The Massachusetts Historical Society primarily collects manuscripts—the letters, 日记, and other personal papers of individuals and families. The Society holds many famous documents such as Paul Revere's own account of his famous ride and manuscript copies of the Declaration of Independence by both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. 然而, the true strength of the collection lies in how millions of pages of documents weave together as primary sources for the study of American history.
In addition to manuscripts, the Society holds large collections of books, 小册子, 地图, 报纸, 和照片, as well as works of art and historical artifacts that support research in the library collections.
The Manuscript Collection consists of more than 3,600 separate collections of personal and family papers and, to a lesser extent, institutional and early business records that date from the beginning of European settlement to the present.
The Photograph Collection consists of approximately 120,000 images that span the development of photographic technology, including hundreds of daguerreotypes, 锡版照相法, 玻璃, glass-plate negatives, and carte-de-visite portraits of individuals and family groups.
Books and 小册子 printed through 1821, including a large number of 17th-century Massachusetts imprints and many early foreign publications, and broadsides and 报纸, 组成 Early Imprint Collection. The collection also includes modern reference materials, biographies, and 小册子.
The Society holds more than 10,000 broadsides--single sheets of paper printed on one side that served as the primary tool for public announcements.
The Map Collection consists of approximately 2,500 地图 and charts that illustrate the history and development of the United States.
The Society's collection of graphics consists of approximately 4,000 portrait prints and drawings, 230年剪影, 和2,000 images of historical events.
The Newspaper Collection contains 300 titles, ranging from single issues of American and foreign 报纸 to extensive runs of early Boston papers.
The MHS Art Collection includes 380 portrait paintings, 67 city- and landscapes, 165 miniature portraits, 和52雕塑.
The Historical Artifact Collection, including more than 7,000 numismatics (coins, 奖牌, and paper currency) are available to researchers as part of the library collection.