The request system of the
All researchers wishing to use the Society's collections are required to create a
Portal1791 account. This account allows you to:
By creating an account you are acknowledging that you have read and agree to the terms and
conditions outlined below. If you visit the MHS library you will be asked to provide a valid,
government-issued photo ID and be photographed by MHS staff in order to complete your registration.
During registration, you will be asked to create a username and password. You will use
this username and password when logging on to the Portal1791 system in the future.
You will choose your own username and password. We recommend that you follow good
security practice and choose a password that is different from those you use to access
Portal1791 will encrypt your password, so it will remain secure. Only you will know your password.
This section specifically applies to researchers that visit the MHS library in person.
All researchers must set up a Portal1791 account. This can be done at aeon.masshist.org either
in advance of a visit or upon arrival at the MHS. Upon arrival at the MHS researchers will be
asked to provide a valid, government-issued photo ID and will have their photograph taken by MHS staff in order to complete their registration.
The MHS is a non-circulating, closed-stacks library. No material may be removed from the
building. Materials paged from the closed stacks may be consulted only in the reading room.
When available, researchers must use published versions, digital facsimiles, or microfilm
editions to protect the original documents. The Reader Services staff may deny access to
items in poor physical condition and the use of unprocessed collections.
All researchers must work at independent work stations and must make individual requests for materials.
Limit handling of items to the minimum necessary for your research & exercise all possible care to prevent damage to materials.
All researchers must follow specific handling instructions given by Reader Services staff.
Only laptop/tablet computers, digital cameras (non-flash), Mp3 players, and cell phones
may be brought into the library. All other personal belongings (including bags, notepaper,
and cases for electronics) must be stored in a locker provided in the reception area. All
items brought into the library will be inspected as you exit the reading room.
The MHS library is a pencil only environment. Pencils are provided for researcher use.
No food or drink is allowed.
Cell phones should be placed on silent or vibrate mode. Cell phone conversations are not
permitted in the library.
All researchers are provided with a blue lanyard and name tag upon arrival. This
lanyard must be worn and visible at all times while in the building.
For visiting researchers, the MHS allows non-flash photography, within the confines
of current copyright law, in the library. Photography with a tripod-mounted camera,
lighting enhancements, or use of scanning or video/sound recording equipment is not permitted
in the library. There is no self-service photocopying of collection materials.
For researchers wishing to request reproductions, requests should be made directly
through the Portal1791 system. You may contact the library staff if
you are having difficulty placing a request. A library staff member will review your request
and provide an estimate of cost for your approval before creating reproductions. Staff will
not reproduce material in violation of copyright law, nor if creating copies will damage
the original documents. For more information about our reproduction policies and fee
structure please see our website.
Please note that all reference reproductions are for personal/study use only.
They may not be donated or deposited in other libraries or archives, or made available to other
researchers without the written permission of the Massachusetts Historical Society.
Ownership of reproduced material does not imply permission to publish or quote from documents.
It is the sole responsibility of the researcher to obtain formal written permission from the MHS or,
when applicable, the appropriate copyright owner. For more information about the library use permission
policies see our website.
The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making
of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions
specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other
reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not
to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user
makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of
"fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement. This institution reserves
the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order
would involve violation of copyright law.
While the Massachusetts Historical Society welcomes use of research materials held by the
Society, we do require that you obtain permission in writing prior to dissemination.
Permission is not required for use of research materials in a classroom setting or in
academic papers that are not to be published. Please contact
the reference librarian with questions or to initiate a use request.
In cases where materials are protected by copyright and the copyright is not held by the MHS
additional permission from the copyright holder may be required. It is the sole responsibility of
the researcher to determine if materials are protected by copyright and to obtain permission from the copyright holder.
You will acknowledge the use of the MHS's collections in any publication which may result
from your research through correct citation of sources. The MHS is happy to accept donations
to the library of any publications that result from your research.
We may retain information we collect from you in connection with your use of Portal1791
account indefinitely. We may use this information, or provide the information to third
parties to use in a variety of ways, including but not limited to, to satisfy any applicable
law, regulation, legal process or governmental request; to detect, prevent, or otherwise
address fraud, security, or technical issues; to protect the rights, property or safety of
the library, its users or others; to conduct research; for administration and maintenance of
collections or library operations; and otherwise in support of the MHS mission.
By clicking the "Create New Account" button you acknowledge that you have read and agree
to abide by the policy outlined above and are signing this document.