Manuscripts Research Guide

With over 1,400 collections and well over a million items, the Society's manuscripts span the years 1613-1930. Besides the Society's own archives, manuscripts are actively acquired in four areas of collection strength: American book history; New England diaries; papers of prominent early New Englanders in the political, religious, and military spheres; papers and records of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Central Massachusetts families, voluntary associations, and businesses.

How to Find

  • Search the Catalog
    Most manuscript collections have a record in the AAS Online Catalog.
  • Other Places to Search
    • Finding aids for most individual collections are available online (links provided in the AAS Online Catalog)
    • The Catalogue of the Manuscript Collections of the American Antiquarian Society (G.K. Hall, 1979)* is a printed version of an earlier manuscript card catalog and can be very helpful for finding item-level holdings
    • Card catalogs* for some individual collections

Digital Access

  • Freely Available (can look at from home):
    • Scanned images are available for some manuscript collections, notably the Matthew Carey Papers, etc. (links provided in the AAS Online Catalog)
  • By Subscription (must be at AAS or an institution that has purchased the digital product):

Types of Collections

AAS Archives
American book trades collections
Central Massachusetts towns, businesses, voluntary association records
Diaries of New Englanders
Family papers for central Massachusetts families

Quick Links
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