and click "Title" in the "Find Results in" box. Click the search button to find the results. Please note that our catalog is not intuitive and will not correct any spelling mistakes. Additionally, you should not include articles such as "a", "an", or "the" at the beginning of the title - the catalog does not take these words into account so it is best to leave the article at the beginning of the title out of the search.

I.e. "Necronomicon" will return any titles that have been cataloged under that name.
Subject Search[edit]

To conduct a subject search, simply type a subject into the search text box and click "Subject" in the "Find Results in" box. Click the search button to find the results. Our subject headings can be very particular and in some cases, just strange. For example, any materials in reference to the Civil War will be cataloged under the following subject heading:

"United States History Civil War, 1861-1865"

If you were interested in finding regiment histories of the Massachusetts 54th Volunteer Regiment during the Civil War, the subject heading for this type of information is:

"United States History Civil War, 1861-1865 Regimental histories Massachusetts Infantry, 54th Volunteers"

You can search institutions in both author and subject searches. In fact, you want to conduct both author and subject searches for each institution or individual you are researching. Author searches will return items written by the creator and subject searches will return items written about the institution or individual. If you have any questions regarding our catalog, please do not hesitate to ask one of the library staff for assistance.

Wikipedia Help[edit]

These are just to get you started -- feel free to add to this list.


This is the exciting part! Leave a half hour at the end of your edit-a-thon to collect and admire all of the work you've done, as well as take a few photos.

New articles created[edit]

Articles expanded or improved[edit]

Event Photos[edit]