Massachusetts State Guide
Folklife in Your State: Massachusetts
The collections of the American Folklife Center contain rich and varied materials from Massachusetts that document the diversity of the state's folk traditions. Massachusetts's Local Legacies projects, an exploration of local traditions and celebrations, is available from the Center's Web page.
America's Library is especially designed for elementary and middle school students.
Explore the States: Massachusetts
Jump Back in Time
- Clergyman John Harvard Died, September 14, 1638
- Salem Witch Trials, March 1, 1692
- Raid of Deerfield, Massachusetts in Queen Anne's War, February 29, 1704
- John Hancock Was Born, January 12, 1737
- Abigail Smith Married John Adams, October 25, 1764
- Boston Massacre, March 5, 1770
- The American Revolution Began, April 19, 1775
- Henry David Thoreau Was Born, July 12, 1817
- Henry Cabot Lodge Was Born, May 12, 1850
Meet Amazing Americans
This site allows you to search and view newspaper pages from 1836-1922 from more than 20 states and the District of Columbia. Search this collection to find selected newspaper articles that mention events in Massachusetts.
American Treasures of the Library of Congress
This exhibition provides unique insight into various aspects of American history and culture. Objects displayed are organized according to the three categories that Thomas Jefferson used for his library: memory, reason, and imagination. The exhibition includes the following documents pertaining to Massachusetts:
John Bull & Uncle Sam: Four Centuries of British-American Relations
Exhibition that examines U.S. and British relations from colonial times to the twentieth century, including items from the American Revolution related to the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, and the Battle of Bunker Hill.
Religion and the Founding of the American Republic
Documents the role religion played in the shaping of early American life and in forming the American republic, including a section on the Church-State debate in Massachusetts in the years 1778 to 1780.
The Guide to Law Online
The Guide to Law Online, prepared by the Law Library of Congress Public Services Division, is an annotated guide to sources of information on government and law available online. It includes selected links to useful and reliable sites for legal information on U.S states and territories, including Massachusetts.
The Performing Arts Encyclopedia (PAE) is a guide to performing arts resources at the Library of Congress. The PAE provides information about the Library's unsurpassed collections of scores, sheet music, audio recordings, films, photographs, and other materials. Search the PAE to find items related Massachusetts.
Primary Sources by State
The Library of Congress has rich documents and artifacts from every state, the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia. Click on Massachusetts to view historic artifacts and cultural materials from the state.
The New England Fishing Industry: Sea Changes in a Community
The unique geographic and economic characteristics of the Northeast coast become apparent through the study of photographs, maps and interviews with two New England fishermen of the early 20th century. How did rugged New Englanders make a living and provide for their families? How did they adapt to the environment and how did they change it? Primary sources from the American Memory collections illustrate the link between New England's economic and cultural past and the issues it faces for its future.
Today in History
January 12 marks the birth of John Hancock (1737-93), often remembered for his bold signature to the Declaration of Independence. President of the Second Continental Congress, Hancock was the first to sign the document.
Roger Williams, defender of religious liberty and founder of Rhode Island, landed near Boston, Massachusetts, on February 5, 1631, aboard the ship Lyon.
On March 1, 1692, Salem, Massachusetts authorities interrogated Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne, and an Indian slave, Tituba, to determine if they indeed practiced witchcraft. So began the infamous Salem Witch Trials of 1692.
Late in the afternoon of March 5, 1770, British sentries guarding the Boston Customs House shot into a crowd of civilians killing three and injuring eight others, two of them mortally. The Boston Massacre reflected growing tension between Great Britain and its American colonies.
On April 19, 1775, British and American soldiers exchanged fire in the Massachusetts towns of Lexington and Concord.
On May 12, 1850, Republican statesman and noted historian Henry Cabot Lodge was born in Boston, Massachusetts.
On June 17, 1775, American troops displayed their mettle in the Battle of Bunker Hill during the siege of Boston, inflicting casualties on nearly half of the British troops dispatched to secure Breed's Hill (where most of the fighting occurred).
Writer, philosopher, and naturalist Henry David Thoreau was born on July 12, 1817, in Concord, Massachusetts.
John Parker was born in Lexington, Massachusetts, on July 13, 1729. Parker played a prominent role in the first battle of the War for Independence, as leader of the volunteer American militia known as the Minutemen.
On September 14, 1638, John Harvard, a 31-year-old clergyman from Charlestown, Massachusetts died, leaving his library and half of his estate to a local college. The young minister's bequest allowed the college to firmly establish itself. In honor of its first benefactor, the school adopted the name Harvard College.
On October 1, 1903, the Boston Americans (soon to become the Red Sox) of the American League played the National League champion Pittsburgh Pirates in the first game of the modern World Series. Pittsburgh won the game by a score of seven to three, but lost the best of the nine-game series to Boston, five games to three.
The General Court of the Plymouth Colony instituted a legal code, the first composed in North America, on October 4, 1636. It guaranteed citizens a trial by jury and stipulated that all laws were to be made with the consent of the freemen of the colony.
On October 25, 1764, Abigail Smith married a young lawyer from Braintree (now Quincy), Massachusetts, by the name of John Adams, who would become, some thirty years later, the second president of the United States.
Veterans History Project Home Page
The Veterans History Project (VHP) collects and preserves the remembrances of American war veterans and civilian workers who supported them. Browse the database by state of residence to locate veterans from Massachusetts.