Massachusetts Historical Society

The MHS Publishes

The Massachusetts Historical Society has maintained its own publishing program since 1792 and hosts the Adams Papers Editorial Project.

Recent & Popular Publications

Fashioning the New England Family

Fashioning the New England Family book cover

Written by Kimberly S. Alexander. Foreword by Anne E. Bentley

Based on the exhibition of the same name presented at the Massachusetts Historical Society from October 2018 to April 2019, this companion volume features over one hundred full-color photographs of garments, textiles, and accessories, many of which had never been displayed for the public or seen in living memory. Read more about Fashioning the New England Family.

The Papers of Robert Treat Paine, Volume 4:1778-1786

papers of Robert Treat Paine

Edited by Edward W. Hanson

The fourth volume of this series encompasses Robert Treat Paine’s time as Massachusetts Attorney General. The documents in this volume highlight the quest for order in a nation gripped by violence and upheaval. Paine dedicated himself to reforming and enforcing the laws.

Read more about Robert Treat Paine.

The Future of History

future of history book cover

Based on the Future of History workshop convened at the MHS in September 2016, this volume presents 14 short opinion pieces, all by workshop participants, that provide a broad overview of current challenges and opportunities--and where our engagement with those might take us in the coming years.

You can download a digital edition or order a print copy here.

The Winthrop Papers

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This Winthrop Papers Digital Edition presents the digitized content of the previously published volumes from the Winthrop Papers documentary edition, a publication of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers now have online access to the contents of volumes 1 through 4, comprising annotated transcriptions of Winthrop document composed primarily in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Charles Francis Adams, Sr.: The Civil War Diaries (Unverified Transcriptions)

portrait of charles francis adams

This digital edition provides early access to Charles Francis Adams’s diaries from January 1861 through April 1865 as he served as minister to the Court of St. James’s—a post held in previous decades by his father and grandfather.

Previously published Adams Papers volumes, fully edited and annotated, appear here: Adams Papers Digital Edition.

The Private Jefferson: Perspectives from the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society

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With essays by Peter S. Onuf, Andrea Wulf, and Henry Adams

One of U.S. history’s most eminent figures, Thomas Jefferson is as elusive as he is revered. The Private Jefferson opens a window onto the third president’s inner life by digging into the single largest cache of Thomas Jefferson’s private papers, held at the Massachusetts Historical Society. Generously illustrated with over 100 full-color reproductions of architectural drawings, letters, and other manuscripts.

Read more about The Private Jefferson.

224 pages, 137 color illustrations
Distributed by the University of Virginia Press

$35 Paperback (2016) ISBN: 978-1-936520-09-1

$60.00 Hardcover (2016) ISBN: 978-1-936520-08-4

Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country: The World War I Memoir of Margaret Hall

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Edited by Margaret R. Higonnet with Susan Solomon

In August 1918, a Massachusetts-born woman named Margaret Hall boarded a transport ship in New York City that would take her across the Atlantic to work with the American Red Cross in France, just then gripped in devastating and seemingly interminable conflict with Germany. The year she spent near the Western Front was eye opening; careful not to let her experience slip away like a strange dream, she captured it in rich detail in a series of letters, journals, and nearly 300 photographs that she would weave into a powerful narrative when she returned stateside. That narrative, a manuscript in the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, is now published for the first time.

Read more about Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country.

256 pages, 83 b&w illustrations
Distributed by the University of Virginia Press.

$35 Paperback (2014) ISBN: 978-1-936520-07-7

The Cabinetmaker & the Carver

cabinetmaker and the carver

By Gerald W. R. Ward. Foreword by Dennis Fiori.

The Cabinetmaker and the Carver provides an opportunity to see a carefully selected group of significant examples of Boston furniture representing the trajectory of the city's great tradition of furniture making. Presented in close to 100 full-color illustrations, these objects illustrate many of the local characteristics that distinguish Boston work from that of other cities; they also open a window on Bostonians’ tastes and preferences. Created by many of the city’s most talented cabinetmakers, carvers, turners, and other craftsmen, nearly all of this furniture is drawn from distinguished local collections, providing a rare public glimpse of these privately held treasures.

Read more about The Cabinetmaker and the Carver.

64 pages, 80 color illustrations
Distributed by the University of Virginia Press

$30 Paperback (2013) ISBN: 978-1-936520-06-0

In Death Lamented: The Tradition of Anglo-American Mourning Jewelry

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By Sarah Nehama. Prefaces by Sarah Nehama and Anne E. Bentley.

A compendium developed to accompany and record the exhibition of the same title, In Death Lamented: The Tradition of Anglo-American Mourning Jewelry features full-color photographs of prime examples of rings, bracelets, brooches, and other pieces of mourning jewelry from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. The catalog, like the exhibition at the MHS, showcases the materials in the Society’s collection and that of Sarah Nehama, a jeweler and private collector who co-curated the event at the MHS. These elegant and evocative objects are presented in context, including written explanations of the history, use, and meaning of the jewelry, as well as related pieces of material culture, such as broadsides, photographs, portraits, funeral medals, and trade cards. The jewelry included will illustrate some of the most exemplary types, from early gold bands with death’s head iconography to jeweled brooches and intricately woven hairwork pieces of the Civil War era. Read more.

128 pages, 110 color illustrations
Distributed by the University of Virginia Press

$35 Paperback (2012) ISBN: 978-1-936520-03-9

Thomas Jefferson's Granddaughter in Queen Victoria's England: The Travel Diary of Ellen Wayles Coolidge, 1838-1839

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By Ellen Wayles Coolidge. Edited by Ann Lucas Birle and Lisa A. Francavilla

Ellen Wayles Coolidge arrived in London in June 1838 at the advent of Queen Victoria's reign—the citizens were still celebrating the coronation. During her nine-month stay, Coolidge kept a diary that reveals the uncommon education of her youth, when she lived and studied at Monticello with her grandfather Thomas Jefferson. This volume brings the full text of her diary to publication for the first time, opening up her text for today's readers with carefully researched annotations that provide the historical context. Read more

464 pages, 22 color and 13 b&w illustrations and 2 maps
Distributed by the University of Virginia Press

$45.00 Hardcover (2011) ISBN: 978-1-936520-02-2

Adams Papers Digital Edition

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The Adams Papers Digital Edition provides free online access to dozens of volumes published by the Adams Papers Editorial Project. This digital edition includes all text of the historical documents, all editorial text, and a single consolidated index.

The Adams Papers at the Massachusetts Historical Society

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Text by Judith S. Graham, Margaret A. Hogan, Ondine Le Blanc, Gregg L. Lint, and C. James Taylor

With full-color illustrations on almost every page, this volume showcases Adams-related manuscripts from the collections at the Massachusetts Historical Society. The selections are grouped in four chapters—including one on John and Abigail's famous correspondence and another highlighting John's contributions to the Revolution—and each chapter provides short explanations of historical context. Read more

42 pages, 75 color illustrations
[Ordering information here: e-mail or order form?]

$20.00 Paperback (2008) ISBN: 978-0-934909-92-1

The Education of Henry Adams: A Centennial Version

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By Henry Adams. Edited by Edward Chalfant and Conrad Edick Wright

Both a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and at the head of the Modern Library's list of the 100 best English-language nonfiction books of the 20th century, The Education of Henry Adams has long been revered as a great work of literature. With The Education of Henry Adams: A Centennial Version, editors Edward Chalfant and Conrad Edick Wright have at long last returned this celebrated book to the author's vision. Read more

542 pages
Distributed by the University of Virginia Press

$34.95 Hardcover (2007) ISBN: 978-0-934909-91-4
$19.95 Paperback (2008) ISBN: 978-0-934909-93-8

We Fight for Freedom: Massachusetts, African Americans & the Civil War

By Donald Yacovone, with a foreword by James O. Horton

This excellent introduction to the contribution of African Americans to the Union effort also showcases remarkable visual materials from African American history in general. The book highlights the efforts of the Massachusetts 54th Infantry Regiment—the regiment featured in the film Glory—by drawing on a rich collection of relevant papers and unique photographs in the Society's archives.

36 pages, 56 illustrations
$10.00 Paperback (2022, 2nd rev. ed.) ISBN: 978-0-934909-66-2

To order, please email (A $2.50 shipping & handling fee will be added to all mailed orders.)

Works Published by the MHS

Massachusetts Historical Review

The Society’s annual journal, featuring scholarship about Massachusetts history.

Published Collections

Books built on the collections of the MHS, including two long-standing series: Collections of the MHS and Winthrop Papers. These volumes present the content of the Society's holdings with gold-standard transcriptions and helpful annotations.

Sibley's Harvard Graduates

A key reference source for biographical information about the students who attended Harvard College in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Printed Catalogs & Pictorial Essays

Useful resources presenting information about different kinds of collections--print and visual arts--held by the MHS.

Biographies & Other Monographs

Paperback and hardcover publications illuminating selected topics related to MHS collections, prepared by subject-matter specialists in the field.

Essay Collections

Essay anthologies presenting a selection of critical perspectives on topics central to the study of American history.

Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society

The precursor to the MHR, featuring scholarly essays, facsimiles of items from MHS collections, and reports from the Society's meetings (1860-1997).

To Order

While most of the Society’s publications can be found for sale at any online bookseller, and many are distributed by the University of Virginia Press, others have to be ordered directly from the MHS, as indicated by the listing for each title. For more information on items available only through the MHS, please send an inquiry to the Publications Department.

To Submit a Proposal

Please view the Society's publications policy and proposal guidelines before sending in a submission. Proposals will be evaluated by the MHS Publications Department and Publications Committee. Contact the Publications Department with any questions.

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