Witness to America's Past
Two Centuries of Collecting by the Massachusetts Historical Society
This fully illustrated catalog, published in 1991 to accompany the Massachusetts Historical Society's 200th-anniversary exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, provides the reader with an engaging view of the books, manuscripts, artwork, and historical artifacts collected by the Society over two hundred years. Filled with color plates, black-and-white illustrations, detailed item descriptions, and entertaining anecdotal information, the catalog brings many of the most vital events in American and Massachusetts history to life through the examination of material artifacts. The book includes more than 160 of the most historically significant objects in the Society's collection—from paintings, prints, and engravings to unusual objects such as tea collected from the Boston Tea Party, a bureau whose drawers supposedly housed a witch during the Salem witch trials, and photographs of soldiers from the Massachusetts 54th Regiment, the most important African American regiment raised in the North during the Civil War.