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Microfilm

Key Facts

  • Format: Guides free with collection.
  • Media: Microfilm
  • Coverage Dates: 1535-1964
  • Subject Area: Yes

Intended For

Overview

The Massachusetts Historical Society is an independent, not-for-profit research institution incorporated by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It was founded in 1791 for the threefold purpose of collecting, preserving, and disseminating resources for the study of American history. It was not only the first North American historical society, but also the first library of any kind to devote its primary attention to collecting Americana.

These collections cannot be matched either in scope or depth by those of any similar institution in North America.

A special marketing agreement between UMI® Research Collections and the Massachusetts Historical Society makes it possible for UMI to offer the following collections to its customers.

Titles from the Massachusetts Historical Society Collections may be purchased by individual reel.

 

ORIGINALLY FILMED BY: The Massachusetts Historical Society

THE ADAMS PAPERS, 1639-1889 

Two-and-a-half centuries of United States history are covered and brought to life through the papers of the Adams family. From President John Adams (1735-1826) and his famous wife Abigail (1744-1818) through the lives of President John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) and U.S. Minister to England Charles Francis Adams (1807-1886), the more than 300,000 manuscript pages in the collection provide one of the most thorough accounts of history as told by one family.

The contributions of the many Adams family members in the political, social, and economic spheres of public life are documented. Researchers will also benefit from the innermost thoughts and feelings of family members as they correspond with each other over the decades. Included are diaries, letterbooks, autobiographical writings, legal papers, and family letters, plus political essays and speeches.

The collection is organized internally to afford scholars convenient access to the papers. Part I contains the diaries of John, John Quincy, and Charles Francis Adams. Part II follows with the letterbooks of these three statesmen. Part III is organized by generation, and thereafter by individual. Part IV contains letters received by the family and other loose papers, arranged chronologically from 1639-1889.

Titles from the Massachusetts Historical Society Collections may be purchased by individual reel.

FORMAT: 608 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guides free with collection. Call for current availability.


THE PAPERS OF CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS II, 1861-1933

The descendant of two presidents and the son of noted diplomat Charles Francis Adams, whose personal papers are included in The Adams Papers, above, Charles Francis Adams II's diverse interests and talents contributed to growth in many areas of Massachusetts life.

This collection of diaries, personal journals, and literary drafts covers many areas of Adams' life, including: Adams' Civil War service with a black cavalry regiment; his energetic leadership of the Massachusetts Railroad Commission and his ill-fated six-year tenure as president of the Union Pacific Railroad; his promotion of educational reforms; and his historical projects, including presidency of the Massachusetts Historical Society and several published biographies (one on his diplomat father).

Titles from the Massachusetts Historical Society Collections may be purchased by individual reel.

FORMAT: 55 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.

 

THE HENRY ADAMS PAPERS, 1843-1938

The personal papers of John Adams' great-grandson, Henry Adams, provide historians with additional material on this illustrious American family. Henry Adams was an author and a historian, and his correspondence to his family, especially his parents, Charles Francis (1807-1886) and Abigail Brooks Adams (1848-1927), provides another perspective on Adams family history.

Also included in this collection is Adams' correspondence to intimate friends such as Henry Cabot Lodge and prominent individuals including James Russell Lowell and Theodore Roosevelt, as well as several historical sketches, notebooks, diaries, and poems.

Titles from the Massachusetts Historical Society Collections may be purchased by individual reel.

FORMAT: 36 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.


WASHINGTON ALLSTON PAPERS, 1800-1843

All his life, Washington Allston was caught between his natural talents as an artist and the expectations of his wealthy South Carolina family and upbringing.

This collection of Allston's papers, letters, sketchbooks, poetry notebooks, and lectures on composition and form begins in 1800, when he sold the properties he had inherited from his father and set out to study painting in England, France, Switzerland, and Italy. There is also later biographical material written by Leonard Jarvis and Richard Henry Dana on Washington Allston's life and ill-fated genius.

FORMAT: 2 reels of 35mm microfilm


THE PAPERS OF JOHN A. ANDREW, 1772-1895

This collection of the personal and professional papers of John A. Andrew records his life as a prominent anti-slavery lawyer and governor of Massachusetts during the Civil War. He began his career as a private attorney, and was active in antebellum reform movements and litigation involving fugitive slaves. Andrew was also one of the organizers of the anti-slavery Free Soil Party.

This remarkable man served five terms as governor of Massachusetts, and the collection of his papers is filled with his insights on party affairs, elections, and the war effort to free the slaves. Of special interest are legal notes and briefs relating to these early civil rights cases.

FORMAT: 43 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection. Call for current availability.

 

GOVERNOR JONATHAN BELCHER LETTER BOOKS, 1723-1754

The career of Jonathan Belcher as governor of Massachusetts and New Hampshire (1729-1741), and of New Jersey (1746-1757), spanned an era sometimes referred to as the prelude to the American Revolution. Eleven of Belcher's letterbooks include letters and materials pertaining to such people as Josiah Quincy, Lord Townsend, Hugh Walpole, and members of the Lords of Admiralty, Lords of Trade, Massachusetts Assembly, and New Hampshire Assembly.

Unique insight into New England politics and political tumult during this important period in American history is provided for Revolutionary War scholars and students.

FORMAT: 11 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.

 

THE PAPERS OF AUGUST BELMONT, JR., 1827-1965

This collection focuses chiefly on the engineering, opening, and operation of the Cape Cod Canal, and the active interest and participation by New York financier August Belmont, Jr. (1853-1924). Included are letters, charts, reports, and telegrams to and from Secretary of War Newton D. Baker, Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, Attorney General Harry M. Daugherty, President Warren G. Harding, and congressmen and senators.

Also included are Congressional documents, depositions, records of litigation, news clippings, and financial accounts of Canal construction and operation.

FORMAT: 5 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.

 

THE BROOK FARM PAPERS, 1842-1861

This microfilm collection of The Brook Farm Papers contains a unique and complete record of one of America's most noted nineteenth-century intellectual communes.

Among the original shareholders and members were Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, and Charles A. Dana. The collection includes the Constitutions and Minutes, Articles of Incorporation, a listing of members, as well as all business papers of the community. There are also approximately 150 letters written by Marianne Dwight while she was a member, which describe daily life at Brook Farm.

FORMAT: 1 reel of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.


THE BYLES FAMILY PAPERS, 1757-1837

This unique collection of family letters consists of three family collections containing correspondence written to Mary and Catherine Byles by family members and friends.

Following the Siege of Boston, Mather Byles, Jr. removed his family to Halifax, Nova Scotia, leaving his Loyalist father and his equally Loyalist sisters, Mary and Catherine, behind in Boston. The letters, which comprise the main body of the collection, provide personal accounts of a family torn apart over the Revolutionary conflict.

FORMAT: 2 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection. Call for current availability.


THE PAPERS OF SAMUEL CABOT, 1713-1858

Trade with China was one of the largest growth segments of the Boston mercantile establishment during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. This collection of account books, letterbooks, and travel diaries provides insight into the two Boston families that were the most powerful China merchants: Samuel Cabot, Jr. and his wife's father, Thomas Handasyd Perkins (whose papers are included in the Massachusetts Historical Society series in this catalog).

There is a wealth of correspondence from Cabot and Perkins family members to other prominent traders and members of Boston's economic elite as well as vivid descriptions of England, France, Italy, China, and the West Indies through travel accounts concerning the lucrative opium trade in which these families were heavily involved.

FORMAT: 4 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.

 

THE WILLIAM ELLERY CHANNING PAPERS, 1791-1892

This microfilm edition of the William Ellery Channing Papers consists of the personal correspondence and writings of this famous Unitarian clergyman, literary critic, author, and leading spokesman for liberal religious thought in his generation.

Of special interest to scholars and historians are Channing's correspondence and links to other notable persons and families whose papers are part of the Massachusetts Historical Society series, including: Nathan Appleton, Samuel Cabot, Hugh Upham Clark, Caroline H. Dall, Josiah Quincy, and the Winthrop family.

FORMAT: 5 reels of 35m microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.

 

CIVIL WAR CORRESPONDENCE, DIARIES, AND JOURNALS AT THE MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY

The individual war experiences of twenty-nine men who served with Massachusetts military units during the Civil War are now available to researchers. This collection contains more than 30,000 pages of correspondence, diaries, and journals written by young men as they served in the conflict.

A variety of individual experiences in many of the war's most important battles are recorded. Descriptions of dreary field service, life in military hospitals, the Navy, the United States Christian Commission, and a Provost Marshall's office provide unique eyewitness accounts of an important era in U.S. history. While most of the material was generated by enlisted men, there are also sections from field officers and a major general to provide a leadership perspective.

The collection is organized by individual name, but for the added convenience of researchers, an index by military unit served in is also provided.

FORMAT: 29 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.

 

THE DAVID COBB PAPERS, 1708-1833

David Cobb's early life was spent as a soldier in the Revolutionary War and as aide-de-camp to General George Washington. In later years, he contributed greatly to the growth of the newly formed nation as speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and president of the Senate, as a judge, a member of Congress, and lieutenant governor of Massachusetts.

This collection consists primarily of papers relating to Cobb's private interests in land and fisheries development in Maine, as well as correspondence to other prominent Massachusetts citizens such as Henry Knox and Timothy Pickering, whose papers are described elsewhere in this Massachusetts Historical Society series.

FORMAT: 3 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.

 

THE PAPERS OF BENJAMIN COLMAN, 1641-1763

Benjamin Colman's papers are primarily concerned with his ministerial career, especially his connection with Boston's Brattle Street Church and his work among Indians on behalf of The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England and the Parts Adjacent and The Scottish Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge.

His correspondents included Jonathan Belcher, Cotton and Increase Mather, and Jonathan Edwards.

FORMAT: 1 reel of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.

 

THE CAROLINE H. DALL PAPERS, 1811-1917

Caroline Healey Dall was a leading nineteenth-century reformer, feminist, and essayist. This collection of manuscripts, letterbooks, notebooks, scrapbooks, and personal journals provide scholars in women's studies, nineteenth-century religion, literature, and social and political history with a personal resource for in-depth study.

Dall played a significant role in the anti-slavery movement, the Underground Railroad, and the drive for women's suffrage. An early proponent of women's rights in the workplace, she produced a variety of works, including Woman's Right to Labor (1860), Woman's Rights Under the Law (1861), and The College, the Market, and the Court (1867), all significant feminist tracts included in the collection.

FORMAT: 45 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.

 

HARBOTTLE DORR COLLECTION OF ANNOTATED MASSACHUSETTS NEWSPAPERS, 1765-1776

On January 7, 1765, in the middle of the Stamp Act controversy, Boston shopkeeper Harbottle Dorr took the current issue of the Boston Evening-Post and commented on its contents in the margins. Every week thereafter, he collected one or both of the Evening-Post or the Boston Gazette, (sometimes adding a Boston Post-Boy & Advertiser) and continued expressing himself in the margins on the events, referring backward and forward in a maze of cross-references to other documents and stories relevant to the events reported in the news.

The final result twelve years later was an astonishing archive--3,280 pages of annotated newspapers, plus the appended documents and Dorr's own indexes to the four volumes he compiled. This entire unbroken run of annotated Boston newspapers will not only allow students of American history a unique look at the pre-Revolutionary era in New England, but will also provide insight into the thinking of citizen Dorr on the controversies and topics of the times.

FORMAT: 4 reels of 35mm microfilm

 

THE EDWARD EVERETT PAPERS, 1675-1930

The papers of Edward Everett comprise one of the great American documentary collections on nineteenth-century affairs. Everett's accomplishments, as reflected in the papers, are impressive: Harvard professor, representative in Congress, governor of Massachusetts, minister to the Court of St. James, and vice-presidential candidate.

Next to Daniel Webster, he was considered the greatest orator of his day, and this collection contains valuable correspondence with many leading nineteenth-century educators, politicians, and business leaders.

FORMAT: 70 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.

 

THE ANNIE ADAMS FIELDS PAPERS, 1852-1912

Scholars of nineteenthth and early twentith-century literature will find in this collection of Annie Adams Fields' diaries and memoirs a rare glimpse into New England's literary society.

Through her marriage to James Fields--editor, author, and partner in the Boston publishing firm of Ticknor & Fields--Annie Fields became acquainted with such eminent writers as Alcott, Emerson, James, Longfellow, and Whittier. Also included are accounts of her travels to Europe and the Caribbean, during which she had private meetings with Dickens, Lamartine, Tennyson, and Thackeray.

FORMAT: 3 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.


THE FORBES PAPERS, 1723-1931

The Forbes family was active and successful in various commercial enterprises during the nineteenth century, including (but not limited to) the China trade. Therefore, there is a wealth of information for the social historian in this collection through its descriptions of life at sea, comparisons of English and American schools, and long letters from Forbes wives in America to their husbands in the Far East describing everyday life at home.

Scholars will also gain insight into American commercial relations with the Far East during this period, life in the Orient, and Francis Blackwell Forbes's studies of Oriental botany.

FORMAT: 57 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.


WILLIAM LLOYD GARRISON PAPERS, 1833-1882

This collection includes the Garrison family papers during the period before, during, and after the Civil War. Included is correspondence that details the domestic activities of the Garrisons as well as manuscript poetry and letters from abolitionists Francis Jackson, Samuel J. May, Samuel Sewall, and Gerrit Smith.

FORMAT: 1 reel of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.

 

THE GEORGIA GAZETTE, 1763-1770 

The Georgia Gazette, Georgia's first newspaper, was established in the spring of 1763 by James Johnston, who was also the Colony's official printer. The paper was published regularly from April 7, 1763 through November 21, 1765, when the Stamp Act forced its suspension for six months. Publication resumed on May 21, 1766 and continued through February 7, 1776.

This microfilm collection contains the issues from February 7, 1763 through May 23, 1770 and is the most complete run in existence. As such, the set stands as one of the earliest newspaper files that provides research information on pre-Revolutionary colonial life and times.

FORMAT: 2 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.

 

ELBRIDGE GERRY PAPERS

The personal and professional papers of Elbridge Gerry provide scholars of the Revolutionary and Federalist periods with a rare glimpse into the political philosophy of a man who staunchly supported "theoretical republicanism," almost to the opposition of the Constitution of the United States.

Gerry served in many political and military capacities before, during, and after the Revolutionary War. While always praised as efficient, businesslike, and dedicated in his service, his strict adherence to his political and philosophical ideals caused him professional hardship and cost him many of his friends. Even so, he contributed to the drafting of and was a signator of the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution of the United States of America. In later years, he served as governor of Massachusetts, keeping his hand and keen intellectual mind involved in politics until the end of his life.

FORMAT: 7 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.  

 

THE HANCOCK FAMILY PAPERS, 1728-1830

The main body of this collection consists of the Massachusetts Historical Society's collection of John Hancock papers. It was extensively supplemented by letters drawn from other Society manuscripts and includes correspondence by Dorothy, Ebenezer, Lydia, Mary, and Thomas Hancock. The collection of Hancock Family letters provides insight into one of America's best-known Revolutionary-era families as they, with others, struggled to build a new nation.

FORMAT: 2 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.

 

WILLIAM HEATH PAPERS, 1774-1872

The William Heath Papers provides an abundance of historical materials covering the period of the Revolutionary War and the new Federalist government. Heath, a Massachusetts farmer, joined the Continental Army and served as a major general under Washington following Bunker Hill. Most of his adult career was spent in the service, and these papers detail his constant contact with the Board of War, state governments, and officers such as Arnold, Knox, Lincoln, and Ward.

In the political sphere, there are materials concerning diplomacy, peace negotiations, and the problems of erecting a government in a new nation. Following his retirement from the service, Heath continued serving his country as a state senator and as a judge of probate.

FORMAT: 46 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.

 

THOMAS JEFFERSON PAPERS, 1705-1827

Landowner, inventor, architect of our nation's government, secretary of state, and third president of the U.S., Thomas Jefferson's contributions and interests were valuable and varied. He was a prolific writer whose views on politics, business, and human nature were well presented.

This microfilm collection is one of the most important Jefferson manuscript collections in any repository. It provides a rich and lasting resource for both undergraduate and graduate research.

FORMAT: 16 reels of 35mm microfilm

 

THE HENRY KNOX PAPERS, 1719-1825

The General Henry Knox papers have long been familiar to students of the Revolutionary, Critical, and Federalist periods. Spanning the years 1719-1825, they include Knox's correspondence on military matters with such men as generals George Washington, Nathanael Greene, Benjamin Lincoln, William Heath, Henry Jackson, and David Cobb. There is also substantial material to and from land speculators in Maine such as William Bingham, and with members of the Knox family and their friends.

The collection, which belongs to the New England Historic Genealogical Society, includes a large number of accounts, muster rolls, bills, ledgers, and other papers relating to Knox's career.

FORMAT: 55 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.

 

THE LEE FAMILY PAPERS, 1535-1957 

The Lee Family Papers consists chiefly of the personal papers of Henry Lee (1782-1867), a prosperous India merchant, free trade economist, and publicist from Massachusetts. There are also the papers of his wife, Mary Jackson Lee, and other members of her family.

Scholars of American history will find material on matters ranging from the military, politics, and historic preservation to Lee family genealogical materials. Of special interest is the considerable information on mercantile business practices in the world during the century 1760-1860, specifically on the Chinese, Indian, European, South American, and West Indian trades.

FORMAT: 41 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.

 

THE BENJAMIN LINCOLN PAPERS, 1635-1964

General Benjamin Lincoln was one of an outstanding few whose personal papers provide special insight into the military history of the Revolutionary War, the suppression of Shays' Rebellion, and the problems of establishing the federal government during the 1790s. General Lincoln was described by George Washington as "...having prov'd himself on all occasions an active, spirited, sensible Man."

This collection also includes supplemental materials, such as Dr. Clifford K. Shipton's sketch of Lincoln, which appeared in Sibley's Harvard Graduate.

FORMAT: 13 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.

 

THE WILLIAM LIVINGSTON PAPERS, 1695-1839

The papers of William Livingston, a prominent Massachusetts attorney, consist of two major collections of papers from Livingston's personal files pertaining to his life and work.

Included are letterbooks, several large manuscripts, and valuable law and case registers. The material will provide students of American legal history with a look into the law as it was practiced before the Revolution and during the period of the new Federalist government.

FORMAT: 25 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.

 

THE LOUISBOURG PAPERS, 1744-1758

The Louisbourg collection consists of five volumes relating to the expedition against Cape Breton in 1745-1746. Included are copies of instructions to Sir William Pepperrell, records of councils of war, copies of letters written on the expedition, and copies of letters to or from William Shirley, Benning Wentworth, Samuel ("Brigadier") Waldo, William Pitt, and others.

This collection is closely related to The William Pepperrell Papers, also available from the Massachusetts Historical Society series.

FORMAT: 1 reel of 35mm microfilm


LYMAN FAMILY PAPERS, 1785-1956

The Lyman Family Papers consists of account books, diaries, letterbooks, newspaper clippings, writings, and scrapbooks of many generations of this illustrious New England family.

The largest portion of the collection contains chiefly the papers of Theodore Lyman, Jr. (1792-1849), author, philanthropist, and mayor of Boston, and Theodore Lyman III (1833-1897), zoologist, Civil War aide-de-camp to Union general George Gordon Meade, and Massachusetts congressman. Civil War scholars and historians will find particularly rich resources through vivid descriptions of military life, sketches of historical figures including Ulysses S. Grant, Abraham Lincoln, and Robert E. Lee, as well as Civil War diaries and newspaper clippings.

In addition, other Lyman family members and members of the related Shaw, Russell, Agassiz, and Eliot families are represented in the collection, providing genealogical sources on prominent Bostonians during the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.

FORMAT: 28 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Call for current availability.

 

THE MASCARENE FAMILY PAPERS, 1687-1839

Jean-Paul Mascarene was a French Huguenot refugee who settled in Boston and eventually became Commander-in-Chief and Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia. This microfilm collection contains an autobiographical sketch in Mascarene's own hand, as well as his letterbooks, which are particularly rich in matters relating to military affairs, politics, and economics.

FORMAT: 1 reel of 35mm microfilm


MASSACHUSETTS CHARITABLE FIRE SOCIETY PAPERS, 1792-1970

The Massachusetts Charitable Fire Society was founded in Boston in 1792, and stands as one of America's oldest philanthropic organizations. Its goals were relief for victims of fires, and the promotion of new and better methods of fire fighting. Among its early notable members were Samuel Adams, Jeremy Belknap, Charles Bulfinch, Josiah Quincy, and Paul Revere.

This microfilm edition contains all extant records of the Society from its founding to the early 1970s, including bylaws, reports, petitions, public addresses, and other materials that document the activities of the organization.

FORMAT: 5 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.

 

THE MATHER PAPERS

This two-part microfilm collection preserves important source material for thorough study of early New England history by bringing to scholars the papers of Cotton and Increase Mather.

Part I consists of Cotton Mather's papers, and includes diaries, sermons and notes on sermons, letters, and essays. In addition, there are recognized tracts and writings, such as "The Examination of George Burrough for Witchcraft" and "Quotidiana," as well as the manuscript bibliography on Mathers compiled by William S. Piper.

Part II of the collection chronologically presents important events in the life of Increase Mather, biographical material, and other valuable information about the Mather family history.

FORMAT: 23 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guides free with collection.

 

THE OLIVER FAMILY PAPERS, 1419-1946

The varied careers of members of the Oliver family are recorded in minute detail through this collection. Through the generations, scholars can trace the achievements and contributions of the family in the fields of religion, law, medicine, politics, and the sciences. For example, the collection contains notebooks and diaries of Daniel Oliver (1787-1842) and Fitch Edward Oliver (1819-1892), both physicians with large practices whose records serve as a history of medical practice and progress in the early republic.

Within the Oliver family papers are papers of the Lynde family and of Jeremiah Mason, whose daughter married Fitch Edward Oliver. Mason was one of the most distinguished lawyers of his day, a colleague of Daniel Webster, and later U.S. Attorney General.

FORMAT: 28 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.

 

THE HARRISON GRAY OTIS PAPERS, 1691-1870

This collection contains primarily the business, political, and personal papers of Harrison Gray Otis (1765-1848), plus material of other immediate family members. Otis was a prominent Federalist, lawyer, congressman, U.S. senator, and mayor of Boston during his lifetime.

Among the business papers, scholars will find receipts, deeds, and important accounts documenting Otis's speculation in undeveloped Maine and western Massachusetts lands. The political correspondence includes letters to and from John Adams, Mathew Carey, Lewis Cass, Henry Clay, Josiah Quincy, Theodore Sedgwick, and Daniel Webster on such topics as the Embargo of 1807, the Hartford Convention, slavery, Massachusetts state politics, and the Bank of the United States.

FORMAT: 11 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.


THE THEODORE PARKER PAPERS, 1826-1862

Theodore Parker's career as a Unitarian clergyman, lecturer, and observer of the political scene are presented through this unique microfilm collection. There are letters, private journals, a journal of lectures delivered and fees collected, as well as newspaper clippings and sermon notebooks.

Parker corresponded with many important figures such as Charles Francis Adams, Salmon P. Chase, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Horace Mann, on subjects such as Abraham Lincoln, fugitive slaves, Harvard, comparative religion, Christian theology and doctrine, and the Republican and American parties.

FORMAT: 4 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.

 

THE WILLIAM PEPPERRELL PAPERS, 1683-1769

This collection consists of three volumes of original letters relating principally to the Louisbourg Expedition of 1745-1746. Representative of the contents are letters to or from Robert Auchmuty, Charles Chancy, Thomas Cushing, Samuel Waldo, and other important figures of the day.

Scholars should also refer to the Louisbourg Papers, which is included in this series of Massachusetts Historical Society collections, for more material relating to Pepperrell.

FORMAT: 2 reels of 35mm microfilm


THE THOMAS HANDASYD PERKINS PAPERS, 1789-1892

The personal and professional papers of Thomas Handasyd Perkins exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit that so many of the U.S.'s early leaders possessed. Perkins was one of Boston's most prominent China traders and an influential member of the Federalist party (eight times a senator and three times a legislator in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts).

This collection includes letters, papers, and writings of Perkins in these roles. But he was best known for his philanthropy. He actively supported institutions such as the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Bunker Hill and National Monument Associations. He also gave his residence to the New England Asylum for the Blind, and this institution still carries his name.

FORMAT: 17 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.

 

THE TIMOTHY PICKERING PAPERS, 1758-1829

After serving as a soldier in the Revolutionary Army, Timothy Pickering soon became one of the U.S.'s first Postmasters General. He is credited with organizing and increasing the efficiency of the U.S. Postal Service. He also served as secretary of war, and then secretary of state for several years.

In addition to Pickering's personal correspondence from and to various close family members, the collection also contains his business and legal papers. Of special interest are tracts and newspaper articles promoting his views on various government officials (including the president), as well as the most hotly debated issues of the day.

FORMAT: 69 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.

 

PRE-REVOLUTIONARY DIARIES AT THE MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY, 1635-1774

This collection of pre-Revolutionary-era diaries provides a rich and authentic portrait of incidents, manners, customs, and details of life in pre-Revolutionary America. The records of farmers and businessmen are to be found here, as well as those of clergymen, soldiers, students, and physicians. The inclusive nature of this project will make it of interest to the general reader as well as to students and scholars of various disciplines, and to an even greater variety of topical researchers--from Indians and industry to epidemics and earthquakes.

FORMAT: 13 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.

 

THE EZEKIEL PRICE PAPERS, 1754-1785 

The Ezekiel Price Papers is one of the Massachusetts Historical Society's earliest manuscript acquisitions. It consists of manuscript letters, petitions, statistics, lists, and observations concerning the American Revolution, Maine lands and cod fisheries, Boston merchants, Boston town meetings, East India trade, and materials relating to William Bollan, John Hancock, Sylvester Gardiner, the Marquis de Vaudreuil, Edward Payne, and other Massachusetts founders.

FORMAT: 1 reel of 35mm microfilm

 

PROCEEDINGS OF THE MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY

The annual published proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society report all official business of the Society and provide invaluable information on collections in progress and new releases for those with an ongoing interest in the Society's work of preserving ephemeral materials for scholars and students. Early issues contain addresses given at Society meetings.

FORMAT: 17 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Call for current availability.

 

QUINCY, WENDELL, HOLMES, AND UPHAM FAMILY PAPERS, 1633-1910

Rarely do scholars and researchers find such a wealth of historical and genealogical materials on four such prominent families in one collection of materials.

Included are letters, journals, diaries, account books, business papers, genealogical tracings, manuscripts, and professional papers relating to many members of all four families. This collection also contains important material linking these families to other collections contained in this series, such as The Adams Papers, The Henry Knox Papers, The Oliver Family Papers, and The Timothy Pickering Papers.

This chronologically filmed set contains enough material for a definitive study of American history covering three centuries of Quincy, Wendell, Holmes, and Upham family contributions and achievements.

FORMAT: 67 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.

 

THE REVERE FAMILY PAPERS, 1746-1964

Beginning with the most famous member of the Revere family, Paul Revere (1735-1818), the collection contains the family correspondence and private papers of more than a dozen members of the Revere family and spans three generations.

Included are the personal papers of Paul Revere, silversmith and Revolutionary patriot, records from his foundry and workshop, the papers of his two sons, as well as his two grandsons, both of whom served with the 20th Massachusetts regiment during the Civil War. There are also papers dealing with the Canton, Massachusetts branch of this famous American family.

FORMAT: 15 reels of 35mm microfilm

 

THE JOHN OSBORNE SARGENT PAPERS, 1831-1912

This collection covers the achievements of Sargent as a journalist and Whig politician, and discloses the depth of accurate detail attributable to a literary mind. Approximately half of the set contains correspondence with such people as Millard Fillmore, Horace Greeley, Henry Clay, and others. There are also letters from William Cullen Bryant and Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Sargent's interest in Harvard University, his involvement in various legal cases and a scrapbook of newspaper clippings concerning the Civil War and the abolition of slavery add an important historical dimension to Sargent's writings.

FORMAT: 4 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.

 

THE WINTHROP SARGENT PAPERS, 1771-1948

A Harvard graduate and typical member of a New England upper class family, Winthrop distinguished himself by gaining knowledge of the Northwest Territory as a surveyor. This led to his appointment as the first secretary of the newly created Northwest Territory government, and his eventual tenure as acting governor of the region.

His job was to organize and enforce government and law and order in the frontier territory, and his unbending principles played a major role in achieving these goals. He also served as governor of the Mississippi Territory, helping to tame and organize that area.

FORMAT: 7 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.

 

THE CATHARINE MARIA SEDGWICK PAPERS, 1798-1867

Catharine Maria Sedgwick's personal papers provide a revealing look into her career as a writer, as well as her personal observations and feelings. Since the majority of the letters here were written to Katherine Sedgwick Minot, a relative to whom she felt a close bond, much of the material is unusually candid in nature.

The documents, drawn from three collections, offer an account of her progress on various novels and her dealings with publishers. There are also fragments of both her published and unpublished works (such as part of an unfinished manuscript concerning slaves).

FORMAT: 18 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.

 

THE LEMUEL SHAW PAPERS, 1648-1923

Shaw's personal and professional papers provide scholars with research opportunities into state law in the first half of the 19th century. Lemuel Shaw (1781-1861) was perhaps one of the most influential state jurists in the history of American law, and this collection reveals the meticulous care with which he studied each case, the logic and clarity of his judicial utterances, and his sensitivity to human qualities. This collection stands unmatched as a record of one of the keenest legal minds in the history of our country.

Though his reputation is based primarily on decisions dealing with problems of industry and public utilities in a changing society, Shaw also presided over criminal cases and litigations involving fugitive slaves. Also represented is Shaw's close association with the Melville family including background material on the career of his famous son-in-law, Herman Melville.

FORMAT: 65 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.

 

ARTHUR A. SHURCLIFF COLLECTION OF GLASS LANTERN SLIDES

Arthur A. Shurcliff, Boston engineer and landscape architect, left behind a visual history of his accomplishments as an urban planner and developer during the last years of the nineteenth century and first third of the twentieth century. This microfilm collection preserves 879 of Shurcliff's glass lantern slides which illustrate his work (chiefly in the Boston area), as well as building, landscape, and parkway designs in Italy, France, England, and other parts of Europe that influenced his work.

Shurcliff served as a member of the Boston Parks Commission, the Boston Planning Board, and the Metropolitan District Commission in Boston. He was in charge of developing the landscaping for Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, as well as other historical sites. Some of his slides are graphs, charts, and plans that illustrate urban growth, population trends, and automobile traffic statistics. This collection is especially useful to those interested in urban planning or the history of the Boston area.

FORMAT: 2 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection. Call for current availability.

 

THE SMITH-CARTER FAMILY PAPERS, 1669-1880

The personal and business papers contained in this collection relate primarily to the Smith family of Medford, Boston, and Weymouth, Massachusetts. The collection is particularly rich in the political history of the Revolutionary era, as represented by the activities of Isaac Smith, Jr. (1749-1829), a Loyalist who fled to England during the war and returned to the United States in 1784 seeking reinstatement of his citizenship.

In addition, there are volumes of private correspondence and papers pertaining to the family's shipping and mercantile enterprises in Boston. Also contained in the collection is material pertaining to the related Carter, Bernard, Boylston, Otis, and Pickman families, as well as letters of Abigail (Smith) and John Adams, and their son, John Quincy Adams.

FORMAT: 6 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Call for current availability.

 

THE SMITH-TOWNSEND FAMILY PAPERS, 1670-1892

This collection brings together materials from the Smith family, descended from William and Abigail Smith of Medford, Massachusetts, and the Townsend family, descended from Andrew Townsend of Lynn, Massachusetts. Included are letters of Loyalist Isaac Smith, Jr. during his exile in England. There are numerous letters of Abigail (Smith) Adams, wife of President John Adams, as well, and letters and business papers of Dr. David Townsend and his son, Solomon Davis Townsend.

FORMAT: 1 reel of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.

 

THE CALEB STRONG PAPERS, 1657-1818

Some highlights in this collection of Strong family papers include a small collection of United States and Massachusetts state currency from the Revolutionary period, genealogical notes on the Strong family, and historical notes and memoranda on the early settlement of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

The materials pertain to Caleb Strong, Sr., a Northampton tanner and his son. Caleb Strong, Jr. was a delegate to the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention, state senator, delegate to the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention, U.S. senator, and governor of Massachusetts during his career.

FORMAT: 1 reel of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.

 

THE JOHN THOMAS PAPERS, 1693-1839

John Thomas was a physician and surgeon by training who answered the call to arms and distinguished himself as a military officer during the American Revolution. He achieved the rank of major general before his death in 1776 and fought under George Washington, taking command of various units and helping end the British occupation of Boston.

This microfilm collection contains the papers of John Thomas, and provides additional information for students and researchers into military matters during the fight for independence.

FORMAT: 3 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Call for current availability.

 

THE ARTEMAS WARD PAPERS, 1721-1953

The manuscripts in this collection provide insight into the period before Washington took command of the patriot forces. There is important military history and information, as well as material on local government in Massachusetts and on Shays' Rebellion. When linked with the papers of General Henry Knox and General Benjamin Lincoln, which are part of this series, scholars will have access to the manuscripts of three Massachusetts generals who played a major role in the American Revolution.

FORMAT: 5 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.

 

THE MERCY WARREN PAPERS, 1709-1841

Mercy Warren, born a member of the Otis family, was a prolific writer and historian. This collection of her personal papers and writings consists of a 500-page letterbook containing her correspondence to 35 prominent people, including Abigail, John, and Samuel Adams, Elbridge Gerry, Henry Knox, Mrs. John Hancock, and Martha Washington. Also included are 52 pages of Warren's published poetry. Mercy Warren is perhaps best known for her three-volume work, History of the Rise, Progress and Termination of the American Revolution (1805).

FORMAT: 2 reels of 35mm microfilm

 

THE WARREN-ADAMS PAPERS, 1767-1822

This collection, consisting primarily of letters of John, Abigail, and Samuel Adams and James and Mercy Warren, focuses on the growing alienation between Great Britain and its mainland American colonies.

This inside view of the patriot faction includes information on the Townshend duties, the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, the battles of Lexington and Bunker Hill, as well as political, military, and commercial problems surrounding the Revolutionary period.

FORMAT: 1 reel of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.

 

THE MESHECH WEARE PAPERS, 1776-1786

One of the most important figures in Revolutionary New Hampshire, Weare served as president of the council, chief justice, and governor during these years. This collection documents his correspondence with John Hancock, Henry Laurens, George Washington, William Heath, and others active in the fight for freedom from British sovereignty.

FORMAT: 1 reel of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.


THE HENRY M. WHEELER COLLECTION OF GLASS PHOTOGRAPHIC PLATES

Whatever other interests Henry M. Wheeler may have had during his lifetime, he was an excellent photographer who left behind a valuable photographic collection of historic sites, monuments, and important buildings in Massachusetts.

Historians and students will find photographs of churches, government buildings, public buildings, and the homes and birthplaces of famous Americans including Oliver Wendell Holmes, Daniel Webster, and Nathaniel Hawthorne.

FORMAT: 1 reel of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection. Call for current availability.

 

THE ISRAEL WILLIAMS PAPERS, 1730-1785

The letters of Israel Williams included in this collection are heavily concentrated in the period of the French and Indian Wars. Included are letters to and from Israel, William, and Ephraim Williams, Andrew Oliver, John Hancock, William Shirley, Thomas Hutchinson, and other contemporaries.

The collection also contains muster rolls, dispatches, journals, and a variety of military reports that lend insight into military affairs during this period.

FORMAT: 1 reel of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.

 

THE WINTHROP PAPERS, 1537-1905 

The Winthrop Papers is one of the great institutional collections of American family manuscripts available. The documents range over three centuries, include both private and public papers, and are especially rich in seventeenth-century materials. There are, however, also sizable concentrations of documents from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

The set covers Winthrop family contributions ranging from those of Governor John Winthrop (1588-1649) to those of Robert C. Winthrop, Jr. (1834-1905) as well as members of the related Bowdoin and Temple families. Included are original documents in the form of letters, deeds, diaries, account books, medical, legal, and genealogical records, diplomas and commissions, inventories and estate settlements, scrapbooks, and books and pamphlets written by or about members of the Winthrop family.

FORMAT: 53 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.

 

ROBERT TREAT PAINE PAPERS, 1730/1-1814

Robert Treat Paine was a Massachusetts attorney and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. He graduated from Harvard in 1749, then worked as a merchant in southern trade--sailing to the Azores and to Spain. In 1755 he served as chaplain for the Crown Point campaign. Paine returned to Boston in 1756 to continue his law studies and was admitted to the bar in 1757. Appointed a justice of the peace in 1763, he served in various local capacities until 1770, when he assisted in the prosecution of the Boston Massacre trials.

The Boston Massacre trials began Paine's involvement in provincial politics. He also acted as a delegate to the first Continental Congress and was elected the first Massachusetts Attorney General in 1777. As attorney general, he supervised the condemnation of Tory estates, prosecuted the insurgents following the Shays' Rebellion, participated in the Commonwealth's Constitutional Convention, and served on the committee to revise laws. Appointed an Associate Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts in 1790, Paine served on the bench until retiring in 1804.

The papers in this microfilm collection include Paine's letters; business, legal and financial papers; diaries and journals; annotated almanacs; sermons; and sea journals. Especially interesting are the political and judicial papers in the collection. They include minutes of trials and law cases, notes and letters on trials (including the Boston Massacre Trial), plus Paine's records from his legal practice.

FORMAT: 19 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.

 

REVOLUTIONARY WAR ORDERLY BOOKS AT THE MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY

This microform collection of Revolutionary War orderly books provides an authentic look at military life during the Revolutionary War--from the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775 to orders for building housing for the troops in 1783. The orderly books in this collection have been selected from manuscript collections at the Massachusetts Historical Society. They are arranged by regimental name or number and filmed in sequence. Included are regiments from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, along with Continental Army artillery regiments, Continental Army headquarters regiments, British Army regiments, and British Marine regiments.

FORMAT: 6 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.

 

THE HORACE MANN PAPERS Widely recognized today as "the father of American education," Horace Mann was largely a self-made man. Subjected to the most primitive of childhood educations in the early nineteenth century, Mann floundered before meeting an itinerant tutor who prepared him for Brown University in a matter of months. He went on to a distinguished career as lawyer, state legislator, and president of the Massachusetts state senate.

In 1837, however, Mann jumped at the chance to reshape public education as secretary to the new state board of education With only moral suasion to rely on, he rebuilt Massachusetts' educational system and promoted centralized programs still in place around the country: the first normal colleges, minimum school year laws, free nonsectarian education, and adequate funding. He later served as a U.S. congressman and president of Antioch College.

This microfilm edition of Mann's papers includes his general correspondence, lectures, sermons, speeches, legal notes, and journals, letters by Mary Peabody Mann and Elizabeth Palmer Peabody; letters by Eliza A. White to Mary T. Peabody; and other miscellaneous papers and letters from the Massachusetts Historical Society holdings.

FORMAT: 40 reels of 35mm microfilm.

ACCESS: Guide free with collection.

 

FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR ORDERLY BOOKS AT THE MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY

  Even as colonists, Americans fought and died on the battlefields of the French and Indian War (1754-1763). This microfilm collection, selected from the manuscript holdings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, reproduces the orderly books of ten regiments and companies active in the conflict. Seven come from the Massachusetts Provincials; two, the 3rd Connecticut regiment and one, the British Army. They reflect daily activities in the context of the Quebec and Montreal campaigns, as well as Canadian and American garrison duty.

FORMAT: One reel of 35mm microfilm.

ACCESS: Guide free with collection

 

COLLECTIONS OF THE MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY, 1792-1941

Published in seven series of ten volumes each, these collections include papers relating to the Massachusetts Historical Society, historical papers, ecclesiastical history papers, biographies, genealogies, materials on Indians, geography and topography papers, and many others.

FORMAT: 24 reels of 35mm microfilm

ACCESS: Volume X of each series contains a general table of contents and index.

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